For the Guermali brothers Said and Yacine, running was not among their hobbies back in the high school.
Playing basketball and tennis was their passion.
Said—whose father is of Morrocan descent and is into running—discovered his passion for the sport after he was asked to try running back in Portland, Oregon in his sophomore year.
“My coaches asked me to jump in. And I just jumped in for fun,” said the 23-year-old Said when he recalled how he got into running.
Said and the 21-year-old Yacine, who are into middle and long distance running, recently talked about their love for running during Noli Eala’s Power @ Play podcast last Saturday.
“And I guess Yacine just jumped in after that,” added Said.
The Guermalis will soon train with the Philippine athletics team, and they specialize in middle and long distance running.
Officials of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association will be preparing them for their first international meet next year.
Patafa chief Philip Ella Juico said time is on their side. They have plenty of time after setting their sights on 2021 Vietnam SEA Games, the 2022 Asian Games in Giangzhao, the 2023 Sea Games in Phnom Penh and finally the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Their father, Adam, is upbeat about their capabilities.
“Adam considers it a great honor for the Guermalis to compete for the Philippines. He hopes his sons can train in Baguio,” said Juico.
The two were supposed to join the Philippine team during the 30th Southeast Asian Games. But, they were sidelined by injuries a few weeks before the Games.
The Guermalis have successfully joined events in the 800m, 1500m and 5000m distances.
Juico believes that the Guermalis will do well in the Vietnam SEA Games, with a 1-2 finish in the 1500-meters.
The existing SEA Games record in the 1500 is 4:06:53, and Said’s personal best time is 3:54:26, which je achieved in Portland on May 16, 2016. Peter Atencio
On the other hand, Yacine’s is 3:48: 91, which he clocked on May 11, 2019.
In the 5000, the existing SEA Games record is 14:31:15 versus Yacine’s personal best of 14:02.64 set on April 19, 2019 at Palo Alto, California.
Juico said “both the boys’ records threaten the Asian Games mark.”
The Guermali boys are from the Quilban clan of cycling fame based in Pangasinan but whose roots are in Nueva Vizcaya.