You may think I lost my marbles when I’ve decided to join our company’s mini-Olympics last week. I received the invitation only about three days before the actual racing competition, while all others have started practicing way ahead. πŸ™„

Brief background: Annually, the SM Sports Festival Mini-Olympics is held for all branches (in NCR) to play in the following event categories:

  1. 100m female dash
  2. 100m male dash
  3. 10x50m relay
  4. sack race
  5. queen relay
  6. cheerleading

The idea of taking part to be one of the representatives of Head Office was somewhat outrageous. Surely, I am NOT be the fastest runner out there, but the team could not qualify if it’s incomplete. No other female department manager wanted to go on in. (Every team must be composed of a mix of rank and file, supervisor, officer and managerial level employees — male and female.) I regularly run to keep fitness but not really for any competition. Nevertheless, I saw “some potential” in myself, as I’ve built a stamina that can endure pain and tiredness for grueling activities and demanding conditions.

At first, I was asked to be one of the 10 members of the 10×50 relay race. While other employees from different departments had to try out to enter, I was exempted and went straight to practice. :mrgreen: Basically, there had to be 10 runners who would run 500m (50m each) throughout the race. Each runner would have to pass on a stick to the next runner for a turn to count. Directions were easy but running especially with pressure was no joke.

Our warmups consisted of running around the Rizal Memorial Track Stadium (the national sports stadium located in Malate, Manila) three rounds without stop. FYI, the entire oval measures 400 meters. Whoa, the sweat! πŸ˜† I led some challenging arm, leg,Β hamstring, knee, feet and calf stretches that were unique from other teams’. We timed how fast each member run to track improvements in performance individually and as a team.

Later, I was told to shift to the sack race event because they still lack people there. No problem! Again, it was not that I’m an expert in sack racing; rather, it was more of me wanting to test my abilities and have fun in the process. (Note that I also haven’t jumped in a sack or pillow before.)

In the sack race, players have to place both legs inside the sack that reaches the waist and jump forward from a starting point toward a finish line. Similar to the relay race, the sack race was composed of 10 members, each having to complete 10m to pass on the sack to the next player.

Β On the Sports Fest day, together with my Head Office teammates, I left the office to arrive and get ready at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex early at 3:30PM. We wore our uniforms (white shirt with the SM Sports Festival Mini-Olympics 2013 logo), ate snacks and did our usual warm-up exercises side by side with contenders from the branches.

At 6PM, everyone was geared up for the elimination round. Rizal Stadium has eight lanes, and each lane constituted to one branch. Since there were 18 competing branches (only NCR), the teams were broken into three batches to complete a game.

The official opening of the mini-Olympics commenced one hour after. Flags were raised; the national anthem was sung; the invocation was delivered; the parading teams were introduced; and each player uttered the oath of sportsmanship.

What I loved most about the race was the camaraderie and the feeling of belonging. Even though most of our teams were eliminated in 3/5 of the event categories, we were still glad that 2/5 made it to the finals excluding cheerleading.

SM Sports Festival Mini-Olympics 2013 – What I Learned From Racing

1. Teamwork matters.

Running and racing with a team is a far different experience from running alone. Calculation is different. The thrill is different. There’s an urgency to perform better, and this feeling grows further thinking that everyone in the team should perform his/her best.

2. Losing is not bad as it seems.

SM North EDSA has been the winner of the Mini-Olympics for the past consecutive years. And it has retained its bragging rights for being the winner this year for the nth time. *clap clap* I saw how their runners really deserve the title. They run SUPER fast (like the Road Runner)! I didn’t see them as employees of SM then but as professional athletes! Anyway, the focus was truly to have a good time in β€œthe journey” than any other I have experienced.

3. Finishing is what counts the most.

In relation to the second lesson, what matters most and what truly counts is finishing to the end. While knowing that we were already losing against others in the same batch in the middle of the game, we continued to run to the finish line without being discouraged. Ultimately, this represents an important achievement. Anyone can succeed with a little effort! πŸ˜€

– Head Office Team Members –

I realized that I am very much in my learning phase of this sports, and I didn’t think before that running could be extra tiring. Additionally, now I know that running can be very useful in real-life scenarios… like going away from zombies, stalkers and robbers! πŸ˜›


Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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38 Responses

  1. Franc Ramon

    Teamwork can make a big difference in a relay event. This events are great way to exhibit camaraderie and bond with others.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, all events here have a common point; each one starts from Point A and ends at Point B. But there has to be something in between. More than the energy, it’s the bond among the participants. And that “in-between” is what is important.

  2. Yamito Uytingco Calamba

    You got it at “That’s Me!” emoticon! haha Seems like you had a really good time. And yup, i agree with you. Losing isn’t that bad as it seems coz sometimes, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. πŸ™‚

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Activities such as running and racing can be done all year round but mostly when it’s raining, it’s harder to spend time and effort to go outside and endure the weather.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Right. I categorize this as a team-building activity that can help to bring balance into the work environment, personalize co-workers. and improve the company’s performance. πŸ˜€

  3. Erwin Ti-in

    I like most the last lesson :), “Finishing” (no matter how fast and slow) a thing we started is the most satisfying point, in doing it at the first place.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Erwin. πŸ™‚

      Similarly in life, we are only given one race to finish — it’s not a question of winning or losing. To me, running here is not to beat out other runners but to get to the end no matter what.

  4. joy

    I was quite the athletic lady back in college but parenthood and freelance work drained of time and energy it seems πŸ˜› Glad to see you are having fun. πŸ™‚

  5. Pao Tolentino

    From the first pictures I thought there were just a few people and then when you took the picture of the stands, I was surprised that there were a lot of people pala. I wish I can get back in shape and do these kinds of activities. Thanks for posting this. This will remind me to try to get myself into getting fit xD

  6. Fred

    So that is why I saw people practicing the sack race in the parking area of SM North Edsa one Sunday! Thanks for sharing this story. The picture of the people in the stands was very impressive. So many people!

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Their practice efforts have paid off once again! Haha those people ran like they were chasing life.

      Those visitors on the audience section were employees of the branches mostly, as I was told. They were required to cheer for the teams after work. πŸ˜›

  7. Stephanie Mayo

    Looks like a lot of fun. I wish I could be more enthusiastic in physical activities. πŸ™ I so badly want to, but it’s just that I have zero motivation. It’ s so cool that your company holds these fun mini-Olympics; it encourages employees to be more physically active and healthy. Nice post!

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I wish I have more time to practice and hone my “running” skills. Why do you have zero motivation? If you’re my friend and you’re with me, you will have like at least 75% motivation for I’d always remind you to go exercise for fitness’ sake. πŸ˜›

  8. Kim Nieves (@iamkimnieves)

    I super agree with number 3! “Finishing is what counts the most.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re first or last, as long as you finish the race. The point is YOU FINISHED THE RACE!! ^_^

  9. Cai

    It’s nice that a lot of people are into sports and fitness now. Winning or losing doesn’t matter as long as you have fun!


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