15,000 runners pay homage to #SAF44 during marathon
MANILA, Philippines – At least 15,000 runners paid their unique homage to the 44 members of the Special Action Forces (SAF) who died fighting Moro rebels during the 2015 Condura Skyway Marathon Sunday.
Marathon runners saluted the SAF commandos carrying the portraits and the names of their fallen comrades at the first few meters from the starting line.
“It was a very heartwarming experience seeing my fellow runners saluting the Fallen 44 as we run. It gave me goosebumps,” said Lailanie Fronda, participant and a blogger.
Before the marathon kicked off, 44 balloons symbolizing the 44 fallen commandos were released as the singing of the national anthem began.
The participants offered a moment of silence for the lives lost in the bloody clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Some ran barefooted with “SAF 44” written on their feet, while some carried posters crying for justice.
“I thought it was a nice gesture. The families of the armed forces were the beneficiaries in the first place. I was pretty happy that the fallen 44 were included, and I bet most of the runners were too,” said Arj Almocera, a regular runner.
This year’s Condura Skyway Marathon was themed “Be a Hero for a Hero” and the benefactor is the Hero Foundation that caters the needs of dependents of some military personnel.
Organizers have reportedly decided to donate parts of the proceeds to bereft families of SAF members.
“The start of the race was very emotion-inducing. I didn’t salute much, but I was saying “thank you” to the policemen holding their photos. I was so into it that I forgot to start my stopwatch,” Almorcera added.