is setting a new personal record more important than helping a runner in need?
for the nth time, i ran the half-marathon at run united 2 held at the fort early saturday morning. even with little training due to a very loaded work schedule, i was feeling better about this race. but this is still 21 kilometers so i have to be really really careful.
"it's gonna be a great day.", i told myself.
minutes before race time, i found out that about three-fourths of the runners are first-time half-marathoners. i guess that explains the sea of reactions you can see in their faces. a few cannot hide their excitement while others look like they do not know what they had gotten themselves into. many are extremely nervous, a few of them doing the sign of the cross. but as the countdown to start begins, everyone wore their game faces.
the first part of the race was a breeze. going around bonifacio high street and towards british school pose no threat to someone who runs regularly. and since the race started at 5:10 in the morning, the cool atmosphere was just perfect for everyone.
but it ends there.
because both buendia flyover and bayani road are included in the route and will surely test everyone's limits.
i was on my 15th kilometer when i noticed several people stopping, pain evident in their faces. as much as i can, i gave words of encouragement to those i pass by. but then i realized, would that be enough?
and then i remember my first half-marathon a few months ago when i encountered muscle cramps a few kilometers before the finish line. more than the pain in my legs, what hurts me more was the fact that i have the spirit, i have the drive but my legs just won't move. aside from that, what added to the frustration was that runners who were behind me earlier in the race were already passing by me.
but yes, there were also a few who stopped and offered help. there was this lady who offered medicines. there was this guy who taught me how to stretch my leg muscles properly. and then there was this old man who walked with me a few meters before the finish line.
and so i decided to stop as well. to every person i pass by who needed that push. i know i am just one but i hope that my little gesture will show them that my type of running is not all about competition and personal records; that there is compassion in this sport; that there's still fun in "fun run". i learned it from those runners who became my angels and help me get that very first medal i have.
anyway, i can always beat my record on another day.
perhaps in singapore next month.