2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015. These are the years I volunteered as a pacer at The Bull Runner Dream Marathon. Come the early morning hours of Feb. 19, I was gunning for my 6th deployment as a pacer at the 2017 TBRDM. Although a graybeard already, I continue to have that high sense of excitement everytime I go on pacer duty. Perhaps it has something to do with the special opportunity of paying it forward, in the words of its founder Jaymie Pizzaro. Most definitely, the idea of helping a fellow runner chase his or her dreams is very appealing.
As in all the years I have been a pacer, 2017 will see me again pacing my officemates at First Balfour. And for the 2017 TBRDM, we have 14 First Balfour employees gunning for their first full marathon. Thanks in large part to the evangelical efforts of 2015 TBR alumni Migo Antonio and the steady support from our HR Employee Relations head Anchel Cruz, we have a bumper crop of running recruits in our company. The solid 14 are:
Jhan Paul Acevedo
|The First Balfour dreamers with support crew of pacers and cheerers an hour before the 2am gun start.|
|Kaladeiscope of colors, runners edition.|
|Time for a groufie before the start.|
With energy pumped up to the highest possible level, the 2017 batch of the TBRDM were on their way.
|First Balfour runners giddy and...|
|...and gung-ho at the start of the 2017 The Bull Runner Dream Marathon.|
With the 14 dispersed, how do I go about making sure that all 14 First Balfour dreamers finished the full marathon? Back in the 2015 TBRDM, I wrote a handful of tips on pacing and for this 2017 edition, I found myself adhering to tip #3 which suggested supporting the slower runner over the faster runner. In the first 4 kms of the 2017 TBRDM, the slower runner of the 14 was Jovi. Shadowing her, I was happy to note that she was disciplined in following Galloway with a 2-1 interval. While this slowed her down a bit compared to the other runners, she smartly stuck to the interval and this would put her in good stead come the later part of the race.
As we neared the 5km mark, ahead I saw Gemma lining up for the portalet. Decided to stay behind for her and let Jovi ran ahead, figuring we could catch up with her and the rest after a handful of kilometers. Her lining up for the portalet costed Gemma several minutes but I was confident we could easily catch up with the rest as she showed improved endurance when she joined us in the Fat Ass Run (6-hr category) early in January.
|Pacing Gemma at the 5Km mark.|
We were now a group of 5. We were now getting noisier and more confident. So much so that Jovi took to calling ourselves as the wolf pack. And the pack was on a chase to catch up with a couple of First Balfour runners ahead of us. We stick to our improvised run walk intervals using the light posts. By the time we reached the 10km mark, we have caught up with Aya and Kristoff. We had a lot of howling when we caught up. And before the 12km mark, Arlene was in our fold.
|The pack of noisy and exuberant wolves passing by Dream Chasers Tent 3 in the first 21km loop. Left to right: BP, Gemma, Arlene, Danny, Jovi, Aya and Kristoff.|
But at the 20km marker, I noticed two runners having difficulty keeping up with the increasing pace of the wolf pack. I signaled to Kristoff who was at the head of the pack to push thru together with Aya, Gemma, Jovi and Danny.
|The 2017 dreamers with TBR alumni of First Balfour as they go for their 2nd 21km loop.|
|First Balfour "bodyguards" Kevin and Migo making sure all members of the wolf pack are safe.|
|Our pacing trio of Arlene, Romy and the Bicolano Penguin getting some cheering company from Nikki and Iya. With Richelle taking the photo.|
|A trio of First Balfour TBR alumni cheering on Jane in the last 12 kilometers.|
|Jovi getting a boost from Delsie.|
|Confident smile from Arlene for the last 10 kms to her first full mary.|
|Arlene and JP at the back with less than a kilometer to go for their first marathon finish.|
|Good job Arlene.|
|Congrats Super Lolo Romy.|
|High Five for the Finish.|
|Collective smile for a collective accomplishment.|
Life is good for the wolf pack.
P.S. Thank you to Manny Yak, Jovi Albao, Richelle Hua, Active Pinas and JN Tbr for the photos.