Throwback Takbo: What It’s Like to Run in the 80s


If someone tells us “Tara Takbo Tayo sa EDSA”, we’ll probably all raise our eyebrows and say “Nasisiraan ka na ba? Ang traffic sa EDSA, isasara mo pa?!”

But what if we tell you that 30-40 years ago, running along EDSA was actually … normal!

Photo courtesy of Joepeter Buenagua

What was it like to be a runner in dekada 70-80?

Today, upon signing up for a race event we will soon receive a race kit which will most likely include a race bib, race shirt, finisher shirt, a race medal, and other freebies.

But back in the days, running routes, race kits, and the general experience of joining a race are a lot different than what we are used to now. And some of the members of the Pinoy Fitness Community shared their different takes of #ThrowbackTakbo:

Finisher’s Certificate

Photo courtesy of Raymond Rafer

Photo courtesy of Joepeter Buenagua

First up are the running certificates! Unlike today, where most events offer a medal for every finisher, running events then only offer a personalized finisher’s certificate for runners with their name, distance covered, and official time handwritten on it. Most of the races back then only have these running certificates, race bibs, and copies of running routes as memorabilia of the run.


Hard-earned Finisher’s Medal

You do however have a chance of getting a presidential medal if you are amongst the top finishers of the race:

Photo courtesy of Joepeter Buenagua

Different Race Route

Race routes are also very different as there were no places like Nuvali and McKinley West yet to hold running events.

Photo courtesy of Joepeter Buenagua

So where do they run? They start at Quirino Grandstand and run along the lengths of the Roxas Boulevard, Baclaran, Makati Ave, Ayala Avenue, and EDSA, with a turning point at Shaw Boulevard to make 21KM. Then travel back the same route to reach Quirino grandstand and complete a 42. 195 KM full marathon!

Registration fees that are less than 100 pesos!

Did we mention that the registration fee for a FULL marathon event back then was just 60 pesos?

Photo courtesy of Joepeter Buenagua

Throwbacks photos are quite interesting to see as it reminds us of the humble roots of the running community in our country. From running events with just a few hundred runners, now events are filled with thousands of runners. From simple certificates and race routes as memorabilia, we now enjoy a complete set of race kits and freebies.

This just goes to show that the running community has grown so much and we sure hope it continues to grow and be better.

Do you have any #ThrowbackTakbo photos and experiences to share? Share and comment on this article!


  1. As the Philippines got bitten by the bug of the first worldwide running boom in the late 1970s‒1980s, Manila-based runners got some popular out-of-town road races to join too, aside from marathons that traversed EDDA. One favorite was the North Star Run in Laoag then organized by the late Danny Crisologo and his brother Pompeii. Its 3rd edition in 1981 was my baptism in the 10K that I did in a forgettable 46:43; easy winner there was Justo Tabunda, then a national athlete who clocked the 3rd North Star in the low 30s. Fortunately, I was there too working a publicity coverage for the race sponsor, SMC’s Gold Eagle Beer.

  2. No internet before so am unable to know if there is a running event, unlike today, just have to check & The only event I was aware of was the Milo marathon and the one in UP, that was in the early 2000
    2nd, medals should be given only to podium finishers,
    3rd participants are taken advantage of bec. Of the running boom since 2010 up


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