Friday, February 01, 2013

Cotabato City? Running mecca? Why not?

I have never quite imagined Cotabato to be a running city or one with quite a number of fitness enthusiasts until one Saturday morning when I went out for a run at the ORG grounds.

It was not my first time to run there. I have done a number of afternoon runs at the place, and during those times it was just me, my shadow and the road romancing each other. The number of people I saw that Saturday morning was surprising.

The road around the buildings that housed the Office of the Regional Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Shariff Kabungsuan Cultural Center was practically teeming with people – all genders, all ages, all shapes and sizes – either walking or doing a slow jog. I had to weave around the crowd and at times slow down or I would be bumping into someone.

Part of  the ORG Complex in Cotabato City.
This palace is teeming with runners and fitness enthusiasts Saturday mornings. 

Fun runs have also become more common.

Last year, the Marine Battalion Landing Team 1 celebrated the 62nd Activation Anniversary of the Philippine Marines with “Takbong Marino para sa Cotabato” on November 17. A week earlier, on November 11, the Cotabato RadTech Club had quite a large crowd joining their RadTech Fun Run.

The Philippine Air Force 3rd Air Division Tactical Operations Group 12’s “Power Up Run” last January 27 was this year’s kick-off running event in the city. And on Febuary 10, there would be not only one but two fun runs – the Million Volunteer Run 2 of the Philippine Red Cross and the Fun Run for Bahay Maria jointly organized by the Cotabato City Off-Road Bikers Association and the Grotto Trail Riders Organization in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Cotabato.

Only recently, some enthusiasts created the Facebook group Cotabato Runners to bring together, even if only online, those who have a common desire for fitness and love for the sport. Hopefully, this will lead to meet-ups, group runs, and maybe a Cotabato City runners’ club.

I would really love to see the day when Cotabato City becomes a running mecca in this part of Central Mindanao.

It would be fun to see a lot more people running not only at the ORG grounds but in other places as well. The People’s Palace grounds where the Cotabato City Hall is located looks like a great place for a run.

The Cotabato City Hall grounds. Definitely looks like a good place for a run.

And what about the challenge of a hill run right in the heart of the city?

A bird’s eye view of the city and its environs slowly being bathed in the light of the rising sun would definitely be an experience worth cherishing after an early morning run to the top of Cotabato City’s historic natural limestone fortress, Colina Hill. That sight can only be energizing.

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