Photos courtesy of Carl Flores.
Running is a force for social good;
And that’s what keeps me running. It’s definitely not the midday exhaustion post long-run, or the semi-recurring injuries keeping me motivated. Sometimes, even my loosely defined running goals seem so far from my fingertips that even they’re not motivating. And I’m simply not a devotee of whatever gospel David Goggins is now preaching.
I’m motivated by the joy I’ve seen running birth in people’s lives, both from the improved physical wellbeing they experience and the warmth of the community. While I’m not out here carrying the boats, I am a devotee of the Philippine running community. Typically my Thursday evenings are spent running around Makati with the Red Light Run Club folks and my Sundays (often the entire weekend) are spent jogging around Kapitolyo with EZ Run Club. Often an extra Thursday early morning EZRC special gets thrown in the mix.
The hours spent running with strangers-turned-friends have become the most human moments of my week. The moments where I relax all the boundaries created by the titles and schedules I’ve grown into. Communities, growing and connecting, have created environs to strip ourselves of the things that so often divide us. The things that silo us and keep us from creating connections that are full of meaningful potential.
It’s in these hours that I find the empathy most of the week is devoid of. We take running and use it as a bridge, and upon crossing that bridge, we find others–who they really are–and in doing so, I believe we come to better understand our own nature. Ya know, all that “humans are social beings” stuff.
And part of being social is being supportive
I had the pleasure of sharing pieces of Thomas Santos’ story with the RUNNR community, but was disheartened to learn that Tom–who was recently logging miles with me–needed to revisit treatment and on top of that needed a costly medical procedure.
With the aid of Tom’s family and loved ones, the EZ Run Club community put the Run for Thomas together. Joined by an incredible host of brand sponsors and collaborators, the club set up a raffle and invited as many clubs as possible to join the event–which was postponed a week owing to incredibly wet weather.
Starting in the heart of Capitol Commons, roughly two-hundred runners were paced around Ortigas and neighboring Kapitolyo winding around to 1C Coffee–the club’s home and the location for the announcement of raffle winners. Believe me, as a pacer with a balloon tied around my wrist bothering me to no end, steering that many people around a tightly cornered city is an incredible experience.
It’s as though you’re an Onix, trying to steer your entire self around fairly narrow roads all the while being mindful not to be a hindrance to traffic and cyclists. Perhaps suggesting that we all coalesced into the body of a single pokemon isn’t entirely silly–as we were all aligned under the banner of being there for Thomas. The pace being run for the entirety of the 5KM route was breezy–the sort of speed that made it easy to chat with whoever ended up beside you.
All in all, the club raised over PHP 160,000, joining the monetary support offered to the family by the rest of the running community–an effort conducted off and online, with a Gcash QR being circulated by almost all running clubs in the Metro.
The powerful force of running has plenty of potential
This event is one expression of the continued work of the Philippine running community and the global community too. It’s given plenty of flesh to the idea that we can all get together behind something worth showing up for. As a digital denizen, I think I’m almost completely numb to watching people argue, to the endless unfolding ream of frustrating, heartbreaking news, and the constant bombardment of “you should be doing more” – or that you should be doing any thing for that matter.
Genuine connection is what I’ve found lacking in my life. At least in my experience, I’ve felt quickly shuffled into various pens associated with the career I’ve chosen and whatever interests I have–and in these pens, I’ve found a constant need to prove something. That I’m good enough to be there being at the forefront of that.
Running in a group though–for that, all I’ve ever had to do is show up. I began running as a way of showing up for myself. Focusing on me, my goals, bodily strength I’ve been working to build. And what I now find, after years spent running alone and more recently with groups of people, i0s that the sport has shifted my focus to other people–with a genuine interest in them. And with that has come a willingness to show up for them.
I’ve seen it in fellow runners, seeking the same interconnectedness, the same feelings of belonging, the feeling that showing up is enough. And I’ve seen the empathy too–where people first ask how you’re feeling instead of what do you do?
And that’s a social good.
Looking to rediscover how running can be a force for social good? Dive deep within the community today and start lacin’ up with runnr! Chat with our stores now through Viber for product inquiries or shop now here at https://runnr.com.ph/! Make sure to follow runnr on Facebook and Instagram as well, for more running blogs and to stay up-to-date with all the latest on anything and everything runnr, the leading running specialty store in the Philippines. Happy running!