Monday, November 28, 2011

Running and Freedom 1: FNF Freedom Run 2011

I participated in the first "Freedom Run" organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF) yesterday at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus. It was co-sponsored by UP and I think, the Quezon City government. There were also many corporate sponsors. One could run the 3k or 6k and the theme of the event was "I am Free". Free from corruption, and so on. Nice.

With only 5 hours sleep (had an early Christmas reunion with some friends the night before) and haven't run for the past 10 years or so, I ran the 6k, hahaha. I finished it in 43 minutes, awwww! At around 1.5 km. mark I think, I started walking already. But my goal in joining the run was clear: just finish the 6 kms route, in a brief period to shake and remove the rust in my legs.

What's special with this photo?... hmmm... :-) Ok, I'll tell you. I did not bring a camera but I needed a photo as it was my first run after 10 years or more. The one who took this photo was Jules Maaten, the country director of the FNF himself. Super thanks Jules!

There were probably close to 2,000 runners who participated in the 3k and 6k run. Knowing my physical limitations, I positioned myself in the front of the starting line, knowing that many guys will pass me anyway, so I gave myself a few meters of "lead" over the majority, hehe. And true enough, at the sound of the starting gun, dozens upon dozens of younger lungs and legs passed me.

Sometime in the mid to late 90s, I was running around 7 kms. a week, cycling around 100 kms. a week (I was using a road bike, not a mountain bike) and climbing a mountain once a month, on average. So inflicting limited pain on my body was no stranger to me then. That's why I dared running the 6k even with zero running preparation years before this event.

Here are some photos of the participants, taken from the FNF's facebook photos.

I saw several staff of the FNF there aside from Jules, like Paolo Zamora, John Coronel, Dorothy Salvador and hubby. Chito Gascon of the Liberal Party was also there, but he did not run. My batchmate in UPSE, Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita, also of the LP was there too, but I did not see her around, only in the photos.

I think this is the first time that a political foundation like FNF has sponsored a running event. It's mostly corporations that sponsor the big events here. I think this is a good initiative to propagate a political foundation's advocacies. In the case of the FNF, it's propagating liberalism, a philosophy that I personally adhere to, especially classic liberalism, not just ordinary liberalism that is propagated by many current political parties around the world.

Back of the shirt says, "It's all about Freedom. ARE YOU FREE?"

Other participants included the Freedom of Information (FOI) group, here in white shirts, led by Nepo Malaluan. A guy called "Zorro" in UP also showed up. And a special participant, a dog riding his master's bicycle.

Freedom and liberty. Especially individual liberty, not national or collective liberty that tends to step on individual freedom "in the name of the nation, the commune, the collective." This goal, for me, sums up what liberalism is.

See the close up quote: individual responsibility, rule of law, human rights and tolerance. These are key words and philosophies that I personally advocate. "People who are afraid of responsibility are afraid of freedom itself." That's from Friedrich Hayek, and I totally agree with him on that.

The last time I saw Jules was early last month in Kuala Lumpur, during the FNF's Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia Conference, with the theme, "Competition: Engine for Growth." In this photo from left: DBM Sec. Butch Abad (he was the keynote speaker there), Atty. Tony Abad (he was a speaker in one of the panels), Siggi Herzog, the previous FNF Country Director for the Philippines, now the FNF Regional Director for South Asia, and Jules Maaten.

Competition and running. Governments should take a cue from sports and competition. The role of the organizers and hosts -- like a government -- is simply to lay the rules clear and fair and strictly implement them. Then let the competitors and participants join the race, or the fun, without cheating. The winners are awarded with cash or non-cash freebies, while ordinary participants are awarded with a sense of accomplishment, plus freebies like free food, free shirts, etc. Cheaters and rent-seekers will be penalized with disqualification or other forms of punishment. Hence, there is no need for government to pick winners and losers, like choosing who among the private players will be given special privileges including bail out in times of corporate bankruptcies, and who to be allowed to sink.

How are my legs after being tortured with a 6 kms run-walk within 43 minutes? Oh, they were hellish, since yesterday morning until now now! It's like I went through a physical hazing by a violent fraternity :-)

Thanks again to FNF for organizing that event.

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