The gang (like some mafia) met early at McDonald’s in U.N.Avenue. Doc Topher was already there when I arrived. Soon, the guys came altogether. We’ve had some light meal and hurriedly proceeded to walk to the starting line of the Philippine International Marathon in KM 0 Luneta.
As expected, the race started on time. The atmosphere was just fun and excitement for all the runners. There was just a flood of smiles everywhere.
We started just fine. Negative and slow. After 5 kilometers, we catched up with the plan. And so the run was plain and pure in good speed. Until we reached Hulo. The relay team, who has maintained a good pace all-through-out the run, is way ahead now. We’re a bit slow at this point. Indeed, by the time we reached Pioneer Street, we’re on our own. The relay team cannot be seen now.
The route of the Philippine International Marathon is not for the faint of hearts. The goind up and down the bridges, the stretch of Pioneer down to C5, and the uphill turn to Buendia-Kalayaan Flyover is some kind of a killer trail. (for the likes of us, I guess). But generally speaking, it’s a laudable feat for the Organizer to have maintained a water station up until KM 38. It is good to note the presence of marshalls and medics along the way. For some runners threading the route alone, it means a lot. For us three (3), Gab, Me and Neil (who surprisingly stayed with us to the Finish LINE from the relay point in Lambingan Bridge where he started), reaching the Support Station of TAKBO.PH in KM 34? is bliss!
There was just the old-loud-but-effective-cheers, and some banners this time, coupled with a lot of questionings on what you need – what you want – kaya pa? – are you alright? – and other things i can’t recall. But I shall never forget the ICE-cold-GATORADE. That blue-colored thing straight from the ice-chest served by NEIL in a plastic cup…IT WAS THE BEST! Next to it is the unforgettable Bengay applied with care by Cindy on my calf muscle. It helped a lot in preventing the full on-set of a painful cramps. I was able to cross the finish line just fine!
Thanks to Luis the Gingerbreadman for the nice spray of water on my nape…that’s some relief. It was really hot. I recall a relay-team member saying a 90-degrees of humidity. Wow.
Thanks also to everybody in the Support Station. Just seeing you guys smile is enough to lift our spirits.
But wait. Why the title?
That’s because, FOUR (4) marathons after, I retired my most reliable Pegasus +25. I have no choice but to use my NEWTON. So far, the run was just fine. The lugs heated, and my forefoot in heat, but still manageable. This 5th Full Marathon is the longest run for this new shoes. I guess, running a full marathon and finishing it well is not about the shoes. It’s the runner!
The runner who will not easily surrender.
The runner who knows when to give up, and when to let go.
The runner who is determined to cross the finishline, in pain or not.
The runner who is willing to take on the heat no matter what.
That’s us. That’s how we are. And that’s how we will always be.
Congratulations to everybody who finishes, and to all those sidelined by injuries! There’s always next time, guys!