FOR most people who crave for competition, losing repeatedly is enough reason to lose the drive to go further.
But for 22-year-old runner Richard Salaño, those countless moments when he bowed down to more superior competition only strengthened his resolve to exceed himself, and eventually prove that he has what it takes to be triumphant.
Salaño, a graduating Information Technology (IT) student and track-and-field athlete at the University of the East (UE), was all smiles the moment he stepped on the podium after winning the men’s division of the Enervon Activ 21K event, the premiere category of the Run United 1 marathon at the SM Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City.
Salaño showed off his fiery form to clock 01:16:52 in the men’s category and finish ahead of Benjamin Raña, Jr. and British national Andy Pope.
Triathlete Monica Torres, on the other the hand, crossed the finish line with a time of 01:28:20, followed by Kenyan runner Irine Kipchumba and Kristy Abello, to rule the women’s category in the race spearheaded by Unilab Active Health (ULAH) and RunRio Inc.
Others who topped this year’s inaugural Run United event were: Elphiz Kiptarus, John Chebil, and Gregg Vincent Osorio (men’s 10k); Cinderella Lorenzo, Miscelle Gilbuena, and Ma. Claire Adorna (women’s 10k); Rafael Poliquit, Jr., Christopher Ulboc, Jr., and Ferdinand Corpuz (men’s 5K); and Janette Lumidao, Jennysmyll Mabunga, and Michelle de Vera (women’s 5K).
Tired of losing
“I have lost track of the number of times I lost,” said Salaño, who started running nine years ago when he was still in high school. “Before, I used to avoid competing against runners who I felt were a lot stronger and more seasoned than me. Whenever I see their names up there on the 21K event, I will almost always beg off and sign up for 10K instead. But this time, I want to exceed myself so I took on the challenge.”
Salaño said that the absence of Kenyan runners also boosted his confidence coming into the competition. “I expected the Kenyans to really dominate the competition since I already went against them in past marathons. Truth is, I only eyed to finish at least in the top three, but luckily I made it all the way,” shared Salaño.
Aside from participating at Run United 1, Salaño has also competed at the Asean University Games held in Laos in 2013 where he went up against student athletes from Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand.
His next target, Solano said, is to compete in a 42K event, as well as some international marathons, two years from now.
Making winning a habit
Salaño was just one of more than 12,000 progressive runners who signed up for Run United 1 and fulfilled the marathon’s mantra of Citius, Altius, Fortius — the same Olympic values that translate to “faster, higher, and stronger.”
“Our races have always been about people exceeding themselves. We have been part of the journey of many participants, who have become a better version of themselves. We will continue to support them as they progress in their field, whether it is running, biking or triathlon,” said ULAH vice president for operations Alex Panlilio.
“Our catchphrase ‘Exceed Yourself’ is all about inspiring race participants to set new personal records (citius), progress to longer distance categories (altius), or finish strong (fortius). And we can see that they are seriously taking up the challenge, given the results of our first run race this year.”
Rounding up the Run United Trilogy this year are two more races: Run United 2 on June 1 at SM Mall of Asia, and Run United Philippine Marathon on October 5 at Bonifacio Global City (BGC)-SM Mall of Asia. The first ever Run United was held on March 7, 2010 with 8,000 runners, the number of participants has since more than doubled. On October 28, 2012, it launched the inaugural Run United Philippine Marathon (RUPM).
Besides run races, ULAH also sponsors triathlons and duathlons in partnership with Bike King. Tri United 1 2014 was held on March 9 in Subic, Olongapo. Lined up for the rest of the year are the following: Tri United 2 on July 6 in Playa Laiya, Batangas), Tri United 3 on October 26 in Subic-SCTEx in Porac, Pampanga and Tri United 4 on November 23 in Fontana Clark, Pampanga. The duathlon will be on September 7 at SCTEx in Porac, Pampanga, while Bike United is scheduled on May 17-18 at Subic Bay, Olongapo.
“ULAH has also leveled up with the runners, from mere race sponsors, it has ventured into sports nutrition and apparel for runners and triathletes, alike. We want to offer our loyal participants the whole package to cater to every aspect of their life as athletes, from training to running or racing,“ said Lester Castillo, ULAH’s sports events and public relations executive.
“We pride ourselves in being able to cover all aspects of progressive athletes’ growth and development. ULAH has an array of sports nutrition products that takes care of their needs before, during and after their race,” said Castillo. These include Enervon Activ multivitamins, Enervon HP Recovery and Active Health sports gel.
ULAH taps the expertise and experiences of top coaches, sports science experts, and sports nutritionists to come up with solutions for progressive athletes. It also provides them with access to trainings via its regular sports clinics that will allow them to reach their ultimate potential.
ULAH’s brand ambassadors, running coach Rio dela Cruz; triathlon coaches Dan and Ani De Leon-Brown, Raul Cuevas, and Andy Leuterio; and the Bull Runner Jaymie Pizarro are active in mentoring and training progressive athletes.
Run United also supports a good cause — building healthy communities all over the country. Part of the registration fee in all Run United races is also channeled to ULAH’s beneficiary, Gawad Kalusugan of Gawad Kalinga (GK), which regularly conducts medical outreach projects and training of barangay health workers.
ULAH has also set up a health satellite clinic with the Caloocan Health Department and GK that will provide extended health services to the GK villages in Bagong Silang — the most populous barangay in the Philippines.