The 2015 Run United Philippine Marathon is my second RUPM. It is my 11th full mary since I started running in 2010. But it never gets old for me - the feeling of giddy excitement at the starting line and the endorphin-induced euphoria at the finish line. And in between the two lines stretched for 42 kilometers and then some , there is always a motivating factor to keep my crampy and wobbly feet going.
At the starting line with my fellow First Balfour marathoners
42-km route map
At the finish line with jubilant First Balfour marathoners
For this 2015 RUPM, my primary motivation is to finish what was started in the 1st quarter this year. at our company First Balfour. In March 2015, the Multi Sports team was formed. It is a brain child of our CFO Butch Tansengco and the said program was implemented by the Human Reseources Employee Relations duo of Anchel Cruz and Hanna Aguilar. The objective was to form a team whose members will train to either run a full marathon or participate in a triathlon (solo or relay). The Multi Sports initiative was started with a talk by triathlon coach Kaye Lopez and Dr. Lora Garcia-Tansengco attended by First Balfour employees last February. After the talk, interested employees signed up for the two sports - triathlon and marathon. I was one of those who signed up for the marathon. Then two events were identified where the First Balfour Multi Sports team will participate: the 2015 RUPM for the marathoners and 2015 TRI UNITED 3 for the triathletes. Training started in May and it was handled by Coach Kaye Lopez. For the runners, we had weekly sessions (usually on a Friday) with Coach Kaye at the University of Makati track oval while the triathletes-in-training had weekly swim sessions on Tuesdays at the Philippine Army swimming pool and weekly road bike sessions in Nuvali or Subic on weekends.
The 5-month training was an enjoyable and learning experience for us. We learned new things from Coach Kaye. And we tried our darndest best to apply them on the road. We certainly enjoyed the camaraderie we established with our fellow FB team members and with other students of Coach Kaye. The many hours we spend together in the track gave us an opportunity to know more about our fellow team members. Sadly for me, there were times, I was not able to attend the weekly sessions in UMak given some recurring injuries on my part. I was like an old automobile who was in and out of the auto repair shop to deal with injuries in the ITB and hip flexor. The recurring injuries took its toll on my weekend long distance runs(LSD) where the longest I was able to do was 21 kms and they were few and far between. There were also a couple of weeks when I took time off from running to be with my family who were hospitalized, my son from dengue and my wife had surgery.
One of our training runs in UMak oval.But this did not dampen my enthusiasm. Injured or not, prepared or not I was hell bent to join my First Balfour team mates at the starting line come the early morning hours of Oct 4 in the Mall of Asia grounds. Turns out that my seven FB team mates (Migo Antonio, Iya Pe, Nikki Manlapaz, Delsie Giray, Alice Monfero, Rose Dalawampu and Icar Hombrebueno) were more excited than me as they were there in the starting area much earlier than me. As we waited for the starting gun to fire, Nikki, our first time marathoner, asked me what interval we will run. "Easy" was the answer I responded, not knowing what it will really be. But as we started our run, I felt good and managed to keep pace with the young ones in our team (actually all my team members in First Balfour are younger than me) for the first 21 kilometers. Along Buendia Avenue going to Bonifacio Global City, Migo and myself were even discussing where we were eating after the race. We kept paced with the 6:00 hour pace group for the first half of the full marathon. But beyond the Km 22 marker, it got more difficult for me. My lack of LSD mileage showed as I struggled already to keep pace with Nikki and Delsie. At Km 25, my left calve was already cramping and I had to tell Nikki and Delsie to go ahead. I tried to walk it off but it was hurting. I had to get some relief and I rested in a waiting ambulance along Roxas Blvd. I lied down to have my feet up. My first knockdown of the day. I figured I would rest for 10 minutes and wait for the pair of Rose and Alice to pass by. Seeing the two come by, I stood up and rejoined them. The 2 were kind enough to slow down their pace so that I could keep up. I even joked to the two that they were already "mamaws" compared to me.
Iya, Alice, Delsie, Icar, Migo, Rose and Nikki were early at the starting line.
An exuberant start for the marathon
Iya and Migo along Roxas Blvd.
Delsie pacing Nikki beyond the half marathon distance.
Joining Rose and Alice in their 2:1 Run/Walk Interval.
Steady pace for Icar along Roxas Blvd.Midway between Km 34 and Km 35, in front of the US Embassy, I suffered my 2nd knockdown on the day. I had cramps again in my calves and had to lay down on the asphalt road to have my feet up. Again, Rose and Alice waited for me. Alice even managed to take a photo. But my suffering will soon be over. After making the U-turn in front of the Jose Rizal monument at Luneta, we were well on way to the finish line, 7 kilometers away. From that point, we were on cruise control. No sense in speeding up as it might trigger another attack of cramps.
My 2nd knockdown. Had to lay down to put my feet up.
Nikki cruisin to the finish of her first ever full marathon.
Nearing the finish with Rose
At the finish line, it was great to see the cheering and smiling faces of Anchel, Hanna, Butch, Doc Lora and Coach Kaye together with First Balfour triathlon team members Emman Bamban and Mark Clareza. Joining them were Tato Dalawampu and Joy Castillo. All baking under the sun but all not budging until all 8 FB runners finished. That is what you call C-A-M-A-R-A-D-E-R-I-E.
All 8 FB runners safely finished the full marathon. Here is our finish time:
All 8 FB runners got our finisher medals and finisher shirts. And we had a bonus that none of the other runners got. All 8 FB runners got floral garlands courtesy of Anchel and Hanna. It looked great on us.
Group photo with coaches and team supporters.
My write up on the 2015 RUPM will not be complete without mentioning the volunteer pacers on hand for the race. This is a good initiative of ULAH, the RUPM race organizer. Many of these pacers I know to be truly passionate about running and it showed in the way they commune with the runners in their pacer groups. One such pacer is Roselle Dadal (aka Running Diva) who shared her heartwarming account of encouraging one runner to exceed herself in the 10-km race.
Reflecting on my 2015 RUPM experience, from the way my First Balfour team mates helped me survive the 2015 RUPM to the care given by a pacer to her runner, I am reminded of the inspiring words of Boston Marathon pioneer Kathrine Switzer.
True. That is why the marathon never gets old for me and many many more runners.
P.S. Photo courtesy of Manny Yak, Run Lipa and Running Photographers.
P.S. Photo courtesy of Manny Yak, Run Lipa and Running Photographers.