Organizers dubbed it “Run for Life”, and the 175 who answered the starting gun at dawn last Sunday just couldn’t care less about the accuracy of the distance or their individual clockings and placements.
After the last runner hit the finish line beside the barangay hall, Outlook Drive barangay captain Mike Arnaiz admitted that the actual route was longer than the three-kilometer distance announced in the flyers. Still, measuring it was of no moment.
Some paid the P200 registration fee but didn’t run. Those who sponsored runners just couldn’t care if no one ran to match the amount they contributed. Those who did run came in all sizes and ages, from all walks and from all over the city. Perhaps even beyond, for compassion knows no borders.
All of the above help to explain the mis-match of figures that are reflective of the old Baguio, when this city was one neighborhood, not 128 barangays. Donors refused to be limited to P200 per runner. Otherwise, at 175 runners x P200, the cash on hand after the race would have been only P35,000, not over P52,000.
The run was advertised as an age bracket race, but winning was hardly a reason for signing up. Participation and support were..
That’s why after negotiating the route, Thomas Calasicas, the former village chief of CabinetHill-Teachers Camp, didn’t wait for the official results. He was on his way to his next appointment when the organizers announced his slow time of 35 minutes and 37 seconds was the fastest in the seniors’ class. At 78, he was the oldest runner - or walker.
Female bracket winner Ruby Maria Tamondong made it in 33:23 while open male champion Sena Jeson timed in at 17:05, proofs that the route was far beyond three kilometers.
In the 14-and-below class, Arlan Carolino took the gold in 21:06:02, towing brothers Adrian (21:18:84) and Angelo (21:27:10) for a 1-2-3 finish of siblings. It was a repeat in the girls’ 14-under division, with Juliet, Criza and Joana, all surnamed dela Cruz, topping the field in that order in 32:02, 33:27 and 37:52.
The sports event was for 48-year old silvercraft shop worker Rosita Dimson, 15-year old high school student John Philip dela Pena and 50-year old Wright park bridle path pony boy Arnold Silvino. The three were diagnosed for various types and stages of cancer.
Rosita, mother of three and wife to Rolly Dimson, a driver with the National Telecommunications Commission, had undergone chemo and radiation therapy and is still into brachytherapy at the Jose Reyes Hospital in Manila.
John Philip, second of three sons of a house painter, was diagnosed for leukemia last November. He has since been into chemotherapy under a protracted treatment protocol lasting three to five years as required in such cases.
“We almost missed out on Arnold until someone told us he and his family were renting a house in our barangay,” said barangay captain Arnaiz, himself a former pony boy at the Wright Park.
Silvino, father to six children, was confirmed positive for cancer of the stomach last January. Last Monday morning, a day after “Run for Life” the news was out that he had just passed on. His remains were brought home to Pacdal for the wake. The funeral mass was set yesterday (Saturday)morning at the nearby St. Joseph Church where his late father, Fred, served as altar boy.
His lingering illness drained Arnold’s family, financially and emotionally. That’s why his son Ronald, 24, stopped schooling so the family could focus on his treatment.
That’s why Ronald also ran last Sunday. Not only for his dad but also for Rosita and John Philip.
That’s why the Metro-Baguio Taxi Operators and Drivers Association came in as sponsors, in the company of Mr. Hapi Bread Shop and Café, city mayor Mauricio Domogan, Rep. Bernardo Vergara, John Hay Development Corp. director Leandro Yangot, director Michael Lawana of the Benguet Electric Cooperative, and Police Precinct 3.
That’s why social worker Myrna Valencerina reset her Sunday morning with her kids to help manage the run. That’s why other village chiefs under the newly formed Samahang Barangay Pangkalikasan (SBP) came in as support group and with their personal pledges.
That’s why, aside from the total cash on hand of P52,721 after the race, pledges, mostly from SBP members, were being delivered last week. Donations included pass-the-hat collections from players of the second season of the inter-barangay basketball tournament that the SBP opened the other Saturday at the Engineer’s Hill covered court.
After all, last Sunday’s fun run was for life. – Ramon Dacawi.