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A Comment From Coolrunner1009

20 10 2009

Mr Coolrunner1009 posted this comment on the article/story, “Who Listens To RUNRADIO”. I am posting his comment so that all my readers would be able to read it and you can make a rejoinder or comment on this post.

“Thank you BR for your suggestions. I discovered the joy of running in the 1979 and was also a witness to the running boom that swept across the country like wildfire for more than a decade. From my recollection, running at that time had a wider grassroots base because both the government and private sectors were at the forefront in showcasing the Filipino athlete’s (or runner should I say) talent. There were even FREE races like the Kabataan Barangay’s People’s Run (circa 1980?) where I finished my first 5K. Who could forget the Siglakas and Band Aid Marathon clinics then? The athletes who gave our country much pride then – Lydia de Vega, Isidro del Prado, Jimmy dela Torre, Elma Muros, to name a few, all came from our society’s grassroots.

The way I see it now, the renaissance that we are now witnessing has not yet reached down and deep to the lower strata of society which must be teeming with vast but untapped potential. While the middle and upper classes could definitely produce great runners, the grassroots, by mere function of demographics must be the reservoir of our future champions.

I agree that the use of the lingua franca as well as the involvement of less privileged but outstanding athletes e.g. Bertek in promoting running could make much of a difference. While I appreciate NU 107 in doing its best to promote running, there are inherent constraints because this station couldn’t stray too far from its English-literate, upper to middle class target audience. However, should not do much harm if the folks at Run Radio would use Taglish at least, in this metropolis where Pilipino is the lingua franca. Other sectors (AM stations, gov’t agencies, NGOs, etc.) should follow suit in reaching down and deep to socio-eoconomic classes C&D. A multilingual and multisectoral approach by the key players (or promoters) should enhance their effectiveness in reaching a broader audience. Me impression kasi na ‘burgis’ at ‘pa-cute’ kung palaging English na lang ang gamit. Ang telenovela nga, isinasa-Tagalog para lamang maakit ang mga masang manood. The ratings will tell you the rest of the story.

Lastly, I find it PATAFA’S decision to ban runners from the national pool legal but not moral. It’s a pity that our best runners are living a hand-to-mouth existence. I also lament the fact that registration fees at major races, which range from Php 350-500, would cost the common tao more than a day’s wage. It’s difficult for a breadwinner who is passionate with running to justify spending such an amount for a race at the expense of hungry mouths in his/her hungry family. I cannot imagine how many of our less fortunate fellow runners who belong to the minimum wage earner have been running with guilt in their consciences just to experience the euphoria of competing in a road race. I don’t know if socialized registration fees for races would work. What do you think BR?

More power to you BR for your advocacy! Although your expressions occasionally tend to draw strong criticisms from other sectors, it is always necessary to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable for the sake of raising the bar on running.”

I really like this kind of comment from my readers who had experienced what was like during the “running boom” in the late 70s and the whole decade of the 80s. I still remember that there were so many running activities then—fun runs, running clinics, relay runs, corporate running competitions where the champion team was sent to Stanford University for the International Corporate Running Competition. Through my personal experience and research, the government was at the forefront in organizing road races—whether to celebrate a national event or historical event or in major road race competitions. The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (MYSD) under Minister Doretheo who was also an athlete himself and he could muster the cooperation of the city governments in Metro Manila, PC-METROCOM, Philippine Highway Patrol, PATAFA, volunteers, PATAFA, and private corporate sponsors. The country was still then under Martial Law!

I just wished that the concept of Project Gintong Alay during those times will be fully appreciated by the present sports authorities. As I said before, as long as we have different personalities holding these key sports instituions in the country, the perceived “sports politics” and “finger-pointing” syndrome will always be there and our athletes are the ones being jeopardized. And as long as we have “fat-bellied” & “very, very, very old” sports commissioners/officials/sports federation leaders who could not even experience what it takes to run a 3-Km distance, then our sports excellence program will not reach a higher level of accomplishment. No amount of being trained and very good in PR, marketing, and “savvy” in management, what we need is a good leadership who can set an example and transparent to our athletes and to the public.

Socialized Registration Fees? Depending on the cause or advocacy of the road race, it could be done. But the problem is, how can you distinguish the Class A from B from C & from D? What are parameters if you want to consider a runner to be at the Elite, Middle, or Poor Class of the society? This is a very tedious work for the Race Organizer. The runners will complain if you require them to bring their ITR or SAL to find out if they belong to a certain category according to their income & property. Actually, if we have a supportive government and corporate sponsors, we can have a road race that could be free from registration fees!

It is true that some of my posts and expressions are very “abrasive” to some group of runners and/or race organizers and even to sports authorities and government elective officials. Running is a way of life for me, for the hardcores, and to most of us who want to enjoy the “intangible” benefits of running. Others would make running to make a living with the hope and greed to enrich themselves. Others would run because it is the “in” thing nowadays and they want to be identified with this group and that group. Others would use running to help others which is to me is a crap and cheap reason to earn more money. Others would run because they are “celebrities” and they voluntarily or get paid/rewarded to endorse some running-related products. Others would want exposure to the public for some personal or political reasons. The reasons are so many. But for me, if you want to help in running, we have to go to the “grassroots” and encourage the less-priveleged ones to run and get the best from them. Train, educate, feed, ingrain to them good values and lead them to a better life by transforming them to be the best runners. Who knows, this could be the solution for the country’s problem why we could not even earn a Gold Medal in the Olympic Games. For a population of 90 Million, I believe there is somebody out there who would be a future star in Athletics that will make us proud in the Olympics. All is needed is for somebody to discover him/her, rear, guide, feed, educate, train, and lead him/her to be the best runner.

At least, I am doing my part by coming up with the Elite Team Bald Runner Distance Project for the past 15 months, without the support of the government, from PATAFA, or from any corporate entity except from a few friends of Bald Runner who really believe in this advocacy. It is better doing something to solve the problem (even if it will take years to produce a result) rather than not doing anything at all. I hate to hear and read from cheap talks and cheap posts in blogs and in media releases about pronouncements on how to solve such problem. I’ve been reading and hearing their plans & pronouncements to improve our sports excellence program for the past years but nothing happened to elevate the level of excellence of our athlete’s performance. It is very frustrating to observe that our “sports excellence” is up to the level of the ASEAN Games. No amount of promising hefty amount of rewards for medal winners (in the Olympic Games or in any International Games) if the training & service support of our athletes are not adequate and lacking. I firmly believe that it is better to “front-load” these cash rewards for the training of the athletes rather than dangling them as rewards to be attained.

Let me enjoin everybody then to help and support the Elite Team Bald Runner Distance Project as this is our hope in Long Distance Excellence in the country. My deepest thanks to Coolrunner for the comment he posted in this blog and I hope one of these days I would be able to personally meet him in one of the future road races.

See you on this weekend’s road races!

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11 responses

20 10 2009
Marga

Sir Jovie, this is a really great and constructive comment from CoolRunner1009! I totally agree that we haven’t tapped the great potential there is. I myself was born in 1986 kaya wala talaga akong naging kamalayan sa golden age ng running dahil ang kinalakhan ko “dark ages” na. Salamat sa mga taong katulad ninyo na nakakapagpamulat ng mga mata namin. Again, this is the only way that we can further improve our program. Inasmuch as we don’t want to isolate the newbies, we want the program to be informative enough even for the hardcores and those who have been running for decades. 🙂

I’m grateful that you made this post (and the previous one, Sir Jovie). Allow me to be blunt in saying na ayaw din namin magmukhang pa-kyut na programa pero siyempre, gusto rin namin na fun. Since running is a way of life for us, it should be both fun and serious.

Season finale this Friday. A bigger, more informative, and better Run Radio will be back on air mid-November.

20 10 2009
nvllanora1975

Hooray to all of you:

Coolrunner1009 for raising this valid concern.
BR for being an impartial blogsite owner.
Marga for being a responsible show producer.

…all for the love of running. Mabuhay kayo!

Nolan

20 10 2009
runningsalesman

I think the current running boom is a God send to all runners and especially future national athletes. Even though current races are targetted towards the so called upper and middle class, eventually, the benefits will trickle down to the grass roots level. Please indulge me in my analysis: Each race gets maybe 5000 or more runners (not sure about the numbers). So that’s 5,000 consumers that a private entity(corporate sponsor) can reach. As long as the races are well received and garners significant media mileage, sponsors are happy and will continue to sponsor races . Now, here’s the crucial part… if there’s enough media coverage, and word of mouth, running will gain more and more popularity. We’re starting to see it now…. more and more people running along the streets, celebrities joining races… its the “in” thing. Now, we all know that the “masa” is prone to doing whatever is “cool” or “in” (we’ve seen it with billiards and boxing). So eventually, interest in running will reach the grass roots level. We just have to sustain the interest…

20 10 2009
greencursor

the way you describe our sports officials as old, fat-bellied, who cannot even run 3 kms, really gives the true picture of our philippine sports program. these officials should shape up or step out. they are sucking dry the meager funds that the government gives to sports at the expense of the welfare of our national athletes.

20 10 2009
kutorunner

“Others would use running to help others which is to me is a crap and cheap reason to earn more money. Others would run because they are “celebrities” and they voluntarily or get paid/rewarded to endorse some running-related products.”

This reminds of a totally ridiculous upcoming race next month by a watch company charging runners php750 to run 21km, the race has nothing new to introduce. Obviously, some entity is out there to make money, they will not succeed in anything but only isolate runners..this will be detrimental to running boom here in the country. I don’t want to single this particular race but this one is too obvious to be ignored. I hope no other company will follow the same route.

Kuto Runner

20 10 2009
coolrunner1009

BALD RUNNER: I appreciate your generosity in granting me ‘air time’. I only thought about sharing my thoughts but got pleasantly surprised to see my comments featured in your post for today. I wax emotional whenever people like you talk about the good old days of running in this country. The impact of the running boom then was so intense that I was inspired to train hard for years, in the hope of representing the country in the Olympic marathon. That dream died a long time ago but my love for running still lives and grows. Yes, we’ve already met before. I actually have a souvenir pic taken with you after the Condura Run last March. Anyway, I’ll re-introduce myself next time. Although I’m almost a decade younger than you, I am notches behind in terms of running prowess. I won’t be able to run a kilometer in less than 3 minutes but I’ve been regularly running at least a kilometer for 3 decades already. On the subject of socialized registration fees, I agree that this would be prone to abuse and could pose organizational nightmares. Nonetheless, it remains a big challenge how potential champions among the ‘masa’ could be lured into running (they always end up playing basketball). Again, thank you for being bold and upfront with your views.
MARGA: You and the staff of NU107 have gone the extra mile in setting a time slot for running. As airtime is expensive, it must be a big sacrifice for your station because I don’t see a very solid link between rock music and running (although I’m a lover of 70s and 80s rock music…hope you could play ‘Running on Empty’ by Jackson Browne, ‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen, ‘Silent Running’ by Mike & the Mechanics, etc.). A running program in a rock station may not give you good ratings but you do it simply for the love of running. Keep up the good work!

21 10 2009
runnerforchrist

Coolrunner…you’re really cool! I Wish to meet you too in some of the races.

21 10 2009
coolrunner1009

Thank you runnerforchrist. I always turn to your blog when I need godly inspiration. By the way, I’m running for Him, too. Cool 🙂

21 10 2009
nvllanora1975

Kuto Runner, you are absolutely right about that race by watch company. I will not participate on that one! I will just donate again to TKO250.

Coolrunner109, you are cool indeed! … and I love rock music too! I hope you will continue to be vocal about your observations – they are really useful as evident by the reception it got from BR and Marga.

21 10 2009
coolrunner1009

Thanks Nolan. That’s why I love Bald Runner’s blog. It always presents a straightforward point of view on socio-economic and other relevant issues that affect us Pinoy runners.

22 10 2009
marktrobbo

Grassroots running can also develop if more and more local running and athletics clubs can be set up within your current boom to make the Boom permanent.

In the UK, there is a sub-level of intra and inter club races and leagues of all forms of running at a local level that take place where race entry costs are nil as they are run by the clubs by member volunteers that remain a legacy from our running boom in the 80’s and are still thriving.

In a City the size of Baguio and its locality it is not uncommon to have say 10 – 15 clubs in the UK

If you can see local clubs set up and develop with membership from all levels, it may improve the chances of talent to come thru.

Regards Robbo (UK)

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