Lifelong discipline: How this Cebuano welder conquered the 42K marathon

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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Lifelong discipline: How this Cebuano welder conquered the 42K marathon

CHAMPION. New Milo Marathon champion Florendo Lapiz proves that hard work pays off.

Rob Andrew Dongiapon/Rappler

‘There are no secrets to this,’ says Florendo Lapiz, the ship welder from Carcar City, Cebu whose hard work finally paid off, ruling the 2024 Milo Marathon Manila leg on his third try

MANILA, Philippines – There were no shortcuts to success for newly crowned 42K marathon champion Florendo Lapiz.

In a run as grueling as the one he finished, it took a combination of passion, dedication, and discipline, and no one would know it more that him as Lapiz finally ruled on his third try.

“This is far from easy,” said Lapiz after finishing first in the 2024 Milo Marathon Manila leg at the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City on Sunday, April 28.    

“You have to be in your top condition to do this.” 

Lapiz – a 33-year-old runner from Carcar City, Cebu – clocked in at 2 hours and 42.33 minutes, pulling off a dominating triumph over runners-up Salvador Polillo (2:49.54) and Wilfred Esporma (2:58.51).

Unlike many who crossed the finish line after him, Lapiz only needed a few minutes to compose himself.

“There are no secrets to this,” Lapiz said in Filipino. “Everyday I worked hard for this. It took a lot of training and self-discipline to reach this.”

Lapiz works as a welder on a ship in his hometown, yet he always finds time for his passion. He trains for over two hours on a near 20-kilometer course in the morning and redo half of it from late afternoon to evening. 

“Running is a habit,” he said. “I’ve built my body up that it got so used to [running] already, so I only had to think about the mental part.”

It was Lapiz’s third attempt after his first two tries saw him falling shy of the top spot. 

Now hailed as the new marathon king, Lapiz admitted the challenges in running in Manila, as the extreme humidity and high heat index affected many runners even as organizers bumped up the start time much earlier at 1 am.

His fellow Cebuano runner Lizane Abella, the Minglanilla native who topped the women’s side with a time of 3:21.05, cited the same challenges.  

But both champions did not concern themselves of the external factors and just focused on completing the race. 

“I left it all out there,” said Lapiz. “That was all I think about, leave everything there and complete this.”

WINNERS’ CIRCLE. Milo marathon men’s champion Florendo Lapiz and women’s winner Lizane Abella show off their trophies.

Lapiz also coaches young runners in Carcar – an initiative that not only nurtures his locality’s youth but also his love of the sport, he said.

“I need to give back to the sport,” said Lapiz. 

But more than this love, he remained steadfast in outdoing himself everyday.

“Keep improving everyday, that is what I want. That is the life of an athlete,” Lapiz said.

Next for Lapiz will be the Phuket marathon in Thailand, before competing in the National Finals of the 2024 Milo Marathon on December 1 in Cagayan de Oro.

Now that his training bore fruit, Lapiz said there’s no stopping from here. 

“There are a lot of events out there that I still need to win,” he said. –

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