I guess the starting point of many a discussion about the first-ever Run United Philippine Marathon is the size of its finisher medal. It is huge. Nope. A better term is humongous, dwarfing any medal the Pinoy running community has seen in our shores. I even dare to write that it is perhaps the biggest finisher medal in Southeast Asia, after comparing it with the one I got at the 2012 Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. Indeed, the organizers of the RUPM succeeded in making it memorable.
|The evolution of my marathon medals: TBR, Condura and RUPM|
|The RUPM dwarfs the SCMS|
But the story of the RUPM, to my mind, will not be complete if we do not talk about other things that make it widely celebrated. Other runners may point to the red-carpet finish line. A handful of nationalists would wax sentimental about the waving of small Philippine flags as they cross the finish line.
In my case, I like to highlight the joyful experience of the spirit of Bayanihan in action during the RUPM. To quote from Wikipedia, “Pronounced like "buy-uh-nee-hun," bayanihan is a Filipino word derived from the word bayan meaning town, nation, or community in general. "Bayanihan" literally means, "being a bayan," and is thus used to refer to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation.”
This spirit of communal unity was seen from the starting line to the finish line. At the start, many runners were busy taking group pictures, showing such camaraderie that only Pinoys can display. The participants were all smiles and I got to say hello to familiar friendly runners like the Running Diva, Monkey Saladeer and a big group of Fairview Running Club members. In the course of the long run of 42 kms, I see many running buddies helping each other achieve their running dreams. Also, strangers helping strangers. At the 26-km mark which is after the EDSA flyover in Roxas Boulevard, a pair of ladies of a running club were handing out the all-important salt to weary runners. Two kilometres before the finish line, members of Team Snail Runners were on the road offering snacks.
|83neans with Benedict Balaba|
|With Fard’s navy recruits for running|
I, too, was a beneficiary of this spirit of cooperation from a stranger. From the 24-km mark to the 28-km mark, I was running alone as my fellow 83nean, Ed Balcueva, signalled me to move ahead as he was slowing down. I was without a running buddy at that point and I was experiencing difficulty in maintaining the pace that would hopefully power me to a sub-6 marathon (a very rare milestone for me). So I had to look at the runners nearby, checking out who I can tag along. Then I observe this lady runner ahead who was doing run-walk breaks. I quickened my pace to catch up with her and when I did, I asked her if she was doing the Galloway and asked too if I could join her. She answered both in the affirmative. I got to know her name, Myla Go of Team Boring.
From the 28-km mark to the finish line, I ran with her and thanks to our cooperation, got to finish with a time of 5 hours & 55 minutes. My second sub-6 marathon in 7 attempts. Maraming salamat Myla sa tulong.
|Myla Go of Team Boring|
|Waving the flag (photo courtesy of Ernie)|
So the spirit of bayanihan lives on in running events like the RUPM.
Mabuhay ang Unilab. Mabuhay tayong mga Pinoy runners.
I was not the only 83nean who was very happy with the RUPM finish time. Ernie Badong posted a PR of 4 hours & 32 minutes. All the other 83neans who joined the marathon finished: Bobby Castilla ( 4 hrs & 11 mins ), Ruben Fajardo (5 hrs & 35 mins), Noel Guevara (6 hrs & 15 mins) and Ed (6 hrs & 30 mins).
|First to change was Bob|
|Congrats on a PR Ernie|
|Malaki at matigas nga Fards|
|Practice or not, the show must go on Ghibz|
|So many goodies Ed|
|83neans with Art Puncia of Unilab|