Of Broken Promises, Apologies and Statements

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I am an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist who prepares and plans thoroughly, and leaves no stone unturned. Unfortunately, I am imperfect, and I do slip up occasionally. When that happens, I face the music, say sorry, and try my creative best to make-up for the slip. I exert a lot of effort on making-up for my mistakes, and expect others to make similar effort when they commit mistakes, moreso if I am at the losing end. I do not know if it is a proper attitude and expectation, but that is how I am.

In the recent Smart Subic International Marathon, mistakes were made that affected me, my friends, and a lot of runners.  I verbalized my comments as soon as I saw the respective heads of Eventologist, Smart Sports, and the Race Founder. My friend Jet calmly chose to write to the stakeholders, and I was copied in the email as well as the response from Eventologist. As the correspondence was private and I was not the originator, I will not quote the contents. It will suffice to note that Mr. Adi de los Reyes of Eventologist admitted the mistakes, said sorry and apologized. For that I admire the guy. He said there were circumstances beyond his control; what they were I do not know. I wish I know, for I do not want to hold a person/company accountable for something over which he/it does not have control.

Race sponsor Smart recently issued a statement. I commend Smart Sports for taking time to make a statement. I means a lot to us runners. I am aware Smart Sports is new in its running advocacy, but its seriousness in its advocacy and its responsiveness are things I trust in and appreciate.

At the outset, we at Smart Sports would like to extend our congratulations to all the runners, most especially to the marathoners of the recently concluded Subic International Marathon 2009. However, it has come to our attention the numerous comments of the participants of SIM 2009 regarding the technical aspect of the race and if there are shortcomings we will make it a point to discuss this with the race organizers. Rest assured to the running community that all these comments, feedbacks and suggestions are carefully being reviewed and will be kept as reference for other marathons Smart will be supporting.   
Allow us to take this opportunity to share with the running community the reasons why Smart Sports decided to support SIM:
1.     We are a sponsor. Much the same way we will be when we sponsor other marathons
2.     We believe in the transformational advocacy of the Philippine National Police through its program director Ret. Gen. Sam Tucay and Chief PNP Jesus Verzosa
3.     We realize that through SIM, we will be able to identify Filipino runners that can represent the country in international races. Kudos to the only 2 Filipinos (Hernanie Sore and Alquin Bolivar) to make it in the top ten who gave every ounce of willpower for flag and country
4.     We simply want to promote a sport where hundreds and thousands of passionate Filipinos love
5.     Sports tourism: to showcase the beauty of the Philippines. Particularly the beauty of SCTEX and Subic Bay

Since Smart Sports has committed to support Philippine marathon in the long run, we ask for the running community’s understanding and patience as Smart is very new to this. Smart has already pledged to support several international marathons for 2010 and we assure the running community that through partnerships with seasoned race organizers, we will make these marathons enjoyable and memorable which running enthusiasts (both local and foreign) can look forward to each year.
Smart – we’re helping sports… we’re helping running…
Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat!
Patrick “Pato” Gregorio
Head - Smart Sports

I was hoping it would cast more light on the true cause of lapses. The statement did reiterate the things I like about the race - transformative power of running, sports advocacy, and sports tourism. Unfortunately, we still do not know why there was lack of water, illumination and portalets during the race. I still do not know if I should be wary of races associated with Eventologist or PNP? I still do know if I should come back and do this race again.

I still believe Smart Subic International Marathon could be a great, prestigious race, just like the first time I heard about it directly from Retired General Sam Tucay, Pato Gregorio of Smart Sports, and Adi de los Reyes of Eventologist. I do not know how and when, but I want greatness to manifest itself.

I still believe in the transformative power of running. One day, I want to go back to Subic and run alongside policemen who are there because like me they have discovered the joy of running and have risen above their frailties. One day I hope to remark to friends that my Smart SIM experience is Simply Amazing! in all aspects. May it be so memorable every single, first-time marathoner will create a video of their experience.

Please make it happen.

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