It could be friendly and humble. These two words simply describe a person whom I’ve met during the Miwok 100K Run at the Marin Headlands where I served as one of the volunteers.
He is Jorge Maravilla, pronounced Hor-He. I mentioned his name (first name only) in my post about my experience as spectator and volunteer during the said run. He was with another guy whose first name is Rich but I later identified him as Rich Conder. As we were doing the things we were instructed/requested to do at the Finish Line Area, Jorge was the one who was starting all the conversation among us while Rich was always silent. So, while the three of us were doing the same job, Jorge was the one who was very much engaged with some conversation with me.
As far as I can remember, these were some of the salient points about our conversation:
Jorge: You said your name is Jovenal, how will I call you? Call me Jorge (Hor-he)
Bald Runner: Call me Jovie, that’s my nickname!
Jorge: Where do you stay here?
BR: I am from Manila, Philippines. I came here to run the Miwok 100.
Jorge: What happened?
BR: I had an injury in the middle of March while doing a 7-day adventure run covering a distance of 270 kilometers and it got worse during one of my practice runs here.
Jorge: Oh, I am sorry. How is ultra marathon in the Philippines?
BR: We are trying to expose our runners in ultra distance runs. We started with a race which is called the “Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race” three years ago but the race is done on paved roads. The race is done on the exact place where history happened during World War II.
Jorge: Great! Philippines is hot and humid, right?
BR: Yes, we train our runners as if they are running the Badwater! I am glad we don’t have any cases of “heatstroke” in our ultra races.
Jorge: That’s good.
I was trying to think of a question to ask why he is volunteering for the race with Rich but I concentrated on the task requested us to do. Jorge was later requested by Tia Bodington, the Race Director to get some stuff inside the U-Haul truck. After few minutes, Jorge was back and he started another conversation with me.
Jorge: Jovie, you must be popular in the Philippines!
BR: What? (And I just smiled. I assumed he saw the FrontRunner Magazine placed on the Driver’s Panel Board of the truck)
Jorge: I saw a Running Magazine with you as the Cover Page and I saw you autographed it for Tia.
BR: Oh..The publisher of the magazine is also an ultra runner and a friend of mine. Both of us are promoting ultra running in the country.
Jorge: Maybe, I’ll get to know you some more. Do you have a Business Card?
BR: Yes, I have. They are in my car. I will give you one later. I’ll give one also to Rich.
After we finished the task requested of us to do, Jorge and Rich left the place and acted as Marshals in an intersection 500 meters away from the Finish Line.
I was not able to give my Business Card to Jorge and Rich as I left the area after the 10th overall runner crossed the Finish Line.
After one week, I read a blog of Mark Tanaka about his Race Report on the Diablo 60K Trail Run. I was surprised to find out that Jorge was the Champion in that race which was held on May 1, one week before the Miwok 100. I can conclude that he was there at the Miwok 100 as a volunteer and not as an injured participant like me! Rich Conder was also one of the top 10 finishers in the said race where Jorge won. At Athlinks.com, Jorge has a PR Marathon of 2:49+ hours which he got on the 1st quarter of this year.
What surprises me more is their voluntary act of helping another race to make it a success. Instead of resting and recovering from a previous race, Jorge and Rich, upcoming elite runners in ultra trail runs, were there at the Marin Headlands for the whole day as volunteers! I am sure these guys offered their time and services to the Race Director without any “strings attached” or renumeration. Simply, they were there to help!
Last weekend, I found out from the Race Result of the Bishop High Sierra 100K Trail Run that Jorge Maravilla won again in the said distance, breaking the course record by 55 minutes! By being humble, Jorge does not even have a blog where he can, at least, brag about his accomplishment. I wonder why.
As I gathered from reading the blogs of ultra runners, I found out that Jorge will be running his first 100-mile run at the Tahoe Rim Trail next month. I am sure this guy will make it to the top 10 in this race.
As I recall my brief meeting and conversation with Jorge and my brief conversation with the top elite runners in the Miwok 100 last month, I came to my personal conclusion that these runners are simply friendly, humble, kind, accommodating, and simple/”low-profile”. They also find time to help one another as race volunteers, pacers and support crew to other runners. Ultra running is simply a good community of runners.
How I wish some of the Pinoy ultra runners will be offering their services as volunteers in my races.