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Who are the “Real” Runners?

Here’s a note I received last night from a certain JimS regarding the latest issue of TBR Magazine with Karylle on the cover. I appreciate his candor and I admire his support for our elite athletes, but I certainly don’t agree with the way he belittles the non-elite. Thank you JimS for your feedback!

Hector Yuzon on your magazine, for what? Their were three more other Filipinos who finished LA Marathon way better that Hector. All three performed impressively and qualified for Boston. Milet, a female runner from Cebu has a more compiling story than Hector. Stop featuring so called pa “pogi” runners and instead feature the accomplished and real athletes. But you wont do that don’t you. Keep doing the same practice and you will lose credibility as a real runners magazine. Yong Larrazabal? This guy can’t even qualify for Boston and he is your cover story? How about the Sabals and the real runners in the country? Feature them and help them get sponsorships to run international races instead of promoting the wannabes.

Thinking aloud, guys. Here are my questions and it would be great if you could answer them:

If you are not an elite runner, does that mean you do not have the right to be featured in a magazine or obtain sponsorship due to your achievements or contributions to the sport?

Yong Larrazabal stages races in Cebu and donates all profits to charity. Hector Yuzon guided a group of TBR Dream Marathoners without expecting anything in return. Is Hector or Yong less of a runner than Eduardo Buenavista?

If our latest TBR Cover, Karylle, only started running two years ago, and she does not run as fast as the elite, does she have a right to call herself a “real” runner?

We featured TBR Dream Marathoners in the same issue, three runners hoping to accomplish their first marathon, did they not have the right to be featured in our pages?

If your PR for a 10km is 1 hr 30 mins, does that mean you are not a “real” runner?

If you never won a medal in a race, can you call yourself a “real” runner?

If you never qualified for Boston or never won in a national competition, does this give another runner the right to tag you as a “pa-pogi” or a “wannabe”?  Shouldn’t some runners pay just a wee bit of respect to regular people who juggle running with other responsibilities in life and still manage to perform relatively well?

Who are real runners anyway?

More importantly, what is a “real runner”?

To my mind, real runners are those who have a serious passion for the sport. Real runners are those who make running a part of their lives regardless of the number of races they’ve run, the medals they’ve won, how far they’ve covered or how fast they can go.

Who’s a real runner for me?  He’s the loner who does not join races and has no running friends, but he laces up every 5 a.m. to run 10km.  She’s the mom who just gave birth, but commits to spending 30 mins. thrice a week to run while her newborn is sleeping.  He’s the 50 year old divorcee who picked up running a few months ago as a symbol of starting a new chapter in his life. She’s the newbie who picked up a free magazine last month, got inspired by the story of Donna Cruz (another “real” runner in our book), and finally got the guts to run a 5k this weekend.  Those are real runners.  And they deserve the same attention and exposure as the elites of our world.

TBR Magazine is a lifestyle running magazine. It is a resource for training, gear, nutrition, race calendar, directory, and so much more for runners.  Needless to say, we feature real runners based on the definition stated above.  We choose to feature real runners, whether they are artists, CEO’s, housewives or just like any “Juan” out there because we believe that each runner can be an inspiration to another.

Having said that, we have a high respect for our elite athletes and encourage companies to sponsor them so they can do our country proud.  It is a sad fact that our elite have little support and means to join races abroad to gain recognition.  I know there are runners who are helping them gain exposure and I applaud them for that.

I told a friend before that my criteria for choosing the cover of TBR Magazine was this: the cover runner must LOVE running. I could feature the President of the Country, the no. 1 runner of the world, or the most popular matinee idol, but if we asked them this: “Do you love running?” and they replied with a “No.” then I would rather feature the “wannabe” who seriously loves the sport.

P.S. JimS, I wrote Millette, a good friend, hoping to feature her Boston-qualifying LA Marathon along with Hector.  Unfortunately, her story didn’t reach our print deadline.  I’ll be featuring her here on instead.

  • Roy Tan

    ahem…sama ingles ng reactor mo teh…

  • Tito Vildosola

    I agree with you, Jaymie. I was once a sprinter in my grade school and early high school days, but broke my left clavicle in a motorcycle accident and stopped running when I fully recovered. Last January of 2010, my wife invited me to run with her, as part of my cross-training of my football(soccer). And I love running again… especially when my wife and I found a family of ‘wannabes’ in Ungo og Dagan which is founded by Max Limpag. I joined few 5Ks, 10Ks, and one 21k race. I even ran alone from Carcar(40km+) to Cebu City at 10am to almost 4pm. That’s how I got myself addicted to running. Just last November, I finished my first Ultra 50km in Cebu, got the finisher’s plate and was very happy to find out that quitting smoking, a couple of months after I started running again, was a big help, too. Gradually, old bad habits(smoking and weekend-barkada drinking) were replaced by this new and healthy habit called running.

    I haven’t even joined any of Cebu City Marathon or TBR because I don’t think I’m ready yet for my marathon time goal of 4:30, though the finishers’ medals are that tempting. With injuries on both knees and ankles due to football, I still run because I love to.. and it makes me stronger!

    Thanks for sharing this nice article, Jaymie!

  • PennePasta

    guys, bakit puro JimS? pwede ba natin balikan yung statement na POGI RUNNER si hector Yuson? i mean, come on, si hector pogi!runner na pogi pa? grabeh san ka pa!

    ok just making things light…i agree that JimS guy has no right to impose who should be featured as a real runner. at the end of the day, there are two important things– 1) passion for running, and 2) HECTOR IS A POSI RUNNER

  • Mia

    Hi Jaymie. I read your blog but I rarely post a comment. I can’t help but post a comment now. I’m one of those wanna-be runners. I started running when my bf broke my heart and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I bought my first running shoes on impulse and just started running. It’s been 2 years. I’ve run several 5KS and 2 10Ks and I’m one of those people whose PR for a 10K is around 1 hr 30 (1 hr 24 mins to be exact). It’s been two years on and off and I should be better I suppose, but I’ve learned not to put a premium on my PRs. I just really like running. It helps me deal with stress (My job is super stressful) and I love how I feel when I run. I feel strong and powerful and it makes me feel I can do anything.

    I write now cause I just really dislike comments like Jim’s. I’ve encountered people like that before, especially when I was still starting, and I’m tempted to say, you don’t know anything about me or why I started running. Not everyone’s into running just cause it’s a popular sport, and even then, so what? What’s so bad if people just wanna run to have fun, to try what’s “uso?” People have their own reasons for running and no runner, wanna be or otherwise, should be made to feel like they don’t deserve to be engaged in the sport.

    I love your mag and your blog because it highlights runners, elite or not, “Real” or just wanna-be’s because that’s precisely what the running world is made up of. We’re not all elite, we’re not all gunning for Boston or for a medal. But we like running and we like to read about other running and about other people who like running. I understand his point about getting support for our athletes, but there are other ways to get that point across without disparaging other people. I suggest to JimS to just go running instead of spending his time making snide remarks that could turn people off from something that could have been good for them.

  • giddyyap

    i was about to post some nasty remarks for Mr. JimS. but after reading Kenneth’s post and pledge, i cannot help but hold back.

    i think we all share the same sentiments for Mr. JimS so i won’t add anymore. instead, i would like to commend Kenneth for his generous gesture. i hope the running community can also come up with something to help support the “deserving elites” in their chosen profession. if it takes joining a race for their benefit, then i’m all for it. happy running everyone! let’s keep the human spirit alive by running. :)

  • Macky

    Agree with you Jaymie. Real runners are the runners who love running whether they win a running race or not, whether they get paid to run or not. Real runners are runners who help others or inspire others to take up running and Hector is certainly such a person who has a done a lot for the local running community. Thank you very much Jaymie for keeping it real.

  • Migs

    Jaymie, when you receive emails from people like JimS who seem to think that the average runner doesn’t inspire and doesn’t deserve recognition, please ignore them.

    Keep doing what you’re doing because I’m sure you contribute more to the sport than all the crab-minded JimS’s of this world.

  • Cougcat

    I am not an imaginary runner.
    Therefore, I am a real runner.

  • Kenneth (FB: Just Running)

    Dude (JimS) you made a valid point on the lack of support and corporate sponsorships for the elite runners in the Philippines to gain exposure at international races but you don’t have to go that far in trashing other runners and the TBR magazine for that.

    Who cares if TBR still has to feature an elite runner in its cover. The last time I check Philippines is still a democracy and any editor-in-chiefs is free to run any story they want. You don’t like it then don’t read it. FRONTRUNNER or RUNNERSWORLD might be an option to you.

    TBR magazine caters to a segment of the running community and might not fit your definition of a real running magazine. Get over it and go find one that suits your reading needs.

    Now back to sponsorships and probably a government run program to send runners overseas and hopefully compete with the worlds elites. I am up for that and it can be done.

    For a start, I’ll pledge $1,000.00 to sponsor an elite runner from the Philippines to run an international marathon next year. I live it up to Jaymie to work on the criteria in selecting who gets sent and to what race.

    I run a marathon a month and its true that international marathon running is expensive. I’ll sacrifice a marathon in my schedule for next year and will donate $1,000.00 for any Filipino athlete to run overseas.

    On that note I am also challenging any corporate CEO’s, politicians, NGO heads and anybody reading this blog who has the means of helping our country’s elite athletes gain international exposure and make the Philippines proud to set up a program that will help our talented but financially strapped runners race overseas.

    For the love of running, whose up for the challenge? Lets get it on and start sending more Filipino runners overseas representing the country.

  • friends

    Have pity on JimS..kawawa naman sya:-)

    Punta ka na lang JimS sa TBR DM dinner party sa Wed at BHS para ma______ ka!

    Wag kana magdala pera kahit KKB ha?

    • yopips

      I don’t WANNA BE in a Boston Marathon
      I don’t WANNA BE in an IRONMAN either
      but i read your magazine and blog regularly and even follow you on facebook and twitter :) let’s just say you will listen to JimS, which I’m sure you won’t and feature Sabal and Elite runners on TBR magazine what good will it bring us “unreal runners”?? mukhang hindi yata ako makaka relate. JimS said “keep doing the same practice and you will lose credibility as a real runners magazine” I say… just continue with what you’re doing and we will continue to “run” with you

  • Tin

    Oh, and on the elites – I guess JimS is a misrepresentation of most of them. I know some of them personally and they’re one of the most humble and helpful persons I’ve met-Not in any way discriminating. JimS-chill! Let’s just run.

  • tin

    on hector-whenever I buy my gel supply at the second wind, he would always give a piece of advice for free re the race or long run I’d have. Ill check out the pogi part when I visit the store this week Hahaha…

  • enzoenzo

    …by JimS definition, TBR mag did feature a “real runner” on the previous issue, March-April. I think Willie Guevarra ran Boston Marathon repeatedly.

    It’s funny that now it is Jaymie’s obligation to provide sponsorships to the elites. Isn’t that the problem of somebody else?

    TBR could easily cease to give out FREE magazines. I’m guessing that the TBR Dream Marathon took a lot of her time and effort so it is possible that there wouldn’t be a TBRDM 2011.
    TBR can easily stop blogging just because she wants to stop.
    Are we taking TBR for granted?

    Imagine if there was no

    By JimS definition, imagine if no wannabe runners joined races. Would there even be NY, Chicago, Boston Marathon??? What is the essense of qualifying for Boston if only those who aspire to join are the only ones who can easily qualify? Who are the people that tries countless races to have that BQ to simply fail and to luckily succeed? Through elitist remarks, wannabes like me would stray away from BostonM. The Boston Marathon would lose its selling proposition.
    It would become just another marathon. Seems like NY Marathon lottery would become more exciting then.

    Would sports companies just freely give out sponsorships, free shoes etc. to elites, if the companies didn’t profit from patronizing wannabes? The wannabe runners are PAYING for the so-called real runners.

  • tin

    It’s a very disappointing judgmental comment from Jims. I’d say, just keep up the good work jaymie. Your blog and magazine has been a good source of info and inspiration since I started to embrace the sports.

  • eas

    JimS should come out in the open. Don’t be a “Koala Bear.”

  • Atty. Jon

    You cannot please everyone.

    Sting aptly puts it: “Be yourself no matter what they say.” (Englishman in New York)

  • noobie

    when started running a year ago, was amazed to discover this community of people who were at races and fun runs to celebrate the simple joys of running and, even as a loose community, help bigger communities in causes and fund-raisers. it was fun until read a post similar to that of jim’s in another running forum. for someone like me who just run for run, elitist comments made me feel like was gate-crashing, descerating their sacred sport, made me feel unwelcome, and think that maybe i belong at the sidelines rather than on the road. not that agree with their opinion, but thought maybe finishing a marathon would change things, make me a real runner, and get accepted. but guess it’s never going to be enough for the jims out there.

  • superbonngg!

    i-takbo na lang natin ‘to! :)

  • Haste

    I’m a runner wannabe and proud of it and for me TBR has shown the way for ordinary people like me to enjoy and be inspired with running.

    In a perfect world elite runners in our country should be up there with the Manny Pacquiaos, James Yaps, Efren Bata Reyes and other famous Filipo athletes who garner not just sponsors but recognition. I say this becuase what other sport in out country could gather thousands of participants week after week? This is how popular running has become. But despite of these we often times forget the people who really excel in our beloved sport. To stress my point ask a 10 year old kid playing Basketball who is his idol he’ll probably say Kobe, James Yap etc…Ask a runner who participates regarlary in weekend races and ask hime who’s the no.1 runner in our country, he or she would probably give you a blank stare or even blurt out Papa P….Another think despite the number of participants on a race, how many of us really stay and watch the awarding ceremonies? Do we even greet them or take picures with the winners? I think it’s not just the sponsorship our elite runner need, I think they also need our recognition.

  • Reylynne

    Kudos Jaymie! Very well said, as always. Equating real runners with medals won or great PRs is so elitist. If there’s anything I love about running, it’s that it’s inclusive. I’m an NGO worker fighting for the right of the marginalized through good governance and I would hate it to realize that the other world which I think is a escape from this social and political reality is also mudded with the same illness. I think that in running, we all stand on equal footing and that is we love running. That’s why I loved the TBR Dream Marathon and the magazine so much. No one is belittled or alienated. The elite ones, those who become great and known for the awards they get, etc, while worthy of being admired and supported definitely do not draw the line between who the real runners are and who are not. At the end of the day, what matters is what kind of people we become out of everything we do. We each have our own stories in relation to running that goes beyond what medals and PR tell of what kind of runner of people we are. If we romanticize the word “real” its definition will eventually be absurd. We should sometimes take some words as it is. Real runners are the ones who love the sport. Awarded and fast runners are real runners just like the rest who love the sport. I feel sad about this comment.

  • Bic

    I never realized that there was an exclusivity clause in running- that you had to be elite to be called a runner!

    In the same way that JimS is entitled to an opinion then I am entitled to mine. JimS, you are wrong about your definition of what a ‘real’ runner is. And you are wrong about Hector being pa-pogi because he already is!

  • Eric

    I am not an elite runner.
    I run 3 days a week after office to destress.
    I wake up at 5AM on weekends to continue doing what I love doing.
    I travel from Cavite to BHS to join the half-marys.
    I am not an elite runner.
    Shame on you, JimS.

  • Rich A. TBR bib #024

    i am just your average weekend runner, not your so called ‘elite’. If it was not for TBR, i would not have enjoyed running more. Jaymie, & Hector have helped motivate & inspire myself as well as other average runners out there. Keep u the good work.

  • Michael Antonio

    JimS, i think you should address your concerns to our new president =)

    Noynoy should help our athletes

  • Gail

    I don’t think this guy has ever met Hector. Aside from being pogi (naks), Hec is one of the nicest guys I know. I remember when I just started running, he would invite us to Thursday group runs. I was only a 5k runner that time. He would entertain my every question on what to do, what not to do before, during and after runs. He inspired me to try to achieve more and this is why I believe you featured him so that he can continue to inspire more people. Keep it up Jaymie! :)

    • hector

      hi gail, salamat for your kind words. congratulations on your marathon – i hope your ankle is better by now. keep those questions coming!

  • Bobby

    Baka gusto rin sumikat ni JimS? Uso ngayon yan! JimS, why not make your own “free” running magazine or better yet, create your own running group and organize a marathon. Or maybe, have your own running store so you’ll also be “pogi” like Hec…who knows, he might give you an autographed pic and a kiss from mikey hahaha…peace guys! ;-)

    • Paolo Manuel

      Mikey ako na lng kiss mo!

    • hector

      get in line, i want to get mikey’s free kiss first :P

  • mickymac

    By the way, Hector Yuzon is the owner of Secondwind Running Store. You can visit him at:
    88 Maginhawa St. UP Teacher’s Village Quezon City during Tuesdays and Wednesdays and at:
    Unit 03A Ortigas Home Deopot,J.Vargas Ave. cor. Meralco Ave. Pasig City

    See for yourself how “POGI” he is!

    • Paolo Manuel


    • joe

      sa loob mismo ng home depot yung store? thanks!

    • Jeremy

      Its outside, in front of the wet market, beside the bike shop.

      You can get your free copy of the bullrunner mag and if you’re lucky, the pogi runner himself maybe there to autograph it!

    • mickymac

      Hi Joe, it’s along the restaurant row, in front of the wet market and beside All-Terra Bike Shop.

    • Lods

      baka kailanganin ni Hec ng bodyguard a!

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