Running: Dekada ’80


There’s a short thread discussion about running during the 80’s at the website and this brings back a lot of memories when the running boom here in the country was still in its infancy. A lot of running clubs were active back then although races were sporadic wherein one or two races were held once a month. The Filipinas Third World Marathon, the Milo Marathon and the Philippine Airlines International Marathon were the races to join when you wanted to finish the full marathon.  

I also remember joining smaller races and among the known ones were the Saucony 10k Run, Magnolia 20k Race, Yakult 10 miler and the Brooks 10k Classic. Well,  today’s running resurgence has grown by bounds as all weekends are now full of races in every distance conceivable.    

But what was running in the 80s look like back then? When i came back to running early in 2008 and started joining races, i noticed one particular aspect that runners of now abhor while it was perfectly acceptable back then. During the 80s, the use of large plastic drums and water ladles (tabo) were the norm to hydrate the runners. The water was always ice-cold because they drop huge chunks of ice in the drums of water and use the ladles to pour water in plastic cups. When i read and heard complaints about their use being unhygienic, i couldn’t help but laugh about the notion. When i asked one Doctor friend who has been a runner since those days and still active now, all he could say was, “ganyan talaga mga runners ngayon, maaarte!” (Runners these days are finicky).  

Well, i didn’t get sick while this was being practiced before. At a recent race, i saw in one water station marshalls pouring water in cups but instead of the water ladles being used, they used a water pitcher! 🙂 Here are some highlights which i contributed at the thread of what running in the 80’s was like:  

— There were no sports drinks (gatorade) back then. We survived the full marathon just on water alone. Lipovitan was the energy drink of choice.

— Registration fees for 10ks/5ks started at P50.00. When some races charged P80.00, runners complained.  

— Finisher’s T-shirts were preffered than singlets during those times. The shirts were only given after you have finished the run.  

— The smell of “omega pain killer”, “efficascent”, “tiger balm” and other liniment oils were evident at the starting area before the race.  

— Women runners were scarce and few during the 80s. They were often gaunt, skinny, dark and haggard looking.  

— Elite runners during that time were Jun Tabunda, Jimmy dela Torre, Edgardo Pedregoza, Leonardo Illut, Renato Unzo, the Carmelo brothers of Baguio City and the girl wonder, Joan Laput.  

— The race distance of 20k was very common during the 80s. The course was usually from the Quezon Memorial Circle towards Fairview and back.  

— The first Pinoy running magazine was not TBR mag nor the Front Runner. There was one, (Philippine Running Globe, if i remember it right) was published by Mr. Elpidio Doroteo during the 80s which came out with about 6 monthly issues only. Its format and size was similar to that of Runner’s World and Front Runner magazine.  

— Botak was the first locally manufactured running shoe. It had the “kidlat” emblem and cost about P400.00 per pair.  

— Cesar Guarin, owner of Botak was already doing ultra-runs, from Mindanao up to Appari.  

— Some singlets were designed like fishnets and almost all singlets and shorts were purchased from the Botak store in Kamuning.  

— The famous race organizers were Elpidio Dorotheo, Jose “Jun” Castro, Red Dumuk and Rudy Biscocho.  

— Old Runner’s World and Running Times issues were available at Rizal Avenue at P20.00 per.  

— Saucony and Brooks running shoes were readily available at SM stores.  

— Nike, Asics (Tiger) and New Balance were available as imports at the Greenhills Shopping Center or at the Cartimar Market.   

During one of the Avon Races way back in 1983. Guess who that skinny runner on the right is? The pouch belt is a given.

  — Most importantly, all runners that i know of during those times were running not to set or break Personal Records on their 5/10/20k races but to be able to run and finish a marathon!


59 responses to “Running: Dekada ’80

  1. Fafih Jet– those were my “manangs” during those times. I’m sure they’ve convinced their “apos” to take up running already!:-)

    • Hi Elmer! Yup, was there at Nuvali but did the 10k only as i’m still recovering from a recent painful plantar fasciia! Hope to meet you soon!:-)

      • hi jazz runner! have you recovered fully from plantar fasciitis? would appreciate if you could share how you did it, am suffering from it right now.
        thanks! –

      • Hi Jojo–was scanning the comments section and i happen to approve yours without replying to your query. i’m sorry for the late reply. here’s my take on how i tried to cure it:

        1. Firstly, i rested the feet for three straight days, more if its worse. No running. Cure can even take up to 3 months.
        2. Applied ice about 7x a day on the plantar. Those rolled ice you buy in your sari-sari stores are perfect.
        3. Roll them on your feet as if you were rolling an empty bottle at the soles. 7x at 15mins per session.
        4. i took medicine given by a doctor-runner friend. He advised taking ARCOXIA 120mgs once a day. You should consult your Doctor first.
        5. I wore “GEL Heel Pads” on both shoes. This sort of “cured” my PF! Available at Runnr store for about P700.00.
        6. Stretch your calf muscles 5x/day real slowly. Wall pushes and Foot dip stretching.
        7. Start running conservatively when pain has subsided. Always wear those heel pads.

  2. hello! some observation during the 80’s:

    -there was a band-aid marathon clinics for several months before you can join a full marathon at rustan,roxas blvd., and at quezon circle
    -there was a night running clinic at ugarte, MWF by magnolia
    -there was a botak outlet at ali mall
    -there are running event during fiesta in some parts of MM that starts at 1 pm, usually 10k
    -dela torre usually runs with singlet inside out
    -I still use beltbag during runs
    -many parts of QC circle to fairview route has still cogons on both sides

    • Very true, Nonoy! my first running clinic was actually the Band-Aid Marathon Clinic at QM Circle and my first marathon was the Band-Aid Marathon held at Marikina in 1983. I attended a fiesta run and it was held, in all places, in Malabon (Brgy. Concepcion). When dela Torre was inside the Botak outlet in Kamuning, i remember the manager asking him to pick-up what he wants and he took about ten pairs of singlets and shorts without hesitation! The belt bag has been a regular gear for me. No Nathan Hydration belts back then!. The cogon grass along Commonwealth i remember and there very few vehicles passing the route, then.

      Nice recall, Nonoy!:-)

  3. lakay, kasama ako diyan, ah? hopefully, i’ll be able to dig deep to the files and documents my Mom were able to store in our old house. i know i was able to save some of my running archives then in the 80s. nice post!

    • Yup, this was our time, BR…and the MOND singlet (Ministry of National Defense) worn by the elite AFP runners was a regular fixture at the races. Hope you dig out something from those old running archives that you have and maybe find a copy of the old pinoy running magazine i was talking about.:-)

  4. What a great post! I wasn’t a runner back then, but I was a true blue 80’s poster child in all other aspects, yikes! Love the pic of the shoes, I am pretty certain I had a pair of those… although not running in them.. just to “be cool”… 🙂 Love the pic of you and your friends too… what a memory!!!

  5. Wowww Sir Rene… natutuwa naman ako habang binabasa un mga post mo.
    May ilang bagay pa akong naabutan when I started running in 1997.

    Yeap, there were really no singlets. That’s why running was really much treasured before because you get your prize of shirt only when you finished the race.

    The smell of liminent oils…
    No sports drinks…
    50.00 registration fee…

    Nakaka-miss din pala. Glad that you have kept some documents and you still remember the names of elite runners and organizers, that’s amazing!

  6. Sir Rene,

    “ganyan talaga mga runners ngayon, maaarte!” – I have to agree with this. Ngayon maliit na bagay lang may mahabang thread na agad somewhere (kaya mga bagong runners mahina ang loob hehe…kulang sa germs).

    Ibalik ang 80’s haha…teka hindi pa pala ako tumatakbo nun.

    • Haha, so true Ninoy. Maybe we should suggest a washing station near the finish where we could wash our hands with safeguard soap after the run.:-)

  7. sir rene, ayos itong post na ito. mas maganda nga talaga ang running scene during the 80s. P50 for races ang pinakamaganda dun. btw, sa baguio last week P50 lang din 3k,10k, and 21k. it was fun! sino kayang may naitagong phil.running globe mags?

    • James, that may be the holy grail of running, i think. 🙂 I’ve been trying to look for a copy of that mag from old friends but couldn’t find any.

      • Hi jazzrunner,

        Were you able to find a copy of that magazine? I am jun castro’s daughter and I am trying to find articles, journals, etc. online that I can archive for my mom and siblings. Dad passed away 2 weeks ago on Sept 9th after a 3 year battle with lung cancer.

        I’m happy to connect with you offline. Thanks!

      • I’m very sorry about your dad’s passing. He was one of the prime movers in running during the late 70s, until the 80s when i too had to leave for abroad to seek greener pastures. I’m still in pursuit of a copy of that magazine. I’m going to search on my “baul” and check if i still have those old pictures with me and your dad when i was tagging along during his races in Paoay, Ilocos Norte and during carboloading dinner at your home in Makati together with some foreign runners. Will connect with you off-line soon./ Rene V.

      • Hi Rene,

        Thank you, I appreciate your sentiments and passed it on to mom. Do you have an email address that I can correspond with you offline? Thanks so much.

  8. our slip (age) is showing but i am mighty proud i ran back then even if those runs were mostly in baguio.those were the days. madami na ngang kaartehan ngayon.hahaha.

    • Hi Jonel. The Carmelo bros. were lording it over there and even races in Manila. Nasaan na kaya sila?

    • Hi Dhenz– yup, so slim when i started, 2 decades and a few grey hairs later, can’t get down from 180lbs.

  9. Wowww Sir Rene… natutuwa naman ako habang binabasa un mga post mo. May ilang bagay pa akong naabutan when I started running in 1997.

    There were really no singlets. That’s why we get to treasure our experience because you get your prize of shirt only when you finished the race.

    The smell of liminent oils…
    No sports drinks…
    50.00 registration fee…

    Nakaka-miss din pala. Glad that you have kept some documents and you still remember the names of elite runners and organizers, that’s amazing!

  10. wow, probably we had run together in that 1983 band aid marathon, I remember we pass imelda avenue ( not sure ) but run ends at amoranto, it was under jun castro. I was with band aid rustan group.

    • Hi Nonoy! It might not have been 83 because we ran loops around the marikina sports complex, i believe. i might have gotten the years mixed up. i was with the band aid Quezon Mem Circle group.

      • right, not sure if marikina sports or amoranto, but loops is correct, 3 loops for 21k and 6 loops for 42k, there was i think several vehicles videotaping that run, and that was the run where my name was printed on that runners magazine. This was my only run kasi in marikina.

      • Aha! Noy’s another witness of that elusive running magazine and remembering his name printed on that:-) Yes, 6 loops that was and lots of supporters helping out the first time marathoners. great of you to remember.

  11. groving – groorveee ! Sir Rene ! hehehe=)

    nice post ! hope the race organzier will realize form 50php way back then to 700php reg fee 🙂 ,& a fun race!

    & runner just enjoy the run ! no complain! 80’s plain water for full marathon wow ! i remember UP run with you sir you talk about this long run just water alone & belt bag only no 7-11 stop

    I remember when i was a kid Lydia de Vega together with “tatang” his father rode a bike & mam lydia run on macarthur highway in Valenzuela that her usually route

    I remember during my track dayz (90″s naman =)) hahaha those linaments on the 100m , 200m, 400m sprint hahaha bango ng legs hahaha tapos while you run lalong umiint hahaha or those omega pain with luya mas mainit my coach has 1, recipe nya daw yun ewan ko anu pa meron dun bakit sobrang init hehehe =)

    buti buhay pa ang Botak sa Kamuning =) lapit saamin

    nice post !!!

    GOD BLESS everyone !

  12. Mr. Rene, that picture was really the 70’s look. Nakakatuwa namang tignan yung outfit nyo. Parang si Rico J Puno pala kayo ng bata pa kayo, at katulad ni Rico J, ang dami nyo sigurong chicks noon. Sir, isa b dyan sa picture chick nyo noon?

    • Rotech –tumatakbo na rin kami sa luneta nun, di lang namamasyal! Mga “manang” yun, bro.:-)

  13. If this was entered for best historical running blog for the 80s, I think this will definitely win! Loved reading it and being reminded of where our “forefathers” of running came from.

    • FI– Haha..thanks for the kind words. i’m sure there are others who may have more to say about the 80’s, ours is just a very small portion of the bigger 80s picture.

      Thanks for dropping by!:-)

  14. great post sir rene! ELITE runner look ka pala nung 80’s! hehehe…kaya pala up to now you still run fit and strong…see u on the road…jj

  15. Grade 3 ako nung 1983. Only shows sir that you have been running for decades and this blog feels like a page in a history book. Likes your love for running. I started running in 2000 and I am now looking for pics around that time, inspoired by you sir. Keep pounding on the road ( and the keyboard keys ) to share the fun. Cool!

  16. ang sexy mo po pala dati…hehehe… 1yr old pa lang ako that time…
    pero i like this post sir rene…nakakatuwa!

  17. Saka nung araw ang start ng marathon 1:30p.m. 42k pa un ang start sa araneta QC finish sa Quirino grandstand…..and ang liit lang ng entry fee like now ngayon ginawa nang business…

  18. Sir Rene, muntik na po akong mahulog sa upuan ko sa running form niyo noong 70’s. Palagay ko mahihiya si Bald Runner sa sexy short niyo. hehe

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