The Nature Valley Run held last Sunday is most probably my last race in the Philippines for a long time because, as some of you already know, I'm moving. Very soon. This occupied my thoughts days prior to the race and a text message from my cousin Alvin the evening before race day only made me feel even more melancholic. After answering his final queries about race preparation, I asked him how he was feeling. He replied, "I'm a bit nervous. This is our final race together and I want it to be a solid run." It was then I realized I'm also losing my closest, most constant training buddy.
Alvin and I have been planning to run a 21K together since January, after I signed up for the Century Tuna Superbods Run. Due to its popularity, he was unable to make it in time to register but since then, we've trained and joined races both on the road and on the trails. Running was the one thing that brought us together despite leading different lives and having equally unpredictable schedules. Almost four years my senior, it was also one of those few areas where I was the one guiding him instead of the other way around.
Of all the training runs we've done together, one of the most memorable was when we set out for speed training at a nearby track after he rushed to meet a client. We arrived at the track and as I was getting ready he let out an exasperated expletive. Having packed urgently, it turned out his shoes didn't match--one was a running shoe, the other was for badminton. But since he was itching to get a run in, he was fine to hit the track with mismatched shoes. Until he realized both shoes were left.
At the Nature Valley Run, we stood together at the starting line, about to embark on a challenge we've (somehow) prepared for. Wishing each other well with a quick hug and back pats, we were both happy to finally toe the line at a 21K event together. Though we did not run the entire course side by side, I met him at the finish (I correctly predicted his finish time down to the minute) where we shared a hug. A very manly one. And to cap off the bromantic scene, he softly whispered "Thank you, bro" as we hugged, completely oblivious to the crowd.
Keep on running, bro. We'll have more races to run in the future, I can assure you that. I'm going to miss you, man.
At the finish: My cousin and training buddy
Goddamnit I'm going to cry again.