#RememberThe44 was a solidarity run and ride for the fallen 44 soldiers in the Mamasapano Clash. It was not only a ride and a run, it was a fund raising event that raised more than P100K for the PNP SAF Tagaligtas Foundation to benefit the families of the 44 Heroes. Hundreds of Athletes / Troops went on to ride 44 kilometers (Some went on with 144 kilometers) or run 4.4 kilometers at Nuvali for the benefit and in honor of the Gallant 44 soldiers and their families. This just proves, hardcore people have soft hearts.
Remember the 44
The nation’s headlines has been filled by the tragic death of the 44 SAF soldiers during the Mamasapano Clash in Maguindanao. They were tasked to arrest an international terrorist and ended up being caught in a gunfire with Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. The event led to a public outrage which was made even murkier by people with vested interest. The issue has been divisive yet one thing remains there are heroes that needs to be honored and that there are grieving families that need help. Remember the 44 is a fund raising run and ride event to honor the new heroes and raise some funds for the PNP SAF Tagaligtas Foundation to benefit the families of the 44 Heroes. Out of his own personal effort, Coach Andy Leuterio organized this event to help raise funds for this cause. It was a simple event, you run or you ride and you help the cause in the process. Every little support could mean a lot and with that, more than P100K was raised for the PNP SAF Tagaligtas Foundation. It had a mix of runners, cyclists, duathletes, triathletes and troops riding and running their way for this cause.
Weeks ago, I did my full marathon (42K) and added another symbolic 2 kilometers for the 44 brave soldier. For this event, I was toying on whether I would do the 44 kilometers bike or just do the 4.4 kilometers run. I eventually went on with the run since I haven’t really had much saddle time in the last few months. My heart bleeds for the 44 brave soldier and though it’s part of the hazards of their job, you just can’t stop going over the situation again and again to see how to prevent the tragic event. I hope that once the smoke clears that the death of the 44 brave men would not be for naught with justice and peace prevailing in the end. It’s one thing to criticize but it’s also another thing to throw in your financial and physical support to their cause and that is what we did collectively.
The event started in Seafood Island at Solenad, Nuvali with a short program that included the donation drop off, opening remarks, national anthem, a tribute roll call for the SAF 44 and finally the ride and the run. There were three non-competitive categories with the 4.4 kilometers run, 44 kilometers Road Bike Ride and the 44 kilometers mountain bike ride. The Cyclist made their way to Nuvali Boulevard to do their loops while the runners started to do a short but meaningful run led by Coach Andy Leuterio. The event was well supported by about hundreds of athletes from different teams in the running and triathlon community and hundreds of troops from the PNP-SAF. The troops of the PNP-SAF joined us in the run and even led the pace and the chants. The run had a really big turnout and you can see it with the video from Gryf Olfindo below.
Since I was in my running off season after the marathon, I expected only a slow paced run. I guess with uniform cadence and lively military chants, you get to run a little bit faster. We took the inner roads at Evozone Street since the cyclists were at Nuvali Main Road. It was really a lively run with the PNP-SAF leading the chants and Coach Andy leading the pace. We were running between 6:30 to 7 minute per kilometers pace at the start of the run. It was both a challenge to keep up with the pace but since we were running in a platoon, you get the added push. We took our water break halfway into the run.
After the break, the pace even got faster with the Commando Group overtaking the original pace group and setting an even faster pace of below 6 minute pace. I went with the original pace group at the middle of the platoon and then went on to speed up too until the finish at Solenad. It was really exhilarating running at this pace again as I don’t even run at this pace during actual runs as I usually go for slower and more consistent pace. It really helped that the troops were great motivators and it helped that it was for a cause. I was lucky that despite the down time in my training, I didn’t felt rusty nor struggled with the faster pace. We finished around 30 minutes.
There was some post race stretching exercise, food and drinks. I stayed around a bit to watch the cyclist do their loops and it turned out that they even did more than the required 44 kilometers loop and some even did up to 144 kilometers loop. I left around 9:30 am since I had to catch an appointment early in the afternoon. Congratulations Coach Andy for a successful event!!!