Thursday, November 17, 2011

Race Review: Rain4Africa Fun Run

Lifeline Foundation, a non-stock non-profit NGO, organizes volunteerism efforts through various activities such as feeding programs, medical missions, fundraising activities, and other volunteer efforts in various parts of our country where help is most needed. These activities are mobilized by ordinary but highly committed and dedicated individuals who are willing to go out and leave their own comfort zones to do volunteer work and help alleviate poverty in marginalized areas in our country.

As much as there are many poor Filipinos who are in dire need of help, it cannot be denied that there are people in other parts of the world who are experiencing far worst living conditions because of hunger. The horn of Africa is comprised of several countries that are considered hotspots for lack of food. Countries like Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Uganda are experiencing drought in the most terrible conditions.

That is why Lifeline Foundation forged a partnership with the World Food Program (WFP) to organize a year-long fundraising drive to support WFP’s efforts for Africa. As its first salvo, Lifeline Foundation initiated the Rain4Africa Fun Run 2011 which was held at West Gate Center in Filinvest Alabang, Muntinlupa City last November 13. All proceeds of this running event will be donated to WFP’s efforts in Africa.

As a media partner for this campaign, an invitation to run was also extended to me. Being a barefoot runner, I knew that this run will be a challenging one because the running areas in Filinvest are not as barefoot-friendly compared to other popular running circuits like the BGC. Nonetheless, I decided to run barefoot as a gesture of my support to the people who are living in the poorest conditions where shoes, or even slippers, would already be something luxurious for them to own.

For a year now, the Filinvest Corporate City has been my ‘home” when it comes to practice running. On many occasions, this is where I conduct my barefoot running training that is why I’m quite familiar with areas where sharp asphalt are more concentrated. At the turn of the last kilometer leg, I was cheered on by a long-lost friend of mine, Ms. Jill Nagtalon, who happens to be one of the founding members of Lifeline Foundation and organizers of the race.

In the last few hundred meters of the race, soreness in my forefoot became difficult to ignore and I began to imagine torn skin being exposed. But with a few minutes to spare, I didn’t bother to check it out and sprinted away to the finish line. After crossing the finish line at 57 minutes and 20 seconds, I immediately made some thorough inspection of my feet under running water. To my surprise, there were no blisters and the soreness I felt was something that was sub-epidermal. The outer skin of my soles was becoming thicker and has protected me from the blisters that I used to get.

The advice of a fellow barefoot runner Mike logico surely paid-off when running on sharp loose asphalt like in Filinvest. That is to lift the toes and forefoot to lessen the friction. But, personally, I would probably take a break from running barefoot in the Filinvest area for now.

* Photos borrowed from Lifeline Support Team Foundation Inc.'s Facebook page

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