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Running Shoes Sharing at Batang Pinoy Games

 

I was on natural high when I entered the stadium; the red tartan contrasting the blue sky was a sight to behold. The runners are being called one-by-one, presented to the people watching the events. As a runner myself, I felt at home.

I was taking some photos of the 800m event for girls. Next event is the 100m-dash, as I continually to take some pics I saw a 100m girl runner from Bayawan City, Negros Oriental running not to the starting line but to the 800m runner who just finished her event. She was in a hurry, motioning the other runner to remove the shoes faster so she can go to the starting line.

The shoes exchange happened too fast, glad that I was able to snap a photo:

"Bilisan mo, pahiram ng sapatos. Eto na yung tsinelas."

 

Seriously, I can’t believe that it just happened, right before my very eyes. A lot of memories went through my mind and before I knew it, I was trying to stop the tears from my eyes. It’s good that I was wearing shades, so I can hide my now moistened eyes. I was calming myself. I wish I can do something.

 

When I went back to the hotel, I immediately shared it on my Facebook:

33 likes in just one day.

 

At that time, it was the best thing I can do- let my friends know about what’s really happening in the grassroots level of the sporting community.

I woke up today, still thinking about what I saw yesterday. I was determined to find those two runners and interview them.

I am really thankful for this opportunity- covering the Batang Pinoy Games. I am gaining a lot of understanding with what really is happening with our young athletes. I can say that this kind of tournament is what we need if we want to succeed in the international games. I want to say it again and again, KUDOS to the able leadership of the Philippine Sports Commission. PSC, I believe, is fueled by young blood and futuristic minds.

 

I went back to the coliseum, asked around for the two girls on my photo.  I was informed that they were Geralyn Rafols & Jamaica Moraclos, both 13 years old. Geralyn is from Minaba National Highschool and Jamaica from Bayawan National Highschool, they have been running since elementary and this is their first time to compete on a national level. The biggest event that they joined before this was the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (CV-RAA) held in Liloan, Cebu last year.

 

 

I asked who really owns the shoes, it was Geralyn’s but she lends it to Jamaica because she doesn’t have a spike shoes. On my mind, I was wondering how they train with that condition. (Sidenote: I am sniffing as I write this part). I then asked where the shoes are and found out that the familiar orange Brooks is worn by a different runner this time, Sacha. So the spike shoes are being shared not only by two but by three runners. Brace yourself, they don’t have the same shoes sizes. :(

 

Coach Neal, Sacha, Geralyn & Jamaica

 

So the spike shoes are being shared not only by two but by three runners.” 

 

I also grabbed the opportunity to talk to their coach, Neal Oliver Caraig. He was delighted that someone was able to look into their situation. He was telling me that they have a very tight budget; most of the athletes are sharing shoes because they don’t have their own and it’s too expensive to even buy from second hand shops. He even told me that they have two barefoot runners, he told me that they chose to run barefoot because they can’t afford to buy one. A young guy goes to me and says (in his Visayan accent), “Ok lang yan sa amin kuya, may trust naman kami sa aming kakayahan.” (It’s fine with us sir, we trust our ability). But Coach Neal admits that complete uniform and proper equipments would add self-confidence and boosts morale. He now thinks of approaching some private entities for sponsorships.

 

Jan Jay Garay, Barefoot runner from Bayawan City

 

After the interview, I watched the remaining games (4 x 100m) and found another team doing the same- sharing shoes. Ohhh, it’s a common thing huh! But can we do something about it? I mean, sharing is okay but it is way better if you have your own running shoes ayt? Its hard to train three runners with one shoes diba? Still, this is pure passion! What a dedication to the sports we all love. SALUDO!

 

___ ___ ___

Batang Pinoy Games 2011  is a grass-roots development program organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to identify young talents to be trained for the national pool of athletes. Mindanao leg was hosted by Zamboanga City (Oct 17-30); Visayas leg is being hosted by Dumaguete City (Nov 10-13); Northern Luzon leg by Baguio City (Nov 24-27); Southern Luzon by Sta. Cruz City (Dec 4-7); NCR leg (Nov 29 – Dec 2); and the Finals will be held at Naga City on December 10-13, 2011.

Official website: Batang Pinoy 2011

Facebook Page: Batang Pinoy (PSC Grassroots Program)

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  1. November 11th, 2011 at 08:10 | #1

    james, parang nakita ko sarili ko sa kanila, I remember when I was in grade school, i really want to compete sa running, pero wala nmn ako shoes, so sumali pa rin ako kahit naka-paa, ang sakit.

    Buti pa sa kanila, kahit mahirap, nanghihiraman ng sapatos. The story is very inspiring.

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    yesm definitely brings childhood memories. same here darwin.
    really inspiring story

    [Reply]

  2. joanne camille
    November 11th, 2011 at 08:16 | #2

    :,( hindi ko sineryoso ung sinabi mo sa fb na “Get a tissue before clicking the link.”

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    naiyak kaba joanne?

    [Reply]

    joanne camille Reply:

    OO! even my friends here at work.

    [Reply]

  3. November 11th, 2011 at 08:35 | #3

    ouch… nakakatouch. grabe I can relate so much…

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    in what way ed?

    [Reply]

  4. November 11th, 2011 at 09:54 | #4

    Most of my concerns now seems so petty compared to what they are going through

    I really admire the tenacity of those children, to be young and ready to conquer the world.

    I want to donate shoes! Even just 3 pairs :( this could be happening all over the philippines where ever we are let’s just try to share what we have with just any kid who deserves shoes as much as they do.

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    hi lauren, 3 shoes would be great! will email you, let’s gather our resources and ideas.
    thanks!

    [Reply]

  5. November 11th, 2011 at 10:50 | #5

    Project! Let’s help them get shoes! We can start the drive.

    [Reply]

    joanne camille Reply:

    i agree!

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    that;s what i like about you christine! WE WILL start a drive. any titke you have in mind? let’s talk on the 20th after the run, okay?

    [Reply]

  6. November 11th, 2011 at 15:25 | #6

    When I read this post, I was touched and impulsively thought of helping even in a simple way. I shared this touching story to some of my friends and gladly they responded positively. I have now gathered some amount which hopefully is enough to buy a pair of running shoes. This may not be enough, but I hope it can somehow help these young athletes in a good way. ^_^ Who knows, one of these athletes may be an Olympic gold medalist someday.

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    thanks for people like you and your friends. just the thought of it would definitely be an encouragement to the kids.
    one running shoes would definitely help a lot. i believe these young athletes when given the proper training and equipment will reach greater heights!
    let’s talk more about the planned support laiza. again, thank you very much!

    [Reply]

  7. November 11th, 2011 at 16:28 | #7

    Let’s talk and plan something about it James. Approach me anytime soon! :(

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    of course, we will pedz! we are so much blessed and lets share the blessings that we have to the young athletes.
    let’s talk soon! update me ha!

    [Reply]

  8. November 12th, 2011 at 00:21 | #8

    I still believe that we should develop athletes from the grassroots level instead of taking the easy way by recruiting Filipinos who grew up abroad. There are Filipinos living in the countryside who wanted to take up sports but as you showed here, lacks the proper equipment such as running shoes. Now, on my part, the Government obviously cannot cover with its dwindling budget, so if something move forward i’d be happy to join too. (hope private companies will also join in too)…

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    hell yeah markyboy! will inform you right away, plans are on the drawing board. please suggest things to do.
    thanks pre!

    [Reply]

  9. November 12th, 2011 at 02:07 | #9

    this just gave me an aha! moment. I think I’m convinced what advocacy I want to focus my energies on. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    thank you jayme! one of my purposes in writing this is just realized. pleasure is mine.

    [Reply]

  10. November 12th, 2011 at 03:58 | #10

    So thankful you are sharing this story with the world James! Social media can definitely help get these girls some shoes. Let us know how we can help!

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    lois, i just hope people would see the reality happening in the grassroots level. i know there are more stories in other places. yes, maybe we will have a shoe-giving project one of these days. will definitely inform you, thanks for the support in advance.

    [Reply]

  11. November 12th, 2011 at 06:06 | #11

    it is so real…
    it is still so, in the island where i grew up…
    lemme invite u also to my blogspot:

    http://www.hamankawnonoc.blogspot.com/

    i am a newbie to this but i’m trying hard to promote my “home” in every way i can.

    i had ran this island, during my childhood and highschool days, on barefoot, slippers, and borrowed shoes, too.

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    its good that you are sharing what your island offers.
    yes, definitely its true but only a few people know about it.
    i really feel sad bec i know a lot of people who have shoes that only collect dust.

    [Reply]

  12. hanna pua
    November 14th, 2011 at 06:09 | #12

    We can donate 2 pairs Men’s size 10.

    [Reply]

  13. November 16th, 2011 at 06:59 | #13

    Hello James! Long time lurker of your travel blog here. :) This entry made my heart break into pieces, especially after hearing of news that no government support was given to our athletes during the current SEA games (compared to the overwhelming attendance at Pacquiao’s fights).

    If you’re planning on something (fund-raising, etc), please let me know. I’d like to help. Thanks! :)

    [Reply]

  14. November 16th, 2011 at 08:29 | #14

    I cant help but shed tears. na touch ako I myself know for a fact na masakit mgrun na nakapaa, mainit and mi bato bato pa. :( Id like to help them but i dont know how. pls let me know. thankyou

    [Reply]

  15. billy
    January 15th, 2012 at 15:45 | #15

    nakakamiz tumakbo…
    naaalala ko tuloy nung naglalaro pa ko..

    [Reply]

    journeyingjames Reply:

    takbo ulit sir! pwede pa yan. i have a friend na ovalist before, tumigil at tumaba ngayon back to running… 5K and 10K para pumayat ulit

    [Reply]

  16. Raphael Lloren
    August 22nd, 2012 at 01:00 | #16

    If this is happening in track and field, I can only image what it’s like in other sports.

    Who do we talk to if I could put together a balikbayan box(es) full of shoes and sporting equipment?

    I currently coach volleyball in Canada, and it’s interesting to realize how much we Canadians take our equipment for granted. I used to play volleyball in the Philippines, and when I tell my players that I learned to play on cement and that some of my teammates practice and play with a pair of slippers. These kids’ reactions are just priceless: they look at me like I’m from a totally different planet.

    I’d like to put up a donation box at the Provincial and National Championships then sending whatever’s in the box(es) back to the Philippines.

    [Reply]

  1. November 16th, 2011 at 05:57 | #1
  2. November 28th, 2011 at 12:04 | #2
  3. December 3rd, 2011 at 07:35 | #3
  4. March 1st, 2012 at 19:15 | #4

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