takbo bayani: for men only 21K event!(no hero for women)

Posted: August 4, 2008 in running
Tags: , ,

A few minutes before finally leaving work Friday night I make a quick check online to download my personal mail and read up on updates posted in my wordpress blog surfer. DATC’s post about Marikina’s FOR MEN ONLY 21K caught my eye. Pleasant, mature or rational thoughts flew out the window the minute i heard the familiar ringing in my ears.My knee-jerk response was to roll my eyes (which I promptly did) and soon after post a number of petulant retorts (which I narrowly avoided by simply turning my computer off and calling it a day).

This is DATC’s original post: http://runningdatcom.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/takbo-bayani-21k-for-men-only/

A part of me wanted to resort to name-calling. Take my high-heeled shoe off and aim it at the bubble which seems to prevent the men and women who comprise the sport council from seeing reality for what it is. And then I realized that they had far more of that in Marikina. The shoe, i mean. And perhaps bubble wrapped politicians too. For isn’t that city (the shoe capital of the philippines) supposedly led by the woman? A woman whom many times over we have seen posing beside that gigantic shoe made up to a female giant’s specifications?

I have to admit that while the issue bothered me, it no longer surprised me.

I remember a Spanish friend looking at me with surprise when he found out that the rail transit in our metropolis had separate coaches for men and women. “What?! In this country?” He says. A flabbergasted look was pasted on his face.

I can appreciate his surprise. After all, aren’t we the people who have supposedly voted two women into the highest post in the land? Aren’t we supposed to be a progressive thinking lot?

I was at a loss to explain this discrepancy. I still am. Somehow, the ideal of ensuring equality among all genders was ignored in their desire to give a practical solution to the mounting complaints raised by women about unwanted touches and lewd gestures. They responded to women’s demand for respect with this warped ‘gift’ of protection. It’s a convenient compromise. It may not be perfect, but it works they reason. Forget about looking for a noble vision underlying the decisions. Such is the daily tragedy besetting our times.

My grandfather always taught me to never respond out of anger or peeve! I’ve had a long day and I was tired. Give it time I told myself. Give it the weekend.

The next day, I visited DATC’s site again. I read through the comments. I was trying to pinpoint what exactly it was about that announcement that got me feeling so bothered and annoyed.

And then it hits me, scrolling down DATC’s post my eyes zooms in on the reply that was sent back to him.

β€œIt was a decision made by the Marikina Sports Commission to limit the 21k to male participants only because they felt that there might be very few or no female participants at all. We’ll take note of your concern and maybe in our succeeding events we will consider all genders in the 21k category.”

And I realized that what I found particularly irksome about this whole thing was not merely that the 21K was open to men only but the fact that the clueless gentlemen and ladies of the Marikina Sports Council did not even think women were capable of running a 21K!

NO FEMALE PARTICIPANTS AT ALL?!? Not even one? Not even one out of many hundreds and thousands of registered voters and residents in Marikina and the surrounding metropolis? You did not expect even one?

You can imagine female giants wanting your shoe but you cannot imagine women willing and wanting and capable of running 21K?

Not even one!

I can only shake my head and wonder at the cluelessness off this bureaucrat’s reply. Never mind his seeming condescension.

Get your heads out of the clouds, ladies and gentlemen of the Marikina Sports Council! Somehow you need to find your way to the streets. For we are already out here pounding the pavements of the metropolis with our running shoes even as you formulate your grand and tortured schemes of world shoe domination!

Not even one?

I think about Mighty M, Mitch, my coach and personal trainer, who just last week was part of northface’s 100K ultra trail relay team. She finished 50K in 9:30:00. Running the last 40K without soles on her NB shoes that had chosen to give out in kilometer 10. She fought on and her team came in third!

Not even one, they say!

I think about Linda, a veteran of many marathons whom we often run into during our many long runs at the Fort. A road warrior if you’ve ever met one. Her shoes registering miles and miles of wear and tear. At one time, she had already ran from Pateros to BHS and still had the strength to pace us as she joined part of our 16K route. Linda is nearing 50 and is still harboring triathlon dreams. Her birthday is this December. She is deep in training for the triathlon even as I write this piece.

Not even one, they say!

I can name many other women who run 21K half-marathons. Women who have ran it in other events and have ran it well. Some of them are friends of many years, others I have simply met out there in the streets and in the tracks.

Not even one, they say…

Which brings me head on to one of my issues about the leaders of this county. Not only do we end up with leaders who fail to lead. We also end up with leaders who fail to dream for us! What a misfortune!

For how can they think that this decision is acceptable or even reasonable?

What exactly do they lose by opening the 21K event to women right now, right this very moment? Will they need to widen the streets more? Will they be required to add more marshals? What exactly is it that prevents them from allowing women to join the race? Is it really all about numbers? Or is it, first and foremost, a glaring flaw in their mindset?

If it is simply a question of prize money then nothing prevents them from giving one prize for all 21K runners. Be they men or women. Its been done in other races. I’ll find no fault in it. It’s not perfect but it is a start.

Not even one they say…

Kudos to DATC for choosing to wonder out loud, for taking the time to ask the question and for ultimately pointing out the glaring disservice this decision does to all women out there, runner or not. For it is a disservice and a definite injustice!

He is on the right track. Yes, by all means question them, push them, bombard them, pester them to explain. At the very least demand a better thought out explanation. Not this condescending drivel. We all deserve so much better!

If we tolerate this mindset then we help perpetuate it!

  1. bards says:

    when i saw this … i had the same gut reaction. i let out a grrrr in DATC’s blog. too upset for words. cant even form a sentence sa inis. and i really really like Bayani pa man din. grrrr.

  2. cha says:

    What is wrong with these people????? PLease nakakainit sila ng ulo!!!!

  3. margaloo says:

    hi ironshoes,

    i sent them an email expressing my utter disgust. you may read what i sent them here

  4. myironshoes says:

    yes, i like Bayani too. di ba nga? i’ve always said that if Marikina secedes, i will apply to migrate? Haha! Lots of things work in their city. It is just so frustrating that they don’t seem to see anything wrong with this discriminatory policy!

    cha, takbo na lang tayo sa fort para magpalamig ng ulo.

    direct and to the point letter indeed! πŸ˜‰

  5. sfrunner says:

    Hi myironshoes. I saw your post on DATC and wanted to stop by. Enjoy your blog as well.

    It disappoints and angers me to see things like the situation with the takbo bayani event. I’m sure you’ve read my responses in other blogs so I won’t dwell any further here.

    The best thing that could happen is that the 21K race fails to suceed. Then the organizers will think twice. Better yet, if all the male runners who have registered just didn’t show up.

    Anyway, please take care and have a good week ahead!

  6. ironshoes says:

    halloo sfrunner, yes reading about this issue at DATC’s blog got me feeling really annoyed and gave me real cause for disappointment. we can’t fight the war on all fronts and i have no illusions about changing the world. (although a little bit more peace would be ideal Haha! ) but it’s in glaring issues like this that i feel the need to make a stand. or at least holler out loud! I simply cannot fathom what those guys (and gals) at the sports council were thinking!

    as a side note, i used to live in your neighborhood. well, in SFO, just across the fisherman’s wharf. so yes, i visit your blog too and everytime you post a picture of what was home to me for 4 years, i feel the bittersweet pull of nostalgia. it would be a joy to run those crazy hills again!

    thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. let’s hope they relent from this path of shame.

  7. bards says:

    wow it worked … open na sila for female runners. my bratinella streak is asking now … do i want to run with these organisers mwaharharhar ahr *weg*

  8. Gene says:

    Hehe, nothing like a clueless chauvinist male actions to stir things up with the feminist crowd πŸ™‚ Or just too much caffΓ¨ latte perhaps. Peace po! πŸ™‚

  9. DATC says:

    So, Iron Shoes and Bards, are you joining? πŸ˜‰

    I’d really like to join since 21k races are rare in Manila.

  10. ironshoes says:

    the clueless we educate… as for the chauvinist ..eh di we do some fancy footwork with their fancy behinds as target…haha!

    Yeah, we’ll be there. to cheer you on and watch your back… literally since you run a hell of a lot faster than us! πŸ˜‰ may bumulong nga sa akin…magpapa-breakfast ka daw after? hahaha!

  11. mykaypeeshoes says:

    i love your banner. where did you take it?

    no picture of iron shoes though. πŸ™‚

    have fun sa marathon. watch out for toads sa route along marikina river.

  12. ironshoes says:

    Hi mykaypeeshoes! the banner came with the wordpress theme. yeah. it is nice, isn’t it? far nicer than a picture of iron shoes will ever come out to be. best to keep that picture in the shadows.
    and yes will definitely watch out for toads and frogs along the route… hmmm. any chance one of them may be a prince in disguise kaya? ahahaha!
    thanks for dropping by!

  13. Alex says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  14. myironshoes says:

    Thanks, Alex! πŸ˜‰

  15. […] “felt that there might be very few or no female participants at all.” Click here and here to read related blog entries. Bloggers and runners united and made a stand. Female runners […]

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