MY SISTER was done with my braided hair before I had a light dinner. My blinkers, hydration belt, Garmin, race bib and Warat sandals, among other race essentials, were all ready the night before. I kept checking my watch, excited for my long race that will start before midnight.
Last Saturday, after the anticipated mass, photo ops and selfies here and there, I joined 250 other women in celebrating the International Women’s Day on the road.
The race that started at the Cebu Provincial Capitol covered three cities – Cebu City, Mandaue City and LapuLapu City - and the town of Cordova, where the finish line was.
I only had two goals before I set my heart out to run that night: to finish before cut off and to join my sister from a different mister, Stacey Cardoso, in conquering her first ultramarathon (no matter what).
I’ve joined more than one ultramarathon races before and I would say that nothing really compares to Awum so far. You will never find an ultra as festive as the Awum—there is lechon at hydration stations, a live acoustic performance, a station that allows runners to retouch and put on make up after performing the latest dance craze , and a station where the nerds don’t do geeky stuff but serve water .Oh yes, this list and shout outs can go on forever.
The Awum is not only a gathering of empowered women from different walks of life. It’s also a gathering of the supportive gentlemen in our lives, who made sure the road was safe; of photographers who captured the beauty, strength, camaraderie and victory of everyone who took part in the race;and of our loved ones who stayed up, prayed and cheered for us.
Missing the Awum experience is missing half of your running life.
These things are just some of the reasons why I keep joining the race since its inception in 2012. I actually run the Awum to thank Daddy God for giving me the amazing women in my life – my mother, my grandmothers, my sister, my sisters from different mothers, my girlfriends, my mentors – and also for giving me equally amazing men.
I thought about them at every kilometer. When I started to feel the pain, I thought about how blessed I am for having them and the pain’s gone. I knew that thinking about them is more than enough inspiration to finish the race. Dedicating every kilometer of my race to people who matter to me never fails.