Dubai Marathon: How 'supermum' inspired this Filipina expat to run 42 km

Jona, who was born in Bato, Leyte, Philippines, says she could never thank her mother enough for making her a mentally strong person

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Jona Lei Jagonos completed the 42 km run at the Dubai Marathon. — Supplied photo
Jona Lei Jagonos completed the 42 km run at the Dubai Marathon. — Supplied photo

Published: Sun 7 Jan 2024, 6:54 PM

Last updated: Sun 7 Jan 2024, 7:11 PM

Jona Lei Jagonos was still in a state of disbelief long after she finished the 42 km Dubai Marathon on Sunday.

“It was crazy, but it was very fulfilling,” the Filipina expat said, brimming with joy and a sense of relief.

A fitness freak and mountain biker, Jona was also motivated to present herself with a gift for her 40th birthday.

“I did run the 10 km at the Dubai Marathon last year. It was my first 10 km. After that I promised myself that I would do the full marathon in 2024,” she said.

“Also, I would be turning 40 on February 3, so I said to myself that I had to do something for myself before turning 40. And this is what I had to do. I am so happy now that I have managed to finish the race.”

Finishing the 42 km run was not just a gift for herself less than a month before turning 40.

Sunday’s accomplishment was also a tribute to the greatest source of inspiration in her life — her mother, Melchora Jagonos.

“Running the full marathon in Dubai was always on my bucket list. But I am also happy that I could do this just one day after my mother’s 84th birthday,” she said.

“She was very worried. When I told her that I was going to run 42 km, she was like, ‘Are you crazy? Why are you doing this?’

“I think she is happy and relieved that I am fine now after running for 42 km. She is always worried because I am the baby in the family, I am the youngest of her six children.”

Jona, who was born in Bato, Leyte, Philippines, says she could never thank her mother enough for making her a mentally strong person.

“Of course, my friends at Dubai Marina helped me a lot when I was preparing to run the 42 km at the Dubai Marathon. But something like this needs a lot of mental strength. I think I got that from my mother,” said Jona who moved to Dubai in 2007.

“My mother raised the six of us after my father died when I was only six. So, she is my superhero.

“She is a very strong woman. She pushed the barriers all through her life for us.

“So I think that mental strength, I have got it from her. She is the 'supermum' who never gave up!”

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