RONNELITO ‘Oniel’ Magnaye was unable to beat his personal best in the marathon in last Sunday’s 7-Eleven Run 2016. But he accomplished something noteworthy.
Running on the Skyway, Magnaye rescued a stray cat that inexplicably found itself in the middle of the busy race course at a section of the elevated highway.
Spin.ph tracked down Magnaye after photos of him carrying the cat released by Pinoyfitness.com circulated on social media, particularly on the Facebook page of Cat Care Philippines.
A cat lover himself, the 27-year-old content editor of Paranaque City-based SPi Global said he was caught by surprise to see the cat in the middle of the highway during the event.
“At the 15-kilometer mark, I saw a stray cat in the center island of Skyway. I stopped running and said to myself, ‘Paano ka naka-abot dito? I just thought na baka tinapon ng amo niya dito,’ Magnaye recalled.
With the danger of the animal might be trampled on by hundreds of runners or end up as road kill by a speeding vehicle, Magnaye (Oniel to his friends) decided to carry the cat to the finish line with him.
“Nasabi ko na lang sa sarili ko na, ‘Grabe naman ‘yung amo niya, kung itatapon o ililigaw man niya lang sana ‘yung pusa, sana dun sa lugar na may chance pa siyang mabuhay.’”
Using his knowledge of cat behavior, Magnaye picked up the feline, “I know where’s the calming spot ng pusa para kumalma siya. I rubbed her neck and forehead.”
Naturally, Magnaye’s decision to carry the cat slowed his pace and hindered his goal to beat his personal time of two-and-a-half hours. His gesture, however grabbed the attention of other race participants who took photos of him running with the animal.
“A fellow runner looked at me and asked, ‘Dala mo?’ I replied, ‘Hindi po. Nadampot ko lang po. Ibababa ko lang siya at baka masagasaan.’”
A biker and a mountaineer, Magnaye did not mind losing time in the run as his decision to save the cat stemmed from his experiences while riding a bike to work and seeing the remains of animals run over by cars.
“Kahit eto man lang, maligtas ko ‘tong pusa na ‘to,” Magnaye said.
Eventually, Magnaye was able to finish the race and afterwards found a safer home for the cat at a carinderia near the South Station area in Alabang.
“Alam kong mas mataas na ‘yung chance na mabuhay siya doon unlike sa gitna ng Skyway,” he said.