May 1, 2013

View From The Finish Line

The "easy" part of the trail, I suppose,
 as Jake was still able to take a pic.

When my husband started running, I also began the ritual of waiting at the finish line. His last race (The North Face 2013), which happened two weeks ago, was not an ordinary race because it was held in Baguio, where the air is thin--and the trek, as I gathered later, involved a lot of steep inclines and treacherous trails.

My husband, Jake, plus two of our friends, joined the 22k race. They left at dawn and the plan was for me and the kids to follow early in the morning. When I arrived at the race site in Camp John Hay, I instantly felt a different kind of electricity in the air. The race was indeed an extraordinary test-of-endurance race because aside from the 10k and 22k events, the Baguio race also included the 50k and 100k races. And when I got there, the  participants from the 4 events were already streaming in.

I love watching from the sidelines the glorious moments of runners crossing the finish line but never have I enjoyed the scenes as much as this last race. And never have I been as emotionally affected as well.

There was this guy who raced wearing an Igorot costume. Then there was this finisher who immediately made the sign of the cross and kissed the grounds. Somebody limped his way to the finish line but with a wide grin on his face.  There were a few racers who pulled their kids from the sidelines a few yards from the finish line so that they can cross hand in hand with their loved ones. I saw a group of friends who probably waited for each other so they can share the glorious moment of finishing together. A girl came back wearing a deep red lipstick, no doubt applied a few meters away so she'd look beautiful even after a grueling run. While others came rushing, there was this girl who just walked ever so slowly, as she was crying towards the end of her journey.

Priceless smile.
And as each finisher cross the line, all spectators applauded and cheered loudly. We celebrated everyone's moment of triumph and glory. We shared the joy and their tears, and the disbelief of making it despite the rigorous trail, and the high of beating time. We sensed the exhaustion, especially from the 100k racers who ran for 30 hours. We basked in the electricity of the cold Baguio air and in the warmth of the sights of kisses and hugs and high fives.

Running, I though to myself, is such a beautiful and a truly pure endeavor. With this post, I salute all runners in the world.