MANILA, Philippines - A special fun run aiming to gather 120,000 runners is being organized to raise awareness and funds for Pasig River rehabilitation efforts.
The event also aims to set a new world record for the largest number of participants in a foot race.
The fun run dubbed "Run for the Pasig River," to be held on October 10, 2010 (or 10.10.10), is being organized by ABS-CBN Foundation's Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP).
The current Guinness world record for the largest number of participants in a foot race is 110,000 held by the 1988 "Bay to Breakers" Race in San Francisco, California.
"We're rallying the whole nation. We're getting the schools, the military, the corporate sector, the communities to join. It's going to be an amazing thing," said Judda Paolo, one of the organizers of the Run for the Pasig River event.
"Once we do this, we're gonna get the donors to come in and really help us with the river. It's going to be fantastic," Paolo added in an interview on "Dateline Philippines" on ANC on Saturday.
The Commission on Higher Education has already pledged the participation of 60,000 students, said Paolo.
Everyone can run
Anyone who wants to run can join the fun run. "Even kids can run, and even lolos who may have stories of swimming in the river," said Paolo.
And contrary to what most people think, one may just walk, not run, at a fun run.
Interested participants need to pre-register online at www.101010runforthepasigriver.com.
Registration fee is P250 for individuals, and P100 for students and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police.
Every participant will receive a nice bracelet made by a community in Calauan where former estero residents have relocated. "It's part of the livelihood program," said Paolo.
The run will have three categories: the 3K, 5K, and 10k, with each one starting from a different place.
The 3K run will start at the Mall of Asia. The 5K run will have its starting point at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex. The 10K run, on the other hand, will begin at the corner of Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas in Makati City.
There will also be a 21K ceremonial run for members of the AFP which will start from Marikina.
Water stations will be located along the different routes.
The fun run will converge at the Mall of Asia where prizes await winners. There will also be a concert with ABS-CBN stars performing.
According to Paolo, last year, some 23,000 runners, 11,000 of them students, participated in the Run for the Pasig River event. And because of that, they were able to get donors to help finance the rehabilitation of Pasig River.
"Right now we are raising awareness on a global level to get more donors. We expect to raise P22 million which will be used to help clean the river and its tributaries," said Paolo.
Change is happening
Efforts to rehabilitate the Pasig River are beginning to bear fruit.
Estero de Paco, the pilot area of Pasig River rehabilitation efforts, is being transformed. "You can actually see the change now. You can actually walk on the banks. We were able to relocate the informal settlers [previously living] there," said Paolo.
Aside from the fun run, KBPIP also conducts clean ups and outreach programs.
"Be part of this movement of cleaning up the river. This is just the beginning. Everyone who wants to see the Philippines become an example of global change, join in," said Paolo.
Those who can't run can "adopt" a runner. "You can adopt as much as you want," he added.