It was a poignant moment as I watched on TV the arrival of flagdraped caskets of the slained members of Philippine National Police Special Action Force (also known as SAF 44) carried over by their comrades’ shoulders. This scene lingered in my mind, which triggered the desire to join last Sunday’s Condura Skyway Marathon ‘Run for a Hero’ in support with the fallen heroes. What better way to honor these gentlemen than by running in solidarity with them in strength and sacrifice even at the wee hours of the morning.
Finding a Race Kit: Any Distance Will Do!
Prior to the marathon right up to Friday night, I spent a great deal of time thinking how I can possibly join the race considering registration had closed many months ago (as in last year). It was like a ‘suntok sa buwan’ (punch to the moon) or an impossible idea or thought. I knew I had an extremely slim chance of getting any available kit. Still, I tried to inquire from a good friend and fellow runner. I think the stars must have connived with me that night. I was overloaded with elation and jubilation when that friend of mine told me that he still had an extra FREE 21K race kit for me. ln my mind, it was a resounding ‘YES!’ Indeed a success for securing a kit. I was blown away!
Race Day: This is It!
Woke up at 2 AM. Enough time for me to take a trip to Alabang where the Start is, deposit my stuff at the baggage area, and proceed to Skyway Alabang Tunnel along Alabang-Zapote Road where the half marathon runners converged at their designated Wave. Truly, l was surprised to see such a huge crowd in a race. l had to go through it to reach the ‘C’ Wave. There’s nothing like a good run on a nice, cold, windy early morning. When the weather is perfect–not too hot, not too cold. Yeah, it has been four years since the last time l have run the long stretch of the Skyway. To start running from Filinvest and back was a pretty novel experience for me.
Lost in thought, somewhere in those moments, I felt a hand gently tapped my right shoulder and snapped me out. It was Patrick ‘PatCon’ Concepcion aka Running Shield, fellow Happy Feet and runner, who happened to be one of the key players of Condura Marathon. We exchanged pleasantries and shook hands as he wished me well.
Honoring the Fallen SAF 44 Heroes
Half marathon runners started in groups and released at approximately two-minute intervals. When it was our turn to leave, maintaining a jog pace, l watched from afar soldiers, 44 of them, were lined up on the left side of the road, each holding a photo of the slained SAF 44 member while runners saluted as they passed by, a moving gesture of mutual respect. This simple act gave almost everyone that warm feeling. I was glad to have witnessed it.
The Route and the Road to FINISH
Skyway is relatively flat, with gradual ascent, and free of cars. Turnaround point was at Bicutan (10.5K). A short fireworks display came into view while l was still running the last few kilometers. Finally, with less than a kilometer to go, there was a gradual ascent before hitting the finish line. Again, PatCon, was there to congratulate the finishers. Overall, l felt great and happy of my running performance and with how the race went.
It’s an honor to have run via the Running Shield. Thank you so much for the complimentary kit, the welcoming smile and hug before the race started and as l crossed the finish line. Congratulations to you and your brother Ton, and the rest of the members of the Condura Skyway Marathon Organizing Committee. Kudos to Runrio Team! What an awesome way to run the Skyway after four years. I salute!
The beneficiary of the race event is the HERO Foundation, which provides educational assistance to children and siblings of Filipino soldiers killed in action or disabled while in line of duty.