Last year, on October 10, 2010 (10.10.10), the Run for the Pasig River, led by ABS-CBN Foundation managing director, Gina Lopez, broke the world record for the most number of participants in a foot race when over 116,000 participated in a fun run to raise funds to rehabilitate the Pasig River.
This year, the Pasig River Run was held yesterday, November 20, 2011 at SM Mall of Asia with thousands of runners taking part in a 3k, 5k, or 10k fun run to save our historic river.
At the same time, a select group of runners were invited to join a 21k Charity Run for the Pasig River. This was not a race but an easy run meant to take the runners from the roads of Bonifacio High Street, along the Pasig River by Guadalupe, Paco estero, and ending at SM Mall of Asia for a special breakfast where the main event was held.
Along with a group of friends, Jun, Lit, and Miriam, I decided to join the charity run which started in front of Coach Rio dela Cruz’s new store, Riovana, in Bonifacio High Street at 4:30 am.
Spotted in the assembly were Polo Tri team member Fernando Zobel, Joey Torres, Cliff Eala and Levy Ang, Mitch Felipe-Mendoza, Malou Fores of Mamou, Michelline Suarez, Edwin Soriano of Runner’s Runner, Gem Padilla and more. It was nice to say hi to a friend and host for the race, Mia Bayuga of Magic 89.9. Too bad I didn’t even catch a glimpse of Piolo who I heard was in the crowd. Ernie Lopez gave a brief welcome speech then our little fun run began.
The run started like any other 21k race I’ve run before. We ran towards British School, circled the area, and climbed up University Ave. The pace was light and easy with a lot of time for chit chat, even with Ernie for a few minutes.
Then it got exciting. We exited Bonifacio Global City and headed for Guadalupe! Two things I loved: 1) It was the first time I ran in that area, and 2) there was a gentle downhill where we could run fast with ease, then the road flattened out as we ran by the Pasig River on our right.
We ran straight through the back of Rockwell and through the little barangays of Makati. At first, the roads were familiar for me having lived in Bel Air half my life, but after a while, I had no clue where we were or where we were headed. We just went straight ahead enjoying every minute of this new route we were taking. This was definitely a welcome change from our usual weekend long runs. This run felt like a thrilling yet safe adventure replete with support from organizers just like a real race: marshals, hydration stations, and bananas.
Since none of us had left our vehicles at the finish area, SM MOA, for a trip home (We actually planned on leaving one vehicle there for all of us to ride in, but ran into problems involving a minor car bump and 3 tipsy women before the race which is too long a story to tell here), we deviated from the route and decided to run our way back to Bonifacio High Street. The four of us waved goodbye to the marshals and made a right towards South Super Highway. Running on South Super was surreal. I couldn’t believe we were actually doing this.
After a few hundred meters, we spotted a some runners and discovered that we had cut 3k through the route and were back on course! Good thing this wasn’t a race!
The runners below us passed a portion of the river that was polluted by foam and dirt. This was truly a disturbing sight, but it was also an eye-opener and it made this run even more meaningful.
When we hit the intersection of Buendia, we left the group and made our way back to Bonifacio High Street. It was then that it was just the four of us on the road and I felt like we were on a great urban run adventure. (Ooh, don’t we need these things every now and then?!) We purchased water and Gatorade at 7-11, then ran along Ayala Avenue going up and down the underpass, and climbing the overpass along EDSA until we reached McKinley Road.
We hit the parking lot where our cars were parked at the exact distance of…guess what…21km. A perfect end to a perfectly wonderful and meaningful run.
Thank you to ABS-CBN Foundation and Ernie Lopez for inviting us to participate in this run. It was a pleasure to run with you and to contribute to saving our Pasig River.