by: Dionelyn E. Servanez
5, everything seemed to move in slow pace
4, hearts were racing, pounding fiercely within their chest
3, people takes in a deep breath to release the tension
2, eyes focused preparing to hear the signal
Boom! Beats of feet against the ground echoed as runners hear the gunshot. It has just started.
A new track for the youth has just been laid during “Takbo ng Kabataan Tungo sa Kinabukasan”, a fun run held last April 25 at the Baybayin Covered Court. Runners were the 21 and below youth of Los banos. This is in line with the plan of the Municipal Sports Development Office headed by Mr. Marcos Dizon to hold a free training on marathon running.
“Kasama talaga ito [marathon running] sa program [Youth and Sports Development Training Program]. Nagsimula sa basketball, volleyball tapos ngayon marathon naman (Originally, this is included in the program. It started with basketball, volleyball and then now we venture to marathon running),” said by Dizon.
The fun run has no registration fee and was open for all constituents of Los Banos. A total of 202 runners joined – 124 male and 78 female. Three categories were launched both for the male and female runners:
- 3 km run for youth aged 13 and below
- 10 km run for 14-16 years old
- 15 kilometer run for 17-21 years old
A cash prize of Php 1500 for the first, Php 1000 for the second and Php 500 for the third were received by the winners of each category.
James Bryle P. Ballester, Paulo T. Abiera and George B. Canape were the first placers in 3 km, 5 km and 10 km category respectively for the male runners. On the other hand, Faith M. Banares, Elaine Banares and Julia Tano won the first place in 3 km, 5 km and 10 km category respectively for the female runners. Youngest participants were also recognized – Enrico T. Garcia, three years old and Christine M. Banares, six years old and also the second placer for 3 km run female category.
Winners from this event as well as interested participants will then be the first batch of trainees for the planned Marathon Sports Clinic. Nineteen participants confirmed their interest to join right after the event. They enlisted their names and contact numbers. Nine were from Brgy. Baybayin, six were from Brgy. San Antonio, and one each from Brgy. Anos, Malinta, Timugan and Tuntungin Putho.
The program’s starting line
In December 2013, the former Municipal Sports Coordinator Geronimo Luna started the Youth and Sports Development Training program. Under the program, the MSDO offers free training for residents of Los Banos aged 17 and below.
Its first three phases covered which basic training on basketball and volleyball. The second phase was in April 2014 where skills learned were applied by competing in leagues. Meanwhile, the third phase was geared towards the advancement of skills in various competitions. Now, MSDO plans to venture on other sports like marathon running to include more young people into the program.
“Imbis na malulong sa bisyo ‘yong mga bata, ginagawa naming paraan ‘yong programa para i-divert and atensiyon nila sa sports (instead of the youth being indulged in vices, we use the program to divert their attention in sports),” Arvin Averion, municipal sports aide, said.
When asked why the youth is their target trainees, Averion said “Mas magandang habang bata palang nate-train na yung mga bata; mas madaling turuan pati mas active (It is better to train the children in their formative years. It is easier to teach them and they are more active.)”
More than Just Running
According to Nick Gandeza, a running enthusiast and also the coach of Laguna de Bay Running Team, there are many benefits that running could give a person both physically and socially. In terms of physical benefits, aside from strengthening muscles, building strong bones and developing endurance and stamina, running saves one from multiple health ailments. This is because it lowers blood pressures and it strengthens one’s cardiovascular-capacity. Also, it slows down a person’s aging process and is a form of relaxation.
Furthermore, running also benefits runners socially as it builds up camaraderie among them through activities like competitions and trainings. For example, in Laguna de Bay Running Team, they conduct regular endurance and regular time trials trainings which prepares the runners in various competitions and also a form of bonding run among their members. In the competitions they join, they meet new runners from which they expand their contacts with.
For Coach Gandeza, running is a potential avenue to inspire the youth to change their lifestyle. Instead of being addicted to drugs or cigarettes, such form of recreation will help them develop not only their physical attributes but also in honing their self-discipline.
However, these benefits would not be attained without continuous training. Many are encouraged to join but easily give up. There are potential athletes but are not committed on what they do. They run for the sake of the game and do not bring the sports close to their hearts. Hence, it is important to cultivate the minds and the attitude of the youth runners towards the sport. Make them realize the difference that its benefits could bring about in them; and let them ignite their passion for running.
MSDO Ties Up with UPLB
As of now, there are still no appropriate training facilities for the potential athletes of marathon running. The field that they plan to use is the Paciano Rizal Park near the old Municipal Hall but it is small and has concrete flooring. Hence, the office plans to coordinate with UPLB to use the upper and lower field.
“Gusto naming makipag-coordinate sa Department of Human Kinetics para matulungan kami sa pagte-train ng mga bata (we would like to coordinate with the Department of Human Kinetics in training the children)”, Dizon said. In particular, they are seeking for the UPLB running team to teach them basic skills and techniques in running.
According to Myra Luz Abueg, Coach of UPLB Track and Field Team, if the coordination with the DHK will be granted they are willing to help in the program. She offered her time during Saturdays every 6:30-8:00 am for the initial training; and 4:00pm onwards during Wednesdays and Fridays for the regular training. This coordination could also be a potential community service project of the team.
In return, Dizon helped the Track and Field Team in granting their request from the Municipal Government of Los Banos to provide the chairs, tents, sound system and tables needed in their running event – Makiling Challenge last May 3. Two tents, set of tables and chairs, as well as the sound system were provided.
Fund your Future, Run
A new track has been laid. The initiative of MSDO provides a better path for the youth to take. Marathon running as an additional sport in the program poses a lot of intended positive impacts and these would not be attainable without the coordination of the participants, parents, municipality and partner running team. With the improved sports development program, now children are given reasons to run not just for fun but also as an investment to their future.