Last Saturday, my pals and I participated in a free fun run sponsored by Hyundai, one of the country’s largest automotive dealers. The activity was part of their kick off events to herald their 10th anniversary, a brilliant idea to involve the market and drum up publicity for their merchandise because running is the in thing these days. It wasn’t surprising that thousands of runners registered for the event in the span of hours. What made it doubly enticing was that it was free, and it was for a good cause. Hyundai partnered with the Haribon Foundation (an environmental group) and the Gawad Kalinga (a non government organization aimed at building homes for the poor) to make the activity more meaningful.
I’ve wanted to join a run since last year when I tried (but failed) to sign up for the Milo Marathon. I also missed my chance to register for the Takbo Para sa Ilog Pasig event which was attended by over a hundred thousand runners except me. This year, I’ve eyed a couple of events that I eventually failed to participate in due to scheduling or financial constraints. So, basically, when my friend suggested this event, I was signing up online in no time at all. A fun run is right up my alley. 1. because I don’t have a competitive bone in in my body, and 2. I’m not exactly in the peak of fitness. You might say I’ve been letting myself go of late, failing to watch what I eat and basically lazing around refusing to exercise.
The day of the run, I was a mass of excitement. I woke up at 3:30 am and took a really cold bath (our heater is nonexistent and my teeth was chattering so bad I thought I was having hypothermia) before I got dressed and met up with my friends to take the bus to Manila, where the run was going to start. Along the way, we saw a lot of fellow runners, wearing the same gear, also on their way to the site. There was a virtual procession of people walking to Quirino Grandstand (there was a detour) and the sun wasn’t even fully up. The atmosphere was very festive. You can feel the excitement in the air.
There were a lot of runners limbering up at the venue because the first wave of 10K runners have already started. We were part of the first wave of 5K runners and we had little time left before gun start so it was a mad dash for the baggage counter to leave our bags and sneak in last minute warm ups. As I rolled my neck and stretched, I like a professional athlete and got really pumped. Pretty soon, we were counting down to the last seconds before the signal was given for us to start.
The first few seconds were actually a dud. As the first line of runners from our set took their first steps, we whooped and yelled like Vikings ready to attack. However, because there were a lot of runners, our steps were limited to baby steps and our idea sprinting out of the starting line was easily dismissed. Bummer.
No problem. As soon as there was a safe distance between runners, we found our pace. She was the better runner among our lot so she took off ahead of us. Shaidy, Mae and I were supposed to stick together but we lost Mae along the way (it turns out she was a couple of steps ahead of us, which grew to a greater distance), so Shaidy and I were left to our devices, alternately running, jogging, walking and taking swigs of water that Hyundai so graciously provided (these guys thought of everything). The route was pretty simple and organized. There were race marshals everywhere and the crew at the water stations were very cheerful, they even open the bottles before handing them to the runners to save time and effort. Pretty thoughtful, huh? Of course, their official photographers were at strategic points taking pictures of the runners in action.
Roughly 45 minutes later (my official time was 43:02), Shaids and I were at the finish line, waving our arms in victory and hoping that the photographer caught us on camera (for documentation purposes). Turns out, he did.It was a great experience, and a great feeling of accomplishment to know that you made it to the finish line (not in a stretcher). Maybe there’s hope for me yet.
There are a lot of reasons to get involved with running. Its good cardio, it boosts oxygen flow into the body. It’s a great antidepressant.It helps lose the extra pounds.
The health benefits are boundless, but for me, they’re just bonuses. But really, I’m only in it for one reason. It’s fun. It reminds me of the days when I was a kid running around the playground with my friends.It reminds me of the days when I don’t pant after sprinting to the bundy clock. Good times, good times. So, next time there’s a run, count me in I’ll be grinning as widely with every step to the finish.
Me at the finish line: