Updated: Mar 15
TCS Clark Animo International Marathon Runners Filling The Streets of Clark, Pampanga
TCS Clark Animo International Marathon is back — this time, with great resilience, and a greener advocacy.
The green fields of Clark were littered with Green runners last Sunday, March 5, with the revival of the annual Animo Marathon with the theme, “GREEN Run for the GREEN Cause!”
More than 5000 runners gathered in Clark Global City, a promising showing from the pre-pandemic attendings which peaked at 10,000 in the 2019 marathon.
The 2023 installment of the marathon had two things to prove: a show of resiliency, as the event is revived two years after the onslaught of the pandemic; and, a continued promise for the future — proceeds from the run has been allocated for the reforestation of Sapangbato and Clark watersheds, a project to combat climate crisis.
As the brainchild of the De La Salle Alumni Association Pampanga (DLSAA-P) Chapter, in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the annual marathon offered five distances: 42 kilometers or the full marathon, half marathon (21k), 10k, 5k, and for the kids’ division, a 2.5-kilometer run.
The event’s courses are certified by the International Amateur Athletic Federations and the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (IAAF-AIMS), making it a qualifying event for international marathons, and the only marathon in the region that is certified.
In frame: Albert Omboga, Enzo Hipol, Wilfred Lelina Jr.; 42K Podium Finishers (Male)
Albert Omboga took the first place finish in the male division of the 42k run, clocking 02:58:02, closely followed by Enzo Hipol, who was behind by 27 seconds; while the third spot was clinched by Wilfred Lelina Jr. (03:00:15).
In frame: Jewel De Luna, 42KM Podium Finisher (Female)
Lai Dee Harte led the female finishers of the full marathon, registering a time of 03:55:10, trailed by Jewel De Luna (03:59:06) and in third, Erlinda Alejandrino (04:03:25).
In frame: Jackson Chirchir, Robin John Navida, Ezequiel Gaspar; 21K Podium Finishers (Male)
Jackson Chirchir topped the males’ 21k, with 01:19:41; Robin John Navida took the second place with 01:24:51, while Ezequiel Gaspar (01:25:33) claimed third.
In frame: Rhia Stawicki,Rachell Macadaan, Celma Hitalia; 21K Podium Finishers (Female)
Earning the first spot in the female division of the half marathon is Rhia Stawicki, with 01:32:30, with other podium finishers Rachell Macadaan (01:51:14) and Celma Hitalia (01:51:29) taking the second and third spots, respectively.
In frame: John Cicano, Chi Him Roy Chan, Allan Ayson; 10K Podium Finishers (Male)
In frame: Lance Tayag, Mari Tayag, Euan Liwanag; 5K Podium Finishers (Male)
Other winners include the top three finishers for the male division of the 10k and 5k races — with John Cicano (00:34:58) earning first in the former distance, along with 2nd placer Chi Him Roy Chan (00:45:33) and 3rd placer Allan Ayson (00:46:06); whereas Lance Tayag led the 5k runners with a showing of 00:18:09, only nine seconds faster than Mari Tayag in second place (00:18:18), and Euan Liwanag, claiming third with 00:18:34.
In frame: Merly Joy Turla, Kana Antonio, Charilyn Ayerde; 10K Podium Finishers (Female)
Merly Joy Turla clocked 00:41:21 to take the top spot in the 10k race for the female division, followed by Kana Antonio with 00:47:14, and Charilyn Ayerde with 00:49:29.
In frame: Skye Elouise Gonzales, Gerard Dominguez, Jeanine Aura; 5K Podium Finishers (Female)
The 5k race concluded with Skye Elouise Gonzales at the top as she posted 00:28:58, Gerard Dominguez trailing behind with 00:30:19, and Jeanine Aura taking the last podium spot with 00:31:12.
The top three finishers received cash prizes, trophies and items from the event sponsors, while the 42k and 21k finishers all received medals and finisher shirts.
The Animo Marathon began in 2009 as a fun run in Clark organized by volunteers from the DLSAA-P, and secured with a partnership with TCS in 2016.
With only 600 runners in its first race, participants boomed to a whopping 10,000 in the event’s 2019 installment and 10th year anniversary.
From there, the organization sought to certify the distances to make TCS Clark Animo Marathon on par with other IAAF-AIMS certified marathons within and outside the country,
“...It’s a qualifying race. So for those serious runners who want to run in international marathons, they could use their time here to qualify for international runs,” said Mr. Darwin Cunanan, the president of the De La Salle Alumni Corporation Pampanga.
Even then, the event was a fundraiser, mainly to support the community projects in the locality — Pampanga — on education and the environment, particularly the watersheds of Pampanga.
Green is the new black
The advocacy of the non-profit marathon has been continuously promoted, as they remain partners with the Abacan River and Angeles Watershed Advocacy Council Inc. (ARAW-ACI) – an environmental organization that promotes the conservation of watersheds which in turn, will promote water security.
Angeles City and its neighboring cities and municipalities are at high risk of losing sources for groundwater by 2025, as projected by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, given the increased consumption of water for various purposes, reaching more than 1.30 million cubic meters, monthly.
The Adopt-a-Watershed programs supported by the TCS Clark Animo International Marathon aim to reforest plots of land, particularly the Clark and Sapangbato watersheds which will serve as natural reservoirs for water.
Even as the event boasts of internationally-certified races, the volunteer organizers emphasized the continued success of the yearly marathons is attributed to its intent on serving the community in other crucial aspects, such as the environment and its ongoing battle with climate change:
“It’s the positive karma of doing good advocacies,” stated Mr. Aries Patawaran, the chairman of DLSAA-P on gaining new sponsors and achieving yet another successful run.
Ruling the track
If you find yourself participating in a marathon soon, heed the advice of some of the finishers of the TCS Clark Animo International Marathon, given during their interview for Hard Boiled Questions.
Silver-finisher for the 10k distance Chi Him Roy Chan emphasized how one needs endurance and of course, a lot of practice for a marathon.
“The most important thing is to have enough sleep… If you have enough sleep, then you have the stamina; and motivation to practice,” said Roy when asked for advice for future marathoners.
Edsel, another finisher, narrated how he was able to complete the marathon:
“I just focused on my goal since I prepared for it for maybe a month. I pushed myself, especially when I saw the last one kilometer; I just sprinted and gave it my everything.” Edsel Quiambao, 21k Finisher
Skramble also interviewed Mitch, one of the foreign marathoners who participated in the event.
Mitch was a veteran, having run in 30 marathons; but the TCS Clark Animo International Marathon was special as it was his first run in the country, as he moved and is living here now.
Erlinda, one of the female finishers of the full marathon also recalled her race experience — recounting how it felt a bit lonely since there were no marshals on motorbikes to talk to during the entirety of the 42-kilometer distance she ran.
That said, she highlighted how one should be mentally strong, and more than that, how physical preparation is key to finish:
“Hindi lang mentally strong, number one, proper training para matapos mo yung 42k.” Erlinda Alejandrino, 42KM - 3rd Place Finisher (Female)
“And mentally, usually ako ginagawa ko nagssounds ako para masaya, nakakamotivate yun [sa] pagtakbo,” she added when asked on how she combats the mental fatigue of the long distance run.
The Animo spirit in Pampanga
The event was conceptualized and spearheaded by the DLSAA-P, but the chapter’s president, Mr. Cunanan reiterated how volunteerism was the key, and how they manage yearly without event coordinators (save for other officiating members such as race officials).
DLSAA-P Members as Volunteer Organizers of the TCS Clark Animo International Marathon 2023
“...It’s only us, pure volunteers. [The] common denominator is we’re all alumni of De La Salle University or other La Salle schools throughout the Philippines, based in Pampanga,” he stated.
When asked whether there was anything new this year, Mr. Patawaran said that it was a ‘make or break’ season,
“...because we’re coming from [the] pandemic, and we’re really not quite sure on how the market will respond… so we tested it last November,” he added, referring to the 2022 Kick-start Runs.
As the country was still within the transition period from pandemic-related restrictions last year, the Clark Animo Kick-start Runs were held on November 27, 2022 to precede the larger 2023 full-distance marathon.
The kick-start marathon offered shorter distances for training, including 5k, 8k,16k, and 25-kilometer runs, and served as the start for the registration period of the 2023 marathon of the series.
The DLSAA-P chairman Mr. Cunanan explained how the 1,400 attendees from that November run exceeded their expected responses, and why they gambled on pursuing this year’s event.
“As you can see, it’s a happy environment… Hopefully, we can still do it next year,” said Mr. Cunanan.
We asked TCS Clark Animo Runners and Organizers HARD BOILED Questions