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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

January 2, 2013

RIZAL DAY RUN : December 30, 2012

The Bicolano Penguin joined fellow 83neans Ernie and Bob together with 200+  passionate  runners in the 4th edition of the Rizal Day Run last December 30. 

The venue was the Camp Aguinaldo grounds:  4 rounds in a  7- km loop plus 1 round of a 4-km loop for a total of 32 kms. 

83nean finishers of Rizal Day Run

83neans with a Bicolana (photo courtesy of Ernie Badong)

Many government and private sector activities are held on December 30 to commemorate the martyrdom of our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal. This year is the 116th death anniversary of Rizal plus the centennial of the transfer of the remains of the national hero from Binondo to the Monument in the Luneta, now called the Rizal Park.

A little  bit of history and I would rely on the historical account of Dr. Pablo Trillana of the Philippine Historical Association:

Rizal was executed in Bagumbayan at exactly 7:03 in the morning of December 30, 1896. Shortly an hour later, a wagon from the San Juan de Dios Hospital carried the corpse to the Paco Cemetery where it was buried secretly in an unmarked grave.

After a long search and in the afternoon of the same day, Narcisa, a favorite sister and confidante of Rizal, finally found her brother’s grave. She then asked the guards to allow a marble slab to mark the site inscribed with “RPJ”, the initials of Rizal’s name in reverse to deflect attention.

On August 17, 1898, four days after the Americans took control of Manila following the mock battle with the Spaniards,  Rizal’s remains were exhumed and brought to Narcisa’s house. The remains were cleaned and placed in an urn, which stayed with the Rizal family in Binondo until 1912.

On December 29, 1912, the urn and its remains were brought to the Ayuntamieto de Manila for a one day expression of public respect. With fitting processional ceremonies, the remains were finally laid to rest on December 30, 1912, at the base of the rising monument to our national hero at the Luneta. That monument was completed and inaugurated exactly a year later.

The 32-km run is organized by the Bald Runner (BR). Prior to the gun start at 4:30am, BR  shared his thoughts as to why he organized  the Rizal Day Run, now on its 4th running. He expressed that, although Rizal was never described as a runner, the superlative strength of character of Rizal is something that can inspire and can be emulated by runners.  Amen to that.

Bald Runner at the start (photo courtesy of Monkey Saladeer)
In addition to some nationalistic fervor,  many participants’ objective in joining the Rizal Day Run   was to use it as a training run for the upcoming marathons and ultras this 1st quarter of 2013.  Many were honing their running skills.  This was evident in the start were elite runners were up and about from the get go.  Even the not-so-elite runners,  plus the slower Row 4 runners like me had their competitive juices on.

Gun start (photo courtesy of Monkey Saladeer)

Bob and Benedic (photo courtesy of Monkey Saladeer)

Ernie at the finish (photo courtesy of runningphotographers.com)
I tried my best and had a  good run the first 3 rounds of the 7-km loop.  No doubt, my run was aided by my Kinvara 3 running shoes which encouraged me to go for those graceful forefoot running.  In fact, I had a PR at 21 kms with a time of 2 hours & 26 minutes (my previous best has been the 2 hours & 30 minutes mark).  
Unfortunately, the Rizal Day Run is 32 kms and I still had 11 kms to go.  After the 3rd round that is where I started to have cramps. My legs were not accustomed to the rare speed that I showed in the first 3 rounds and this cost me dearly. I walked the majority of the last part of the run. I crossed the finish line with a time of 4 hours & 27 minutes, meaning it took me more than 2 hours to do the last 11 kms.  I was stupid in this race.

Main Battle Tanks rambling along (photo courtesy of Monkey Saladeer)

With the recovering Fards

BP with Stephanie Hefti from Albay
While walking the last 11 kms , it gave me time to do some mental test (using the letters of the alphabet) and  checked what were the things that  Rizal did.  Here they are:

A          – Anthropologist

B          - Botanist

C          - Citizen of the world

D          - Doctor

E          - Engineer

F          - Fencing enthusiast

G          - Geographer

H          - Historian

K          - Kite maker

L          - Lover

M         - Musician

N          - Novelist

O         - Ophthalmologist

P          - Poet

R          - Revolutionary

S          - Sculptor

T          - Teacher

W         - Writer

Z          - Zoologist       

Yup. Rizal was never a runner and I checked it also with a book on Rizal entitled “Rizal Without the Overcoat” by Ambeth Ocampo.  And I guess the reason for this is that running  was not yet in vogue in Europe or in the Philippines during the time of Rizal in the late 19th century.

But, as BR said, this does not mean that we cannot learn some lessons from Rizal on running. One such lesson I realize is to run like Rizal. Run  smart.  

We commend the Bald Runner for organizing a fun run for our National Hero. 

Come to think of it, we should have more fun runs celebrating our heroes. We have many fun runs extolling the benefits of energy drinks, deodorants, condominiums and of course, running shoes. It is about time that we have a run for Lapu Lapu (Cebu), Andres Bonifacio (Tondo), Gabriela Silang (Ilocos), Macario Sakay (Quezon), and Quince Martires (Naga). 

That should be something to remind the younger generation of our country’s heroic past.


  1. Excellent write up! Congrats padi and to all Rizal Day 32 Kms finishers!

  2. Thank you Bob. The Rizal Day Run results are out in BR's blog. Out of 200 finishers, you placed 19th, Ernie at 36th and me at 153rd. Not bad for a few good old men. hahahaha.............