As far as extreme sports athletes and them taking on seemingly insurmountable feats, Gary Neil G. Benedicto can hang with the best of them.
Benedicto a native of Guimaras Island, followed this year’s 24-Hour Ultra Skate at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which is an event organized and sanctioned by the Skate International Distance and Supercross Association. The main objective of the said organization is to foster the growth of various skateboard racing and competition in every form—from LDP/Distance, Garage, and Skateboarding Supercross, to everything else in between—offering both guidance, governance and assistance along the way.
Now, one of its participants from the “24-Hour Ultra Skate” competition by the name of Dutch distance-skater Panta Gruleon more than caught Benedicto’s attention. After all, he was a world-renowned skater who always dared to elevate the sport unto where it has never been before. And as the name of the event implies, it was all about endurance, mental fortitude, and toughness and from this, Benedicto had the unique light-bulb idea to go on an adventure unlike any other: push his limits in a span of 31 days.
But it seems that in many ways, Benedicto was already primed for this task as he always was had the natural predilection for the outdoors. Aside from being your above-average longboard rider, he is a stand-up paddleboard instructor, kayak island expedition guide, an Island Buzz Philippines instructor (a Mactan-based tours-and-adventure company), among other things.
So, armed with courage, a distance tracker via the Endomondo, and a longboard, he jumpstarted the biggest thrill of his life yet and it started in Mandaue City, Cebu. Some of the highlights of the journey included his four-day travel from Cebu to Negros between March 16 to 20 and his five-day tour between March 22 to 27 in the island of Panay which he skated for 100 kilometers. But, what sticks with a man are his trials and tribulations and for Benedicto, overcoming the unforeseen setbacks are sweeter than the reaching the goal itself.
“The challenging part of the March Distance Skate is that I wanted to beat my personal record of skating 120 kilometers in a day,” he explains. “Unfortunately, at about covering the 50-distance mark, I got wiped out on a bridge. I suffered wounds on my legs, hips, shoulder, and back.” He would then head to the Iloilo circumferential road where he would eventually attain the seemingly elusive new personal record. This all happened on March 30. Benedicto would conclude the epic journey in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras where he recorded 1,010 kilometers and where his family awaited him to celebrate his father’s 70th birthday.
Still, his list of things-to-accomplish have grown longer than ever. Next on his itinerary includes circumnavigating Cebu in six days (that’s 600 kilometers) and 24-hour skate of Mactan Island. It’s also my dream to join the Ultra Skate in the US. Now my goal is to push further and train my self mentally and physically.”
It seems there’s no reason for Benedicto to add more accomplishments under his belt. After all, he knows what can be done with sturdy and reliable longboard and an indestructible can-do attitude.