When I am Not Running, I Must Be Talking to the Running Clubs & Groups!!!
After finishing the MILO National Finals Marathon at Luneta Park, I was approached by one of the officers of the Fort Striders Club, Inc and he invited me to their booth. The members were so kind enough to offer me drinks and sandwich which I accepted. During our conversation, Col Mandar (Ret), one of the founding fathers of the club, asked me if I could be their guest of honor and speaker for their Christmas Party and I immediately accepted their invitation. Last week, while I was running along the BHS loop, the Fort Striders runners called my attention and they handed me their official letter of invitation with the attached program of the party.
So, last Friday evening, 12 December, I attended their Christmas party which I was informed to be their fifth Christmas Party since they started holding such activity. The party was held at the Max’s Restaurant at the Starmall and scheduled to start at 6:30 PM. Through my knowledge and observation, this running club was created when the Global City/The Fort established its road network and the first few buildings had their occupants. I knew also that most of the members then were active officers and enlisted men of the Philippine Army and the Philippine Air Force. I am glad that most of the members now are still the same soldiers whom I personally knew and the members of their family. These soldiers were my runners when I led them as the Battalion Commander during the conduct of the AFP Battalion Run Competition (a group of 317 officers & men running in a battalion formation, in perfect alignment, running uniform, running in cadence with the proper chanting, from UP Balara to Camp Aguinaldo, a 7.5K distance) as we won the Championship in 1999. The Philippine Army won again in 2001 where I was the Team Manager and Coach. Unfortunately, this running competition event among the Major Services of the AFP, to include GHQ & PNP, as part of the AFP Anniversary every December, was scrapped in 2002. I will make a separate post about this event in the coming days.
Having arrived early for the party, at least 30 minutes, before the scheduled start of the program, I was able to talk to the members who arrived early, who were mostly retired soldiers. Of course, our topic of conversation was about running—their members finishing the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon and the incoming races in Metro Manila. At this point, I was introduced to the members who arrived at the venue one at a time. To my surprise, my friend Kim and her husband, Patrick arrived at the party. Little did I know that Kim is an active member and supporter of the club. Kim, Patrick, Captain Espejo and I were seated in one table and we talked more about running in the Philippines. It was an appropriate time to personally convey my congratulations to Kim for successfully finishing the Singapore Marathon. Congratulations again, Kim!
Patrick, Kim, & Capt Espejo during our Dinner
While dinner was being served, the program started with the usual protocol—invocation, singing of the National Anthem, and Opening Remarks by one of the members. The highlights of the program was the awarding of plaques to the members who had supported the successful conduct of their Club’s sponsored & organized road race which was the 4th OctoberFest Run at the Global City. The President of the Club, Engr Eric Ongkoy also presented the Annual Accomplishments of the Club, their attendance to this year’s road races, and their other outings/activities.
I officially inducted the new set of Officers of the Fort Striders Club
I was kindly introduced briefly by the President of the Club but I guess, the Biodata that I prepared and submitted to one of their members did not reach him. Anyway, I was glad he did not receive my Biodata because simply reading reading it might bore the audience. It was a long biodata! The brief introduction made me decide to have my speech longer!
Ever since I was a Commander, I never read my speeches but I usually compose my message and thoughts while running and try to deliver them extemporaneously to the audience. Delivering a speech is very easy and simple, most especially if the topic is very familiar to my heart and mind. My speech was a brief-collated version of my posts with the Bald Runner’s blog and I hope my readers in the audience were not bored and did not doze. The conclusion of my speech was a challenge to every member of the Fort Striders Club to encourage everybody to run and be the instrument to make the running community grow bigger. Running must be an “end” and “means” towards a healthy and strong nation where every citizen must nurture that Sports is a Source of National Pride.
While delivering my speech…
Received a Plaque of Appreciation from the Club
After my speech, the Club awarded me with a Plaque of Appreciation and it was my cue to also give my donation/support to the club.
What made the Christmas Party more enjoyable and exciting was the activity after my speech. One of the officers of the Club conducted an “auction” of road race/marathon souvenirs bought from Australia and Singapore and the proceeds go to the fund of the Club. A head visor was auctioned at P30.00. A beautiful finisher’s singlet from a Marathon Race in Australia was auctioned at P200.00. Kim O’Connell got one singlet for the price of P300.00 but I was surprised that she donated the brand-new shirt to my Project Donate A Shirt! Thanks, Kim for the gesture of support! A Finisher’s Medal for the 2008 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon was also auctioned to the members for less than P500.00. There were other items which were auctioned where all the members were interested.
After the auction, I realized that the night was getting late and I asked the officers, members of the Club, Kim and Patrick for me to go ahead of them as I knew they still had some activities to do as part of their Christmas Party.
As I left the place of the party, I got an idea of taking the initiative of “reaching out” to the different running groups and clubs to impart the advocacy of the Bald Runner and also encourage communities to form/organize their respective running clubs or groups.
The year 2009 will be a busy year for the Bald Runner!
Long live and three cheers for the Fort Striders Club, Inc…hep..hep..hurray (3X)!!!