Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Filipinos in the New York Marathon: Butch Tansengco

Filipinos in the New York Marathon
Part 2: Butch Tansengco
by rick olivares

This is the second part of a feature called “Filipinos in the New York Marathon” as part of a countdown to Jaymie “The Bull Runner” Pizarro’s participation in the 2011 race.

Our second NYC vet is Jonathan Tansengco, a classmate of mine from Ateneo. Jonathan is presently CFO of First Philippine Electric Corporation, an intermediate holding company of the Lopez Group that is into renewable energy, among others.  He is married to an ob-gyn who also runs marathons with him. “Butch” as Jonathan is nicknamed has one daughter who is a first year student at Assumption College. He went to Ateneo de Manila for his grade school and high school before transferring to UP where he took up Industrial Engineering. He took his MBA at Columbia University in New York. In addition to running, Butch is an avid cyclist (road and off-track).

Rick: When did you run the NY Marathon?
Butch: My first time was last November 7, 2010.

Rick: How long did you train for this?
Butch: I trained for close to five months from mid-June to November 2010.  

Rick: How did you find the time to train around your work?
Butch: I schedule my training runs as I would meetings.  Foe example, my Blackberry calendar would show a 10-K run at 5:00am, preceding a 7:30 breakfast meeting.  When I traveled for work, I also made sure that I made time for training runs as well.  Prior to the NYC Marathon, I had to spend time in Missouri for work.  Since the hotel I stayed in didn’t have it’s own fitness center (I was in Missouri, right?), I had to get-up earlier and drive to a fitness center in a mall or to the nearby park/running trail.

Rick: Can you share your experience in the NYC Marathon? How did you do? What made it special or memorable?  
Butch: The NYC Marathon was a GREAT experience!  For one, it is arguably the most popular marathon in the world, probably even among the five Majors (New York, Boston, Berlin, Chicago and London).  The sea of spectators that lined the route never let up through all 42+ kilometers that covered NY’s five boroughs.  This was definitely a sight to behold!  I also posted my best 42K time there (4:16) — until Berlin last September 25 (sorry, couldn’t let this pass! I’m still enjoying the moment as this was just over a week ago).  

My unforgettable NYC Marathon moment though was having to rush to the Port Authority right after crossing the finish line to collect my twelve-year old daughter from my aunt who had to take the bus back to NJ (I had requested her to join us in the city for the weekend to look after my daughter).  

As I exited Central Park (where the marathon ended), I soon discovered that cabs were difficult to come by.  I then approached a police officer to ask where the nearest pay phone was so I could advise my aunt that I may run late (as she had planned to catch a bus at a specific time).  The officer’s response floored me: “Man, I haven’t seen those things around here in years!”.  In panic, I began a slow jog downtown until I came to the first operational subway station several blocks down (some stations were closed on marathon Sunday).  I finally hooked up with my daughter with barely a few minutes to spare before my aunt had to board her bus to NJ.  Funny that whenever I recall my NYC experience, this incident seems to stick out as much as the run itself.

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