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DH eyes more world runs after London Marathon

16 May 2017

Theresa Calo waves the Philippine flag at the finish line of the Lndon Marathon.


By Vir B. Lumicao

Filipina domestic helper Theresa Calo is setting her sights on other major runs overseas after her successful finish in the grueling 26.2-mile (42-kilometer) London Marathon on Apr 23.

That includes running in the Kobe Marathon in Japan this November, and joining the London Marathon again next year.

“I want to run more, both trail running here in Hong Kong and more marathons overseas,” the 37-year-old Calo said in reply to emailed questions from The SUN, shortly after returning from Britain on May 3.

Calo shrugged off a swollen ankle to finish on 25,269th place overall in a record crowd of more than 40,000 runners who took part in the 37th London Marathon to raise funds for charity group Oxfam.

The Baguio native, who has been a helper in Hong Kong for the past 15 years, clocked 4 hours, 48 minutes and 40 seconds as she joined the run from Blackheath to Westminster.

Her record run was sponsored by local gym, Pheform, while she helped raise nearly 1,500 pounds for Oxfam’s poverty alleviation program through the online fundraising platform, JustGiving, by taking part in the marathon.

The tall, trim and charming Calo was full of excitement after finishing her first marathon event.
“I enjoyed my first 26.2-mile run! I managed to finish it and, yeah, 1 down, 5 stars to go!” she told The SUN in a message two days after the event.

She thanked her employer for the past six years, an Irish corporate banker who lives in Central and a marathon buff himself, for being very supportive of her running activity, including her London campaign.

 “My employer runs a lot also and has done several marathons himself, including London Marathon and New York Marathon.  In fact, he was scheduled to run in this year’s London Marathon but had to pull out for work reasons.  Several months ago he asked me to cancel his place in the race and it was then that I got the idea to see if I could take his place instead.  It worked. I eventually found a spot with Oxfam,” Calo said.

Calo has been running seriously for less than two years and trains most of the time in Taipo, where her mother and a sister married to a local man live.

She said her boss’ frequent business trips abroad allowed her to visit her family members in the New Territories regularly and train in country parks and sections of the MacLehose and Wilson Trails.

That training and participation in several trail races had prepared the Baguio Colleges Foundation/University of the Cordilleras BS Information Technology Computer Science graduate for the London marathon.

Calo ran with three London-based and one Italy-based Filipinas in the marathon, and she finished second in the group, just five minutes behind the front-runner.

Aid from friends and Good Samaritans as well as her own savings helped her fulfill her dream of running in London. She stayed with friends who live there. Another friend who she used to work for sponsored her flight and accommodation for a few days.

“Salomon HK heard about my story and contacted me on Facebook and contributed some running equipment like shoes and clothing also,” she said.

Her fundraising for Oxfam is continuing. “I set up a ‘justgiving’ page and lots of people have contributed – friends, family, other Filipinos I run with here in Hong Kong and even my employer!  Even some complete strangers have contributed money,” she said.

Anyone can give to her fundraising for Oxfam at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/TheresaCalo2017.

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