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Hannah Pangilinan Let Us In On Her Virtual Boston Marathon Experience

We're inspired by her passion, determination, and discipline!

Prior to the pandemic, running a marathon was already a feat in itself. Many have attempted and tried, but only few really succeed. Diligence, discipline, and a whole lot of passion is needed to cross that finish line—literally and figuratively. 


And now that we're in a pandemic, while thousands of people cannot literally be side-by-side running a race together just yet, there's the virtual Boston Marathon, which took place last October 8-10. The first 70,000 entrants took on the challenge last March 30, and have worked their way up to the said dates to finally lay everything down on the line, run the race, and prove themselves worthy of a coveted unicorn finisher's medal. 


The 125th Boston Marathon encouraged thousands upon thousands of runners all over the world to complete the 26.2 miles in one, continuous attempt not limited to any time restriction. Blood, sweat, and tears make up the training for such a feat, and if there's anyone who's up for such a challenge, it's the multi-hyphenate young talent, Hannah Pangilinan.



The digital creative has been up for a lot of challenges in her life, and this year, it was the iconic Boston Marathon. Scroll ahead to find out more about her journey, get informed, and learn a thing or two about this inspiring young lady!


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Metro.Style: We see that you have recently completed your first virtual Boston Marathon.  Can you tell us how this entire process came to be? 

Hannah Pangilinan: Beginnings absolutely excite me; a new day, a new week, a new year! This year, my fitness goals (thankfully) morphed from "losing weight" and "fitting into those jeans" to being healthy mind, body and spirit. I asked a neighbor of mine, the beautiful and super hardworking Abby Corvera, to be my workout accountability partner and we set out to exercise together at least three times a week.


When 6AM endorphins with Abby became a norm, she suddenly calls me one day to let me know that she sighed up for the virtual Boston Marathon—this race allows for me to join the running festivities from October 8-10 through my GPS! Once completed, what excited me as well, was that we were going to be sent a race kit together with a medal! My parents are marathoners so I’m not completely clueless about what it entails of a person to commit to one. Knowing I had almost eight months to prepare, I decided to join Abby on the journey because I knew it would encourage me to get fit physically and mentally as I prepared for this race.

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MS: What was your training like? Did you have a professional help you?

HP: Our training was 5-6 times a week guided by Ani de Leon, one of the most influential athletes in the Philippines. She trained and walked alongside me as I competed in triathlons as a teen and I knew that because of our relationship and transparency with each other, she would be the perfect guide in race prep. Abby and I did a healthy mix of strength & ab training as well as interval and long runs throughout the week.


MS: How did your diet complement your training?

HP: I continued my intermittent fasting while I trained for the marathon, expect for when I’d have long runs—I’d load up on healthy carbs or fruits when necessary. I am working on transitioning into a whole food and mostly plant-based diet at the moment and I have definitely felt the benefits of this lifestyle both is stress-relief and with my energy levels.

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MS: How about mentally—how did you prepare?

HP: Mentally, Abby and I made it a point at the beginning of our training to be upfront with each other when we feel like we’re backsliding or struggling in the process. Two-hour runs with Abby were my favorite things because at times it would be heart-to-hearts, sharing our struggles and how to over come them, or sometimes it was just the companionship that made it so beautiful. I think more than a physical battle that I overcame, this marathon was made even more beautiful because of the friendship that Abby and I built with each other through the ups and downs of training for this marathon (and of life, really).


I also really enjoyed the long runs we had with coach Ani. I intentionally prepared questions to ask during our runs with her, because her experience as an athlete is such valuable motivation and inspiration for me as I built my mental toughness for the race. Other than that, I read “What I talk About When I talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami, “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall and listened to a bunch of podcasts on running and marathon prep to gain insight on the heart behind running. I was so interested why intelligent people would torture themselves by running countless miles—FOR FUN. Without these books, all this advice and a whole lot of prayer, I would not have been able to be as mentally prepared as I was for the race. My second & third brain also came in the form of my supportive parents running and cheering and praying with me as I struggled past the so-called marathon "wall" at the 37th km. Our long time driver and my forever training buddy Kuya Manny Alos biked the whole 42km with, making sure I was hydrated and accompanied! They held me up when I was ready to give up, as usual.

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MS: Are there any challenges you encountered along the way? How did you get through them?

HP: My main challenge while I prepared were the realities of life. As much as it would be most ideal to have a strict training schedule and to have the motivation to execute this program when needed—there were days when getting up before the sun was out was impossible. My dad encouraged me by saying “Don’t miss twice”. If you mess up, it’s okay—just don’t repeatedly miss out. For the most part, this advice was very effective in making sure I wasn’t beating myself up whenever it would be a challenge but trust me, when missing twice, the next miss and the next miss and the next miss become so easier and natural that next thing I knew, I was three weeks behind on my training!


If there’s one thing I learned during this process, it would be to get back up and take the next step (no matter how bug or small). I failed many times to stick to the program but I needed to practice grace and kindness towards myself too, it was my first time to train for such a thing and coach Ani reminded me that even the veterans slip up too. Yes, I am becoming a runner, but I also was a daughter, a working-girl and a student at the same time. Just like in life, there will be moments where re-aligning priorities will be necessary and I had to allow myself time to do this. I’m not a robot after all.


Actually, to be completely frank, I told myself I would miss the marathon after not training for two weeks one time. My mind was set on flaking but then, after a beautiful talk with one of my mentors, Doc Bolet, I decided to complete it because she reminded me of why I decided to run in the first place. I wanted the process and I wanted to be excited about something. She reminded me that if my aim was to have fun then the time limit is not my concern. Abby also encouraged me that we could even walk or crawl to the finish line if need be—as long as we finish. And finish we did. I ran the marathon with only half of the training I initially set out to do before the run and yet, I completed what I set out to do. To enjoy the process and to have fun!

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MS: What is next on your list of goals?

HP: The overachiever in me wants more more more! But as I mentioned, I learned how to be kind to myself throughout this process. My next thing on the list is to have a few months off, like a sabbatical, to focus on my health, my spiritual walk and the completion of my bachelors degree!


MS: Where can we catch you now? What are your on-going projects? 

HP: You may find me mainly on Instagram, YouTube and Kumu live streaming every Tuesday night. I also just released my debut EP called Phases, that is available to listen to on all platforms! Lots of things are in the works but I cannot reveal them just yet, stay tuned!


Follow Hannah on Instagram at @hannahpangilinan


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