Rites of Passage: Clinic Participants Finishes 10K

One of the sidelights of last Sunday’s Runnex Executive Race was the 10k graduation run of the participants of the Runnex Discover Running Clinic. After more than 10 weeks of training under the leadership of Coach Jojo Mac, the trainees’ endurance and skills were put into test. Majority of the participants were now going to run their first 10k, while a few who may have missed part of the clinic sessions would run 5k. 

Standing at the starting line after the Corporate Executives runners were fired off 10 minutes earlier, i felt a little concerned about my role for this graduation run but excited for these first time 10k runners i was going to pace. The day earlier, Danny Villavicencio, convener of the running clinic, assigned me to pace these newbies to finish their 10k at the same route where the Executive Run was being held. Aside from myself, the pacing chores will also be shared with Betty and Tonette. 

Although i was regularly promoting this running clinic through this blog, i rarely attended the Sunday clinics as i was either on out-of-town work related activities or was running some races elsewhere. I hardly knew any of the 72 participants although many recognized me through this blog. 

We started at a cautious pace of 8:00/km although Betty and Tonette’s group, who were leading the faster runners forged ahead in a 7:00-7:30/km clip. During my pacing with my group, i was bombarded with questions on running form, nutrition, speed drills and everything that pertained to running. It was a great feel interacting with them on a gut level and listening to their experiences gave a me a greater understanding of their concerns and aspirations. 

We reached the first loop (5k) in 44 minutes which wasn’t bad at all. Those few who had minimal training opted to finish the run, their first 5k race. The majority of us continued as i continuously gave some pep talks and motivation specially when some were taking walking breaks, which was just fine. 

A kilometer at the academic oval, another 2 kilometers at the newly paved rotunda and the slight incline going back, we finally reached back the academic oval. One kilometer to go! The group was now very ecstatic, their pace grew faster as we were near the finish. 

We were cheered wildly as we crossed the finish line as the runners punched the sky with their fists and all of them had smiles big enough to light up Abelardo Hall. Our time was 1:31:00. These newbie runners represented the essence of what drew them all to the starting line last Sunday. The quest for better health and self-esteem. A sense of a fulfillment and direction to achieve their dreams. 

Crossing the finish line with them transported me back when i also was discovering running. I too had this sense of fulfillment and pride when i finished my first 10k. There is pride in achievement but most thoughts and emotions are internal. They have all finished what they came to aspire for and deep inside, they were  all proud of their achievement.

They now plan to continue with their training and pursue a larger purpose, to finish the 42k marathon this December 5. 

Way to go, guys!

Running clinic participants

Doc & Dra. Jun Kagaoan (1073/1072), Race Organizers of the Vigan Run taking a pose with Betty

Trainees in high spirits, ready to tackle their first 10k

My pacing group. Ecstatic with 1 km before the finish!

Pulling them to the finish! (Photo By Blas Tiangco)

Part of the 10k finishers

Doc Pinky Benitez winning the Runnex Executive 10k race (Womens Div) with Christy Roldan coming a close second

Cristy and Pinky holding their trophies with Runnex' Art Disini and Rudy Fernandez

Runnex's (l-r), Ofie, Owens, Rose and Armie

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4 responses to “Rites of Passage: Clinic Participants Finishes 10K

  1. rene,

    can you please connect me with coach jojo? i would like to tap his know-how for my magazine.thank you.

    jonel 917 803 06 64

  2. Hi sir rene!
    I found your blog!…Yeah, i was one of those in the last pack (graduation batch) that bombarded you with a LOT of questions on training and long distance running. And i guess those conversations on running did help make the 10k run easier since it meant i was running at the right pace for a 10k newbie!…

    Thanks for being a great pacer to the small batch you handled — for going out of your way to pick up those lagging behind and for periodically regrouping us; for reminding us not to be bothered by the faster pace of the others and making us feel great just to complete the race…for making us believe we would reach the finish line and that we would finish as a group….and perhaps it was all these that made finishing our 1st 10k a very meaningful and memorable one!

    It was an exhilarating experience running the last stretch with you and the other guys shouting out the 100m interval countdown….and nearing the finish hearing the all-out cheers of the runnex community for the would-be graduates…..what can i say?… Thank you to the runnex community for contributing to our joys in running…

    You were right sir rene when you said that conquering one’s first 10-k opens the doors to wanting to go over greater distances….Oo nga, we’ve gained the confidence to take on greater adventures…

    Kudos to the pacers of our batch and to runnex!

    • Dette– thank you for the kind words! It was your perseverance and determination that got you through your 10k finish and my role was just to guide you run intelligently and with minimum mistakes. Keep up your running. There will be the longer races to conquer and i’ll be looking forward to see you finish your first half marathon in the near future!:-)

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