Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The People Behind the Lense at RUN UNITED 2 2014

Luneta Grandstand. That historical place whose old name was Bagumbayan where Jose Rizal had been shot by a firing squad and would later become the country's national hero, the same location where his monument would be built to commemorate such historical event many years after his death. Straight across Rizal Monument is Kilometer Zero which serves as a  reference point to all kilometer markers found in any roads , from Manila to any province in the country. It was also the starting point for RUN UNITED 2 held last June 1, 2014 where the race started as early as 3 AM  and where it would end as well. 

My 15 year old daughter who has autism and I were there, together with thousands of runners on the second leg of RUN UNITED. Because we both enjoyed our first experience last March 16th at RUN UNITED 1, we decided to run again and plan on finishing it by running on its third leg this coming October 5th. Like the rest of the runners, we woke up early even before 3 AM just in time to do some short warm ups and eat a light breakfast. Our run starts at 5AM as we both registered for the 10K category but because we live in Pasay City, we left the house before 4Am and took the cab so that we will not be late.

As always the main roads have been closed because the 32K and 21K runners already have started. My daughter and I were able to see the colorful Buendia Flyover for the first time because we do not usually pass by that route as it  is out of our way. While looking at its rainbowed lights, I suddenly miss my eldest daughter who loves to take pictures and who unfortunately was not with us on that day. I also accepted the sad fact that we will only have be very few pictures, if none at all of the said event. We will be very lucky if the photographers will be able to catch a glimpse on us, among the thousands of runners  who have joined in the race. 

The colorful Buendia Flyover 

" Never under estimate the power of the human mind. "

To those who prefer to run at dawn, the peace and tranquility of the road plus the early rays of sunshine help the runner a great deal to be in a reflective mood. It also aids the runner to focus on his run, achieve his desired distance and improve on his speedIn any running event, it is not just the distance or the challenge of the route that adds color to the race. When thousands of enthusiasts from all walks of life join you, that changes the whole picture.

Police troupers making sure that the route is ready along  Roxas Blvd 

The first batch of 21K runners

The rest of the 21K runners starting to get into the zone

It becomes more colorful, more vivid and high defined. 

Runners from all walks of life and who came  even from nearby provinces joined the RU 2

Strange as it may seem, you get inspired by looking at old people running, at a sexy runner in a tight fitting running gear, at  a kid running with a parent or a runner who runs barefoot.

Age is nothing but a number

In my case, I also get inspired by runners who have very good strides like they have been running since they were kids, focused runners who get lost listening to the music in their phones or ipods, unmindful of the distance, the pain and the soaring heat. Such respect also goes to those who ran despite their disabilities  and that includes my daughter who has autism. 

My autistic daughter , Sidney, Race Bib #8392

She has always attracted attention by simply being her

The volunteer photographers who were scattered from the start until the end of the race to capture the whole event had gained my admiration as well including those runner photographers who still have the energy to take pictures after finishing their run. I just can't imagine how one can still take photos after finishing a 10K run when  all you want to do is drink, hydrate, do some cool down exercises or look for your companions. 

Volunteer photographers doing what they love most

I am not much into photography. Heck I can't even take a decent picture even in my younger days until now. There is something about the camera that I find intimidating. I know it is weird because I love looking at pictures even if they are in black and white especially the old ones because of the stories I get to learn from them.

A couple of years ago I have learned that I could create a post, even write a story by just looking at a picture. Perhaps I have always been a story teller or a writer. There is something mesmerizing about a simple photo taken at a spontaneous moment without one knowing it. Some may call it candid. For me it is just darn perfect .

I was on a fighting mode

I was lucky enough to be caught in camera by the volunteer photographers four times but this one was my favorite. What I loved about this photo was the fact that the photographer was able to catch something raw and vibrant. My face flushed and both arms glistened with sweat due to continuous running, my right hand positioned in a hand shake manner to gain momentum on my speed while the other hand holding the bottled water in a controlled grasp. The muscles in my neck, throbbing with excitement as shown by my opened mouth while my legs ran with a purposeful stride. With eyes looking straight ahead, there was no denying that this shot was taken without my knowledge because my focus was to get to the finish line which was just less than 2 kilometers away. 

In my entire life nobody was able to capture me in film with so much passion and force, things that I knew I always had but never, ever had seen until a photographer who was a complete stranger chose to take that shot. I felt like I was a tigress waiting to catch my prized prey or a dog who just gave birth and was awakened by a stranger who growled  in warning, ready to bite thinking they will get my puppies. Funny how a photograph taken in a running event can bring out that animalistic rawness, that certain glow in one's eyes and probably that vitality that all too often have been forgotten while living and dealing with the adult world. 

A person once said that all of us knew how to run but somewhere along the way we have forgotten how to do it right. Sadly, we also have forgotten to set aside some time not just to run but in taking care of our health by walking, dancing, gardening or by simply thinking happy thoughts, just like that of a child. Posting these awesome pictures with permission taken by these volunteer photographers not only inspired me to create a story out of it but has helped me see myself in a different light, at a different angle where no digital enhancements or photoshop is needed to bring out that beautiful person that has always been there. And I have to admit it will be one photo that I will always long to look at as I grow old gracefully, just like the rest of the photos taken randomly at that eventful run at Kilometer ZERO. 

photo credits to :
We Run For Good HealthTara TriP TayoFlat IronmanRunning Photographers &


  1. Hi Sarah, first and foremost, I just like to say thanks for complementing our works, Its truly our pleasure.... When we were there and out, we tend to take several pictures as many as we can and sometimes sacrificing the quality of our shots. I don't care much about the reputation for quality of my photos but instead, I care much about capturing every precious moments of runners from all walks of life whoever they are. Reading a story like this is a complement, a bonus for us and it is very much appreciated ...

    I know every runner has a story for why they were here in this community, but not everyone has the will to come up and share their story. Maybe not at this time, who knows, I might share mine as well sometime

    I really admire writers and bloggers. That's my frustration and perhaps it seems that photography is much easier than writing and so I'm now. Keep blogging Sarah and I will share your site here on my timeline so that other can reach your post from a runners community.. GodSpeed!

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you so much for the credit of our works! We look forward to be working with you as well soon.

    Just continue the passion of writing and will do the same to help each other hand in hand.