One Sunday morning in an island in the MIMAROPA part of the Philippine archipelago, Charlito Capison crossed the finish line of the 1st 50K Puerto Galera Ultramarathon with a time of 4 hrs & 31 mins. He was the 1st overall finisher. A handful of hours after, Vic Esta rambled thru the line with a time of 9 hrs & 39 mins. He was the 50th and last overall finisher. On the same day, a hundred kilometers away to the north in the CALABARZON region of the Philippines, septuagenarian Harry Mediavillo softly crossed, amidst exuberant applause from the viewing public, the finish line of the 106K Andres Bonifacio Day Memorial Ultra Marathon with a time of 18 hours, placing 92nd overall and besting 146 younger runners. At age 72 years of age, this is an incredible feat of human endeavor in any part of the world.
|Charlito Capison - Champion at the 1st Puerto Galera Ultra Marathon|
|Vic Esta looking like a winner at Puerto Galera with Prince Baltazar|
|Harry Mediavillo triumphant with Pat Maranan|
All 3 ultra runners have one thing in common. All 3 are members of the Paranaque Running Circle. All 3 clearly showed the versatility of the Paranaque Running Circle. It is a running club that is able to field competent and fun-loving runners in multiple long distance races and be relevant at the same time. And not only runners but multiple support teams as well.
The actual number of PRC members escapes my mind right now but we can be sure that the PRC has its own set of officers. True enough they have Mannix Manapat as President, Vic Esta as Vice President. Delia Francisco as Secretary, Marivic Perez as Treasury and the following as directors: Marnel Vidola, Bamm Bazar, Noy Recamara, Harry Mediavillo and Ildebrando Yap. PRC is also on its way to having an official running club registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission. I am not sure how many local running clubs can lay claim to such an official seal of legitimacy.
But more than its versatility, the thing that really appeals to me about the PRC is its prevalent practice of inclusiveness. It is not a snotty kind of club that only accepts elites. It welcomes runners regardless of age, gender, shape, size, color, specie, creed, speed, wealth, or even state of mind.
Take the case of how the Bicolano Penguin got to be a member of the PRC. One Saturday morning a few months ago, I decided to ran inside the Manila Memorial Park (MMP). It was the closest thing to a public park in the whole of Paranaque, so naturally runners abound in the MMP. After a few laps around a 2-km route, I chanced upon a middle-age guy with an old guy and young lady. They were talking some running stuff so I could not help but smile which immediately caught the eye of the middle-age guy who turned out to be Mannix. He smiled back. A handshake and a selfie picture later, I was sold to joining the PRC. Two weeks after that Saturday morning, I was signing my name on a list and handing over my membership fee payment to the always smiling and always lovely Marivic. That easy and that fulfilling an experience. No biases in the PRC.
Like a tribe, the PRC has its own traditions and lingo. It has a feast day which happens to be every Saturday morning where members bring food and drinks pot luck style to the running grounds of MMP which easily turns into a picnic area. The culminating activity of each feast day is a group photo which is called "runpie." Other words coined by PRC veterans are "wall to wall" and "back to back." These terms refer to the certain run routes inside the labyrinth that is MMP.
|First Balfour runners joining the PRC in a group photo|
|The picnic grounds at MMP|
|Always smiling and playful Marivic|
|Both are part of PRC.|
The tradition and language of PRC will surely continue to grow. Already, the PRC is celebrating a Xmas party tonight and the Bicolano Penguin is missing it as I am in the island of Negros. No matter, I am one with them in spirit. It is a dynamic entity powered by its versatility and inclusivity.
More power indeed to Paranaque Running Circle.