November 10, 2009

The Philippine International Marathon: Bridging Everyone

After a series of debacle at the recent International Marathon hostings here in the country I made myself available for the Philippine International Marathon, a run for Pasig River. The then International Philippine Marathon was my first full marathon race and this edition is a commemorative race for me. With the same advocacy of restoring the beauty and grandeur of the Pasig river, this year's event was again participated by thousands of runners. A different route was designed but the same theme of crossing the Pasig River through different bridges is still there. From the previous five bridges traversed last year, the Delpan, Jones, McArthur and Guadalupe bridges were included adding toughness to this course.

I ran the first part of the race together with friends Rod and Noel maintaining a relaxed pace until km.11 at Lambingan bridge. It's great to see people cheering on top of these bridges giving us extra boost and inspiration. Hydration stations of water and gatorade were also stragetically located on these bridges. Additionally, a crew of a giant tv network were present covering the race with live feed on their channel. Early birds watching tv had that experience of seeing a marathon race live; one of my friends told me that I was running live on tv that early sunday morning. A replay was aired on the late evening news of the said network.

After Lambingan bridge, Noel and I increased our pace and left Rod behind, who's having trouble with his pace. Realizing that something's wrong when he took his food supply at the bridge, he told us to go ahead and play with our game. I could see him trailing us from most of the time until km.14 at Guadalupe bridge. After reaching Pioneer Avenue, Noel bid to slow down as he have to stretch-out his knee. From km.24 I went on alone soldiering the rest of the course, maintaining an increased pace as I caught-up runner after runner. Running alone under the scorching heat of the sun was terrible. Besides, just a few runners were on sight, I could see only about one or two ahead of me, making it a little bit of a boring race.

During last year's edition was a battle of the champions. For the first time in its eighth annual staging and four years history as an international marathon, the 2008 staging gathered the country's long distance running heroes and some formidable international campaigners in one battle of greats. I was a rookie then and just getting the feeling of a full marathon experience. I was making a 06m07s mpk pace then together with lots of runners side by side with me. That made it an enjoyable run from start to finish. This time I'm doing a 05m15s mpk.

In this kind of situation, I just did what veteran marathoners do; shift to mind game. It was a proven strategy in running a full marathon especially when you're getting weaker and alone. I entertained myself to take my mind away from this marathon thing. I played math, greet everyone around, talk with fellow runners and did my usual thing, pray, as I continued my journey until I inched closer to the finish line.

Three hours and forty one minutes later I made myself at the finish line. I finished again another edition of the Philippine International Marathon. With the thrills of crossing the river through different bridges; the cheers of the people along the way; the spirit of volunteerism; and the advocacy that this project brings to save the Pasig river from its slow demise, this event is truly a memorable race for me.

Indeed, no other running event feels more worthwhile. And no other environmental event is as storied, invigorating and colorful. Things like these only happen at the Philippine Marathon for the Pasig River.

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  1. Congratulations on a great run and finish, Vener! There was no finisher's medal but I hope each runner was able to contribute to rehabilitate Pasig River.

    It was nice seeing you yesterday, too

  2. Thanks Alfred. Although medyo nabitin nga tayo sa rewards, the advocacy remains. See you again.