"Run as if mommy's chasing you."These were the words written by my friend Bitoy's daughter in her dad's running socks to wish him success in the Hero to Hero 50K Ultra Marathon (H2H).
He proudly showed this to us before the start of the race on the December 27 night in front of the San Pablo City Hall .I would imagine that in his daughter's eyes, Bitoy felt like a hero too.
|The 83neans were rockin some retro intrams shirts for the H2H. LG-2's Los Quatros Portes and LG-4's Desiderata|
And we, his batchmates from the Ateneo de Naga High School Batch 1983, were there to show solidarity to our friend. There was Bob who volunteered to be the driver of our support vehicle. Ernie and myself registered for the H2H to accompany Bitoy in the 50-km jaunt. Not that he needed accompanying as Bitoy already has conquered an ultra in August 2014, the Bedok Reservoir 50K Ultra in Singapore. But the H2H was to be Bitoy's first ultra in his native land. For us, it was more of a chance to give thanks for all the assistance he has given us everytime we ran in Singapore.
The H2H is another running event organized by Run Mania Philippines Promotion. Pat Maranan and his team planned the route to start from the Andres Bonifacio statue by the shore of Sampaloc Lake in San Pabloc City to the Jose Rizal monument in front of Calamba City Hall. It was a way for local ultra runners to pay homage to two of our greatest and most inspiring national heroes.
Turns out Pinoy runners are nationalistic as more than 500 registered for the H2H. It was a mammoth crowd that assembled at the starting area. It was also a chance to us to be able to meet friends, new and old.
|Pat Maranan addressing the huge number of runners (583 started the race with 565 finishing within 10 hr cut off time) at the start of H2H|
|BP joining fellow Paranaque Running Circle members in a group photo|
|With fellow TBR alumni Efren Gregorio|
|With Superswift Selamie. Even before H2H started, the BP was already smiling as I was finally rewarded with a photo-op with this podium finisher.|
|With Team St. Lazarous. Two members are from Bicol: Dr. Gilbert Balid and Antonio Guiriba - champion of the 1st Hermano Puli 60K Ultra last Nov 16, 2014.|
|The Andres Bonifacio Statue by Sampaloc Lake in San Pablo City. The start area of H2H.|
The 50km run itself was a cool one for us. The coolest part of the race, literally and figuratively, was the ascent and descent to the Makiling forest reserve inside the UP Los Banos campus. Thru all these kilometers, the three of us (Bitoy, Ernie and myself) ran together. We did our sabayang pagtakbo from start to finish. All 3 of us finished with a time of 8 hrs & 30 minutes. It was indeed a source of pride for us to be able to raise Bitoy's hand in victory as we crossed the finish line in the shadow of the huge Jose Rizal statue. For a brief moment, we felt like heroes for each other.
|Bitoy handing over the security card designed to discourage "cheating" among the participants|
|At the last U-turn.|
|Bitoy running under the big trees of the Makiling forest reserve|
|Going uphill which ultimately leads to ...|
|...to the downhill.|
|Downhill always brings a smile and an extra bounce to my stride.|
|Ernie with his ever present smile|
|One kilometer to go|
|How sweet it is to finish together.|
|Raising our hands in triumph|
|Looking good at the H2H finish line. In the shadow of the greatest hero not only of the Filipinos but of the entire Malay race.|
|The 83neans with fellow Bicol runner - Rowena Tan.|
|The running fanatics of Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983: Bob, Bitoy, BP and Ernie|
Congratulations to Bitoy for his first Ultra marathon in the Philippines. No doubt, it will be the first of many.
Many of the photos courtesy of Run Lipa, Shuttle's Best, Earbudz Productions, Runkada, and Aquizzed Snaps. Another trademark of Run Mania running events is the presence of many photographers.