Decades before the Metropolitan Cathedral (1808) and centuries before the Penafrancia Basilica Minore (1981), there was and is the Penafrancia Church. This was built in 1750 and is the original home of Our Lady of Penafrancia, the patroness of the Bicol region.
|83neans praying inside the Penafrancia Church|
It is a beautiful church by the bank of the Bikol River in Naga. But the ravages of time have rendered some damages to its parts, including a portion of its roof needing repair. In answer to this need, Fr. Andrew Recepcion, the parish priest touched base with local race organizer Don Primero and the both of them came up with the idea to organize the Penafrancia Marathon 2012 to raise funds.
|The Penafrancia Church from across the Bikol River in Naga|
The said running event held September 8, 2012 included distances for the 3kms, 5kms, 10 kms, 21 kms and of course, the marathon. A handful of thousands joined the shorter distances but it was in the full marathon that our “runnin8 m3n for others” were focused on.
The route of the 42-km marathon would take the runners to the upper Naga barrios of Pacol and Carolina. A lot of uphill but good for the runners needing such a workout.
Based on the official results as posted in the website (http://strider.ph/records/34/1/), there were 61 finishers for the full marathon. Runners of the Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983 accounted for 10% of this total. Here are the finish times of the six 83neans:
1. Bob Castilla 4 hrs & 27 mins (27th place)
2. Ernie Badong 5 hrs & 39 mins (46th place)
3. Ruben Fajardo 5 hrs & 39 mins (47th place)
4. Ric Lozano 6 hrs & 5 mins (55th place)
5. Ed Balcueva 6 hrs & 10 mins (56th place)
6. Allen Tolledo 6 hrs & 12 mins (58th place)
|Fards & Ernie finishing together|
|Ric & I at the finish line|
|Ed with Joel & me|
|Allen happy to finish|
|Allen & Ric with Kevin, a classmate of Allen’s son|
|83neans at the finish line|
|With the crew of Itemhound|
The running adventures of my fellow 83neans in our home province of Camarines Sur is a source of pride and happiness for me, even though I myself was not able to join them due to my knee injury. All six 83neans are thankful to our classmate, Joel Tresvalles, who was the lone support crew manning the support vehicle, a Mitsubishi Pajero, provided by another classmate, Atty Jobel Belarmino. Most of the 83neans’ drinks (Gatorade & Mountain Dew) were provided by another classmate, Noel Gascon.
A special source of pride and amusement for us is the accomplishment of Allen who managed to improve his marathon finish time significantly. From a finish time of close to 8 hours in his maiden marathon at the 2010 Camsur International Marathon, he chopped off nearly 2 hours. What could be his secret success factor? His reply is that of abstinence from a certain pleasure for a month.
Another source of pride for me is the achievement of a fellow Rinconada runner, Mariano Basagre, Jr. of Nabua. He was the fastest Pinoy finisher at the marathon. His time of 3 hrs & 13 mins placed him 4th overall. A trio of Kenyans occupied the podium with Jackson Chirchir finishing 1st with a time of 2hrs & 47 mins.I got to first meet Mariano last year when he accompanied me for some running in the foothills of Mt. Iriga.
All in all, our 83nean runners were happy, even ecstatic of having participated in the inaugural running of the Penafrancia Marathon. The joy was heightened by our good fortune to be at the receiving end of the generosity of Raul Acuna of A Runners Circle (ARC) –Manila. He provided us with ARC running shirts, all the way from California, with the “runnin8 m3n” logo. The royal blue shirts looked cool.
|Showing off their ARC shirts|
Given the blissful experience of our 83neans last September 8, we could expect the marathoners and ultra runners of Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983 to be back in larger numbers come the running of the Penafrancia Marathon in 2013.
|Lighting candles as thanksgiving|
|Para kay Ina|
It is a running opportunity to express our devotion to Our Ina. Viva La Virgen!
Special thanks to Raul Relloso of Naga, my classmates Ernie Badong & Noel Guevara, and my son, Marcel, for their help in taking pictures and getting info.