Monday, November 14, 2011

Race Review: Race For Life

Last Saturday, November 12, I ran at the Race For Life fun run organized by Real Life Foundation, a non-profit organization instituted to provide scholarships to underprivileged high school and college students living in some of the depressed areas in our country. 

As a barefoot runner, I’m always glad to come back to the BGC running routes because it’s by far the most barefoot runner-friendly circuit in Metro Manila I know. To date, it was my 6th 10k barefoot run since I started this new running form which, I guess, is “a path few people dare to tread” as Col. Mike Logico of BRP says. I arrived a little excited and, at the same time, a bit nervous because I knew that the 10k route will cover the “dreaded” Kalayaan Flyover, known by many barefoot runners as a “barefoot-killer” road for its sharp asphalt texture. In a previous post where I recounted my experience at Earth Run 2011, I described in my writeup my excruciating first time encounter with Kalayaan. And knowing that I would pass through it again in this run brought a tingling sensation down my spine. 

The assembly area was held at the front grounds of Every Nation Building. As soon as I claimed my race kit from the organizer, I hurriedly positioned myself among the 10k runners. One thing I noticed there was the absence of Kenyan runners which was quite unusual because they normally participate in every running event and normally bag the first, second and third rankings in most of the races. I heard other runners grumbling before that getting all the prizes and medals has become a kind of lucrative livelihood for them already. Nonetheless, I felt relieved because at least many Pinoy seasoned runners will now have higher chances of winning with the Kenyans’ absence. 

The 10k runners set-off at 6:00am. The starting line area was a bit muddy but it was ok. I started slow at the beginning just to keep pace with the majority. As expected, I got a lot of questions and comments from others about why I run barefoot, if it hurts, etc. For me, it’s always a pleasure to share about barefoot running and the benefits I get from doing it. As soon as I got my core heated up, I began to increase my pace but with extra care knowing that the Kalayaan Flyover is not far ahead. 

The ascent on the flyover was a breeze; something I didn’t expect to feel what with all the sharp pebbles of asphalt scattered all over. Before I knew it, I was down on Gil Puyat Avenue already. As I increased my speed, I was assessing my feet for the soreness that usually comes after passing through the flyover and, surprisingly, I didn’t feel any. That certainly brought a bit of confidence that made me push a little further. After the U-turn, passing Kalayaan for the second time going back was not as discomforting compared to my last race. 

I kept my speed at a constant rhythm as I glided into the last few kilometers of the race. The second wind was certainly getting into me and running never felt so good. In the part where 10ks were merging with other categories, I met some Real Life Foundation scholars wearing special dry fit shirts that made me feel even better knowing that this running event would help the foundation’s scholarship program. 

The Race For Life is just part of a much bigger fundraising campaign to help poor, but deserving, high school and college students so they can have good quality education that would eventually help their families and community rise above poverty. 

 *Photos borrowed from Real Life Foundation's Facebook page

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