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!