Running “wacky” with the Philippines National Team

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In early January, the Janji team was led to Baguio by adventure buddy Jess Barnard — a former Steeplechaser for the Philippines National Team — to meet-up with a few of her past teammates for a fun track session.

When I think back on it, I can still hear the nervous laughter and giddy enthusiasm of Mark Anthony being teased by his running mates as they changed into their Janji kits and started loosening up pre-sesh. These antics seemed like a familiar ritual amongst the close cadre of national team hopefuls. Mark would have the last laugh though as he whipped past the others on the final 100m sprints of the track workout — that kid is a rocket.  



Left to right: Jhade Sangao, Shanna Awingan, Mark Anthony Igusquisa,
Valerie Shane Arciaga, Katherine Khay Santos, Jess Barnard,
Lilia Rosa Yatar, Clyde Wendell Montiflor, Renz Cj Santos, Dexter Manaois

Just over three months ago, the Janji team was rubbing sweaty shoulders, running side-by-side, high-fiving, and getting “wacky" in photos with members and soon-to-be hopefuls of the Philippines National Team (“wacky" of course being the term affectionately used in the Philippines for what we refer to as “goofy" photo poses). It's strange to think about that day now and, even more so, a group run. In the current landscape of self-isolation and exclusive solitary running, the memory makes me nostalgic for the camaraderie of friends, of team affairs even as a devout solo runner in “normal" times. The thought has triggered absurd fantasies. The weirdest: to rip off my face mask mid-run, forgo my germaphobic superstition of every surface and everybody and lick the sweat off the forehead of the nearest runner I pass. The tamest: to bear hug every single passerby. And my favorite: to fling myself into a race corral from atop the metal dividers and crowd surf the wave of runners. In a time of hyper-limited person to person contact, we begin to crave basic human touch from familiars or strangers alike.


If you've been self-isolating for the past two months, I'm sure you feel these things too. And with a lot of perseverance and due-diligence we will get back to that day when we can run safely with others, although perhaps never quite the same way (and definitely sans forehead licking strangers and crowd surfing race heats). Until then, I will continue my solo runs en mask, but at least I can rely on the thought of those kids chiding Mark and goofing around as guaranteed to make me smile sub-PPE.











































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Track session in Baguio shot by Ian MacLellan

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