I found myself among the thousands of runners for the National Geographic Earth Day Run 2018 early Sunday morning here in Manila.
Nine years after the collective running phenomenon #NatGeoRun started in 2009, I finally have the chance to participate in one of the most awaited and well-attended running event every year.
It was an awesome sight to be part of the sea of runners, donned in blue and black singlets, flooded towards the streets surrounding Mall of Asia as participants braved the endurance challenge of 3-kilometer, 5K, 10K, and 21K categories.
Barely two months before this much anticipated event, I started few tune-ups runs. I do not regularly run. But I do regular biking for reasons of fitness. I enlisted at 10K category, gunstart at exactly 5am.
I hate doing runs in the city especially in Metro Manila when you have to brush elbows with other people, and share “trail” with smoke-belching vehicles.
But who can underscore the prestige of running for a National Geographic event? Muchless, on running for a cause to save the planet and enlist myself as one of Mother Earth’s Eco Warriors.
I am a lover of nature. I made this run to remind myself that there are also causes beyond ourselves that are equally important to our existence – the environment. This National Geographic initiative was able to support charitable institutions in its quest for the betterment of Mother Earth.
Throughout the years, Nat Geo Earth Day Run Philippines was able to give life to 36,000 fruit-bearing trees in Sierra Madre. It has donated fiberglass boats to the fishermen of Palawan in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. It gave light to the Tawbid Mangyan tribes in Mindoro through solar power lighting kits.
It dedicated resources to a myriad of causes, namely; conservation of the Apo Reef, saving Irawaddy dolphins, reducing carbon footprint in the lands of Masbate and the reforestation efforts in Ipo Watershed. This year, National Geographic Earth Day Run aims to build rain storage tanks to the farmers remotely situated in the province of Mindoro.
During my series of tune-up runs, I usually clocked in 1 hour, 45 minutes. But today, I challenged myself to do better. I did not refuel at the first pitstop – 3km from the starting point. I continue until the second pitstop at 6km.
By then I started to feel the fatigues of joints and muscles. I didn’t stop at the last water refilling station at 8km. But my pace is a constant grind of walk-run-walk. I decided to sprint the last 500 meters and clocked in 1 hour, 7 minutes, and 18 seconds – my personal best in 10km run.
Don’t get me wrong. I considered myself a champion not because my record was better than the others. Perhaps, there are already hundreds, if not thousands of runners ahead of me. I am a champion and conqueror because I know, in my little way, I contributed in rebuilding a better Earth.