After Mesh and I registered, the organisers handed out our Haile/G4S shirts. We looked at each other and laughed. Over dinner last Wednesday, we had a serious discussion on what to wear for this run. It was a given that Mesh will be in Adidas and I will be wearing Nike but color was an issue. Now, don’t call us lame. We’re girls, clothes and shoes are important points of discussion for every major occassion.
When we got our shirts, I turned to Mesh and said, “I will run in a cotton shirt for him.”
I was asking Mesh to take my picture with the polo field as background when she said, “Why don’t we have our picture taken down there?” And she led me to where Haile was talking to one of the organisers. I gawked while he chatted with one of the lady organisers. He wasn’t very tall but I felt that he was larger than life. All I could think of was, “Wow, this guy can finish a marathon before I even reach the half way point. How does he do it?”
Finally, they stopped talking and he walked towards the field. I bravely called out ( I might have butchered his name) and asked to have a picture with him. We had no time to chat with him because the run was about to start.
As stated in the program, we started with some stretching. I normally just stretch my legs but he started the stretching by asking us to raise our arms. And then, he said bend to the left. I paused, I trying to figure out which direction to bend, bended and realised that I was on the right side. Right but incorrect side. I should have watched the shadows instead. One of these days, I will be able to figure out this right and left business.
After stretching our upper body, we did quad stretches, hip openers and some leg loosening exercises – hopping on one leg and kicking to the side. Very similar to what Coach Salazar teaches us at Team BR speed training.
And we’re off! He cautioned us to start slowly. Well, his slow pace and my slow pace are minutes apart. I want to run with him and so I ran their pace. I wanted to watch his running form. It was very smooth and even. Arms swinging freely on the side. I tried to observe the distinctive running posture, with his left arm crooked as if still holding his schoolbooks mentioned in Wikipeida.
After the first lap, I still had enough energy to sprint ahead to take the picture below. As we reached the half way point in the 2nd lap, this pack started pulling away. I felt like I was running backwards because the gap just kept getting bigger and bigger.
Such is life, I ran with Haile for 1.5K and chased him for the next 1.5K
After the 3 laps, Obinna Metu led the stretching. He is also one of the athletes sponsored by G4S (see the Press Release info below). Mesh and I ran beside him during the first lap. We knew that he was also one of the athletes but it was only after I googled him that I found that we were running beside an Olympian!
I don’t have pictures but the cool down stretches involved a lot of upper body loosening moves. A lot of raising arms and opening up the chest area. After the stretching Obinna explained that the upper body and arms dictates the speed and needs to be stretched too after a run. Some of the loosening exercises were funny. We had turn to the side, lift our hands up and bring it down as we bend down. 😀 Some of the men found it challenging and we were all giggling. He said that it is good to keep smiling and keep things fun. The whole time we were stretching he and Haile were bantering.
We had a group photo afterwards. I’m still trying to figure out how to get a copy. I’m hoping that Cecil’s camera dude was one of the photogs taking pictures. I just followed his advise and stayed near TheMan. It helped that I’m not tall enough to be placed in the back. 😀
During the shoot, another G4S athlete stood behind Mesh and I. He was about my height and slim built. He looked Pinoy so I smiled and asked, “Hi, so ano sport mo?” He (Eduardo Palas)smiled and said, “Spanish.” Ay, no habla espanol ako. So I just repeated the question in English. 😀 He replied wrestling. Whew! Good thing I didn’t offend the guy.
After the run, the athletes were pulled aside for a TV interview.
As I was talking to one of the organisers, she introduced me to Charly Suarez, the Filipino boxer and the newest member of the G4S 4teen. Our boxer trains in Baguio and is currently sponsored by Smart and now G4S. He is an Olympic hopeful. He is the reason why Haile was in the country.
Yup, Haile wasn’t here to run but to welcome this guy to the G4s 4teen. I trawled the net and found the press release below.
After the interview, Haile proceed to do his training run. I would have loved to stay and watch him run. Unfortunately, real life beckons and I had to go.
It was really unfortunate that his schedule did not permit him to share some time with the running community.
After the run, I was able to talk to Loubie, one of the organisers. I requested for an interview for FrontRunner Magazine. She agreed and provided me with time and place of Haile’s next engagement. She said that he is really keen to complete his training run first and that at the school in Tondo, he would have more time for a chat. Perfect!
After hurried sms exchanges, Jonel (and Lester?) and Carrey were on their way to a school in Tondo to interview him. A few minutes before they turned to the street of the school, I got a call from Loubie. She was apologising. Haile was not feeling well and has gone back to the hotel. Ack and double ack! Sorry talaga, bawi na lang ako sa inyo sa BDM. I won’t forget the BigMac.
So again again again, why was he here in the Philippines? Here’s the media release from the G4S website.
The Philippines, 24th February 2010: G4S, the world’s leading international security solutions group, has unveiled a promising young Filipino athlete as the newest member of its global sports team, G4S 4teen. After an extensive search Charly Suarez, a talented 21 year-old featherweight boxer from Davao city, has been selected to join the unique sporting initiative and complete the line-up of young sporting hopefuls in G4S’s inspirational programme. Suarez will be unveiled to the Philippines media, on the evening of the 24th, at a glittering reception at the British Ambassador’s residence in Manila, in the presence of 200 VIP guests and journalists, including double Olympic Champion, world marathon record holder and G4S 4teen Ambassador Haile Gebrselassie.
As a country with an illustrious reputation for producing world class boxers and after G4S recognised qualities and values in the sport that sit close to their own, a comprehensive selection process was run in conjunction with the Filipino Boxing Federation. As a young Olympic sportsman with huge potential, Suarez was selected from a shortlist of young talented boxers as a perfect match for the aspirational sports programme. With an impressive list of achievements already to his name, including a recent Gold medal at the South East Asian Games in Laos, the 21 year-old has demonstrated determination, courage, and tenacity in becoming a top amateur boxer in The Philippines – characteristics that are integral to the G4S 4teen programme.
The G4S 4teen global team is comprised of 14 young international athletes from 13 countries brought together as one united team. Despite their different backgrounds and sports, all the youngsters have one common goal – to compete at the London Olympics in 2012. The team has a dynamic mix of Olympic sports including BMX, sailing, athletics, table tennis, swimming, wrestling, shooting and archery. Conceived to nurture and support a new generation of young stars from around the world, the initiative attracted the exclusive support of legendary two-time Olympic gold medal winning athlete, Haile Gebrselassie. The Ethiopian marathon world record holder is the Ambassador of G4S 4teen and a mentor to the young sportsmen and women. He will be working closely with Charly to pass on his experience of competing at the highest level and share his advice about achieving sporting dreams.
This week sees Suarez meet a number of the G4S 4teen team members who have flown into The Philippines to welcome the newest athlete to their global team and all take part in a special training camp. It is also the first time Suarez has been introduced to his mentor, the sporting great, Haile Gebrselassie who has also travelled to meet him and take part in the camp. Designed to allow the young athletes to spend some more time with each other and Haile, the camp enables them to take part in beneficial activities, such as media training and specialist workshops that are aimed to assist with their all-round development as athletes. Haile has been imparting his advice and sharing his experiences with the young stars and will also be hosting a special G4S training run on Thursday 25th for 200 invited guests.
Haile said: “I am delighted to have met Charly this week and I welcome him to G4S 4teen. I look forward to seeing him train and think it is great that he brings another new sport to our team. This shows one of the fantastic features of this G4S programme – regardless of the sport or background, there are many qualities in the world of sport that unite athletes. I hope Charly will enjoy being part of our team and we can help him achieve the goals he dreams of.”
Charly will receive the ongoing support of G4S Philippines, as well as access to G4S’s international network of staff and athletes around the world. In addition to receiving financial support to help him with training, equipment, and travel to major competitions, Charly will be provided with training in key life skills including computing and foreign language lessons, as well as help to raise his profile at home and abroad.
Commenting on the recruitment of Charly to G4S 4teen, Mike Ross, Managing Director, G4S Holding Inc. said: “This is a fantastic boost for G4S in the Philippines and we are so happy to welcome Charly as an ambassador for our business. He is a tremendous young sportsman with huge potential and we are all looking forward to supporting him as best we can to help him achieve his sporting dreams. I am delighted to be welcoming not only Charly, but also his fellow G4S 4teen athletes and the great Haile Gebrselassie to Manila this week for the first ever G4S 4teen Training Camp to take place in Asia.”
Since its launch in 2007, G4S 4teen has witnessed extraordinary sporting success with five of its young stars having competed at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Among them, Kazakh weightlifter Ilya Ilin won G4S 4teen’s first Olympic gold medal – helping the programme achieve success four years ahead of schedule. In 2009 Un Teng Che chose to move away from cycling and concentrate on her studies and consequently stepped aside to open the door to a new sporting star to take her place on the G4S 4teen programme.
Delighted to be joining the team, Charly said: ‘I am so very happy for this offer from G4S, I feel very honoured to be asked to join this team of talented young athletes and cannot wait to be working with them. I am now excited about my future in boxing as I believe that, with the support of G4S 4teen, I will have opportunities made available to me that I’ve never had had before.’
Commenting on the announcement, the British Ambassador Stephen Lillie said: “In two years the UK will be hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are delighted to see a British company like G4S take this legacy to a global level through its support of international sporting talent around the globe, including here in the Philippines. It is fantastic to see promising athletes like Charly Suarez receive the support that they deserve”