Hoping for a Happier Run

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Early evening today I excitedly went to R.O.X to register friends for the Happy Run. I do not normally aggressively promote races and go out of my way to register friends, but the Happy Run is something special for me. Last year when I wrote my Yakult race account which I titled "Running with Others, For Others," I realized that while I may be praying for friends doing the Singapore marathon as I simultaneously ran the Yakult race, there had to be something more I could do as a runner. I also recalled having the blog entry "The Roads are Best Shared" (with family and friends) as Chrismas message. These thoughts were the first things that came to my mind when I first saw the Happy Run teaser late last year. I must do the Happy Run, convince as many running and non-running friends as I can to share the road and adventure with me, and contribute to a noble cause through the registration fees we would pay. Timing was perfect.

After Christmas I began my campaign to get my friends to join the run. In parties and get-togethers I spread the gospel of running. People were so fired up to join when I told them how I lost that much weight. In January I sent emails to yahoogroups, created a private Facebook event and texted others who seldom go online. I was itching to run the 15K but I ditched that plan so I can accompany those who are already scared of the 3K. I left no stone unturned. Up to this morning I just had about 10 people accepting my invitation. I was expecting more to be honest, but I figured that if it wouldn't be me who will lead them to running, maybe others will. Or maybe they are meant for other things.

Imagine my surprise and elation when one friend suddenly approached me in the office and delivered 7 accomplished forms. Within 10 minutes another officemate gave me two more forms. Another ten minutes I got 5 more forms. I was so thrilled I told everyone I would personally go to R.O.X. to register them, even if I was just there the previous night and I really planned to retire early to bed.
Two more first-time runners accompanied me to R.O.X to register and buy their fitness gears. Imagine my disappointment when the RunRio personnel told me that all 2,500 slots have been filled up. I called up Coach Rio hoping he will declare a miracle, but the good coach could only promise that he will check if registration can be expanded.

What do I do with the forms and the money? The fees would go to charity, I repeatedly told my friends. If you register and run, I would treat you McDo breakast. A Happy Meal for doing the Happy Run! Do it for me, I told them, or for their fitness. Do it for the children of Taguig. How do I explain to non-runners that despite the heavy advertising on Magic 89.9 and my constant prodding, only 2,500 slots are available and that they should have signified interest earlier. It was already a miracle for me that they said yes, and now I do not know what to tell them.

I suppose I would tell them to still go and run, and that my Happy Meal offer still stands. With or without the cool singlet with the happy face, even if their times and effort will not be recorded. I was told they could ran bandit, but was advised to tell my friends not to go through the finish line as official times may be affected. I remembered my first ever 5K in a Milo event, how crossing that finish line and getting that finisher shirt meant so much to me. I remembered being constrained to bandit run the Milo 10K last November, and how being shoved away from the finish line chute was such an anti-climactic end to what should have been my 10K personal best.

Drew, I tip off my running cap to you for a great concept, and wish you all the best on your belated celebratory run. I suppose I only have one wish for what I figured would be my birthday run too: that the invitation be extended to more people so we all could have a bigger and happier run. Happy Running to all of us.


Jinoe January 22, 2009 at 9:59 PM  

Naku si Rico naging pusher na rin. Goodluck sa Happy Run on Sunday.

Nora, the golden girl January 23, 2009 at 1:19 AM  

Rico, I'm deeply saddened by your story. I know how hard it is to convince someone to run and join a race and convincing the whole office is a miracle in itself. I hope Coach Rio could extend the no. of participants.

Rico Villanueva January 23, 2009 at 2:30 AM  

Thanks. I am still optimistic and praying for a happier run.

Rico Villanueva January 23, 2009 at 2:43 AM  

Nora, I was so sad leaving R.O.X. that I had to take a quick sugar and chocolate fix to lift my sagging spirits. I had choco glazed donuts at Krispy Kreme. I feel better now but I am still optimistic things will turn out they way they ought to be - for the greater good of the greater number.

Anonymous January 23, 2009 at 6:09 PM  

Hi Rico,

I hope things will still work out for you. I'm glad you are promoting health and fitness among your colleagues.

Run strong,


Rico Villanueva January 23, 2009 at 11:09 PM  

Hi QuickSilver, nice of you to drop by. My friends and I are still running, and join in the fun. I hope they enjoy running.

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