Monday, May 21, 2012

NU 12 - What pisses you off at the neighborhood?

Hi Sir,

Here is my 7th NU Blog - runners have nowhere to run!

Thank you!


Crisostomo, Kathleen Lizette C.
NU 12: What pisses you off at the neighborhood? What do you suggest?

I'm preparing for my third half Mary (half marathon / 21k) where I have to train 5 days a week, 3 of which includes running long distances.  My main problem each time is that I do not know where to run.

Every Sunday, I run within the perimeter of SM Southmall which is 30 minutes away from our home and often see groups of other health buffs doing their thing—running, playing badminton, doing push-ups, or dancing in groups.  This is a typical Sunday morning in Las Pinas.  I used to run in the park in a nearby subdivision until their security started asking for IDs as they prioritize the security of their residents.  My father told me I should just run along the main road.  I didn't think it was a good idea to risk being chased by dogs or being run over by vehicles.  I read an article from a local running magazine regarding a jogger's hit and run accident which almost cost his life.  He was just running within the subdivision.

There is a growing interest in sports, physical activities and health, and it is sad to realize that the community is not prepared for this.  There are few public areas where people can do their sports activities and not all of these places are safe or "healthy" enough.  Most parks such as in Ayala Triangle, CCP and Luneta are right across main roads.  Health buffs cannot enjoy the benefits of their exercises while inhaling fumes at the same time.  Safety and security is also a concern since there is no area for people to leave their belongings unless they have their own vehicles.  I lost my tumbler once in Ayala Triangle when I left it in a bench while I was running.  I now have a hydration belt which can carry my valuables but I see more people running without any of their belongings.

Yes, there are formal areas such as Rizal Memorial Coliseum or in University of Makati and there will always be gyms, arenas and studios.  However, not everyone can afford these and some will actually be intimidated to still go to these areas for their activities.  A group of teenagers playing badminton will not go through the hassle of renting a badminton court and a group of 40-year old mothers who plan to have morning dance exercises will not need to rent a studio for their activities.

I believe there should be more places in our local communities that encourage sports and physical activities.  There should be track ovals surrounding parks and more open-area courts for those who want to play badminton, tennis or volleyball.  We can imagine a bigger Legaspi Active Park (Legaspi Village, Makati) with a rubberized track oval, better Bermuda grass for more activities, hydration and wash areas, covered and open air courts and secured locker rooms.  More sports and recreational activities encourage people to do more than just being couch potatoes while playing with their iPhone.  Sports have always been one of the target activities of the government to keep bystanders out of drugs and crimes.  During summer season a.k.a. basketball league season, it is quite endearing to see tricycle drivers and guards in neighborhoods playing basketball against residents on a per division / class basis. 3.5 <more sidewalks to be built>   <not safe though;  practice at Ayala Alabang Zapote road and Daang Hari route>

From a macro point of view, the government has not given much priority to the country's involvement in sports yet it is one of the fields we are excelling in.  We have all heard of stories of professional and amateur athletes who either pay for their own expenses or are being sponsored by private institutions.  Recently, I personally joined a charity running event created by triathletes for the benefit of young triathletes who cannot sustain the cost of their training and equipment while managing their education and family expenses.  It is good to see athletes helping other athletes, but we need a bigger intervention.  If the government's budget priority is not in sports, but also not in health and education, then I need not wonder why CJ Corona is so rich.

Filipinos have the potential to do well in sports.  Aside from home where everything starts, the next support group is the community.  I hope there will be an increased awareness for our government on the sports and other physical activities in our country.  In years to come, I am looking forward to younger dancers, players, runners and triathletes.