Tim Yap on Finishing the New York Marathon: ‘I wanted this run to be my love letter for NYC’ - Lifestyle Asia

The host and eventologist shares the amount of work he had to do to check the marathon off his bucket list, and why he was running for more than himself.

“New York is my most favorite city in the world,” says Tim Yap, who last week finished the New York Marathon. “It was where I experienced a lot of firsts, a lot of turning points and realizations in life and I wanted this run to be my love letter for NYC.” 

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In a Facebook post, Yap says that he is still overwhelmed by the fact that he was able to finish the famed US marathon on its 50th year. 

“This is hands down one of the most exhilarating and unforgettable moments in my life,” the post reads. “Running 42km or 26.2 miles across the five boroughs of New York is something I never thought I could do, but it  was a must check on my life’s bucket list.”

The idea for doing the marathon was planted by Sara Black, who was in a running group with Yap. 

“One morning we were warming up together, Sara talked to me about her New York marathon experience—she said she discovered transcendence through running,” Yap shares. “I  looked at her with wonder and awe.”

Black told him that it taught her so much and was nothing like she had ever experienced in her life. “I’ve always been a student of life and always in search of these experiences to learn and grow—I knew I had to do it,” he says. 

New focus

The marathon was also a way for him to divert his attention in the middle of a difficult period in his life.  

“Not a lot of people know this but I suffered from a really bad vertigo attack and hypertension—others even made fun of my illness—earlier this year,” he shares in the post. “With all our current industries on last priority, I had to find a way to take my mind off it and focus on something more productive. I made a lifestyle change and started training for the New York marathon.” 

Yap started consulting with orthopedic and sports specialist and elite performance coach Francis Diano around mid-August. He then began training at the end of that month, and worked on it through a first run in Berlin and the event in New York. 

“[I] also used Coach Ige Lopez’s methodologies, which proved to be useful from Berlin to New York,” he says. “I kept on calling and messaging them in between runs in different cities, countries and conditions.”

In the course of training, Yap says that motivating yourself to keep going is a whole challenge in itself. 

“There’s always a side of you that is saying you can’t do it. There are voices in your head that are giving you excuses, telling you to just give up and do something else—even questioning your motives for joining,” he admits. “In the end you have to triumph over the noise, focus on your goal, and tell yourself that you can and you will.” 

Overcoming challenges

A week before the actual event, Yap’s right leg started cramping. “I had to stop running and this made me very scared of not being able to do itm,” he says. “But with prayers, some great advice from experts and friends, the cramps didn’t show up on race day. Thank God!”

On the day of the marathon, he was a bundle of nerves and needed to calm himself down. 

“Javi [Martinez, his husband] was there to be beside me, motivate me, even if he was also secretly scared himself. I had to remind myself to quiet my mind and just enjoy the course. It worked!” Yap says. Martinez trained secretly and surprised his husband with the news that he was also joining two days before the race. 

Yap also shares that focusing on matras and powerful phrases also helped him get through the race. 

“During my first marathon in Berlin, I was chanting ‘Thank you God, Thank you God!’ all throughout. I felt like angels were carrying my feet as I ran. I knew I couldn’t have done it alone,” he says. 

New York wasn’t any different, and Yap says the endeavor needed prayers, self-confidence, and faith that he put in the necessary work for it. He also made sure that he “enjoyed and savored every moment of it. In my head I was singing ‘one foot in front of the other,’ and remembering to ‘run with your heart’.”

Personal stake

The host and eventologist started running at noon and ended past sunset. He says that his goal wasn’t about any particular time, but enjoying the moment no matter the speed. 

“I stopped at Pinoys chanting along the boroughs, took photos with people, petted dogs and high fived kids along the way,” Yap says. “The New York marathon is part of my life’s bucket list and being able to check it off makes me happy and inspired to dream new dreams.”

And he wasn’t just running for himself. Yap and Martinez ran under Smile Train Team Empower, and were able to raise more than $7,000 for underprivileged kids born with cleft. This also allowed them to take home the Top Team Fundraiser Award. 

Ran under SmileTrain @smiletrainph Team Empower, where alongside Javi Martínez (who was secretly training and surprised me two days before the race), we were able to raise more than $7,000 for underprivileged kids born with cleft – which allowed us to take home the Top Team Fundraiser Award.

“Not many people know that I have an older sister who died as a baby many years ago due to cleft,” Yap says. “Since my participation in the Berlin marathon, I have been an active supporter of this organization and have worked hard to turn my miles into smiles—that each mile was for a kid who was gonna get their smile back. This kept me going.”

What will Yap tell someone who is looking to run the New York Marathon? 

“That each race is personal, and is a great way to get to connect with yourself,” he says. “It will be tough, exhilarating and overwhelming.But you can do whatever your mind sets to achieve.  Train hard, trust the experts. Pray hard. And hey, don’t  forget to have the most fun while doing it.”

Photos courtesy of TIM YAP

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