Hot and Tough NatGeo Earth Day Run

Still standing after 21 kilometers and braving Mother Earth's "wrath" at the NatGeo Earth Day Run 2012.

     TAGUIG CITY – Over 6,500 runners showed their support and love for Mother Earth and answered the starting gun for the Third National Geographic Earth Day Run last April 22 at the Bonifacio Global City spread out among the main 21-kilometer half-marathon as well as 10, five and three-kilometer categories.

     “I am pleased with the huge turnout of runners especially in the three and five-kilometer races because it shows there are still a lot more people who are willing to make a difference, to go green and make a stand for the environment,” said Jude Turcuato, Fox International Channels Vice President and Territory Head.  “The Earth Day Run is our way of resonating our call to protect and conserve the environment.”

     The NatGeo Earth Run will always have a special place in my running heart because the 2011 edition served as my debut in the 21-kilometer category, in the process chalking up a personal record time that stood for almost a year until it was finally shattered in a run last month.  Since we shall be returning to where it all began, a record performance would be very fitting – until I woke up late and almost missed the 5:00 AM starting gun!

     Forget about establishing a record, there was no time to warm up and stretch as the run from the parking lot to the starting line served that purpose.  What was important is that I made it with about a minute or two before the gun was fired, sneaking a few token stretches while waiting.

     Usually, races that emanate from BGC first subject the runners to an easy path through its back streets.  However, the steep inclines of McKinley Hill and Bayani Road going to C-5 provided an early challenge.

     Because of the lack of stretching, I had to run cautiously as the pack ran towards McKinley and Bayani.  As I got my rhythm going, it was time to break from the main pack and pass a few runners on the way back to BGC.  This year’s course proved to be one of the toughest ever.  Up next was the Buendia-Kalayaan Flyover.

     Apparently, Mother Earth had a big say on the country’s premier environmental race as she unleashed a very uncomfortable combination of heat and humidity as the sun begun to fully shine.  I noticed that instead of the usual half or one cup of water, I would take two full cups at the hydration stations, with a third poured on my head and body.

     It can be said that this year’s course can be likened to most courses but done in reverse.  Case in point was the final descent from the flyover – this is usually meant the final push towards the finish but that was not the case the runners were made to turn left and tackle the incline going towards Kalayaan Avenue and back.  I believe this was the planned course for last year but the McKinley and Bayani phase was junked in favor of a longer run along Buendia that reached the PNR tracks.

Final dash to the finish line. (photo courtesy of Glen Apacible)

     Overall, it was a good experience considering the circumstances and I was satisfied with my time.  Looking back, I should have rested the whole day before instead of attending an early morning running seminar sponsored by a magazine but what’s done is done.  The beauty of sport is that after a poor performance, there is always space for redemption so the Fourth NatGeo Earth Run in 2013 is already on my calendar.

     For over a hundred years, the National Geographic Society has been conducting a lot of research and educating the public on environmental concerns and issues.  In fact, I have been reading their monthly magazine regularly since 1981.  “The brand National Geographic is the run’s biggest selling point,” said Fox Senior Marketing Manager Adel Calma.

     The NatGeo Earth Day Run was made possible by Nokia, Sustagen Premium, Skechers and Haier in partnership with Greenbelt, Bonifacio Global City, Cushe, Devant and Tapa King.  This year’s beneficiary is the “Bata Mag-Aral Ka” program of the University of the Philippines.

     We would like to thank Jude Turcuato, Adel Calma and their staff at Fox International Channels for making my participation in the NatGeo Earth Run possible.


About Anthony E. Servinio

A long-time television sportscaster, magazine writer, photographer and college professor from the Philippines finally gives blogging a try after more than a decade of on-line presence. Read on folks!
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