I have no races planned for this month, and that may be just as well. I’ve been enjoying group road runs lately where there is no time pressure and all you need to do is keep your wits about you. You can even take time to “smell the roses”, figuratively. One of those runs was the informal heritage group run last September 5 through the streets of old Manila.
It would be a welcome change from my usual running haunts in UP and the Fort, but more than that, the significance of such a run wasn’t lost on me. My favorite field trips back in school always involved old Manila, but I’d never had a chance to do the sightseeing on foot because we were always shuttled about in buses.
I actually got chills as we passed through the main gate of Intramuros and ran its cobbled streets. Of course, we ran through more than just Intramuros. As outlined by Carlos Celdran, who initially conceived of this as just a group bike ride, this route could be a potential tourist corridor linking the CCP Complex all the way to Chinatown. Our day’s efforts would serve to promote awareness of and stimulate tourism in these areas so rich in Filipino culture and history.
We made one major stopover at Fort Santiago to hold two minutes’ silence in tribute to the victims of the bus hostage crisis from three weeks back. It was a very solemn moment as we all understood the gravity of what had happened there.
What we thought would be a short 6 kilometers turned out to be a 15-kilometer route! Thankfully all the runners took it in stride, and those looking for a long run were quite happy and had their quota of KMs. (Read more about the group run experience on Journeying James’ blog.)
Our run ended in Luneta Park. And then I realized, I’d never ever been there before! I felt like a little kid on a field trip once again.
Running is definitely a great way to see the sights (sounds and smells, too!) of a city. If this kind of event happens again, I’ll definitely be there!