Coach Rio dela Cruz: From Barefoot Runner to Marathon Master


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Beyond the big hair, the high-profile running events and the slew of product endorsements, Coach Rio dela Cruz has also been recognized for his persistence to prevail in the midst of insurmountable odds – whether in his chosen sport of running or in the challenges everyday life.

Great Things Start from Small Beginnings
Unbeknownst to many, Coach Rio’s childhood was mired by hardship. His family struggled with poverty for many years while he was growing up, making it difficult for him to get an education and pursue his training in running. He has gone through it all: from selling “ice-tubig” as an 8-year old, walking several kilometers to and from school, to winning championships and organizing the biggest marathons in the country today. His life so far has truly been a journey.

Coach Rio recalls how he was once one of those barefoot runners, as a fifth grader competing in a track meet without shoes, and winning the 50-m sprint, 100-m sprint, long jump, and high jump events nevertheless. When he reached sixth grade, Coach Rio was able to join his first competitive distance race at the National MILO Marathon, in which he ran barefoot in the 5K category and won first place —an event that was very memorable to him and continues to be very close to his heart. “When I see these kids who run barefoot, I am reminded of how I used to be one of them. I never gave up on my dreams and I trained as hard as I could,” Rio shares. “I want kids to realize that despite their difficulties in life, they can still achieve their dreams and be the best if they work hard and persevere.”

National MILO Marathon – the standard bearer in footraces
The upcoming 38th National MILO Marathon in 2014 will be Coach Rio’s fourth year to organize the prestigious competition, and true to his commitment, he has ensured to improve on each one with each event proving to be bigger and better than the last. In 2011, Coach Rio was instrumental in making the National MILO Marathon an internationally-recognized racing event with the certification of the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Compliant with the global technical standards of the AIMS and IAAF such as course timing and measurement, safety and race organization, the National MILO Marathon Manila race is now on the world map of marathon destinations. In 2012, the number of participants in the MILO Marathon reached the 214,000 headcount; and in 2013, Cebuana Mary Joy Tabal set a new record for the women’s 42K event, making her the fastest female marathoner in the country. Tabal will be joining top male runner Eduardo Buenavista in the upcoming 2014 Paris Marathon as part of their prize for winning the 2013 National MILO Marathon.

“The National MILO Marathon is now listed in AIMS’ calendar of events, drawing more top runners worldwide, and giving Filipino elite runners a chance to be recognized internationally as well,” volunteers Coach Rio. “For the first time ever, MILO will send the 2013 MILO Marathon King and Queen to compete in the 2014 Paris Marathon, a renowned race event that I have joined in the past. It is a great opportunity for our top two runners to experience this level of competition in an international playing field and compete against the world’s best.”

For MILO’s 50th year anniversary in 2014, Coach Rio says there will be more surprises in store for those participating in this year’s National MILO Marathon.

Speaking from experience
After winning races in the UAAP and countless marathons, Coach Rio also competed in several international running events such as the Paris Marathon and Boston Marathon. Apart from his extensive experience in the sport, it is also by his hard-earned diploma in Physical Education at the UP College of Human Kinetics that Coach Rio earned his salt as a bona fide running coach. Most of his clientele include top-ranking business executives, celebrities and elite runners, but it is his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for running prompted Coach Rio to take it a step further and become a race organizer. Today, he has positioned himself as one of the country’s most trusted names in organizing marathon events.

Despite the challenges of balancing running training, academics and working odd jobs to earn money for food and basic necessities, Coach Rio believes that his college degree is his biggest achievement. He urges students to value their education, and to continue their schooling despite obstacles they may face. “I felt that running could be a stepping stone for me, so I pursued it. Finishing college was my dream so I trained hard and was able to get a scholarship. Education, especially a college degree, is important because if you do not succeed as an athlete, if you get injured, or when you retire from sports, you have something to fall back on,” says Coach Rio. “There will be many times when you have to sacrifice other things in order to focus on your studies. As much as you want to excel in your sport, you must not forget that finishing your education is still one of the biggest triumphs in life.”

Coach Rio also highlights the importance of the values he learned from running and applying them to his life. “Aside from hard work and determination, running taught me how to be responsible, overcome obstacles and stay committed to my goals. These values are learned not only in running, but in all other sports,” Rio explains. “But the most important thing I’ve learned is how to cultivate my passion in order to achieve my dreams. I believe that if I put my heart and mind into something, I will surely achieve it.” He makes sure to impart these lessons to people as he continues to inspire Filipinos to persevere in running for their dreams, especially the underprivileged youth. “We always hear about how poverty is not a hindrance to success, and I can say that my achievements are testament to that,” he proudly shares. “If I can do it, anybody can. No matter how hard life pushes you back, pick yourself up and keep on pursuing your dreams.”

Paying it forward
Beyond the scale and milestones of the National MILO Marathon, it is the Help Give Shoes advocacy, which started in 2010, that deeply resonated with him.

In order to encourage Filipino children to continue reaching for their dreams, MILO pioneered the Help Give Shoes advocacy, which enables every participant of the National MILO Marathon to donate a part of their registration fee to support the cause. MILO then matches the total amount collected to provide shoes to deserving public school students identified by the Department of Education. Since 2010, MILO has already donated 34,200 pairs of brand new running shoes nationwide, and aims to give 16,000 pairs more to reach the total count of 50,000 in celebration of its golden anniversary this year.

It is MILO’s unwavering passion to drive young champions that inspires Coach Rio make every race in the National MILO Marathon a memorable and enjoyable experience for runners and spectators alike. Coach Rio believes that the National MILO Marathon’s advocacy unites people from all walks of life and provides a breeding ground for athletes where they can hone skills, gain deeper knowledge of the sport, and acquire values for a brighter future.

The race goes on
Coach Rio will continue to organize the National MILO Marathon. This sporting event, with its rich history, expanding scope and growing attraction from hundreds of thousands of participants, is testament to MILO’s longstanding commitment to develop the Philippine athletic community and inspiring athletic excellence among Filipino runners especially the youth.

“Now that I will soon be a father, I will surely impart the values I learned from running to my child. Maybe, someday, we can run the National MILO Marathon together and if we do, I am fortunate enough to say that my kid will never have to run shoeless like i did. But if there’s one legacy I would like to give him, it would be to inspire him to reach for his dreams and become a champion in life, no matter how difficult it may seem.”

For more information on MILO, log on to the MILO Philippines official website ( or Facebook page ( Follow MILO on Twitter (@MiloPH) and Instagram (@MiloPhilippines).


Yes, She said YES!

It all started with an SMS from RunRio Event Manager, Kathy:

“RunRio Core Team,

We are all required to be present at the Running for Love music video shoot tomorrow at UP Diliman Bahay ng Alumni. Call time is 2:30pm.  Please be on time because the production team and director will be there to brief and prep us.

Please come in jeans and plain white shirt/top. Cc- Rio, GM”

This SMS was also followed by a late afternoon call, several missed calls at night and an SMS message from Registration Manager and Rio’s pretty sister, our well-loved Dada (Merlyn to most of the runners). So I thought, “Hmm, this shoot seems to be really special.”

So the following day, I was off to UP with runner-blogger friend, Eman, (who was specifically requested by Dada to be with us during the “shoot”) carrying with us our jeans and “perfect white shirt”. 😉

We arrived at the UP Bahay ng Alumni with a few minutes to spare so we got dressed and there met the other members of the RunRio team. From the UP bahay ng Alumni, we transferred to the UP Oblation where the “shoot” will supposedly happen.

A long wait ensued with the “usual suspect” unleashing some quotable quotes:

Boy, Running Host:


When asked if he brought his camera: “Kailangan may kanya-kanyang camera?”

Lou, RunRio Event Manager aka SITSIRITSIT:


“Hindi ba dapat pag may ganitong MTV shoot, dapat may STORYBOARD?”

Eman, aka Chummy Blogger:


“Kailangan ba talaga sa UP ang shoot, di ba puede naman sa BGC?”

Me, aka Mommy Irma:

After waiting for more than an hour already, to Lou: “I’m getting RESTLESS.” To which Lou remanrked: “And so am I!”

Restless me did not let all the talk stop there. I did a little investigating to find out why the shoot is taking long to start. In every person I talked with to inquire from, there was this remark that gave me the impression that Coy (Nicole to everyone outside the RunRio circle and Rio’s ladylove), is not supposed to know something.

With my kulit and chismosa instinct, I turned to the group and told them that “I am feeling that there won;t be a shoot and that a proposal is in the offing”. The group – who I found out later were left out of the grand plan too, became really excited with the thought/possibility. 

The excitement really went up when both Kathy and Dada arrived with the exciting confirmation. Yes, we were all taken for a ride – there will be no MTV shoot but instead Rio will be popping THE QUESTION to Coy and that the scene is currently on-going in a particular UP-Ikot jeep.

All the rest are scenes that are really so so touching and KILIG. I would have loved to share every kuwento but this is both Coy’s and Rio’s story. It will be a lot better to hear their own account of this special moment in their relationship. 

Meanwhile, as I got Rio;s approval, I will share to you some pictures to give you an idea of what transpired during this “shoot”.

And to Coy and Rio, as we have always said time and again, we are all so happy for both of you and we look forward to your spending a happy and blessed life together. And hopefully when it is the wedding already, we won’t be receiving an SMS for a music video shoot in place of a wedding invitation ha. 🙂 Yun oh!


the UP-Ikot jeep that brought Coy and Rio to the UP Oblation with the Up Dharma Down singing Tadhana


Zoom-in to RunRio resident videographer as a Becky-in-disguise while trying to record the scenes inside the jeep


and Rio gets down to his knees and nervously popped THE question to Coy who tearily answered YES!


sa kaba, nakalimutan hubarin ang shades! hehe. 😛


and they are officially engaged!


Running in Mainstream Media

The past year brought to us a lot of new and great things in running. But although running has been a continously growing sport with a continously growing community, there have only been a few and short instances that it graced mainstream media. You would always most likely feel it’s presence in the internet via blog sites and social media sites.

But the opening of the year 2011 brought forth a mainstream TV Commercial featuring a known-running personality – Coach Rio Dela Cruz via Globe Tattoo. Hopefully as the year progresses, we get more of these featuring other runners too. 😉

Let me now share to you his very own, bidang-bidang TVC featuring his newest product endorsement, Globe Tattoo. Enjoy viewing!

2009 Timex Run Exciting Updates

Hello folks! As race day nears, below are exciting updates for the race as provided to us by the organizers. Read on! 😉


papa piolo and papa rio! 😉


Registration with the complete race kit and event freebies but minus the singlet and with P100 discount will still be accepted until today, November 9, 2009 or until supplies last, whichever comes first.  Late registration will be centralized at Nike Park at Bonifacio High Street, Timex Shop at SM North Edsa, and The Trion Towers Site Showroom at Fort Bonifacio Global City.  Only a maximum of 5,000 participants will be accepted.
All the participants are also being invited, including their friends and family, to serve as volunteers to help repack and distribute the relief goods to the selected barangay halls and/or evacuation centers in Marikina scheduled a week after the event.  Exact schedule of relief operation to follow.

For inquiries, please contact the Finishline secretariat at 7031736.


Due to insistent public demand, organizers have decided to produce additional 5km race kits so that more runners, especially those who are new to the sport, will be able to experience the fun and excitement at The 2009 Timex Run.  The additional 5km race kits are now available at Timex Shop SM North Edsa, Nike Park BHS, and The Trion Towers site showroom at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.  Hurry and grab your kits while supplies last!


Hello Timex Runners!

With the holidays fast approaching, more and more events are being scheduled in Bonifacio Global City.  Based on our recent meeting with Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation, we have been advised that fun run events scheduled in the next coming months will have to be slightly relocated in order to accommodate other events.  In line with this, we would like to inform everyone that there will be some minor changes with regards to the location of the start/finish area and the 3km race route of the 2009 Timex Run.  Please take note that the start/finish area has been moved from 8th Avenue to 28th Avenue.  This is the same set up as the Adidas King of the Road held last October 25.  Rest assured that although there will be some rerouting with regards to the 3km race route, this minor adjustment will not greatly affect that of the other distances.  To view the updated route maps for 3km, 5km, 10km, and 21km, please visit

Our apologies for any inconvenience this might cause.  Thank you for your kind understanding.



get to watch the pacquaio-cotto fight after the run!

The fun and excitement never stops at the 2009 Timex Run!  As a participant of the coolest race to hit the running scene, not only do you get a chance to run and take souvenir photos with running coach extraordinaire, Coach Rio, and every girl’s dream boy, Piolo Pascual, but you also get a chance to watch the Pacquiao-Cotto fight LIVE on an LED screen ABSOLUTELY FREE courtesy of Cignal Digital TV and Smart Communications.  And for only P500 per person, you can enjoy a sumptuous eat-all-you-can brunch buffet while waiting for the title fight in the comfort of an air-conditioned tent, courtesy of Paul Calvin’s Deli.  Tables and seats inside the tent are reserved for those who avail of the brunch buffet so buy your tickets ahead of time and get a head start so you can still pick the best seats.  Only 500 meal tickets will be available for pre-purchase by Friday, November 6, at Nike Park, Bonifacio High Street until supplies last.  Feel free to invite your friends and loved ones but those who prefer to eat elsewhere are free to stay and watch the fight as long as they don’t mind the “standing room only” policy for non-diners who will have to watch the fight outside the tent

This is just the tip of the iceberg, a mere taste of things to come at the 2009 Timex Run.  More surprises await you on race day!

* To read more about the Timex Run 2009 race, click here.

The Timex Run Press Launch

the timex run launch backdrop

the timex run launch backdrop

It was a showbiz press launch! Complete with TV cameras and professional photographers, showbiz reporters and road managers.

Papa Piolo and Papa Rio ;)

Papa Piolo and Papa Rio 😉

That folks was my general impression when people started coming in at the Max’s Glorietta function room where the press launch of the Timex Run was held yesterday, October 20. Only a handful of bloggers – maybe those only known to Timex Sr. Marketing Director, Gemma and Coach Rio were present. But nevertheless, we all had a grand time ogling at Piolo (oh sige na nga, only us girls!) and catching up with a lot of kuwento with each other and most especially to the ever busy Coach (and now Papa too) Rio.

the duo being interviewed by the showbiz media

the duo being interviewed by the showbiz media

Basically, the launch was really for the press/media and we runner bloggers were just invited to witness the event and meet “Papa Piolo” who was nice and very handsome, sigh! Hehe… You really have to give it to me folks, anyway i own this blog. haha! And what have we gathered out of the press launch?

1. that it will be Piolo’s first road race ever. He runs but haven’t participated in an actual race.
2. that Piolo will be running a 10k, which is also a first he being always comfy with running a 5k.
3. that he will be training under Coach Rio specifically to get ready for this race.
4. that Coach Rio is really becoming a celebrity on his own right. Aba, both Papa P and Papa R got equal share of the limelight. Ayos!

Lol! I could go on and on with our up close and personal Piolo and Rio experience but I will definitely sound like a giddy fan. Before I really turn into one, let me share to you instead the official press release of the 2009 Timex Run with Piolo Pascual and Coach Rio.

jaymie, piolo, me, marga, coach rio, raymund and jay... of course we would let this chance pass!

jaymie, piolo, me, marga, coach rio, raymund and jay... of course we wouldn't let this chance pass!

Oh but before that, let me express again my thank yous to Timex headed by Ms. Gemma Pagsibigan for the invitation. 😉

Photos? Check all pics here.


Piolo and Coach Rio


Fresh from the triumph of prized athletes it backed up in the very first Ironman triathlon held in Camsur recently, Timex, world renowned makers of high quality time gears, will once again help fun-loving sports enthusiasts defy their limits, prove its dominance and create history as it launches its very first running event, The 2009 Timex Run.

With the gun start set to fire on November 15, 2009 at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, the race which is co-presented by Robinsons Land and marathon organizer Runrio aims to gather runners from all walks of life, to spark up competitive athletic spirits and to unleash hardcore rivalries. In fact to make the running event even more exciting the 2009 Timex Run brings together two of the country’s most loved icons in the world of entertainment and running respectively: heartthrob and sports enthusiast Piolo Pascual and multiple champion runner and coach Rio dela Cruz.

In a press conference held last October 20, 2009 in Max’s Restaurant in Glorietta 2 Makati City, the two Timex ambassadors formally announced before the press that they will be among the very first ones to arrive at the race grounds and dash to become fit and healthy. Both Piolo, a first-time runner who admitted being so excited to join the run and Rio who studied Human Kinetics in the University of the Philippines and is a well-known running coach of some of the country’s well-known celebrities and business tycoons will be joining in the 10K category. All ready and set to go, this race will give enthusiasts the chance to run side-by-side with Piolo and Rio and try their luck to challenge and to get past them.

Divided into four race categories, athletes, race fanatics, and casual runners can choose from the 3, 5, 10 or 21 kilometer half-marathon event and begin the dynamic chase to make and break records in a test that is sure to measure their strength and endurance. The 2009 Timex Run, just like its reliable time gears assures participants of accuracy in timing and a host of other novel innovations. One of which is the disposable “champion” chips, timing devices attached to shoe laces specially designed to let runners monitor their starting and finishing times with stern accuracy. Functioning only soon as the runner steps on the designated ground matting, the recorded time is sure to be precise.  Another is the Runpix analysis which is a record of interesting running statistics unique to each individual who ran. This will be available after the race at and Photovendo also makes the run more fun by giving runners a full view of the experience as it will be providing run shots which will be available online for viewing and optional purchase.

Aside from the breathtaking action set to unfold in the race track, those joining can also expect a finish line filled with great prizes. While all finishers will take home Nature Valley loot bags, those who will emerge on top of the pack will get cash prizes and their very own Timex watches, activity and time-tracking gears that gives wearers nothing less than the optimum when it comes to style and functionality. A total of 50 watches shall be given away, 24 for the winners and 26 for the raffles. Top three finishers in every category will also get gift certificates/gift packs from Nike and other sponsors. Timex partnered with companies such Nature’s Valley Granola Bar, 100 Plus Isotonic Drink, Summit Distilled Drinking Water, Finish Line, Photo Vendo, Nike, Fitness First, Flojos, Nesvita, Men’s Health Magazine, Women’s Health Magazine to make this anticipated race possible.

One of the Timex watches to be given away to victors during the competition is the Timex Ironman Race Trainer Digital Heart Rate Monitor, the latest time gear meant to be every dynamic individual’s ideal running mate. A huge hit among Ironman Triathletes since it was launched, this one of a kind heart rate monitor boasts of a superior quality functions that aid in an athlete’s everyday training matched with uncompromising sleek and slim styling. This runner’s favorite is incredibly comfortable on the wrist and unlike others, is very simple to use. The heart rate monitor wirelessly transmits its wearer’s heart rate performance while one does his activity to the Ironman watch. Timex Ironman Race Trainer HRM incorporates all the features that fans have all become accustomed to with Timex sport watches, including an Indiglo night light, 10 work-out memory, 50-lap chrono with average heart rate per lap, and five interval timers with individual heart rate target zones. Other features including a countdown timer and three alarms are still included as well.

With the brand that ultimately understands the desires and expectations of true athletes organizing a race only for the country’s active and most competitive sports enthusiasts, one can expect high energy and passion flaring as each battle for the win and for a chance to be of help to our fellowmen as part of the 2009 Timex Run’s proceeds shall go to the Timex-UNICEF school in Masbate and victims of typhoon Ondoy.

Only the first three thousand to register  will be given event singlets. So hurry and register at selected Timex shops, located at SM North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Southmall, Glorietta 3, Nike Bonifacio High Street, Robinsons Land Showroom, The Trion Towers Showroom or online at Regular registration is from October 4 – November 9, 2009 while late registration is from November 2-9, 2009. For more information, call 7031736 or visit

Time is Running: The 2009 Timex Run with Coach Rio and Piolo Pascual

final poster

Get ready for this year’s hottest running event!  Don’t miss “Time is Running: The 2009 Timex Run with Coach Rio and Piolo Pascual,” a 3km, 5km, 10km, and 21km run on November 15, 2009 at the Bonifacio Global City (beside NBC tent).  Get a chance to run with everyone’s favorite running guru and one of the hottest male actors of our time.  Beat the mad dash for these limited and highly-coveted slots.  Only 3000 race kits will be up for grabs, which includes a singlet and timing chip, complete with professional actions shots by Photovendo and Runpix analysis. 

Regular registration is from October 4 to November 1 at Timex shops (SM North, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Southmall, and Glorietta 3), Nike Park Bonifacio High Street, The Trion Towers site showroom , Robinsons Land Corporation grand showroom (Robinsons Galleria), and AmiSa showroom (Robinsons Place Manila).

Late registration is from November 2 to 9 at the Timex shop SM North Edsa, and Trion Towers Mckinley parkway Cor. 8 ave, Bonifacio Global City.

Part of the proceeds goes to the Timex-UNICEF school in Masbate.

For online registration, visit  For more information, call 7031736.

Happy Birthday John Lloyd!

On Friday the 13th, we attended an advance birthday celebration for our dear friend, “John Lloyd” who’s actual birthday is today. It was a fun, fun party wherein I got to see a lot of our runner friends and acquaintances. It was a time wherein conversation topics surprisingly but happily shied away from running. Favorite topic that night was hilariously regarding SHOWBIZ! Wahahaha, you see we try to stay connected to show business. Bakit ba, we are all celebrities in our own right naman di ba? 😆

And since it is his birthday, John Lloyd gave his nod to finally reveal the newest first couple of running… Oh, no other than —

Kaye and Rio

Kaye and Rio

Why John Lloyd and Sarah? Why not??? They have a very special love which changed their lives in a moment! Oh, ha. Hehe..

To our dear coach and friend, Happy Happy Birthday! Ang wish ko for you, alam mo na yun! Wehehe…

View some bday party pics here.