Let me clarify.
The thought came to me as I was riding a rented bike in Quezon City Memorial Circle. Ever since I was a kid, our dad brought us there to rent bikes, and then eat breakfast in a nearby McDonald’s or Jollibee after. In my memory, QC Circle was a deteriorating national landmark, a mere vestige of what once was a great symbol of a proud city. Pollution had become commonplace. Shrubbery had overgrown. If you wanted a classic case of how we didn’t care for parks, this was it. But when I went back there last month, it had blossomed into something usable, at the very least. The bike trails were clearly marked. The plants had been neatly trimmed. Playgrounds had ample spaces. Bazaars had their own areas. Families also enjoyed both nature and activities. And the running trail.
The running trail was something I did not expect. I had thought of running in Fun Runs in QC Memorial Circle before, but the thought of buses on the outside and pollution that had crept in inside, stopped me. But I am happy to say that I have now been proven wrong. It had changed faster than I could say “makeover.”
Making a venue ready for a running event entails making it cleaner. With their lungs already working overtime, runners would just be murdered by the smog. But a place that respects runners, and is willing to change their infrastructure and sustainability plans for them, allows them to obtain benefits, too: income from running events, a cleaner area which more people would like to move into, and becoming a living proof that progress doesn’t have to mean being assholes to the environment.
The Ayala Triangle, Greenhills, Bonifacio Global City, MOA, and now QC Circle, because of their runners, are becoming more environmentally friendly. Definitely, we’re nowhere near the perfect score, but their caretakers and governments have seen the profitability from a more environmentally sound (therefore runner-friendly) place.
I have always wanted to give back to the places where I run. I feel that the location does a lot for me – giving itself to be trod on, letting me stay healthy, letting me think, pray, and park my car well. But now I see that if I run in a certain place, if I am one of the runners who call the attention of those in charge of the place to take care of it, then maybe I am already giving back. I hope by running in these locations, I can become part of the collective voice (which sounds more like rubber soles on asphalt) that tells city governments that we can have sustainable development in our cities.
Thus, apart from cardiovascular health, and psychological well-being, add saving the world to the benefits of running.