Run United marathon supports GK Bagong Silang community
While a bevy of running events has sparked a more active and healthier lifestyle in many Filipinos today, one five-year-old marathon has changed hundreds of lives in the country’s biggest barangay.
In 2011, two years after Unilab Active Health (ULAH) mounted what is now the running community’s much anticipated Run United races, the pharmaceutical company had gathered enough funds from part of the marathon’s registration fees to set up and continuously operate a satellite health clinic in Barangay Bagong Silang in Caloocan City.
“We’ve been able to do this in collaboration with the Caloocan City Health Department and Gawad Kalinga [GK], which had adopted Barangay Bagong Silang as its very first village,” Claire Papa, Unilab’s external affairs director, revealed on Wednesday at the announcement of the upcoming Run United series this month.
“Community service has always been part of our DNA, so we looked into the rampant health problems of the barangay—from malnutrition to UTI [urinary tract infection]and tuberculosis—and took the time to train health volunteers to be able to address these conditions,” she elaborated.
Moreover, ULAH’s satellite clinic also has a regular midwife, doctor and dentist who have not only made health care more accessible to the less fortunate residents of the GK village, but significantly improved the quality of medical care they receive.
“If you look at the history of Unilab, our founders’ goal had always been to make medicine more accessible to the community,” Unilab’s operations vice president, Alex Panlilio, joined in. “As years went by and the company continued to respond to the illness side of health care, our objectives evolved and took a more proactive approach to health by enriching the lives of people through wellness.”
It was from this change that Unilab was motivated to formulate a range of vitamins and other supplements to help Filipinos stay healthy and effectively recover from illnesses.
Beyond products, however, the company recognized the need to spark lifestyle changes in individuals, beginning with their very own employees. Thus was born the Run United races.
“Initially Run United was an internal run, but we then thought, why not offer it to the public as a stimulus to adopt a healthier way of life,” explained Panlilio. “And we didn’t stop there, because we knew that beyond the run, we can do so much more for the community, so that the satellite health clinic became our way of paying it forward.”
Panlilio expressed that it is ULAH’s hope to support more communities in the future, which already seems a very likely possibility with over 12,000 running enthusiasts already signed up for “Run United 1 2014” on March 16.
To be held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City, the marathon will carry the theme “Exceed Yourself,” to inspire returning participants to establish new personal records.
Deemed as “progressive athletes,” ULAH boosts their strength and confidence with an array of sports nutrition products that takes care of their needs before, during and after their race. The range includes Enervon Activ multivitamins, Enervon HP Recovery and Active Health sports gel.
To further inspire the runners to reach their ultimate potential, ULAH also invited its brand ambassadors, running coach Rio dela Cruz; triathlon coaches Dan and Ani De Leon-Brown, Raul Cuevas, and Andy Leuterio; and the Bull Runner Jaymie Pizarro, not only to participate in the races, but actively mentor and train progressive athletes through clinics throughout the year.
Other races scheduled for Run United’s fifth year are the Tri United 1 2014 on March 9 in Subic, Olongapo; Run United 2 2014 on June 1 at SM Mall of Asia; Tri United 2 2014 on July 6 in Laiya, Batangas; Run United 3 2014 on October 5 at BGC-SM Mall of Asia; and Tri United 3 and 4 in October and November respectively (final dates and venues to be announced).
For more information, log on to www.unilabactivehealth.com and \n www.runrio.com.