Running a race is by itself a competition at its very core. You go out there to compete with somebody, you compete against time and as the sport gets deeper into your soul it is more about competing against your greatest arch-rival: YOU. The game is a selfish match-up between your old self and your present self with the purpose of becoming better, faster and fitter. That is running. But when a cause beckons comes this extraordinary fellowship of runners as they gather to achieve something bigger than themselves and their PRs. The sport is growing, it’s becoming more of a powerful tool for change not just for personal gain but to the society. That is why there are fun runs, which are not only fun but are organized to achieve something that is called a ‘fund raising activity’. And that’s when runners of all levels, of different brands, of different origins and different beliefs comes together… like brothers.
Today I ran in the United We Run organized by the UCCP Church in Tacloban City. I’m a member of the same church in Southern Leyte, so I can’t really miss the race for anything. Hey I’ve joined races for a lot less reason, eto pa kaya! I signed up for the 18k (my first time) category which is to me a bit underwhelming because it’s just three more kilometers and it’s a half-marathon already (let’s call it bitin ba) but no worries I’m in for the real 21K at the Run United Philippine Marathon next week in Manila! I decided it’s going to be some tune up run or an LSD for my on-going full marathon training. The goal is just to finish.. Okay okay Sub2 bitaw. But I finish the race an instant big brother to these three new little brothers.
Meet (from left) Kent, Paul and little Kish!
I changed my Sub2 agenda when the four of us came together deep in the course. I’m a runner celebrating this month my third year in the sport and these three boys? It’s only been some months. That’s OK I’m older and seasoned and fatter haha. We came together out of curiosity to the little guy, Kish, since he’s just so young and seems to be out-of-place for an advance category. The two high schoolers Paul and Kent were running behind me and by the time I overtook Kish around the 9K mark, I overheard the two asking the kid how old is he (and perhaps “Are you lost boy?”). He answered eleven. I never felt so old haha.
What impressed me with the little kid and even to the young boys is that despite their youth they are running on a relatively consistent strong pace! Who trained this kids? I was about to blaze off ahead of them for my Sub2 agenda when Kish stripped down the road. I don’t know how it happened but I knew it hurt him, that poor boy. I immediately picked him up to stand and saw that his right knee was bleeding. Good thing I wore a filled hydration belt so I was able to wash the knee by sprinkling some water around the wound and wash away the sands. Thankfully it’s not deep and no signs of sprain, just a scratch but it still would hurt. The two others stayed up with us and we were good to go, together.
From a casual runner, I turned into an instant pacer/baby sitter/running guru/support crew. Great. Now where’s the ambulance? It was in kilometer 15 just before the hill climb section. We stopped and got Kish on for some pro first aid treatment. The medics applied Betadine and covered the wound on bandage. Problem solved. Now boys, let’s finish this race!
We finished the 18k course just a few minutes above two hours; an incredible achievement despite the delays. And as the designated leader of the group, I couldn’t be more happier for the boys. So young, yet so strong. I let Kent and Paul dashed to the finish line around 200 meters from the finish line while I stayed up with Kish as fast as he can take. I too let him get ahead of me at the finish line. He deserve an award! Those boy they were my little brothers in this sacred brotherhood of runners and I am the proudest Kuya that day.
The post race was pretty much about catching up with running buddies in Tacloban especially Luiz and Kuya Clarito, and meeting new ones, especially the TOES family. They’re like my family out here in this city. And everyone was pretty happy, as evidence by the pictures below:
Overall, the race was a wild success. The turn up at the 18k category was around 300+, by far the biggest I’ve seen in a Tacloban race. I was not able to see the lower categories, but that amount of people at the 18k category was really incredible. So many runners and most of them are young and first timers. I think that speaks for itself the convincing power of the church and the determination of the Taclobanon runners. Mga palaban jud! The proceeds of the fun run organized by the young people of Tacloban UCCP will go to the outreach missions. I’m glad our money’s all worth it and going to the right hands.
And I would like to extend my greeting to the race director, sir Jake Beramida for his warm hospitality and for the great run he pulled off. You see I arrived in Tacloban late Saturday afternnon and I was sure most of the Pension houses are already fully booked because of the LET examinations happening at the race day. I brought a tent and sir Jake offered me stay at the church grounds for the night. Great! But trust me it felt so so weird sleeping out there like a king at the basecamp while all of the people around were so busy organizing the event haha. Bahala basta makatulog lang!