RUN United 1 Race With Me: A Pacer’s Musings

Nothing could make me happier than seeing the happy faces of some runners who paced with us all the way to the finish line during the Run United 1 (RU1) 10k event.  They exceeded themselves by finishing 70 minutes pace time (7 min/km) earlier than expected. Their finish time could be considered as their personal best (PB). That was the job of a pacer—to bring runners achieved their finish time goal of 1:10 (in hours). The task can be daunting but hearing participants saying “thank you” or having a photo op with you or simply giving you a high five after finishing, in itself, the best compliment they could give to Pacers.

FB_IMG_1426084957446
Me and my pace time balloons. Yey! Taken a few meters away from the finish line. (Photo by Running Photographers)

The opportunity to be a pacer was my way of giving back to runners and l thank Unilab Active Health for the chance.  Like them, I was once a newbie, too.  I learned from advanced and experienced runners as they, too, gave me tips when was starting to embrace running.  I applied those tips in my daily runs, long runs, and races and found them helpful.  Tips gathered, coupled with learning the craft of running and writing those experiences, made me what I am now as a runner.  Sufficed it to say that running (sometimes) wasn’t about winning.

ULAHPACERS
A group photo with fellow pacers. (Photo by Franc Ramon)

 

received_1123651884327369
Celebratory smiles. Job well done, pacers! (Photo by Lyana Pasil Jecob)

Running helped me find my best self or worst self.  When I was out there running, it gave me a different feeling of euphoria and perspective.  Running, to me, was not just about you or me, but of something bigger than ourselves.

FB_IMG_1426085018947
With Jaymie Pizarro “The Bull Runner” who just finished her long run after finishing RU1 (Photo by Jez Derramas)

It was not a first time for me to be a pacer.  I had my baptism of fire in 2009 during the first Quezon City International Marathon.  I was the lead pacer for the 2:30 pace time for 21k.  We finished three minutes earlier than expected.  That was a PB for the runners who paced in our group.   The second stint happened during the 2014 HP Recovery Run (I still have yet to write about it, by the way).

Those who ran with us last Sunday, finished four minutes earlier than target time of 1:10 (in hours).  Not bad at all!  We maintained an even pace all throughout the race.  Based on my Garmin watch, our group ran an average pace of 6:30 min/km.   I was running silently behind the lead pacers—an experienced triathlete and the other runner who recently finished a marathon in Tokyo, Japan.  Then the other pacer encouraged me to run with the other lead pacer.  The triathlete pacer became the cheerer of the group. She was so good that her cheers encouraged participants to stay in the pack.

There was no time wasted.  It was a quick stop in every water station  after taking a sip or two and off we go running again.  From time to time the cheerer in the group announced, “Water station is way up ahead” “Drink up!” “Is everyone OK?” “70 minutes regroup!”  And this continued up to the finish line.  When we saw the kilometer marker with 4k more to go, I knew it would be a personal record (PR) or a PB for the participants.  We slowed down our pace at the last two kilometers.  Around this time, we maintained an average pace of 6:40 min/km.  As we were on our way to the finish line, the last 200 or 100 meters or so, our group’s cheerer/pacer shouted, “70 minutes runners sprint now!” Heard fast footsteps behind me. FINISH! Mission accomplished! We gathered again after crossing the finish line for a quick picture taking.  And, guess who took our photo?  It was no other than the son of a former Philippine President.  WOW!

Finishing together made me remember a line from the Born to Run book, and I quote, “The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other but to be with each other.”  How awesome is that?

2015-03-11 22.47.30
Happy for Jez and Wilbert, fellow choirmates and swimming classmates, who finished strong for their 21k Distance event.  Wil exceeded himself by being one of the pacers for 21k.  Jez who started with 10k only now a strong runner for longer distances.   Nice!  (Photo by Jez Derramas)
2015-03-11 22.48.13
If not for Norvs, I wouldn’t have found the Pacers’ tent prior to gun start for 10k participants.  Thanks, Norvs! (Photo by Norvs Rubicruz)
2015-03-11 22.49.08
Was just having fun watching them taking pictures when Thirdy joined me for this shot.  He’s doing great as a yogi.  Thanks a lot, Thirdy! (Photo by Thirdy Lopez)
FB_IMG_1426085130976
The last time I saw this guy was during the Milo Marathon in July last year. Congratulations, Edison on your strong finish. The Beast unleashed at the RU1 edition! (Photo by Edison Dantes)

This wouldn’t be possible if not for the opportunity and trust of Unilab Active Health (ULAH) bestowed upon us, running bloggers. Thank you so much to fellow blogger Bards aka Banana Running who took care of us in behalf of Vimz aka Kulit Runner.  That said, thank you, too, ULAH for making my alter ego RUNNING DIVA a part of your Run United 2015 Exceed Yourself campaign.

FB_IMG_1426085097860
With Ms. Zen of ULAH and fellow bloggers/runners/ pacers at the Pacers’ Lounge.  Thank you Ms. Zen for taking care of us.  Woot! Woot!  (Photo by Wilbert Lacbay)

Until next time!