When I was in the active service, we have a sports competition event which was called “AFP Olympics” which was a competition among the Major Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), to include the Philippine National Police. This is one of the Sports Programs of the AFP to help the country hone its talents towards Sports Excellence. Most of our elite athletes in our Sports’ National Pool are enlisted as soldiers and this a way where their training is supported through their Pay & Allowances coming from the AFP. But they also perform duties as soldiers and sometimes assigned outside the Metro Manila area. Thus, these soldiers/elite athletes are not concentrated/focused on their training to be the “best of the best”!
Due to constraints and other budgetary problems, the “AFP Olympics” was not conducted on a yearly basis and later died down and the AFP concentrated more on its traditional role of securing the country and focusing its efforts to fight the insurgency, seccessionist movement, and other security-related matters.
Few months ago, after the assumption of General Ricardo David as the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP), he thought of reviving a semblance of the “AFP Olympics” but with competitive events that are related to the functions and skills of being a soldier. He dubbed this event as “AFP Challenge”. Instead of individual sports competitions, he devised “group/team” competitive events that promote unity, coordination, and teamwork among its participants. The concept is still the same—a competition among the Major Services of the AFP where four teams compete with each other—Team Phillipine Army; Team Philippine Air Force; Team Philippine Navy; and Team General Headquarters.
Most significant events of the “AFP Challenge” are the “Mass Calisthenincs”–where a group of 100 soldiers (men & women) would demonstrate Martial Arts skills in unison (it could be our Arnis, Tai-Chi, Wushu, Boxing, Karate, etc.) within a period of 10 minutes; “Adventure Race”—where a platoon of soldiers led by an Officer would “navigate” to locate some checkpoints in an area; fire and shoot at “targets” along the way using their issued rifles; conducts “river crossing”; overcome some “obstacle course”; and run/jog as a group to reach the finish line; “Bikathon”—where 100 Officers and Men, led by a General, to bike as a group from Clark Air Base in Angeles City to Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City (Nueva Ecija); and the famous “AFP Battalion Run” where a group of 125 officers and men would run in formation for a distance of 12 kilometers.
This Sunday, December 12 at 6:00 AM, each of the competing teams for the Battalion Run Competition will reach infront of GHQ Grandstand in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City and the fastest team that will reach the finish line without anybody falling out of formation will win the race. (I led this Battalion Run Team for the Philippine Army as the Battalion Commander for two times and got 2nd place on my first try and later becoming the Champion the next succeeding year). I also became a Coach & Team Manager on the third succeding year and was able to defend being the Champion for the event until it was scrapped.
On the same day, this Sunday, the Chief of Staff is inviting everybody to join him in a fun run around the roads of Camp Aguinaldo. The public and those who are not joining any of the road races this Sunday are invited to this fun run. There will be no registration fee! There will be 3K run for 40 years old and above; 5K run for 39 years old below; and a 7K run for everybody (Open Category). The Fun Run starts at 6:00 AM. Water, sports drinks and food will be served during the run.
If ever you don’t be able to see me at the GHQ Grandstand on Sunday morning, please look for Major Rod Turno or Lt Colonel Caballero for you to be able to join the Fun Run.
See you at the Starting Line!