First, the convenience. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and you’re off and running, literally.
Compare this with our experience yesterday. About 30 of us trooped near the lighthouse of Liloan at 7:00 A.M. to have a test bike run on the upcoming XTERRA race. From our homes, we loaded the bikes unto various vehicles. Helmets, gloves, water bottles, biking shoes — we prepared them all. Biking is fun. But it’s also a “production number.”
Running? It’s simple and pure. You can run early morning or late at night. If it’s raining, you can hop on the treadmill. When you go on a trip, it’s easy to pack a pair of shoes and discover the sights of Singapore or Cagayan de Oro by foot.
TWO. I don’t think any form of exercise beats running. On average, you burn 600 calories per hour of running. Just look at the physique of the runners. They’re lean, slim, fit. Here’s a guarantee: If you run four times each week, you will lose weight.
My favorite example is Steve Ferraren. He used to weigh 228 lbs. He could barely complete one round in the Abellana oval. But, through determination, he pushed one leg in front of the other and, now, he’s lost 83 lbs. and is one of the fastest runners among the Cebuano executives. His 42K time: 3 hours, 43 minutes.
THREE, I enjoy the company of friends while running. I recall training for the Singapore Marathon with our Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC) group. We’d run 20 to 30 kms. and, the entire way, I’d be chatting with friends like doctors Vic Verallo or Albert Santos. Running is a time to bond with friends.
Councilor Edgar Labella’s favorite motto is this: “If you run alone, you run fast. But if you run with a group, you run far.”
Want to become a long-distance runner? Find a group of friends and run together. Especially when you’re training for a 21K or a 42K, when hours on the road are a necessity, it’s important to run with friends. Time passes faster and the experience is more enjoyable. Running is the “Facebook of Sports.” It’s social sport.
My mom Allen, looking 40-ish but already a Senior Citizen cardholder, has convinced her teachers at Bright Academy to join her running. Every Friday afternoon after school, they circle the campus as a happy, smiling group… running together.
To me, running as a group is the same as a barkada in a bar gulping San Mig Light and talking for three hours. It’s hours of quality time spent chatting with friends while getting fit!
FOUR: the opposite of No.3, it’s your time alone. Said the great Jesse Owens: “I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”
FIVE: There’s that next goal. I cannot find this in any other sport. I’ve swatted the badminton shuttle cock, competed nationally in tennis, biked to Ayala Heights and done numerous other sports, but none compare to running.
What I mean is this: We all start with a 3K or a 5K. After, as your body gets fitter, you attempt the 10K. Then, months pass and you do a 15K. Then, the half-marathon. And, for the brave, the ultimate challenge: 42.195 kms.
In running, there’s always that next race, that farther challenge, that bigger medal. In fact, the 42K has been eclipsed in Cebu today by the 50K.. 65K.. 100K. Atty. Haide Acuña finished the 160K! And, just last weekend, Joel Garganera ran 100 kms. in mountainous terrain and freezing-cold weather in Hong Kong.
Of running, the actress Sasha Azevedo sums it all up: “I run because it’s my passion, and not just a sport. Every time I walk out the door, I know why I’m going where I’m going and I’m already focused on that special place where I find my peace and solitude. Running, to me, is more than just a physical exercise… it’s a consistent reward for victory!”