The Hesitant Diva
Waking up very early in the morning despite sleeping late at night is something I detest. In fact, I have second thoughts on joining Takbo.ph marshal team for the 37th Milo Marathon Elimination – Manila leg. “Ano marshal na naman? Wala nang takbo kundi puro marshal na lang?” I said to myself. The very minute my alarm clock blared at 1:30 a.m. after 3 hours of sleep, a myriad excuses come to my mind – will I, or will I not?
I was late upon arriving at our Buendia corner Pasong Tamo Streets station. Almost everything where already in place except for some more sweets being laid on the two-table set up. I added my Hany Choco bar packs to the bunch of Jelly Aces, Curly Tops, Mentos, and more jelly candies. Dozens of banana hands were being sliced into two for easy consumption by the runners. They occupy almost half of this 2-table set-up and with much more in the boxes. I hope that they will be enough for more than 2 thousand marathoners.
This is my very first time to man a station in support of long distance runners. This had been an eye opener for me in so many aspects. Among the things I learned are the necessary things and tools one should have available as they will prove to be the life saver of marathoners.
- Banana – for potassium and other vitamins and minerals
- Sweets – for sugar replenishment and energy rush
- Ice cubes
- Water and/or near water source
- Ice box
For Medical/Pain Remedy
- Topical Pain Relievers like Omega Pain Killer (lots and lots of)
- Petroleum Jelly – for rashes and abrasions
- Band Aids – for small cuts and bruises
- Betadine – to disinfect open wounds
For Grooming – this may be insignificant for most but for running divas, this is a must!
- Lipstick – there’s nothing more appalling for running divas than to look pale and without glow in pictures
- Wet Ones
- Sprayers – the garden variety which gives out a continuous spray
- Surgical and Plastic Gloves – for medical supplies and food handling, respectively
- Cheer Implements and Noise Makers – to liven up the atmosphere
The Division of Labor
In this group of almost 20 volunteers, there should be somebody assigned to be “food servers”, cheerers, sprayers, photographers, massagers, groomers, leaders, utilities, etc.
The banana and candy servers like Rica, Papa Racs and Sammy who with their makeshift trays of chest cooler cover looked like waiters in some swanky bar! They took to the task like pros!
For Angel, Tiffany, Dina, Eileen and the rest, a paper plate and hands full of candies will do. Nikki, Sammy and the rest of the boys who were not yet on massage duties handed either bananas or some more candies or both to the runners. It is tricky doing this as some runners’ eye to hand contact is not that precise anymore after hours of running. In fact, many tugged on Nikki’s hand mistaking it as part of the banana!
If there were those offering sweets, Angel became the Salt Queen! Holding a plate of iodized salt while trying to cheer runners. Her platefull slowly became depleted as thirsty runners heed their bodies need not only for water but salt also.
Most of us don’t only offer food, massage, cooling spray, etc., we also offer the most touching and ego boosting cheer we can muster. At the top of our lungs we shout “Go runners, go!”, “Push runners, push!”, “Looking good!”, “Nice form!”, “You can do it”, “Good luck,” and so on and so forth. We sound our whistles and our tambourines. We “echoz” the runners to give it their all despite wanting to stop and succumb to pain. We encourage them to dig deep and persevere.
The Maniniyots (Photographers)
Ardiae aka The Bluelegged Runner and Manolo did some photo taking before relieving tired legs with some liniment. More and more runners ask for such passing by our station on their way back to MOA, which is the 34th Km. Sir Jinoe and Que did some more photo-takings besides doing some cheering and making sure the area is clean of clutters and banana peels. Sammy’s new recruit to the running marshal world, her friend from high school Ryan, did take some pix while not serving candies and bananas. He promised to start running too!
The boys in the group headed by Jobert and Papa Racs did a variety of tasks as the situation called for like handling out sweets/bananas, making sure the cooler is filled with water for sponges, cheering, etc. The rest got more involved with being masseurs as more and more runners arrive from their 34 km run around BGC McKinley Hill area. Jonathan, Jayson (whom I saw already doing some intense massage work at some runners even at just their 19K point), Eric Ma, and the rest of the CRAMPS boys took turns kneading tired muscles with their Omega Pain Reliever filled hands. In fact, to hasten the application, Jonathan filled my water spray bottle with the liquid relievers and mixed them with some water to lessen the viscosity and enable the spraying process. This is most useful with those wearing compression tights needing the medicine to penetrate it without having to remove them from the waist down! What a scene it would have been!
The most productive and most in-demand of all masseurs is Alan, The Last Man Standing. In fact, he stood true to his name becoming the last masseur standing, or precisely, kneeling down! His hands have special powers in them that the cramping female and a few male runners feel instant relief!
The sprayers are likewise very much in demand in a marathon race even at a cool day like last Sunday. Runners even stop for seconds just to drench themselves in the cooling spray. Nikki had a field day spraying heating up runners. After some filling bananas in the first part, she offered cool comfort on the return leg. Her peg for the day is “ang babaeng walang pahinga!”
I did them all except for the photographing since my camera did not have a memory card at that time. I left it with Ivan. Placing my fabulous diva headband on, I was a cheerleader, a banana and sweets feeder, a runner to the KFC fountain for those in need of water like Vans. But most important of all, I was a lipstick “retoucher” for fab diva runners like Pam, Sheryl, Amor, Kokey, Bhe2 Cleo, offering even Edrick and Noel some! This may be an insignificant task to most but for fabulous divas, this is “THE” requisite in every long run where cameras and admirers abound. Hehehe….
The clutter of banana peels, candy wraps, etc. need to be cleared off the road to avoid any accidents. Though a lot of trash bags were provided, still it is unavoidable to contain all the trash thrown by a number of weary runners. Sir Jinoe, the big boss of Takbo.ph himself was hands on in this task among others. I saw Jobert took care of the trash bags too. Kudos to these guys.
A Diva Masseur!
Alongside RJ and Jonathan, I did my share of massaging countless number of legs! I do not even have time to look at the faces that the legs belonged! After a series of like 10 runners, I need to stand up and cut the onslaught as I myself am feeling weak and faint as if I did some running myself. However, the thank yous and the smiles despite the pain and the weariness from those I had helped were priceless!
It was such a fun and a very rewarding experience that I hated myself for wanting to beg this one off just a while ago. This experience of being there for fellow runners is just priceless! I encourage everyone who considers himself or herself a runner to try this experience at least once.
There were many lessons I learned. One of these was that no matter how well stocked the topical pain relievers were, they would still bleed dry! Despite the amount of candies, chocolates, etc., it will still be not enough! But there will be limitless amount of cheers and good vibes while doing a very selfless thing – that of being there for others.
Till the next Milo Marathon marshal duties!