CEBUANO eye surgeon Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III made history again by becoming the first-ever Filipino to be part of the Official 8 Continents Marathon Club.
CebuDoc Group’s president and chairman Larrazabal is now one of the only 255 members of the 8 Continents Marathon Club, which is a non-profit organization that recognizes a roster of elite runners from all over the world who finished eight major running events in eight continents.
To become a member of the club, one should have finished eight grueling marathons. Larrazabal started his journey in eight continents in 2013 and has now completed them.
“I am grateful and I feel blessed to be officially part of the 8 Continents Marathon Club and this wouldn’t be possible without prayers, training and support of my family and friends,” Larrazabal said.
Larrazabal’s races in eight continents were the 2013 Brussels Marathon in Europe (3 hours and 40 minutes), 2014 Kawasan Falls Marathon in Asia (3:39), 2014 Mountain to Surf Marathon in Oceania (3:37), 2016 Mountains 2 Beach Marathon in North America (3:23), 2019 Marrakech Marathon in Africa (3:58), 2019 Sao Paulo Marathon in South America (4:17), 2019 Antarctic Ice Marathon in Antartica (6:16) and 2019 Auckland Marathon in Zealandia (4:58).
In December 2019, Larrazabal completed the 8th Continent Marathon when he conquered his 61st marathon - the Antarctic Ice Marathon. As the first Cebuano to do it, he did not rest on his laurels and even managed to complete another major marathon for his 69th in his running career.
Larrazabal was the first Filipino to finish the World Marathon Challenge in February 2020 – the last global marathon event before the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Now that sporting events, including marathons, have also adapted to the new normal, Larrazabal managed to finish the Virtual 2020 London Marathon on October 4, 2020. He clocked at 3:57:15.
“There are virtual marathons available since travels are restricted. When I found out that the London Marathon will be virtual, I immediately joined since it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The only drawback is that, here in the Philippines, you cannot run outside without a facemask so what I did is I ran outside my house,” he shared.
“You can run anytime within 24 hours, but once you start the app, you can no longer stop. You have to be connected to the internet because they will track your route. Every mile, there will be announcers who will talk about the marathon and on what areas you have already reached. It’s also fun because you just need to put your headset on, and it’s as if you’re listening to the crowd,” he added.
Larrazabal, however, emphasized that running events will no longer be the same until a vaccine for Covid-19 is available and that virtual events need a specific approach.
“You really need to have a strong mind because you don’t have spectators, you don’t have water stations, and it could be boring because you have no one to run with you,” he said.