PEOPLE were hurrying down the street before the clock struck 5:30 a.m. Men, women and even children were in their running outfits, all off to the Home Builders' Run held at Parkmall, Mandaue City yesterday morning.

Outside the mall, people awaited the runners who would cross the finish line. As the timer struck the 20-minute mark, everyone was surprised to see a small and petite girl winning the 5K run.

If a small girl crossing the finish line is not amazing enough, wait till you learn that her two other sisters not only ran but also won the race.

The little girl is Cherry Andrin, 12. Her sisters Jhean and Lovely Fe, 16 and 15 years old respectively, took the top two spots of the 8K run.

Running is not just a passion for the Andrin sisters. It is their way of living.

Their father Ronilo works at Zesto Corp. as a production worker, while their mother Wilma is a housewife. The couple has six kids and Ronilo can hardly make both ends meet.

The challenge of helping their family inspires the Andrin sisters to push through in running with a determination to reach the finish line ahead of every runner.

Alex Loloy, a tricycle driver, conducts trainings every day not only for the Andrins but also for other children in Lapu-Lapu City. They start running as early as 4 to 6

a.m. since the children are all going to school. After school, they work out.

It is very rare that these sisters are absent from the running events that riddle the city every week. And more often than not, they always win. The cash prize they earn from winning help their family out sustain their daily needs.

“We can get for as much as P30,000 just for one day out of these competitions. But it will easily fade away because of the things we need to pay for,” said Cherry.

Scholarship

The sisters have countless running medals and trophies. The sisters are trying to protect the skills that they have learned as these have sent them to many places like wherever the Palarong Pambansa, is as they are consistent qualifiers to the national games. These have given them access to free education like Jhean, who is an athletics scholar at the Southwestern University, where she is a college freshman taking up BS Physical Education.

The Andrin’s two older brothers are also enjoying athletic scholarships from the University of Southern Philippines Foundation.

Meanwhile, Mary Joy Tabal stamped her class anew en route to taking her 10th running title this year.

Tabal was in top shape and clocked 1 hour 2 minutes and 41 seconds, enjoying an 11-minute lead over the closest runner Ruffa Sorongon,who came second in 1:13:17 and Mereeis Ramirez of Dumaguate at third in 1:15:11.

Tabal has been an ultimate weekend warrior this month, winning five of her 2014 10 titles.

As preparation for the big races ahead, Cebu’s running pride plans to skip the weekend races next month to rest for those consecutive races she joined.

Other winners

Tabal will be racing in the mixed relay of Cobra Ironman 70.3 on Aug. 3 and the Beijing International Olympics in October.

On the other hand, it was the usual foreign runners’ show as three Kenyans landed in the men’s 16K top three. Isaac Simat led the fray in 54:17, Douglas Mwiti came in second at 55:27 and Abraham Missos finished third in 56:40.

The first running event of Cebu Home and Builders Centre (CHBC), which was facilitated by Joel Baring of Sports Fitness and Enthusiasts, was part of their 12th anniversary. According to Michael Co, CHBC CEO, the event was successful and there is a possibility that they will do it annually. (Rhea Mae Soco, USJ-R Masscom Intern)