Thousands run for Pasig River and country
|Run for Pasig River marathon finishers near the Mall of Asia, Pasay City. Photo by Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines (6th UPDATE) – The Philippines may just set a new Guinness World Record for most number of participants in a foot race with around 175,000 people running and walking for a cause in the 10.10.10 Run for the Pasig River event on Sunday.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief director Leocadio Santiago estimated that around 175,000 participated in the run, including unregistered runners.
The turn-out prompted the NCRPO to place an additional 1,500 police on top of the 1,750 police originally stationed for the event.
If the figure is confirmed by auditors, the Philippines will beat the 110,000 runners who joined the "Bay to Breakers" race in San Francisco, California in 1988.
Over 150,000 people registered for the run. The ABS-CBN Event Command Control earlier estimated the number of runners at 131,100.
Health buffs and environmentalists from government, business and civil society trooped early Sunday to the starting points of the benefit run to help rehabilitate the Pasig River.
ABS-CBN Chairman Gabby Lopez and brother Ernie Lopez led runners in the longest run, the 21K, which started at 4:15 a.m. at SM Mall in Marikina City, radio DZMM said. Ayala Corp.'s Fernando Zobel de Ayala also ran the 21K.
At 5:45 a.m., people from all walks of life started to run from Ayala Ave. corner Makati Ave. for the 10K, Star City in Pasay for the 5K, and Diokno corner Bayshore Boulevard in SM Mall of Asia for the 3K run.
Pacman and Dyan in 10K
Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, together with ABS-CBN sports correspondent Dyan Castillejo, joined the 10K race.
Pacquiao, also Sarangani congressman, interrupted his training for his fight against Mexican Antonio Margarito to be with the runners. He helped start the 10K race by shouting the famous opening line in boxing and wrestling, "Let's get ready to rumble!"
"I ran with Pacman in the 10k, he was super fast! People were cheering, thrilled to see him, ran all way!" tweeted Castillejo. "10k started in ayala! a sea of people, through buendia, roxas, wow, all converged, it was crazy! but fun, people happy good spirits!"
After finishing the race with Pacquiao at the SM Mall of Asia, she further tweeted the "run my fastest ever cos of pacman who was pushing, i am tired!!"
Although she got tired, she added that "it was so nice to be around Pinoys all gathering for a cause. And super enthusiastic! Pinoy spirit."
"We're waiting for official count by sgv! great show of force by filipinos to save the pasig," she tweeted again after the race.
Accounting firm SGV was assigned to audit the official count.
Actor Piolo Pascual was at the 10K starting line but announced that he would not be able to run as he was sick. However, he cheered the runners as they passed by him at the starting line.
The winners were: Richard Salona and Leaser Pedrina (3K); Mervin Guarte and Leann Baracena (5K); Alquisa Bolivar and Darleen Jamil (10K).
FVR: It's for our future
Former President Fidel V. Ramos pressed the horn to signal the start of the 3K, 5K, and 10K runs.
Prior to the start of the fun run, Ramos told DZMM he believes the country will "surely break" the Guinness World Record for the largest number of participants in a foot race.
Ramos, himself a frequent jogger, said the event was not just for the Pasig River but for "us, for our environment, our future, and for a higher quality of life."
Funds raised from the run will be used for Pasig River clean-up and relocation projects.
Ramos joined the 3K run with his wife Ming, who headed the efforts to rehabilitate the Pasig River during the Ramos administration.
Bro. Mike asks for forgiveness
El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde led thousands of his flock in the 5K run. Around 50,000 El Shaddai members were expected to join the race.
Prior to the start of the race, Velarde said clean rivers are essential to a having a healthy people. He led a community prayer which sought God's forgiveness for the poor state of the Pasig river.
Awards were also given to Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Maynilad, Manila Water, the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and various government agencies who are helping rehabilitate the heavily polluted Pasig River.
Special awards were given to groups for their contributions.
President Aquino's sister, Ballsy Aquino Cruz, Vice-President Jejomar Binay, and Interior and Local Government Secretary Jessie Robredo also joined the event.
|Dyan Castillejo (left), ABS-CBN correspondent, and Gina Lopez (right), ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. managing director, hope the Run for the Pasig River event will break the current Guinness World Record for the largest number of participants in a foot race. Credit: ANC
Running for country
Event organizers were optimistic that the run will draw enough support to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of participants in a foot race.
“I wanna break the world record every year until we clean the river,” ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. Managing Director Gina Lopez told Karen Davila on ANC’s “Headstart” on Friday.
“We’re doing good but the key here, the record is 110,000. They have to cross the finish line. If you don’t cross the finish line, it’s not counted,” she added.
Speaking on the same show, ABS-CBN Correspondent Dyan Castillejo added: “It doesn’t matter how many start. It matters how many finish.”
The running craze
Castillejo, an athlete herself, had advised runners not to overexert themselves. She also talked about the running phenomenon in the country.
“Everybody’s into running right now. There’s such a passion and enthusiasm for running. So instead of just running like for your own benefit, like to gain your own exercise, which is also a side benefit, develop relations with who you run. There’s such a ‘togetherness’ when you run,” she said.
“The feeling of being part of a big group and doing something active, really, it’s very different,” added Castillejo, who participated in the recently-concluded CamSur International Marathon.
She also hoped that the runners for the Pasig River will be able to realize that they can do something to help save the environment and country.
|Runners listen to El Shaddai's Bro. Mike Velarde's opening prayer before the start of the 5K run in Star City. Photo by TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News
“We’re running not just for ourselves. We’re running for our country. We’re running for the river,” she stated.
More than the record
Lopez, meantime, stressed that Sunday’s marathon is not just all about achieving a Guinness World Record.
“I think we stand to gain earn P10 million to P12 million net and we wanna split that between Calauan [resettlement site in Laguna] and Pasig River. Our game plan this year is to clean the network of esteros (creeks) behind Malacañang,” said Lopez.
“Now we’re only doing esteros because you can’t clean the river if you don’t clean what goes inside,” she explained.
The 10.10.10 Run for the Pasig River had a P250 registration fee.
“Cleaning the Pasig River is not just about cleaning the water of a river. I feel the ramifications, if we clean this river, it will give our people hope. It’s for our future. It’s reverence for the environment. It’s resuscitating a frame of consciousness which is essential for this country if we do it in the main waterway of the capital city of the country,” she continued.
She also hopes to raise a groundswell movement for the Pasig River rehabilitation project.
The ABS-CBN Foundation has set a 7-year time table to help rehabilitate the Pasig River.
Reminders for runners
Lopez and Castillejo had requested participants to be early on Sunday so that they can all begin running at 5:30 a.m. The 21K ceremonial run participants started at 4:15 a.m.
The starting points were Diokno corner Bayshore Boulevard in SM Mall of Asia for 3K, Vicente Sotto corner Magdalena Jalandoni in CCP Complex for 5K and Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue in Makati City for 10K.
The runners were also advised to be responsible when disposing their garbage. “Don’t litter,” Lopez said.
The pre-race program kicked off at 5:10 a.m. while the post-race program was to be held at 6:45 a.m.
Participants were asked to wear their race bibs throughout the event. The bibs will also serve as free access passes to shuttle services/MRT trips, parking and baggage deposit. – With reports from Ma. Rosanna Mina, abs-cbnNEWS.com, ANC and Radyo dzmm