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From freshy to feisty–really fast

From freshy to feisty–really fast

Ronald Rey M. de los Reyes

This fitness geek swiftly goes from being a regular fun runner to an amazing pole-sitter in top local races


Kristine Santillan, may seemingly be that charming yet innocent runner you would normally see in weekend running events. At first glance, she may even resemble one of the “it girls” you usually come to adore in local romcoms and even mistake her for that endearing housemate you grow fascinated about in that infamous “Bahay ni Kuya”. 

Don’t be deceived by her sweet looks, however. This fitness cutie is surely no ordinary novice runner. Fact is she’s already one force to be reckoned with on the running floor. She may even be so deserving of that ‘celebrity status’ as she’s one feisty demigoddess in running shoes, belonging to the select few who already deem pride themselves of being called “elite”. 

Just several weeks ago, she topped the 10-km female category in the Earth Day Run with a time of 45 minutes and 43 seconds. She even placed second in the 21-km category of the prestigious 45th edition of the National Milo Marathon wherein over 20,000 runners participated. Both of these running events were held at the sprawling concert grounds of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. 

“So far, in the Milo Marathon qualifying results here in Manila, I’m already happy,” said Kristine in an exclusive interview after one of her training sessions in Quezon City. 

“I’ve been training so hard. And finally, despite the scorching summer heat that time, I was able to achieve what I have always been working so hard for,” she added.

For her, it’s really different when it comes to the Milo Marathon. 

Ibang level.”

 “Every year, I really look forward to it. They even say that you can’t even be called a runner if you haven’t joined it, “ she continued. 

Recently, she placed third in the 10-km female category of the New Clark City Marathon held at the locale’s prominent athletic stadium, adding another feather to her cap and thus, further proving her rare indefatigable flair in this fitness realm. 

Also adding to her remarkable feat were her amazing stints these past couple of years, particularly in 2023, notably her inclusion in the national team which ferociously competed against other international elite runners in Singapore in the latter part of last year. 

Fitness journey

Kristine may be a frequent podium-sitter in top local races these days. But this dentist by profession admitted–however– that this has not always been the case in her fitness journey.

 “Before, would you believe my coach said that I wouldn’t even last for five minutes running on the treadmill,” she divulged. 

Dati pa-cute cute lang talaga ako sa mga events.

“But now, as time passes by, my whole mindset has changed. With what I can do now, I want to know how far I can reach in the sport,” she then averred. 

Actually according to her, she has been a gym rat ever since college when she was just 19 years old. 

“I was always in the gym. I’ve always invested in my fitness. And now, I’m reaping the rewards.”

She said, however, that it was only in 2016 when she decided to take on the running mantle.  “It was my very first 21-km category run that time. With no actual training, I ran the Condura Skyway Marathon. And my time was already 2 hours and 5 minutes.”

“For a beginner, like me, doing my very first running event, they said that that was really fast,” she furthered. 

“That’s when I knew I had a knack for running.”

Already an achiever despite her first foray into running events
Clinched a podium spot in the 42-km distance female category in only her first year of running
Captured first place in the Yakult 10-miler held last year; while in her first attempt in the 10-km category at the Pinoy Fitness Sub1 Challenge in 2017, she already placed 3rd overall for females

In her eight years of running, it was only four years ago that she decided to train professionally. 

Dati, self-study lang talaga ako. Pero naiba nung mayroon ka ng gustong ma-achieve.”

From then on, she has been a regular pole-sitter, particularly in events organized by Runrio Inc. 

“It’s a different high during their events. It’s like euphoria,” she shared. 

Now already in her mid-30s, this petite yet bubbly ball of spirit (who’s still single by the way), yearns to achieve more in the sport.

“With what I have accomplished in running–so far–I want to go further. I want to be able to do this until I’m old,” Kristine said. 

With this, indeed, she doesn’t just simply turn heads, she makes one tilt and look up brightly aloft that podium where she is usually seen standing. 

See Also

2024 Earth Day Run


The recent Earth Day Run gathered over 10,000 runners. From there, these runners emerged as top finishers.

Yoneil Enreras topped the 21-km male category with his time of one hour, 18 minutes, and 57 seconds, besting Jojie Daga-as (1:24:13) and Jevie Avila (1:24:22).

Maricar Camacho, on the other hand, was the fastest in the 21-km female category with her one hour, 29 minutes, and 47 seconds finish, outrunning Angelie Cabalo (1:33:00) and Jocelyn Elijeran (1:38:58).

For the 10-km category, the top three males were Jaspher Delfino (36:35), Aldrin Serrano (37:23), and Andrew Pope (40:02); while the top females were Kristine Santillan (45:43), Jennifer Padallan (48:27), and Angelica Lim (52:51).

For the 5-km category, the top three finishers were Karl Angelo Oxales (17:35), Mark Angelo Biagtan (17:36), and Christopher Iblan (18:18) for males; and Jyzel Gabriel (23:08), Jonezamie Sustituedo (23:18), and Maria Mae Ablando (25:15) for females.

2024 New Clark City Marathon


Meanwhile, the 2024 New Clark City Marathon gathered around 2,000 runners. From seasoned marathoners to weekend joggers, participants conquered the course, composed mostly of steep uphill terrains. Event organizer RunRio, Inc. pitted them in the 42-km, 21-km, 10-km and 5-km categories. 

Its founder Rio de la Cruz said: “This is the second year we’ve organized the New Clark City Marathon, and we focused on creating a harmonious balance between showcasing the beauty of New Clark City and seamlessly integrating it into the full marathon experience.” 

“We’re also thrilled to see the Philippine running community flourishing rapidly. This event is a testament to their dedication and passion for the sport,” he added.

The resounding success of the event now paves the way for an even brighter future for running in the years to come.