DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap For Marathon

17 11 2007

I really don’t know if this is a Sports Project or a Sports Program which was created after the 2000 Olympic Games. But the way it was managed and run by its former Chairman and Director, it appears that this is a Sports Program which is being undertaken by the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The vision of this program is for the country to develop future candidates/athletes for our quest towards attaining our “First Olympic Gold Medal” in the sports of Taekwando, Boxing, Shooting, and Marathon, initially, among the officers and soldiers of the AFP. Thus, it was named as “DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap” (Golden Dream).

The DND-AFP took upon itself to concentrate on these four sports as most of the officers and men of the AFP are trained, exposed, and excelled in each of these sports discipline. Most of the national athletes who excel in these sports are non-commisioned officers/Enlisted Personnel of the AFP and some of the officers also excel in Taekwando and Shooting. During President Marcos’ administration, top athletes of the country were made to be enlisted in the AFP so that they have a continuous source of income/pay & allowances. These athletes only received additional allowances and training support from their respective Sports Committees/Federations and the National Sports Commission if they are preparing for international competitions and if they win medals in prestigious competitions abroad. This program had been carried up to the present. But things had not improved in our support to our national athletes. It is sad to say that they are not properly coached, lack of facilities & sports equipment, not exposed in international competitions, “malnourished”, no scholarship/educational program for the less-privileged athletes, and worst, being exploited by politics in the country’s sports programs.

The DND-AFP took the initiative to embark on these four sports programs/discipline by assigning senior officers of the AFP who excel/have interest on these sports to lead and attain the vision of the program. However, after the Olympic Games “fever” had gone, the interest and commitment for the improvement and exposure of such sports died down, except for the Marathon Program. The main culprit of this situation was the lack of resources/financial support to sustain the program and lack of leadership. Luckily for the Marathon, the previous Chairman/Program Director initiated fund-raising programs and made the program as an organization and had it registered as an Incorporation through the Security Exchange Commission (SEC). The former Program Director was a “passionate” Marathoner/Runner. Before he retired from the service as an Admiral of the Philippine Navy, he was able to conduct an annual rendition of the DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap for Marathon during the month of December, as part of the one-month celebration of the AFP Anniversary, from November up to the anniversary day, every 21st of  December. Before the program was handed to me, the program was able to conduct three (3) annual races (combination of 5K, 10K, & 20K) where the venues were rotated among the Major Branch of Service of the AFP (Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, & Philippine Air Force). The ultimate goal then was to conduct a full Marathon for the members of the AFP.

Under my leadership, the program conducted it’s 4th race which was a “5 in 1” race event. There was a Half-Marathon, 10K, 5K, 2-Mile General’s Race, and Members of the Media 2-Mile Race.  There were lots of awards and lots of classification among the age category runners which made the awarding ceremony longer than the conduct of the Half-Marathon Race. The lesser distance races were done inside Camp Aguinaldo while the Half-Marathon covered nearby roads leading to the Green Meadows Subdivision. Most of the Generals, who attended the 2-mile race, walked! This was the first time that we exposed and included the public/civilian sector in our race/program. This event was done sometime in June 2006.

The 5th rendition of the Sports Program was the introduction of the 3 X 7K Team Relay ( 2-man & 1-woman per team) which was conducted in Fort Bonifacio, last February of this year, where the race route covered up to the grounds of the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The conduct and management of the race was very simple and it became a success. A number of teams from the civilian sector joined this event and and they received special awards for their involvement and attendance. In the AFP, this  event format was copied by other Major Branch of Service in their inter-athletic competitions.

On this 16th of December 2007, the DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap For Marathon Team Relay Race will be held at the Bonifacio Naval Station, Fort Bonifacio. There is a clamor/request from other running groups to bring back the Half-Marathon Race of this program. This request will be decided by the members of the Sports Program during their last coordinating conference on 23 November 2007.

I wanted to have more races every year but due to work-related constraints, the athletic/sports representatives from the Major Services opted to have at least two races every year with the end-view of conducting a full Marathon in the future.

At present, the financial resources turned-over to me by the previous Chairman/Director had been “doubled” (increased by 100%) as we plan to conduct more races and realize our goal to conduct a Marathon Race. May this goal of the program be attained before I retire from the service.


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