MANILA – Fresh from winning gold in the 87th Sloterplasloop road race in Amsterdam on Oct. 7, Netherlands-based Filipina marathoner Rachel de Weerd said she will do her best to win a medal for the Team Philippines in the 22nd Asian Masters Athletics Championships from Nov. 8 to 12 in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
De Weerd, a native of Ifugao province, was invited to be among the 159 Filipino athletes who will see action in the tournament. She will compete in the women’s 5,000-meter, 10,000m and 4X400 events.
“I don’t know what to expect but I will try my very best to raise the Philippine flag and enjoy the race,” the 49-year-old ultrarunner said in a video clip shared with the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday.
She started her running career with a reason in 2010 after her 2-year-old daughter succumbed to a “very seldom baby illness.”
“And (she) has no chance to live. But she’s a fighter. She went back to heaven. Our world turned into darkness. We were broken. I found peace and calmness in horse riding. And running is my best outlet,” she said.
“It makes me feel happy, relaxed and relieved, and most of all it keeps me strong and healthier. For me running means therapy,” she added.
Aside from the Sloterplasloop road race, she also competed and finished second in a half marathon event on Oct. 2, 34-km Valuwezoom Trail (July 16), 10-km Voorthuizen Loopt (July 10), AV Valuwe track and field (July 1) and Zwolle Half Marathon (June 23), all in The Netherlands this year.
Last year, she won a total of four golds and two silvers in the national championships in The Netherlands.
In 2023, she finally fulfilled one of her dreams to participate in the Rome Marathon.
De Weerd migrated to The Netherlands in 2001 after she and her Dutch partner, Jan, got married in Ifugao in the same year. They have two children, Ryan Philip, 22, and Tom, 12.
Former athletes Eduardo Buenavista, Sean Guevarra, Danilo Fresnido, Arniel Ferrera and EJ Obiena’s father, Emerson, will also represent the country in the Asian Masters.
At least 1,400 athletes from 22 countries are expected to compete in the biennial tournament for athletes aged 30 years old and above. (PNA)