While most of the people who have something to share to the victims of the Flooding In Metro Manila are busy helping in the relief operations, I made my “very private and personal” experience to share the collections of slightly used running shoes and finishers’ shirts sent through Balikbayan Boxes from my ultrarunning friend, Benjamin Gaetos of Los Angeles, California to the Officers and Men of the Special Forces Regiment of the Philippine Army who are based in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City.
These soldiers had been helping me in the conduct of the First 100-Mile Ultra Trail Run in the country dubbed as the “Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Trail Run” and the “Taklang Damulag 50-Mile/50K Trail Runs & Half-Marathon Races”.
More than 50 pairs of running shoes and more than the same number of Finisher’s Shirts were received by First Lieutenant Tony Abay, Commander of the Soecial Forces Regiment School and his men in a simple ceremony.
It was a very simple event but it was memorable to everybody.
Thanks to Benjamin Gaetos for his untiring efforts to pack and send these shoes through Balikbayan Boxes from Los Angeles, California! My snappy salute to you and to the rest of your ultrarunning friends out there in California, USA!
The following is a comment I received from my Project Donate A Shoes Page in this blog. I really don’t know what to reply to the sender but I thought of posting his comment in this blog with the hope that my running friends from Souther California could help him. Continue reading →
Joe Matias, the owner of A Runner’s Circle Running Shop, is a native of Legazpi City (Albay) and now resides in Los Angeles, California. His shop is located near Griffith Park, a nice place to run, and his store’s staff are elite runners and champions of road races in Los Angeles. Joe had been a consistent source of my Project Donate A Shoe by sending to me Balikbayan Boxes (BB) filled with slightly used shoes donated by his customers and friends.
Last week, a BB was delivered to our office filled with shoes which we intend to donate to other runners who can not afford to replace their old shoes. A quick inspection of the shoes showed that they are slightly used and there is a need to wash them first before we display or donate them to other runners. I have yet to find out the exact number of pairs inside the box but I am sure this effort from Joe is very much commendable. Thank you very much, Joe!
Let me take this opportunity to mention some of the community services or “gimmicks” that Joe’s Running Shop had been sharing to the runners in Los Angeles. Aside from accepting Donated Shoes from runners, he conducts “fun runs” at Griffith Park and Silverlake Park on Tuesdays & Thursdays (afternoon) from 4:00-6:00 PM with a hydration booth with free candies & water. In these “fun runs”, he gives a brand-new running shoes to a lucky participant through raffle. He maintains an Elite Team of Runners who are his store staff. Lately, he has organized a Triathlon Club that carries the name of the shop.
Do you still remember Duncan, the 12-year old kid/runner who won in the BOTAK’s Paa-bilisan 1-Street Mile Race held at the UP Diliman Campus last month with a time of 4:36 minutes?
I was able to meet him again after I finished the ROTARun 21K race yesterday morning. He just finished his long run workout using the same “old and taped” shoes he used when I first featured him in this blog. His father was with him and I asked his permission for Duncan to join the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner for a “brunch” and meeting in our “training camp”/office after the Awarding Ceremony of the race event.
Finally, I handed Duncan a slightly “used” pair of Newton Racing Shoes which is one of the shoes donated by Mr. Jim Lafferty. The following pictures will show how happy this talented kid was after receiving the said shoes:
Ben Gaetos, an ultra runner friend from Los Angeles, California sent me a Balaikbayan Box full of used donated shoes from his ultrarunning friends in California. I received the said box last Friday and it contained 34 pairs of running shoes.
Thanks again, Ben! Hopefully, these shoes will be given to our less-fortunate runners on the day of MILO Marathon Finals which will start and end at the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta Park on October 11, 2009.
Jim Lafferty, President & CEO of Procter & Gamble Philippines, invited the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner for the Palms Country Club Charity Run last Saturday, August 1, 2009 and have them sponsored for the registration fees and breakfast but all the members were scheduled to have their weekend long run and I had to tell him that they could not join the said race.
Instead, he invited me and Coach Titus to watch the race, have breakfast at the Clubhouse, and receive almost “new” running shoes for my Project Donate A Shoe.
Coach Titus and I arrived at the Palms Country Club minutes before the start of the race and I was able to meet and talk to Jim and his daughter Kristen; Patrick Concepcion aka Running Shield & wife; Eric Pasion aka Runner For Change; Ian Alacar of BOTAK; Paul Calvin; and Jan Imperio.
The race consisted of 3K Fun Run, 5K, & 10K distance runs. There were about more than a hundred who joined the race and it was held without any funfare. After the race had started, Coach Titus and I positioned ourselves at the street before the entrance to the Palms Country Club compound and we, eventually, became Race Marshals as we directed all the runners if they need to run another loop or not by looking at the color of their race numbers. I also became the unofficial photographer for the Lafferty family, Patrick, and the other runners.
The best part of this event was the breakfast invitation. Although I did not run the race and did not feel hungry, the breakfast turned out to be a “heavy” one! But what made the breakfast more significant were the ideas and insights that Mr Lafferty shared on how it takes to be a Champion or Olympian in Athletics and for that matter, in any kind of Sports. The best part of what he said is that, “The best athletes are assholes!!!” (If you want an explanation of this statement, I have to explain it verbally).
Before leaving the Palms Country Club, Mr Lafferty donated fifteen (15) running shoes which to my surprise turned out to be racing shoes from Newton, Nike Racers (not available in the country), Adidas Racing Flats, Puma and Mizuno Racers. These shoes are destined to be used by Elite athletes!
The Bald Runner’s “Project Donate A Shoe” Booth will be available at the Start/Finish Area at the vicinity of the Quirino Grandstand this coming Sunday. Donated shoes from Joe Matias of A Runners Circle Running Specialty Store in Los Angeles, California; Ultrarunners Ben Gaetos/Carmela Layson of Los Angeles, California; Mark Robinson of Nottinghamshire, England; and from the members of the Team Bald Runner-Professional Group will be distributed to runners with old, tattered, worn-out and dilapidated running shoes. It should be noted that only runners will be entertained in this activity.
At the same time, donors will be welcomed to visit the booth and the Bald Runner will be there to accept their shoe donations, to include Finisher’s T-Shirts for the Project “Donate A Shirt”.
See you at the Start/Finish Line of the MILO Marathon Eliminations this Sunday! Good luck!
The following “Angels Wearing Running Shoes” had been consistently supporting my “projects” by donating their “old shoes” and their road race “finisher’s t-shirts”. Again, I am featuring them in this blog to acknowledge their effort of “bringing back” something to the sports they love by benefitting the less-fortunate members of the running community. Almost 60 pairs of donated used shoes are awaiting to be distributed for the MILO Manila Eliminations on July 9, 2009 as I wanted these shoes to be distributed at the Luneta Park with a wider cross-section of recipient-runners coming from the neighboring provinces of Metro Manila.
Moreover, the donated “finisher’s t-shirts” had been packed and ready to be sent to the Gawad Kalinga Communities of Laoag City and some municipalities of Cagayan Province.
To all the “Angels Wearing Running Shoes”, thank you very much!
Jayson, one of the latest recipients of the “1,000-Km Club” Finisher’s T-Shirt, also donated one (1) pair of his “used” running shoes.
Have you seen “angels” wearing running shoes? Yes, they are all everywhere! They don’t use their “wings” to fly but they have their running legs and feet (with their running shoes) to help those who are in need.
Since Tuesday this week, I’ve been doing at least 30-minute active recovery runs in the afternoons and in these recovery runs, I met these “angels in running shoes” and each of them provided support to the projects being administered by the Bald Runner.
Last night, Jonel aka Bugobugo85, Jay Lee Cu-Unjieng, Charlie Chua and Armand aka Pinoy Mafiosi, members of the Hardcore Runners of Team Bald Runner donated eight (8) pieces of Bed Mattress to the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner. These guys will be joining the TNF 100 Sacobia’s Solo Event.
Javy Olives of Team Bald Runner-Professional Group and presently training for the Camarines Sur Triathlon Event this coming August 2009, donated five (5) pairs of used running shoes.
Jael Wenceslao of Team Bald Runner-Professional Group, who is leaving today for the USA, donated seven (7) pieces of “never-been-used” Finisher’s T-shirts and singlets for my Project Donate A Shirt. Jael is going to join the 2009 Eugene Marathon (Eugene, Oregon) this coming Sunday, 03 May 2009. After finishing his first Marathon Race at the 2008 SC Singapore Marathon last December with a time of 5+ hours, I told him that he can finish the race in less than 4 hours. Jael had been a regular member in our “runabouts” and he had shown a great improvements in his latest races.
To these “angels”, thank you once again. May the “Force” be with you always in your running adventures!
Two weeks ago, I received a Balikbayan Box (BB) full of slightly used running shoes from Joe Matias aka A Running Shoe Guru, the owner of the A Runners Circle Sports Store in Los Angeles, California. The BB contained twenty-six (26) pairs of running shoes. These shoes were received by Joe from the runner-customers of his store located near Griffith Park, Los Angeles.
Last week, Mark Robinson from Nottinghamshire, England arrived in Manila and he brought with him sixteen (16) pairs of running shoes for the Project Donate A Shoe donated by his running mates at the Southwell Running Club of the same city where he resides. These shoes were handed to me when he had his running workout at the Mall of Asia last 12 April 2009.
To Joe and Mark, thank you very much! These slightly used running shoes will be handed over to our runners in the neighboring provinces of Metro Manila.