Slowed by pandemic, running ready to make big comeback
Running used to be the dominant leisure sport of Filipinos before the pandemic struck, with races mushrooming everywhere during weekends—and sometimes during weeknights.
But the COVID-19 health crisis, which came with an anticrowd protocol, broke up runners into solitary athletes.
The sport took a hiatus, like many others.
Rey Lawrence Torrecampo, an avid 21-kilometer and 10-km runner, said jogging used to be part of his weekly exercise. But since the pandemic started, he was forced to box his running shoes.
“I used to jog in Makati Circuit and UP Diliman Oval,” Torrecampo said. “While stuck at home, I didn’t have the space nor time to jog.”
But the uptick of health-conscious individuals turned running into an urgent need.
In fact, Martie Plaza, captain of Adidas Runners Manila, thinks “now we have even more runners than before.”
“I think running really has always been there. I mean despite the hindrances from all the lockdowns people found ways to still continue running,” said Plaza, during the recent launch of Adidas’ new running shoe, the 4DFWD.
The shoe, whose technology scientifically addresses the transition needed to prevent the constant restart in each stride of the runner, comes at an opportune time.The pandemic bred the need to strengthen one’s lungs, turning people into cardiovascular activities like running, cycling and swimming.
“People started you know being more health conscious, being more conscious of being fitter people,” Plaza explained.
While cycling certainly exploded in popularity, running was not far behind, with people adapting to the new needs of the sport: masks, face shields and social distancing were part of a runner’s protocols.
Then people got used to the situation and one by one ticked off their personal goals and milestones. Vaccines started to arrive and soon after, public restrictions started to ease.
Nylah Bautista, coach of Adidas Runners Manila, said “running really never left. It’s been there. During the pandemic it’s just that we’re used to running alone.”And “right now, after the pandemic, we’re all excited to gather as a group,” she added.
Running, Bautista said, is now “more enjoyable and more challenging.”
And with more and more people adding layers of protection through booster shots, officials are optimistic that those weekend races will return.
Bautista added that there are now “more reasons for us to train harder, to train longer and join running groups like Adidas Runners Manila to get fitter and stronger to achieve our running goals.”
The pandemic might not be over yet but runners can finally see the finish line and they are eager to get there as a group. INQ
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