Running icons join forces for Pasig River Run

By Dennis Gasgonia,

Posted at Jul 20 2010 08:48 PM | Updated as of Jul 21 2010 10:16 PM

X-Tribe's Eric Imperio talks about the 2010 Run for Pasig River.

MANILA, Philippines – Three icons in the local running circuit are joining hands in this year’s “Run for Pasig River” as the country guns to break the world record for the largest number of participants in a foot race.

ABS-CBN Foundation’s “Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig” (KBPIP) is working with race organizers Eric Imperio, Rio de la Cruz and Thumbie Remigio as they attempt to gather 120,000 runners and beat the current Guinness record of 110,000 held by the 1988 “Bay to Breakers” race in San Francisco, USA.

The race organizers, however, are not only after the record. Their efforts are also aimed at helping generate more awareness to clean up Pasig River.

Ondoy triggers action

Imperio said that after Ondoy ravaged the country last year, he knew he had to participate in such an undertaking in a bid to save the environment.

“We knew that we’re gonna be involved, whether full-time or just consultants. We knew we’re gonna take the project because we were already thinking of what we can do [after Ondoy]. Instead of doing the remedy, why don’t we prevent it from happening again?” he said during the event’s press conference on Tuesday.

Imperio, who heads X-Tribe, an outfit that organizes local sports events, said they were also badly hit by the floods caused by Ondoy.

“We had a big event on September 27 that was cancelled [because of the typhoon]. But not only that; instead of organizing our race that day, we had to organize rescue for our staff. Some of them were trapped in Marikina… Two weeks after the incident, we were still rescuing people because we had a lot of relatives we could not locate,” he recalled.

Imperio, who stands as the race director for the Pasig River Run, said the event will have 3 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, which will be participated by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

He added that X-Tribe has also sought the help of other race organizers rally support for the cause.

ABS-CBN Foundation's Gina Lopez (far right) as she joins hands with other running enthusiast in promoting the Pasig River run.

The 'rockstar' and the 'sportsman'

The two guys who responded to their call were Rio de la Cruz, a “rock star” of the local running circuit, and “adventure sportsman” Thumbie Remigio.

De la Cruz, a veteran organizer who has been involved in various races like the Century Tuna Superbods and Timex runs, will handle the 65,000 runners who will join the 10K and 5K.

“When they encouraged me to help them out, I said, yes. Being part of this project is a big challenge. I’m here to help out give my 100 percent support,” he said.

Remigio, meanwhile, will oversee the 3K run, which will be participated by the biggest group of racers.

“I’ll be handling yung bulk ng participants, for the 120,000 runners. Eighty percent of them will be coming from schools and universities,” he said.

Organizers said the buzz to be generated by the run will help attract more donors to helping clean up Pasig River.

"Aside from that, maraming magiging chain reaction, being an environmentalist myself, being part of different advocacy groups like Greenpeace and UP Mountaineers group," said Remigio.

"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 in a separate interview on ANC's Dateline.

"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.