More than miles: The inspiring journey of WeKenRun Women

OCTOBER 27, 2022

There was a time when women were prohibited from running marathons because it was widely believed that such a strenuous activity would make their uterus fall.  This sounds hilarious now, but this was precisely the reason why marathons were off limits to women for many years.

However, in 1967, a university student named Kathrine Switzer, snuck into the starting line of the Boston Marathon after having registered as K. Switzer to mislead organizers into believing she was male.  When the organizers realized what had happened, the race director tried to drag Switzer off the course.  Switzer’s then boyfriend, who was in the race with her, punched the race director, allowing her to continue running and finish the race. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, records show that women currently make up 45.7% of participants in the marathon and 60% in all running events.  

While there are no available statistics on women runners In the Philippines, it can be said that there is now great interest among women to participate in local races and running clubs. Coach Ken Mendola, founder of WeKenRun, said that the group has now more female than male members, proving that endurance sport is no longer a male domain.  

“I am amazed at how our female members, many of whom are juggling full time work and motherhood, are able to show up diligently for training and exhibit that they have the strength and willpower to excel in this endurance sport,” Mendola shares.

Karen Mirano, who emerged as the 2nd fastest female Filipino athlete in the recently concluded Tokyo Marathon, attests that in WeKenRun, the female runners are giving their male counterparts a run for their money.  “While men may have natural anatomical advantages, endurance running requires a lot of patience and mental toughness which, we women, have a lot of.”  Mirano, a Brand Executive at Unilab, said she encountered a lot of difficulties in the course of the training block leading to her Tokyo race but she kept her eye on the prize and was amply rewarded on race day.

Cecile Duran, an EENT Doctor who also achieved a PB (Personal Best) in Tokyo, relayed how she stuck to Coach Ken’s training plan despite her professional and family commitments. “A marathon is not something you take lightly. I learned from my past mistakes and incorporated strength training into my routine.”

The third fastest of the Filipina athletes in Tokyo, Christine Boller, said her ability to multitask saved her from training burnout. She’s had to balance her busy schedule as a banker, businesswoman, and running group leader with her training.  “I made sure to listen to my body for distress signals and really dialed in on my nutrition as well. Bawal magkasakit,” explains the bedimpled athlete.

Within the country’s running community, Marline Capones is a known name because of her wide reach in social media. In truth, however, Tokyo was her very first international race. After recovering from childbirth, she bounced back into training and confessed that motherhood has actually made her a better runner. “I want to be strong and healthy for my daughter and someday set a good example for her to emulate.  Running and motherhood have empowered me and led me to appreciate my God given strengths and capabilities.”

Indeed, with all of their stories, these female runners show how women are taking their rightful place in the sport.

To know more about WeKenRun, follow or message their Facebook page at


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