One of the biggest running events in the country, Earth Day Run 2015, is back for its sixth year.
Around 20,000 runners are expected to participate on April 26 at the Mall of Asia Open Grounds.
Sponsored by National Geographic Channel, this year’s run will open a Baguio leg to be held on May 24.
Coach Rio Dela Cruz shares, “We at Runrio also support the advocacy of Fox International Channels which is to support the World Wide Fund and its project by increasing our target number of runners.
“This year, we are targeting 20,000 runners in Manila and 8,000 runners target for Baguio in May.
“So our main reason for adding the Baguio leg for this year’s run is to cater to our running community in the northern part, and also to help our good cause for our Mother Nature.”
Consistent with its environmental advocacy, the proceeds of this year’s event will be used to help raise funds for portable solar-powered lighting kits.
Through the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, the kits will benefit the Tawbuid Mangyan tribesfolk and Forest Rangers’ camps in Mindoro.
WWF representative Gregg Yan relates, “So we really began to work together for the Earth Day Run starting 2013 and 2014. Every year, iba yung gimik ng WWF and NatGeo.
“The first time we worked together was to reforest the Sierra Madre mountain range. So we planted 20,000 fruit-bearing trees para maibalik po yung mga puno dun sa Sierra Madre.”
In 2014, NatGeo Run helped fund WWF’s project of providing fishing boats to fisherfolks in Samar who suffered from supertyphoon Haiyan.
Gregg elaborates on their method of extending assistance to ethnic communities.
“Right now tinatanong muna natin yung mga tribo. Kasi yung system po ng WWF is that we never dictate what they do, they tell us what they need.
“So we’re just gonna concentrate the process in a few Mangyan villages and also communities, hopefully, na ilag pa sa tao. They barely have contact with the outside world. Pero gusto rin nating maging recipient sila kung gusto nila.
“Yung maganda po dito is it’s a larger project than just this race, e. The race will be one component of its fund sources.
“Pero so long as makaka-raise po tayo ng pera para sa mga community para mabigyan sila ng solar panels, deployan ng lamps, hindi lang tayo confined to the Mangyan communities sa Occidental Mindoro, hindi lang tayo confined sa Beton Island sa Palawan.
“Hanggang kaya po naming magbigay dun sa communities na wala pong ilaw, gagawin po namin.
“Last year, we started Bancas for the Philippines project as zero pa po. When we did this launch last year, February, zero pa po.
“Now with the help of NatGeo and other funders and sponsors, 887 na bangka na po yung nabibigay natin. So talagang continuous po siya saka talagang nabibigay yung mga kailangan.”
In connection with the event’s aim to promote caring for the environment, Coach Rio underlines that marshals are assigned specifically to maintain cleanliness of the race venue.
Runners are also encouraged to properly dispose their paper cups used for drinking water or to bring their own water bottles during the race.
Slots are open for 5k, 10k, 21k, and 42k (Manila-leg only) and on-site registration opens from March 16 to April 19 at the Lower Ground Floor of SM Aura Premier in Bonifacio Global City. Online registration at www.runrio.com is now open.