Give Running a Try!

By Emily D. Singbenco

WHILE ILOILO CITY has claimed to be the Bike Capital of the country, there is another physical activity that is gaining much traction among Ilonggos.

Even with the popularity of biking as a leisurely activity, sport, or means of transportation, running as recreation and competition is gaining ground among our local citizens. To run requires nothing more than a pair of running shoes and a willing spirit – and to this effect, the local running scene has formed groups and communities which brought diverse people together in sharing their journeys, and goals in running.

After all, sports tourism has huge potential in Iloilo because of the iconic destinations, heritage sites, and gastronomic goodies: incentives for prospective runners and enthusiasts. For instance, the onset of the year has already witnessed three competitive runs: the 2nd Mayor Jerry Treñas Iloilo Dinagyang Half-Marathon 2024, the Iloilo Dinagyang Marathon (IDM) 2024 Heritage Run, and the 7-Eleven Run 2024.

Organized by Pyt Trimanez together with the Iloilo City Government, the 2nd Mayor Jerry Trenas Iloilo Dinagyang Half-Marathon 2024 held last January 20 drew more than 300 runners who did the loop through Diversion Road and on to SM City Iloilo – and something to look forward to would be the IDM Run, where culture and athleticism meet. Held days close to the Dinagyang’s major events, runners can rightfully say ‘Dagyang na ta!’ with a sense of accomplishment after pushing their limits in the races.

With the same athletic spirit, 7-Eleven brought the fun on the road with the 7-Eleven Run Series last February 3 to 4. Runners got to experience this ‘grocery run’ for the first time with two exciting new locations: Iloilo City in Visayas and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao. Pre-run preparations included Run Clinic and Run Drills to prospective runners to fix their running form and Long Slow Distance (LSD) run programs to increase muscular endurance and aerobic conditioning.

To sum it up, what’s good about joining run events in Iloilo City? You get in the zone, physically and mentally, and you can proudly walk away from the finish line with a new race personal record. Furthermore, beyond the medals earned after these events, participants also enjoyed the freebies from different sponsors, and the rewarding feeling after completing a particular distance.

So, what draws runners together? For some, it would be a sense of belonging, community, and friendship. A study in 2012 explained that exercising with a virtually present partner can improve performance in an aerobic exercise task across multiple sessions. Additionally, the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine last 2017 opined that exercising together reduces stress levels and positively influences the mental well-being of a person.

In recent years, social media platforms have further amplified this connection, allowing runners from different places to create and join running clubs, running groups, and communities where they can share their triumphs, challenges, and advice.  Internationally, Strava, Nike Run Club (NRC) App, and Adidas Running App are some of the platforms catering to the global community while in the country, running and fitness communities like Pinoy Fitness have been helping Filipinos reach their fitness goals for almost a decade through inspirational run stories, run events, run programs, resources, and tips.

One local running group, Run Iloilo, brings running casual joggers, seasoned marathoners, sprint athletes, and trail enthusiasts together. It has reached more than 2000 members and continues to welcome like-minded individuals who share the same passion for fitness. Also, the group promotes run events, organizes run clinics and LSD runs during weekends, and provides resources and healthy discussions on the nitty-gritty of the activity. More so, the sense of camaraderie and support within Run Iloilo is unparalleled, fostering friendships and a shared sense of achievement.

All these running activities are possible because of the availability of resources and venues within the city. The Iloilo City Government has invested much in shared open spaces wide enough for mass physical fitness routines to promote health and wellness – and it just might be possible that the City of Love will take on the challenge of becoming the Fitness City of the country.

At its heart, running is a full-body experience that gives the participant a powerful sense of inner peace, empowerment, and connection to others. In a fast-paced world, running serves as a timeless reminder of the simple joy of movement. Let’s achieve that runner’s high: give it a try!

(The author is a running and biking enthusiast and an advocate of healthy living and research.)

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