Kabahagi Ako: Sharing skills, Changing Lives

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I received an invitation to attend a bloggers' “friends con” yesterday for VSO Bahaginan's 2010 Kabahagi Run. Initially I was hesitant to attend as I was tired from previous day's strength training. Moreover, as much as I wanted to run this race, I was already booked to spend that weekend doing a recon of the Subic triathlon course. But I attended. Initially because it was a friend I haven't seen in a long-time asking me. Yes, Doc Lyndon, my supposed Kuya based on good looks (haha), is now race organizer, part of the triumvirate that is LeadPack along with Takbo.ph's Jinoe and organizer Ian Alacar.

Over good food at Paul Calvin's Doc Lyndon and Jinoe regaled me with stories of how they prepared for Green Miles, the last race they organized. How they measured via Garmin, on car and on foot, the race distances, and how they themselves put up the pylons and water stations. Back-breaking work I must say, but the gleam in their eyes belied that. Once upon a time I was part of this group, plotting the first major takbo.ph pre-2009 Condura LSD and bringing into reality the unofficial 2009, 250 runner-strong, Condura Carbo-loading party. I am not part of Lead Pack, but in Doc Lyndon and Jinoe's new professional venture, somehow I feel, Kabahagi Ako.

 VSO's Arcille with LeadPack's Doc Lyndon, Jinoe and Ian

The same feeling of belonging, of community and sharing, permeated the air as Arcille Raagas of VSO Bahaginan talked about her volunteer service organization and its fund-raising venture, the Kabahagi Run, now on its second edition. Like the NGO that's behind it, the Kabahagi Run is devoid of commercialism and frills one sees in races nowadays. It is a little race that could, should and would. The kind I long to join once in a while to get back to that era when things were simple, true and pure, and where running is a joy in itself, not an excuse to see, be seen or to look cool. That the race supports the cause of volunteering is just a happy bonus.

As Arcille explains the volunteering efforts and as Ian describes the routes, I felt a tinge of regret. I wanted to be part of this race but I couldn't. I wanted to get a race kit for myself along with the simple but fabric-superior singlet. It is the kind of singlet I will proudly wear in BHS because I relate to the cause. But I restrained myself from getting a kit; instead I got the jacket emblazoned with the proud words: Kabahagi Ako. I am a volunteer myself. Kabahagi ako at nagbabahagi ako. Sharing skills, changing lives - my own, of friends and that of strangers. Every blog post and forum thread I make, I volunteer part of myself – my thoughts, mistakes, successes, lessons and aspirations. Kabahagi ako.

On April 25, 2010, while 3,000 of you will do the Kabahagi Run, a couple of us newbie triathletes will do our Olympic distance triathlon simulation. After a 1.5k ocean swim and 40k bike ordeal with steep hills, my friends and I will run a 10K.

Ah, the 10K. A favorite distance but something I find hard to be good at. While more than half of my runner friends already did sub-60 min, sub-50min and even sub-Piolo, I am still stuck at 65 minutes. I am supposed to focus on half-marathon this year, but I am always on the look-out for that special race – preferably a run for cause – where I can finally break that mental and physical barrier. It could have been the Kabahagi Run. But it can't be; I will be away somewhere. So I hinge instead on the quixotic thought that maybe I can try breaking it again on a triathlon – the Subic triathlon. Quixotic, yes. Stupid probably. Almost like an Impossible Dream. But sometimes, it is dreaming and chasing the impossible that bring us to greater heights. In some ways, the fight against poverty and underdevelopment is akin to an impossible dream. But volunteers everywhere persevere and make a difference. I want to be part of that dreaming and chasing. I shall measure my success not in the time ran, but in the quality of effort I put in and the difference I made.


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