LIBERTYVILLE, IL — Most people wouldn’t run a mile without shoes, but for Sonny Molina, it’s his life’s passion — so much so that he’s bagged three Guinness World Records from it.
In 2016, the 45-year old Nueva Vizcaya native received three titles as the male who has the most barefoot half-marathons run on consecutive days.
“The first time, masakit talaga, barefoot, lalo na ‘pag hindi ka sanay,” said Sonny Molina.
But Molina didn’t always feel like a winner. Growing up, he says he was frequently bullied, both verbally and physically.
“Quiet lang ako no’n kasi wala akong magawa. When I grew up, I found a way to prove to everybody na — an ordinary person can be extraordinary.”
Molina migrated to the US at the age of 21 and began working as a nurse. In his free time, he took on taekwondo, eventually earning a black belt and several gold medals.
But it wasn’t until 2012 when he began to like running. Molina says that running barefoot was an accident.
“Nung nag-umpisa ako tumakbo, naka-sapatos talaga ako but then nag-ka-ka-blisters ako ‘pag tumatakbo ako. My knees, my hips, sumasakit lagi. Nag-research ako how to relieve them. Nabasa ko about barefoot running; na maganda pala ‘yon sa running.
Since then, there’s been no signs of stopping the husband and father of two, who draws inspiration for pursuing his world records from the loss of three daughters to a condition called myotonic dystrophy.
“He’s a simple guy, doing chores at home, but then he got all these accomplishments so we are very proud of him,” said his wife Louiana.
After completing multiple races and marathons, Molina encourages others to pursue their goals in life regardless of any doubts.
“Always believe in yourself. Walang makakatulong sa iyo kundi ikaw lang. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you do it.”
This year, Molina is preparing for three more marathons, while training for the world marathon challenge, where runners participate in 7 marathons in 7 days in 7 continents.
Molina also says he plans on pursuing three more world records by the end of 2018.