The Isport BOTAK Paa-Tibayan Takbo 100-kilometer marathon, the first ultra marathon ever staged in Metro Manila, is set on Sunday. It is described as a milestone in the local running scene, and I guess no one will disagree.
For BOTAK to organize and sponsor the race is, I would say, living up to tradition.
BOTAK shorts and singlets have been standard running wear for serious runners in the 70's and the 80's. Up until 2000, I took pride in wearing my BOTAK instead of the issued running singlet for the Davao Finishers' Marathon. Doing it gave me the feeling of being up there with the best, at least even only in what I wear. I still have two well-worn sets with me, though I don't use them as much on my runs anymore.
More than that, BOTAK founder Cesar Guarin was already an ultra-runner way before ultramarathons became big running events. In 1983, he did the Trans-Pilipinas Run in 39 days, the first Filipino to ever run from Mindanao to Luzon. Two years later, in 1985, he became the first Filipino to run across America, traversing the country from East to West in 87 days.
Being part of the first ever BOTAK Paa-Tibayan Takbo 100-kilometer marathon will undoubtedly be a memorable experience especially for those who only know too well the part that BOTAK running wear has played in Philippine running, those masters and veteran runners who may still be clinging to their own well-worn sets of BOTAK.
Run strong, brothers. Run strong and proud.