“All I want is to reach Pagudpud running. And I did… If I had to do it over again, where would I go?”
This has been the starting point of Joy Rojas’ ambition. After running across the Philippines from Davao City to Pagudpud thereby establishing herself as the first ever Filipina to have ever done so, Joy will again show all of us that although every ambition needs a starting point, dreaming never has a finish line.
Via Takbong Pangarap, Joy urges us to dare to dream with her as she champions the belief that there is “no limit to the Filipino spirit” by running 5,000 km across the United States of America. If she succeeds in her attempt, she will be the first Southeast Asean woman to cross the US from California to New York. Whoa!
Just as I am thankful to Botak Philippines for inviting me to a bloggers’ get-together wherein I was able to personally meet and shake the hands of Mr. Cesar Guarin, the first Filipino to have ever run across the USA (from New York to California), I am equally thankful to the Philippine Online Chronicles (POC) who sponsored a “bloggers meet-and-greet” with Joy Rojas and the Takbong Pangarap team.
The “meet-and-greet” session was truly worth my while not only because we were able to receive on-hand information on POC’s advocacies and the Takbong Pangarap project, but also because we were able to get to know Joy, Mat Macabe her training and running partner and team manager Chuck Crisanto and be inspired by the stories and experiences they share. I tell you guys, after this session, I am slowly giving ultramarathons and long runs serious thought.
THE PHILIPPINE ONLINE CHRONICLES
As their website says:
Philippine Online Chronicles (www.thepoc.net) is a weekly online publication which features a new kind of news. POC presents a multiplicity of perspectives in a single article. It reports viewpoints on the news, along with the facts of the news. POC does not confine itself to mainstream news sources but actively cultivates alternative sources of information like blogs, student newspapers, and other alternative publications. POC’s content is distributed among nine channels: Politi-Ko (politics), Mukhang Pera (finance), Sportacular (sports), Sosyal! (entertainment), Metakritiko (reviews), Buhay Pinoy (lifestyle), Kamundohan (international news), Lintech! (technology), and POCYouth (youth and campus).
Now, POC ventured into sharing unique stories from the world of Philippine sports and introduces an athlete like no other through the launching of their Takbong Pangarap channel. This channel will feature regular news, features, photo, podast and video updates of all events related to the Trans-USA journey.
So what is Takbong Pangarap all about? Takbong Pangarap or the Tran-USA Run 2009 is Joy Rojas’ attempt of a 5,000 km cross-country run across the USA. Starting from Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, California on May 10, 2009 (which is the eve of Joy’s 44th birthday) and will last until Sept. 8, 2009 at New York City.
TAKBONG PANGARAP TEAM
Joy will be accompanied by her teammates Mat Macabe and Chuck Crisanto in this endeavor.
Mat is supposed to run alongside Joy just like he did during Joy’s Trans-Philippines run but in 2008 he had an open heart surgery thereby relegating him to act as joy’s pacer and navigator wherein he will at times be able to run with her and the other times, he will have to ride the bike while supporting her.
On the duration of this project, Joy will approximately be running for 100 days and take 20 days of rest along the way. Her target is to be able to run 50kms five to six hours of each running day.
TAKBONG PANGARAP ROUTE
The route will start in Eagle Rock, California and continue through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Its finish line will be at the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
WHY TAKBONG PANGARAP?
Having run across the Philippines in 2008 wherein she covered 2,00 km from Davao City to Pagudpud in 46 days, she felt that she doesn’t have to stop dreaming because she already has accomplished this dream. She asked herself, if she had to do it all over again, where would she go? She thought of running across the USA because the said route has been run hundreds of times before and because there are Filipino-American communities along the way from which she could draw support.
What’s best, aside from living her dream, Joy wishes to help others’ dreams come true by running to raise funds for two beneficiaries: the Social Services Division of the Philippine Heart Center and the Anti-TB Program of the Inner Wheel Club of Quezon City District 378.
WHO IS JOY ROJAS?
Joy Rojas is a magazine editor and freelance writer who initially took up running to relieve herself of the the stress of her job. She was active in local road races from 1995 to 2002 wherein she consistently placed among the top 10 women finishers of prestigious races.
One interesting thing to know about Joy is that she is a tuberculosis survivor, having overcome the disease on 2001. One month before finishing her medication, she joined a 42 km run and competed it in 4 hours and 11 minutes.
But eventually, she stopped running competitively because according to her, running to race or win takes out the joy in running. Her passion for running now goes beyond defeating others. It is more of having to outdo only yourself each time you run. She now enjoys running for the sake of running itself.
She also shared with us that she doesn’t have a strict diet or nutrition plan – geesh, she even has a weakness for junk foods! – to complement her training. However, she religiously observes a diet of fish and vegetables. To stay in shape, she also devotes at least two to three hours or four times a week of running. Once a month, she also tries to go on out-of-town ultraruns. She says up to now, she still experiences chills or goose bumps whenever she passes the welcome arch of each town whenever she runs.
As she makes her way through America via her “Dream Run”, Joy will be touching base with the Filipino-American communities along the road. In her interactions, she will share how it is possible to achieve seemingly impossible dreams if one simply works on it – as she has and as she will.
HOW CAN WE HELP JOY AND THE REST OF THE TEAM?
We can help Takbong Pangarap become a reality by sending donations of any amount through Paypal. You can also be a Takbong Pangarap 5k sponsor – all you have to do is donate PHP 5,000 (appoximately USD 100). In turn, Joy will run for at least 5km wearing a runner’s bib with your dream or your message written on it. You will also get a collectible autographed Takbong Pangarap shirt and a citation in the forthcoming book that records the historic run.
If you are living in the US along the Takbong Pangarap route and interested in helping Joy, Mat and Chuck achieve their goal, you can also do so by offering to host them while they pass through your area. Or you can even run along side joy and keep her company, egg her on and let her know that she has your support.
Or send Joy and her team words of support and encouragement through any of these means:
Lastly, we can help them by just spreading the word about Takbong Pangarap and pass on the message : There’s no limit to the Filipino Spirit!
Hey Joy, Mat and Chuck. It was great to have personally met you that Saturday. I came to the POC meet-and-greet expecting a common press brief which I thought just won’t hurt for me to drop by to. But then, having heard what you three have said and shared, I came out feeling inspired and grateful I spent time sitting there and listening to all of you. As I have said, I will pray (together with the whole running community, I hope) that you get to accomplish your goal in this run so that you not only achieve your dream but also be able to help others – your beneficiaries and inspire all of us – that in dreaming, one just have to really be focused and work for it. There is no finish line, no limit. Good luck and godspeed. Ang lapit, lapit na! :)
Note: Know more about Takbong Pangarap, Joy Rojas and the Takbong Pangarap team by visiting the Philippine Online Chronicles’ Takbong Pangarap Channel