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Ironic Nat Geo Earth Day Run


For those who love running like me I’m sure you already heard about this story. For those who are not familiar with the story I’m posting this article not to insult the person who posted it on his FB wall and expressed his opinion.  I also don’t know anyone from the organizers of the race nor am I part of any running organization.  I’m also not a supporter of the Earth Day movement just to be clear.  I just want to give my opinion on what happened.

Running in the Philippines is already an accepted lifestyle for a lot of health buffs and usually people run for many reasons.  Some people run for the fun of it, some because they love running with friends, health reasons, to support an initiative or movement, or maybe because of the running shirt that comes with it.  The Nat Geo run was a success and most of the runners are almost done and going to the activity center to get some freebies, meet / wait for their friends, and to update their Twitter and Facebook status.  Don’t you just love posting photos and stats of your run and sharing it with your friends?  Hehehe!

A few minutes after one of the runners posted a photo with a comment:

” WHY DO WE RUN?

Early this morning, I ran my first marathon. It is dubbed as the NATGEO EARTH DAY RUN. I ran for 3 reasons: 1. I liked the shirt (i would have settled for the 3k, but I liked the 5k gray shirt so i would not mind running an additional 3k); 2. I had no taping yesterday; 3. I wanna lose some calories. I did not run to save the earth. That was clear. I was just wondering why the others ran? I was so amused to see most runners scatter their used paper cups and bottled waters on the street. Oh, Mother Earth would be very proud of them…and the organizers. I hope the organizers did not place plastic bottled waters or paper cups in the various stops of the race. I hope they reiterated upon registration that the runner must bring his/her own container and that water fonts will be stationed instead. That could have saved them some money, and yes, some trees. Next time, let us be clear about our intentions in initiating these events. I may have ran for the wrong reasons, but I certainly did not throw away that paper cup on the street. Happy Earth Day Everyone, whatever that means to you. “

Obviously, a comment like this would stir a lot of negative emotions from the people who joined the run.  Let’s try to look at it and be balanced.  As a runner myself (I’m not a pro but been joining running events so I have an idea how it works), I feel like it’s my duty to set the record straight.  A friend (Dan Nartates) who’s into running made a good point.

” THE IRONY INDEED! Most of the people who really ran for Earth Day gets judged by someone who ran just because he found the singlet nice, had free time from work & lose a few calories. I hope that before he judged the runners & organizers, he did his research first as he admitted that this is his first run and therefore he is not that knowledgeable on what really goes on in a run.

A lot of people really ran for Mother Earth & they threw their cups on the streets because they know that it will be cleaned & properly disposed of & can even be recycled right after the event. Even in the New York marathon, which can be considered as a world class running event, people throw their trash in the street because requiring runners to throw the cups on bins would create bottlenecks & stampedes in such a scenario. Imagine the number of trees we would need to cut down to make coffins!

His suggestion for every runner to bring his or her own hydration belt is also absurd! My question is, why didn’t he bring his own? Because for a first time runner, investing on a hydration system is too expensive & maybe they really wouldn’t need/ use it that much if they are not really running regularly so why buy? And yes, making money will need trees but are we complaining about that?! So in essence, isn’t he contradicting himself?

Maybe he is also not aware that more & more organizers are now using paper cups instead of plastic even if it’s more expensive because they really want to do their part for the environment too. Paper cups are completely biodegradable & recyclable! They also allocate a budget for garbage bags & people who will clean immediately after the event.

Next time, let us be clear with our intentions in posting potentially damaging things to other people in the Internet. And before we share, think ten times because we are equally responsible in this age of social media. Make sure you firmly believe in the idea & you can defend yourself with your integrity intact! He is proud because he did not throw away a paper cup on the street during a run.

In short, he is proud because he didn’t do anything. I am proud of all the people who willingly ran for Mother Earth. You are the true heroes in this story! “

I can feel the frustration in Dan’s words.  I guess it’s how passionate runners can be.  I’m not blaming the person who posted that pic and the negative comment about the run.  A picture or an idea can be shared freely but make sure that we, and I mean everyone, be responsible and careful with what we share online.

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