It is to marvel! I’ve seen very little props about the Marikina Riverbanks Park as being one of the best places for running here in Metro Manila. I could not believe my eyes how they transformed this once neglected, dirty, stinking river into one very clean, green and scenic recreational park when i joined a 5k race in April of last year (“The Marikina River Run) which was run in the narrow cemented running lanes along the banks of the river. “The people have to touch and smell the water” is a popular cliche among the locals who reside within the area especially during former Mayor now MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando in 1993. No wonder, it has won many international awards for its rehabilitation as the biggest and cleanest sports and recreational park in the country in a natural setting.
Since that race last year, i have re-visited the place quite often to enjoy running the 11k loop in quiet solitude and take in the scenery along the banks of the river. This morning, i decided to bring my running buddy and partner-in-crime June Santiago as he has heard about the transformed river and nice scenery of the place. We started at about 5:45am running first towards the northbound (San Mateo) running path.
Starting from the south bound lane going towards San Mateo
The view at Ground Zero
June (left) as the sun was coming up. Me (at right)
Daybreak along the riverbanks, one finds various vendors selling their freshly harvested produce like petchay, lettuce, camote tops, corn and the above squash flowers which i suspect is used in cooking “Dinengdeng”, an Ilocano vegetable dish.
Running along the untilled portion of the banks.
Along a wooded area
The river offers a nice soothing backdrop 8k into the run
June still going strong unmindful of the lovers past him
Near one of the 7 connecting bridges
So near, yet so far.
Going into the last kilometer of the run
Ahhh..finish at last! Another 11k completed
making time for the usual warm-down stretch
The Marikina River has been proliferated by the “janitor fish” considered a ‘pest’ which multiplies very quickly, feeds on algae and deprives other fish of nutrients. However, the local government may soon be using janitor fish skin as accent for footwear and other products, if not as an alternative to alligator and snake skin.
Thanks to the lady who offered to take our picture! And thanks to Marikina for a nice, warm run. We’ll be back again soon!