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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..

May 17, 2015

RUN SA AGAWAN 2015: Extraordinary in Sariaya

Huffin and puffin, the Bicolano Penguin trudged up the road leading from the Sariaya town proper to the outlying and uphill barangay of Mamala.  I was just into the first two kilometers of the 10-km race and already was lagging behind my fellow row5runners. Opting to blame anyone but myself, I was already silently cursing the brilliant mind that was responsible for concocting the route of the Run Sa Agawan 2015.  This brilliant mind was clearly a sadist as the first 5 kilometers were all lung-busting uphill terrain going up the foothills of the massive and mystic Mount Banahaw. 
row5runners Sherrylou and Shie were off to a good start while...

...the Bicolano Penguin was huffin and puffin already. 
But then, I heard the clackity sound of aluminum metal scraping thru the concrete pavement.  It was coming fast.  The rhythm was like that of a beat with a skip. And then when I turned around to look back, there 20 meters behind  was  a man with a left leg and a crutch on his right shoulder. By the way he was garbed, the man was a participant in the fun run. He was systematically lunging with his left foot and then with the crutch on his right shoulder. His way of locomotion was not the efficient way  for running but I could not detect any complaints or pain in his face.  On the other hand, his face had a ready smile when he neared me and eventually overtook the penguin. Underneath that cheerfulness is  steel cold determination.
Renson was methodical in his assault of...
...the uphill portion. 
The penguin trying to keep pace with Renson. 
Renson overtook many runners. 
 Something extraordinary.  Something to be admired.  Something that woke up my internal locus of control.  No more bitchin for me on that uphill road in Sariaya. I better hunker down to finishing the 10-km race. If a person with disability (PWD)  ain't complaining, what right do I have to do so.  In the face of an extraordinary feat, one cannot help but be inspired. 

Later on, I was able to piece together some information, courtesy of proud Sariayahin Gudelia Marcelo,  about the brave and focused PWD runner. He is one extraordinary human being.   His name is  Renson Emradura, 24 years old and single.  He works at the municipal hall of Sariaya and he is assigned at the Information Desk.  He is actually the first person you get to talk to or ask about your concerns when you go to the municipio for your transactions.

He was born with one leg.  He is the fifth child in a brood of six.  His parents are farmers. He lives in Barangay Bucal but studied grade school in another barangay, Tumbaga 1.  He would ride the tricycle on his way to school but would walk the 3 kilometers back to his house in the afternoon together with his cousins.  It was the same in high school. He would walk back from Canda National High School to his house which was more than a kilometer away.   Two years in a technical course of were spent in the local college - Computer Systems Technological College.

When asked how he feels to have just one leg, he said he was never ashamed of it.  Of course people did and still at times laugh at him, but it was never enough to daunt his spirit. When asked how he trains, Renson said house work and farm work prepare him for running, not running itself. He does not have time to run in the morning because he has to do farm work before going to the municipio.  He wakes up early at 4am for this.  He said his good leg has become stronger because of this. Now that he is working, he is able to help his family.  The daily wage he gets from the municipal government, he is able to finance the expenses for his parents' farming needs.

Actually, the Run sa Agawan is his first 10km race. Prior to that, he has joined two 5km races: Takbo Para Kay Nina Maria (Feb 1, 2015) and Lakad Takbo Para sa Puso (Apr 26, 2015). His next target is a 16km run.
Even on the downhill...
...Renson did not let up.
Us row5runners were totally impressed with this undaunted feat of Renson.  Even the usually blase Bob took an interest.  After crossing the finish line, Bob ran back to pace with Renson in the home stretch. It was Bob's way of showing deep respect for a fellow warrior. At the finish line, we all gathered to have a photo with the extraordinary PWD runner.
Bob pacing and ...

...clapping as Renson crossed the finish line.
Handshake a true sign of respect.
Group photo of row5runners with Renson.
 Another out of the ordinary sight at the Run sa Agawan is to see the Sariaya mayor ran the whole 10 kms.  In fun runs we have joined in the past, a politico usually does the ceremonial firing of the gun and may do a token run of a kilometer or so, but not this public official.  Mayor Boyet Masilang ran the longest distance available. And he finished in the top half of the finishers.
The mayor was already on his way downhill and the BP uphill when we had a chance to have a photo taken together.

Mayor Boyet showing good form.
Mayor crosses the finish line.
Group photo of row5runners with Mayor Boyet and staff.
 Bravo indeed and we got the chance to have a group photo with this hard-working mayor of Sariaya of the past 8 years. The row5runners themselves had an extraordinary experience that weekend. While Bob and Ernie Badong joined me in the short drive from Manila to Sariaya, many of them came all the way from Naga City, two big provinces away,  to join the fun run.  Ric Lozano, Joji Asis and Glie Santos rode a bus overnight to be at the assembly  area exactly when the start gun was fired. Bem Volante, Sherrylou Desaliza, Shie Almendral and hubby Eng Almendral drove a car the day before.   All of us had fun in the run.  It was also a chance to see and greet runners we have met earlier this year when we run the Takbo Para Kay Juana . And always, we got to meet new friends equally passionate about running. 
Bob was a blur downhill.
Joji was ahead of many of us despite starting much later. 
Sherrylou finishes strong as Ernie looks approvingly.
Glie finished ahead of the penguin despite starting late.
The penguin and Ric finishing together.
Bem, Shie and Eng finishing together. 
Sophia running strong and solo.  First time I saw her was at the Takbo Para Kay Juana where she was being paced by her ninang Judy. 
Sophia's mom Arlene (the one with the cap)  joined the 5km run.  Leveling up. 

Ric joining Rhea Sedenio in crossing the finish line.  
Happy to see Mayla of Candelaria in the podium again.
The BP with Team Arya.

One more group photo. 
After the fun run, the tourists from Naga had a grand time visiting the heritage houses of Sariaya thanks to  Sariaya's top guide Eric Dedace. The ladies, in particular, had  a historic time donning some classic costume from the period when Sariaya was at its glorious and richest.    

Eric touring Sherrylou and the rest of the row5runners.
Elegant pose by ... 

...some classy ladies.
"V" signs to indicate a successful adventure. 
Here again is an experience that showcases the power of running in turning the ordinary into extraordinary. 

P.S.  Many of the photos were taken from the facebook pages of Ernesto Badong, Eng Almendral, Bem Volante Baret and Runaholic. 



  1. Aww, that was inspired writing. Thanks once again!

  2. Thanks Judy. Your inputs were of great help to this "inspired writing."