Monday, April 23, 2012

Running For Her. Or Is It Really?

After some time and countless invites, we finally gave in. Yes, we ran.

On your mark...
And to make the first time sweeter, we're running for her, Mother Earth. We joined National Geographic's Earth Day Run 2012, with Vin getting his registration free from his company. I  had to fork out PhP775.00 for my race kit and the shipping fee.

With less than a week for preparation, I could only throw in a couple jogging sessions before work. I'm only running 3K but I haven't had any climbs since January and exercise isn't really part of my daily regimen. The least I could do was stretch my muscles for a bit.

Come race day, I didn't really know what to expect. Vin and I have never joined any fun runs before so we arrived 30 minutes before the assembly time to familiarize ourselves with the area. I was a little dubious already when my race kit and the website didn't contain any helpful guides for first-timers on where to go when you get to Bonifacio Global City. I also e-mailed the race secretariat but got no response. I was more wary when I realized that none of all the marketing materials indicated where the proceeds of the run will go. I mean, this is supposed to be a run for a cause for Earth Day, isn't it?

Anyway, we just basically walked around and tried to find the Start line so we can do some warm-ups and wait for our gun start. The host and the trainer gave a few warm-up routines but it was difficult to do without hitting the person next, in front or right behind you. Bumper to bumper! :D At 0630H, the race is on!

Stampede! :D

In no time, I was eating the dust of the kids who were also running 3K. It looked like they were playing tag when I was already huffing and puffing. Hehe. I lost track of Vin and he had the hydration belt with him. I fully ran for the first 10 minutes then mostly ran and speed-walked the remaining time. The hydration areas during the run was too far. My throat was already parched when I arrived in the first one and they only served water! I was expecting along the lines of Gatorade for the price of the registration fee. And it was scorching hot with the early-morning sun already beating down on us.

This was when I got more disappointed. I think most of the people who joined the run missed the point of the event. I was surprised when I got out of the hydration area, the road is now littered with paper cups and plastic bottles. I know, I know, I'm sure a team armed with garbage bags will clean this up right after. But again, wasn't this supposed to be a run for Mother Earth? I stubbornly held on to my empty water cup until we got to the finish line, found a trash bin, and chucked it. Not being self-righteous or anything but I am used to doing LNT during climbs and I've started to bring those principles with me even when I'm not up in the mountains. Oh well, I can't very well start screaming at everyone to pick up their trash lest I get trampled by a stampede of angry runners.

Photo Credit: Francis Xavier Pasion
This photo was during the 5K run, it was worse during the 3K run.

Halfway through, I found Vin when he waited up for me so I was able to drink water again. We finished the race with my official race time of 00:25:32. Not bad for a first time and with no training.

So was it fun? It sure was. I was happy I got to experience another first with Vin. And we loved the tech shirts!

Would I be running again? I'll think twice. I didn't think it gave enough bang for my buck. After the race, a lot of online forums were bashing the event organizer for pocketing the fees at the expense of the participants' comforts. PhP775.00 could have brought me to an overnight climb already somewhere in Batangas, Cavite or Quezon. And there I can really relish being with Mother Nature and with people who actually do care about her. I will run for my health but I don't think I'll be paying up to do so.

NatGeo's message on their travel and nature documentaries put out there that we have to make an effort in preserving the world we live in. I just wished this came across to all who joined this event.

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