Runners in the morning
a Diaspora of hopefuls in pink
coming from nowhere
defying traffic and weather
to wherever ten kilometers may take them.
Their message and memories
are fastened to the numbered bibs
that they hang close to their chests,
careful not to lose it
to the slippery road.
What started out as a cause
to raise awareness for breast cancer
had become an uncertain run for their own lives,
as they keep their lungs from failing,
and their legs from falling.
Runners in the dawn
wet of sweat, mud, and dew
had only pride to eat and rivals for company.
And the gray sky and passing cars
are their only spectators.
The random hundreds brave
against time, like salmon in heat
fighting the currents
of the river, to warmer waters
they may never reach.
Like the herald Pheidippides
running from Marathon to Athens,
they hold on to the hopes that once
they finish the race,
they will have spread a message,
Over Persia, over cancer
Over the currents of the waterfalls
Over the slippery stretch of the ten-kilometer road.
See how they run, the runners of daybreak
noble and foolish they may be
as they surrender everything they have left on the race line
so they may finally reach the end
recover from the dark
renew their youth
and touch the Sun.
Fred graduated from the Creative Writing program at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. He likes to keep himself fit.