The good Samaritans of the Milo Marathon Cebu qualifying leg
Not all heroes wear capes. Some come in running jerseys.
Bernie Flores and Lynelyn Coronel-Malaki proved this when they stepped up to the plate and helped a participant who met an accident in the 42nd National Milo Marathon (NMM) Cebu qualifying leg last Sunday.
Ezel Conde, who was among the 700 runners in the 10-kilometer race of the NMM, was nearing the finish line at the Cebu City Sports Center and closing in on a possible top five finish when she accidentally got sideswiped by a Toyota Vios driven by 19-year-old Abel Tanjay.
The 22-year-old Conde, a member of the Philippine Long-Distance Runners (PhilLDR), suffered injuries to her head and body.
Flores, who happens to be the president of the PhilLDR, did not hesitate to help Conde after seeing her on the pavement, bleeding and shaking.
Instead of finishing his 10k race, Flores chose to stay with Conde and accompanied her until the medical team arrived and brought her to the Saint Vincent Medical Center.
“I was teary-eyed when I saw her,” said the 32-year-old veteran runner Flores, who had hoped to finish his 10k race below one hour.
For Flores, being with Conde during that time of need was way more important than finishing his race.
“I think helping her was totally worth it. I always help runners in pain, how much more a runner who met a vehicular accident?”
Flores, a long-distance runner who’s been in the running scene for the past 12 years, is known for his helpfulness in the running community.
Sometimes he marshals a route and paces fellow runners. His kind act last Sunday was the most important one that he even didn’t worry about not finishing.
“There are a lot of Milo Marathon races, so I was not worried that I was not able to finish the race,” he said.
For the 40-year-old Malaki, her gesture came post race.
Malaki managed to finish her 10k run, which netted her a finisher’s medal. But when she learned that Conde, a friend she met in regular running sessions at the Cebu City Sports Center oval, was rushed to the hospital and didn’t get to finish the race, she did not hesitate to give her medal.
On Monday, before Conde was discharged from the UC Med Hospital where she was transferred from the Saint Vincent Medical Center, Malaki visited her fellow runner to formally hand over the finisher’s medal.
“It was totally worth it,” she said. “She was expected to finish at the top five in the 10k race but unfortunately, she met an accident. That’s why I thought it was fitting enough to give her my medal,” said Malaki, a relay finisher in the Ironman 70.3 race in Cebu last August.
Malaki has been collecting finisher’s medals for the past six years. But she didn’t mind missing this one.
“In my mind, Conde deserves to be given a finisher’s medal because she did her best. It does not matter for me if I give her my medal because there is always a next time. I am very happy that I was able to make her smile and make her feel happy,” she said.
At press time, Conde was out of danger and was discharged from the hospital. She was on her way back to her hometown in Lamac, Pinamungahan, southwestern Cebu.
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