Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, CebuDoc Group’s President and Chairman made another history by becoming the first-ever Filipino to join the Official 8 Marathon Club. A renowned eye surgeon, Dr. Larrazabal is now a part of the elite 255-members club for the marathon category after finishing eight continents – including Zealandia.
I feel blessed that somehow all my goals in running, I have already achieved them, more or less.
Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III
President and Chairman
The official 8 Continents Marathon Club is a non-profit organization that recognizes a roster of elite runners from all over the world who finished eight major running events, from Half-Marathon to Ultra Marathons in eight Continents.
To be a member of the club, one should have finished eight grueling marathons with a full distance of 42.195 kilometers. Dr. Larrazabal started the eight continent journey in 2013 and has now completed them with the following details:
2013 Brussels Marathon
Time – 3 hours 40 minutes
2019 Marrakech Marathon
Time – 3 hours 58 minutes
2014 Kawasan Falls Marathon
Time – 3 hours 39 minutes
2019 Sao Paulo Marathon
Sao Paolo, Brazil
Time – 4 hours 17 minutes
2014 Mountain to Surf Marathon
Taranaki, New Zealand
Time – 3 hours 37 minutes
2019 Antarctic Ice Marathon
Union Glacier, Antarctic
Time – 6 hours 16 minutes
2016 Mountains 2 Beach Marathon
Time – 3 hours 23 minutes
2019 Auckland Marathon
Auckland, New Zealand
Time – 4 hours 58 minutes
Dr. Yong shared that his toughest marathon was in the year 2019. “I traveled to 4 continents to complete the 8 marathons, and it is specifically tough for me because it needs proper training and a lot of preparation including physical, emotional, and mental strengthening to complete the 4 remaining marathons,” he said.
14 years of running
What started as an alternative sport in 2006 after he got injured from basketball is now a passion sport for him.
“I used to play basketball and in 2006 when I was injured in my finger, and since I do surgeries, I had to find another sport that will use my legs more. I was influenced by my colleague back then, and now, I hope that also get to influence others,” Dr. Larrazabal said.
In December 2019, Dr. Larrazabal completed the 8th Continent Marathon when he conquered his 61sth marathon – the Antarctic Ice Marathon. As the first Cebuano to do it, he did not rest his laurels and even managed to complete another eight major marathons that gave him a total of 69 marathons since he started his running career.
Post pandemic Marathon
Considered as the highlight of his marathon career, Dr. Larrazabal is the first Filipino to finish the World Marathon Challenge in February 2020 – the last global marathon event before the pandemic.
Now that sporting events, including marathons, have also adapted to the new normal. Dr. Larrazabal managed to finish the Virtual 2020 London Marathon last October 4, 2020.
“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.
With a unique experience, he managed to still finish strong at 3:57:15 as his official time.
“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 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.
Dr. Larrazabal, however, emphasized that running events will no longer be the same until a vaccine for COVID19 is available and that virtual events need a specific approach.
“You really need have 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 concluded.
Waiting for the marathon scene to go back to normal, he feels blessed that, despite the pandemic, he still managed to do his passion sport and that his goals are still being achieved.
“We will wait, but still, I feel blessed that somehow all my goals in running, I have already achieved them, more or less,” Dr. Larrazabal said.
“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 & support of my family & friends,” he concluded.