Blogging has been a big part of my running. I process my runs through my blog entries. I vent and celebrate in it.
When I started Bananarunning it was just a way for me to ramble about running without bugging my friends too much with running stories. Along the way, I found that it has a lot of bonuses, too. Through the blog, I have connected with several runners and most of them I now consider good friends and mentors. I also feel blessed that the blog has inspired a few people to run and even embrace a healthy lifestyle.
In the two years I have been blogging, the story about two brothers, a bald runner and a guy I only know as “G” is the biggest blessing of all.
In July 2009 somebody left a comment in my blog. He said that he is a Pinoy who grew up in the States. While researching about running he found my blog. He said that it inspired and motivated him to run. Then he offered to donate a pair of running shoes and race entry to a deserving runner.
When I read the comment, I ignored it at first and allowed it to sit in the unapproved list. It was too just good to be true. It sounded like something straight out of scamlandia.
Nevertheless, I have to admit that the comment piqued my curiosity. If the person really meant well then it would be a great opportunity to put a smile on a deserving runner with a new pair of shoes. I figured that I would be safe as long as I don’t send him too much personal information and access to my bank account.
With these in mind, I decided to send him an email and see what he was up to. After a few email exchanges, I was convinced that he was legit. He still refused to give me his name and simply signed his emails as “G”.
My next task was to find a deserving runner.
In August 2009, Bald Runner posted an entry about a young runner who won a Street Mile race with a finish time of 4 minutes and 36 seconds. That was amazing! But the real story was in the shoes he wore at the race. It was tattered and held together by tape.
Later on BR gifted Duncan with a pair of Newton shoes he received through his “Project Donate a Shoe”. It was a hand me down but the smile of Duncan’s face when he received it was priceless.
In the meantime, I was still cooking up a plan/promo to find a deserving runner. I was looking for someone who can inspire and motivate others. Yeah, I know, I am sometimes slow on the uptake.
Finally … after G sent an email to ask about updates … I sat down and brainstormed about G’s offer. Life, work and running was taking up too much of my time so I wasn’t able to focus on our little project. I felt guilty because I knew that I was keeping a runner from a new pair of shoes and a depriving someone a reason to smile.
I started browsing through the blogs to find an inspiration. Something clicked and felt right when I saw Duncan’s smile when he received the Newtons. I wanted to see him smile that way again. This is our deserving runner.
I immediately contacted BR and requested for Duncan’s number. After a few text messages, Duncan and I agreed to meet after the New Balance PowerRace to buy his shoes.
Two Brothers: Duncan and Derek Amarante
G and I only talked about Duncan. However, turns out there is more than 1 talented runner in the family.
Duncan, 13yo, and Derek, 17yo, are two talented junior runners from Balibago, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. A quick Google search would show how fast these kids can run. To illustrate, Duncan won Botak’s Street Mile race with a time of 4:36. His brother, Derek placed 2nd in the 5K category of the Milo San Pablo City Elims with a finish time of 17:13.
They both needed a reason to smile.
It was Duncan’s birthday last November 28, so after the NB race, I invited Duncan, Derek and their father, Darius, for breakfast with T2.
Over breakfast we exchanged running and life stories. With young runners, I always look into their eyes when they talk about running. There are some junior elites who join races for the prize money. These kids are no different. As their father said, they sometimes gamble at races. For races here in Manila, there were times when they will come with just enough money to get them to the race and will try hard to win to get them home. Now I can understand the frustration of some elite runners when they win and end up with GCs or the prizes are delayed. Sorry, I’m digressing a bit. And so we talked about Derek’s performance at NB and you can see his eyes twinkle as he related how he dueled with the top runners during the 5K. Duncan was listening raptly to his brother with the same twinkle in his eyes. I could feel their passion for running.
I also found out that they train and race in the same pair of shoes. I knew then that these kids not only deserve but also need the running shoes G and I would be buying for them.
After breakfast, we headed to Runnr. Duncan already whispered to me that he wanted a pair of Mizuno Mushas.
Erika of Runnr assisted them and made them go through the whole foot analysis sequence.
And then Duncan zeroed in on the green Mizuno Musha. They showed him other shoes but he never let go of the green Musha. Many thanks to Erika for giving us a discount and a Runnr shirt to Duncan.
Runnr didn’t have the Mizuno Wave Aero that Derek wanted so we waited a bit for Mizuno to open.
Blogging might have started as a way for me to vent and to celebrate my runs but it has turned and twisted into some very exciting experiences, encounters and escapades.
To G, many thanks to you from me, Duncan and Derek. I only wish you were with us when we went shopping. It was a delight to see these kids pick out their shoes.
To Vince and Essie, thanks also for your birthday gift to Duncan. I passed by Mizuno at Megamall and got him the running tights he requested. He doesn’t have to hang on to the strings of his running shorts now when he is training for the steeplechase event.
It truly felt like Christmas came early for me and the Amarante Boys.