Takbo.ph Runfest: From Roots To Routes

Many runners have their own favorite races. Some of them may be the big established races or megaraces such as Condura, Adidas King of the Road, QCIM, Globe Run or the Milo Marathon. With their sheer size, grand organization, opulent logistics and high energy, these races are eagerly anticipated by everyone because they generate so much excitement.

If only time and finances allow, i would love to run all these races.

But there’s another kind of favorite race–smaller in scope but no less special that captures the spirit of a particular community. These races are the heart and soul of Metro Manila’s road running scene. Without them, our sport wouldn’t have the foundation and breadth that it has now.

You probably have your own favorite small race. Mine would be the Takbo.ph Runfest!

Now on its third anniversary, the Runfest has become the focal point of Forumers of the Takbo.ph website and serves as a reunion run of sorts for old original members. It’s the brainchild of Takbo.ph owner Jinoe Gavan who later joined forces with Ian Alacar, Doc Lyndon and others which has now become known as Leadpack, Inc.

These individuals have contributed in shaping Takbo.ph Runfest into the tight community that it is today. The Runfest is a fun run for runners by runners and has molded into one big family that has maintained its friendship through the years.

Last year’s Runfest was one of the best organized races to be held at the BGC. It was a new route that took us to the vicinity of the British School for the first time with abundant water and sports drinks situated at every 1.2km intervals.

From last year's race

Most importantly, i knew why i was running this race. It was for the inspiration, camaraderie and the renewal of acquaintances that only a community run like the Takbo.ph Runfest can generate.

The original takbo.ph group

This years Runfest will be held on July 24.  You can check out details here ( here ).  See you there!

We Parteyy, When We’re Not Running

If you’ve ever met and talked to Jinoe Gavan, founder of Takbo.ph, then you’ve probably seen him smile. It happens often in the course of his stories on running, the races he has joined and organized, his upcoming training for several races slated in the provinces and when he talks about his “first baby”, the Takbo.ph website.

The website on running has left an indelible mark among runners, and has created a lot of following in its two years of existence. It gave runners a chance to interact with each other on a gut level and has formed a wide, deep friendship that has branched from running into other multi-sports like the Duathlon, Triathlon and Ultra-Marathons.

I’m proud to say that i was part of its initial membership, from a few dozen who interacted at the Forums to the present thousands (and still growing) who have relied on the site for the latest news, schedule of upcoming races, blog stories, latest running gadgets and everything else on running.

Recently, there was a cause to celebrate when Takbo.ph marked its 2nd anniversary by staging the Takbo.ph Runfest 5/10k races which was a rousing success. To top off this celebration, expecting mom, Queenie Gavan (Jinoe’s ex-GF, now wife), organized a Runfest get-together at the Joey Pepperoni Pasta Bar at The Fort last Friday that was well-attended by both the old guards and the newer members of Takbo.ph. It was a merging of old and new faces, a continuing generation that will still grow as long as the running boom continues to flourish.

On a daily basis, Jinoe still finds himself immersed in making the website grow, on top of his regular job and other running projects. His goal still stands, “to promote running” and as long as runners keep motivated and friendships prosper, Jinoe will continue to have that toothy smile.

Here are some pictures from last Friday’s party:

The early birds

Mostly "oldies" (Photo by Carlo S.)

The group at the rear portion

Young bloods at takbo.ph

Party hosts, Rodel and Marga

Rodel with the new bloods

Waiting for their food and drinks!

Great guys!

Super fast runner, Carly (L) and friend, Chang

Marga, Ziggy and Tin


Celebrity Rodel signing on his pic

Little Big Race

With more than 2,000 runners gathered on 28th Street at The Fort ready to run the 1st Takbo.ph 5k, 10k Runfest, much of the buzz among the runners was their personalized singlet which was proudly worn during the race. With runners’ names and monickers imbedded on their singlets and race-bibs, it sure was a sea of blue and black runners invading the arches of the Fort. Previously unknown but familiar faces finally had names that you could call out to! As always, i’m really having problems on this singlet sizing as i thought getting a XXL size would already fit my 180 lb frame. It would not be so. Anyway…

There’s a lot to be said for this well-organized race and i was totally satisfied how this run turned out with water stations turning up almost every 1.5kms that you wouldn’t need to worry how far your next drink would be.

I treated this as a fun race but you just never know how you could hold back when runners beside you keep jostling and sprinting past you that you get pulled forward by the fast flow. I felt a little wasted after the first 2 kilometers trying to maintain a 5:00-5:30 min pace that i had to ease off after the first water station.

I continued running to a more comfortable 6:00 min pace and maintained it all throughout except when i had to walk during stops at the water stations and enjoy a little of those ice-cold Powerade sports drink being offered. I knew that if i continue doing walking breaks at these stations, i wouldn’t hit the sub-one hour finish time i hoped to achieve. True enough, the verdict was not as favorable as i finished in 1:01:48. But that’s ok. I didn’t want to push myself too much as i was still in training mode for the upcoming marathons, anyway.

L-R: Neil, Marga, Pat, Me, Wilnar, Rachel, Noelle, Carina, Que, Doc T


L-R: Rachel, Neil, moi, Gail, Marga, Lauren

With Nora, recent marathon finisher

Last huddle before the gun start

Post-race breakfast (with Mel, Ninang and Tita) at McDo!

Jinoe Gavan, organizer of this race seems to be learning the ropes fast, in staging this well-ran race! He, together with Doc Lyndon and Ian Alacar have now earned themselves the trust and respect of the running community after some false starts during the past Rotarun and San Mig run. Though small and limited in runners participation, the race organization was strong, a class-act and staged as though it was a mega race with bands, long lines of water tables and the over-all joyous atmosphere of a new and well-measured route!

Congrats to all!