Friday, December 22, 2017

Junel Malapad; Just a Beauty of a Guy

Just a beauty of a guy. 

Ace Burpee (on nominating Junel #3 Top 100 Fascinating Manitobans)

Junel
(photo credit unknown)

Who is Junel Malapad?

Junel Malapad is an extraordinarily ordinary person. He's a father of two lovely daughters and he is a loving husband.  He makes his coin as head custodian at a Winnipeg School, and he's the son of blue collar Filipino immigrants. He's shy, humble in his achievements, and soft spoken. His thick black hair, sparkling eyes, slim build, small stature, muscular frame, and youthful grin belie his 47 years. He simply does not stand out in a crowd.

He's also a gifted runner who shares his gift freely. He runs to lighten the load of the burdened, the hurting, the forgotten, the invisible ones.  He raises awareness and money through the simple act of moving his feet.  He gives, and gives, and gives, and expects nothing in return. It's for this reason he is known and admired by Winnipeg's running community.  He is, truly, a beauty of a guy.
I have a gift of being able to run long distances and I like to share my gift. I am a regular person that has unexpectedly stepped into the skin of someone much bigger than me. I am a runner who just likes to help out.  Junel
Junel and a blogger named Mike
(photo credit unknown)

Trash Stigma

Several years ago a student killed himself at his daughter's school. Junel's daughter, was absolutely devastated by the news of her friend's suicide. Junel shares freely his brother's struggle with mental health and how it robbed him of him of his livelihood and happiness for ten years. It was too late to help his brother, but he needed to be there for his daughter should she ever succumb to depression. Thus, the annual Trash Stigma 100 km run was born.  Now three years and growing, the Trash Stigma Run has raised tremendous awareness and about $15,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Trashing Stigma.  Garbage Hill sunrise.
(photo credit unknown)

Siloam Mission

Another cause close to Junel's heart is Siloam Mission. Although not directly linked to mental health, one can connect the dots between poor mental health and living on the streets in -40.  Last year Junel read the story of a person without a home freezing to death on the cold streets of Winnipeg. Saddened by this tragedy he recalled walking his then 5 year old daughter through frigid streets. She complained of being cold and then reflected aloud "It's okay to be cold for a little while, some people don't have a home.  We'll be warm soon".  Thus the annual Boxing Day Run was born.

Now in its third year, Junel hopes the Boxing Day Run hopes to further raise awareness of the good work accomplished at Siloam Mission.  He has raised several thousand dollars through previous runs which he will probably double and triple as more and more people join his cause.  

Junel wants your help in changing Boxing Day to Running for Siloam Mission Day.  Please join him for a portion or the whole 100 km.  Maps and approximate times are below.


(photo credit unknown)

What drives Junel?

Turns out, this is a complicated question. The answer is an amalgam of the love for his daughters, his wife, and family. His father who died from cancer tugs hard. Dreamy days with family and friends where potlucks abound. His running friends, far too many to mention but several stand out: Al Garlinski, Natalie Pirson, Jonathan Torchia, Robyn Penner, Joanne Noga, Derek Page, and Megan Hunter.  

Junel was also inspired and gives credit to Fast Eddy who ran across Canada twice and raised tonnes of cash for Breast Cancer and Alzheimer's.  Turning 40, then 45 (in a blink). He gives credit to the Running Group Keep Moving Sharing and Inspiring And finally, Junel claims to be inspired by an "invisible force" that connects people in the running community. Positive electrons of goodwill and good cheer travel at the speed of light, connecting us, lighting us, energizing us. We trot peacefully without a worry and smile.

To donate to Siloam click here, then click the donate drop-down menu, then click Change Boxing Day to Running Day. I know you're strapped for cash but even ten bucks helps.  

"Why do people admire you so?" asks this pesky blogger.

"I like to run happy. Maybe that's what they admire." replies Junel.

Yes friends, run happy always, and remember those less fortunate.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike

Maps showing Junel's route on December 26.  Help Junel turn 

Boxing Day into Siloam Day