Filipino-American firefighter in ‘Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge’
American Dream Team’s Gillian Del Mar-Gallego is a firefighter based in the US. A fitness enthusiast most of her life, she was first inspired by her high school coach who saw her race at a middle school track competition and made sure she signed up for track and field when she got to high school. Since then, her love for running, working out, and being competitive was awakened.
Gillian’s parents are both from the Philippines, however she and her younger brother grew up in California. A state known to have a big Filipino population, she grew up close to her native culture. Unfortunately, she has not visited the Philippines yet but she sure has great love and pride for her motherland. “The [proudest] part of having my roots from the Philippines is how supportive the Filipino community is,” she said.“ We have such an amazing community that really shows how proud we are of our culture.”
How she landed in the race started with great motivation. She had never joined any of the Spartan Races but her aspiration was more than enough for her to get in.
This good-looking mother of one can easily catch someone’s attention with her charming smile. She may be considered petite at 5’3” but this wonder is packed with will and determination big enough to bring out the best in her. Gillian is a short distance runner and keeping a fast pace for longer runs does not come easy. What helped her overcome that challenge was the unwavering support of her team.
She shared that being a firefighter served her well in the race. Since 2011, she constantly trains to keep up with the physical demands of her profession. Because of these trainings, she didn’t have much problem transitioning from one obstacle to another. In her line of work, taking risks was a given and dangerous situations are critically handled with teamwork. She believes that because of her deep association to teamwork, it has helped her play well with her team.
The Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge experience taught Gillian very important lessons. “The [race] really showed me how far you can go when you just work hard, have good people around you, and don’t give up,” she narrated. She will also forever cherish the experience and friendship she gained during the race.
For aspiring participants of the Spartan Race, she urges them to get on that obstacle course. “Starting is always going to be the hardest part, but I promise you that once you finish, it is a great feeling to know that you can mentally and physically push yourself,” she said.
Gillian believes that people can do a lot more than they think, by picking one goal to strive for, having the strong will to put in some hard work - eventually all that pays off.
Tagged as the United Nations of the Spartan Race, the American Dream Team has team members whose roots come from different parts of the world. However, they have shown that cultural differences don’t matter if everyone is united to achieve a bigger goal. Gillian said that her relationship with her teammates can be summarized in two words – love and respect.
Catch Gillian and the rest of her team compete against five others in a brutal one-mile race in the premiere of Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge on April 22, 9:35 p.m., first and exclusive on RTL CBS Extreme.
Available on SkyCable HD channel 209 on and Destiny Cable Digital channel 104.
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