Excited for the Merrell Adventure Run

I stumbled upon Jazzrunner’s post on the Merrell Adventure Run route, and I have to say I am really looking forward to this one.    This will be my first ever trail run!

I also read the article from Philippine Star, saying that the route will include 5 consecutive mud pits and a 200-meter river traverse.  I expect to end this run exhausted, filthy, and caked in mud.  I have no illusions of breaking a PR here.  My thighs and calves will probably be sore and I would probably have scratches on my arms and legs.   I should probably bring a first-aid kit in my car!

Aside from Jazzrunner’s post, pictures of the route are also available at Merrell’s FB page.

Registration ends May 16!


Abebe Bikila


Mention barefoot running and probably the first runner that would come to mind is the Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Bikila.  He is known primarily for winning the 1960 Summer Olympics marathon barefoot.

I learned of Abebe Bikila when I was in high school, not from some history course, but from reading William Goldman’s book Marathon Man.  In the book, the protagonist and aspiring marathon runner Babe Levy idolized Abebe Bikila and marveled on how Bikila was able to conquer the marathon barefoot.  Levy gets involved with some government agency and some Nazis and eventually gets harrowingly tortured by some Nazi dentist.  He escapes and eludes the captors by running barefoot, clad only in his pajamas.

And yes it was made into a classic movie in 1976 with Dustin Hoffman and Lawrence Olivier, with the now legendary dialogue of “Is it safe?”


What’s interesting about the Abebe Bikila story was that he wasn’t even supposed to be in the Olympics.  He was only added in the Ethiopian roster in last-minute as a replacement for Wami Biratu, who had broken his ankle in a soccer match.  And Bikila didn’t even plan to run barefoot.  He only ran barefoot because the shoes supplied by Adidas didn’t fit properly! After winning the marathon, he was asked why he had run barefoot and Bikila answered: “I wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism.”

Running for a cause

There is no shortage of runs that advocate a certain cause or runs that support a charity.  This weekend we have the Run For Integrity, a run that is “aimed at FIGHTING CORRUPTION head on” (though I wonder how running can be used to fight corruption), and a  SCHOlaRUN, a fun run activity organized by the St. Scholastica’s Academy Marikina Alumnae Association “to raise funds for financially-challenged but deserving scholar.”

I’ve always wondered about the “run for a cause” campaigns.  I’d like to believe that race organizers truly donate money to their worthy cause.  I’ve been in some alumni organizations and I would say that school organizations do as they have promised.  These organizations are typically run by committees and they are pretty much transparent about where they get their finances and how the money is utilized.  It wouldn’t hurt though for these organizations to publish the results.  In fact, I urge them to do so.  A lot of effort was put into getting people to participate and all it takes is one post in Facebook to report on the financial results.

But what about those runs that promote a certain advocacy, examples of which are the Run For Integrity event and, most recently, the Earth Day runs?  I look at these more of marketing gimmicks that real advocacy runs.  These “issues” are no-brainers. Who isn’t against corruption anyway? Who doesn’t want to preserve the environment?  These are easy hits.  And by the way, I joined the Natgeo run not because of their Earth Day cause, but simply because I wanted to run their route.

Of course we also have runs that support questionable advocacies.  The “Save the Marikina Watershed” run, nicknamed the “Del Run” in reference to Mayor Del De Guzman, got a lot of flak for its seemingly political advocacy.

Now what I’d like to see are runs that advocate controversial and possible divisive topics.  Can we have a run advocating the RH Bill, for example?  Or conversely a pro-life run?  Now those would be interesting events.  I dare some organizer to organize such an event.

Finishing a race

“If the word quit is part of your vocabulary, then the word finish is likely not.”  – B.G. Jett

“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just to finish the race – it’s up to you.” – Dave Scott

Then, of course, there is the story of the the greatest last place finish ever.  Lori Mitchell of author of SPEED Manifesting, wrote:

“It was almost 7pm in Mexico City, 1968. One hour earlier the winners of the 26 mile Olympic marathon had crossed the finish line. It had been a grueling hot day as the high altitude affected all the athletes. The sky was beginning to darken and most of the stadium was empty. As the last few spectators were preparing to leave, police sirens and flashing lights caught their attention. A lone runner, wearing the colours of Tanzania had just emerged through the stadium gate. Limping, with his leg bandaged he found the last of his endurance to step up his pace and finish the race. His name was John Stephen Akhwari.”

When he was interviewed after the race and asked why he continued running, Akhwari answered: “My country did not send me 10,000 miles just to start the race; they sent me to finish the race.”

Littering during Earth Day run

To add to Natgeo’s woes, the above picture went “viral,” that is according to Interaksyon.

The picture was posted in Francis Xavier Pasion’s Facebook, with the following caption:

Early this morning, I ran my first marathon. It is dubbed as the NATGEO EARTH DAY RUN. I ran for 3 reasons: 1. I liked the shirt (i would have settled for the 3k, but I liked the 5k gray shirt so i would not mind running an additional 3k); 2. I had no taping yesterday; 3. I wanna lose some calories. I did not run to save the earth. That was clear. I was just wondering why the others ran? I was so amused to see most runners scatter their used paper cups and bottled waters on the street. Oh, Mother Earth would be very proud of them…and the organizers. I hope the organizers did not place plastic bottled waters or paper cups in the various stops of the race. I hope they reiterated upon registration that the runner must bring his/her own container and that water fonts will be stationed instead. That could have saved them some money, and yes, some trees. Next time, let us be clear about our intentions in initiating these events. I may have ran for the wrong reasons, but I certainly did not throw away that paper cup on the street. Happy Earth Day Everyone, whatever that means to you.

Not to defend Natgeo in this, but I honestly don’t see the point of Francis’s rant. There are people who are tasked to clean up the paper cups, so the net result is that it would have all ended up in the garbage bin. If the runner tosses the cup inside the garbage bin, he is not actually saving Mother Earth; he is just making the job easier for the guy collecting the cups. The fact that the organizers used paper cups is a good thing; other organizers who had claimed to be environment-conscious were using plastic cups!

Now if only runners would properly dispose of their empty energy gel sachets . . .

Oh and by the way, dear Francis, I may be nit-picking but a marathon is 42 kilometers. A 5k run is hardly a marathon.

What do you think? Is it so wrong for runners to toss their empty cups onto the street? I’d love to hear your comments.

Update: A satirical blog post seems to be gaining speed.  It cites a supposed “apology” by Juardencio Turcuatico, Territory Director for Fox International Channels.  It’s a funny read, and I bet the blog author must be doing a “LMFAO” over the reactions of various runners.  Good job,  @SoWhatsNews!   I wonder though how the folks over at Fox International are taking this.

On mistakes and apologies

Kids at a West Australian school making a giant human word sorry on their oval in preparation for the National Apology to the Stolen Generations by the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd.

(Photo coutesy of butupa)

A few days ago I posted about how many Run United runners were disappointed by the shortage of finisher items.  Runrio was quick to apologize, taking responsibility of the mishap, and promised that the aggrieved runners will receive the items.   A few runners have already reported that they have received their items.

I admire people who are quick to take ownership of mistakes made and who take the lead in rectifying it.  We are all human.  We do not have a crystal ball to foresee future events.  We make mistakes, fall prey to our emotions, misjudge people and events, and err in the choices we make.

Take Neil Etheridge’s statement, for example, following  the red card he received for for kicking Turkmenistan striker Gahryman Chonkayev:

“Obviously my lack of professionalism at the end of the game was unlike me,” said Etheridge, who remembers only one other red card while he was still playing at youth level.

“It was very unprofessional so I have to take responsibility for my actions. It was the heat of the moment and I probably deserved what I got.”

I contrast this with Arnold Clavio’s “apology” about his comment regarding the Azkals:

Mga igan, nakakalungkot na may negatibong reaksyon ang naging pahayag ko tungkol sa Philippine Azkals kaugnay ng sexual harassment complaint ni Ms. Cristy Ramos. Wala po akong ganoong intensyon. Ang isyu po rito ay sexual harassment at kung may nagamit man po akong mga salita na hindi angkop, nagpapakumbaba po ako at humihingi ng pang-unawa. Dun naman po sa mga kasama kong nanindigan laban sa sexual harassment, maraming salamat po. Seryoso pong isyu ito na dapat bantayan

To all my friends, I felt saddened with the negative reactions on my statement regarding the Philippine Azkals about the sexual harassment complaint by Ms. Cristy Ramos. I don’t have any intentions. The issue here is sexual harassment and if ever I have used words that were inappropriate, I apologized and please understand me. To those to who were with me who make a stand against sexual harassment, thank you very much. The issue is a serious one that needs our vigilance.

Was that an apology?  He must think we are idiots not to notice that this is a smokescreen devoid of any remorse or accountability of any wrong-doing.  Yes, there is a sexual harassment issue looming and yes if found guilty they should face the consequences.  But it doesn’t take away the gravity of Arnold Clavio’s irresponsible and ignorant opinion.

What is meant by being a Filipino?

This post is not related to running.  So feel free to skip if this bugs you.

But I was initially peeved by a rant by Arnold Clavio criticizing the ethnicity of the Azkals, who are just coming off a fantastic victory against Tajikistan to enter the semi-final round of the AFC Challenge Cup.  In case you are unaware of the controversy, check out this video:

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Run United Leg 1 results in Excel

I have converted I’m converting the Run United Leg 1 results to Excel format.  It should be useful for those who want to sort by the various columns like age group or chip time.  Click on the links below.  Knock yourself out.

2012 Run United Leg 1 21K results

2012 Run United Leg 1 10K results

2012 Run United Leg 1 5K results

2012 Run United Leg 1 3K results

2012 Run United Leg 1 500m results

Looted bags

(Photo credit: Anders Sandberg)

I first encountered this story from Pinoyfitness but it’s also available in Runrio’s Facebook page (but strangely not in Runrio’s webpage).  I don’t know the facts nor the full story.  All I have are anecdotes, comments and complaints of runners not getting their loot bags.  The story seems to be that some people made out with the loot bags.

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