Featured Race: The 500 Smile Run (a.k.a. Birthday Race-to-be)

I started joining races not because of what I can get, but what I can give.  This is why I am so glad that for my birthday, I’ll be able to do just that—through the 500 Smile Run of Operation Smile.

Next year, Operation Smile will be celebrating its 30th anniversary with the theme, “Journey Home.”  Operation Smile is present in 76 countries in 5 continents, but it has its roots here in the Philippines after a medical mission done by its founders Dr. William P. Magee, Jr. and Kathleen Magee in Naga City Camarines Sur Provincial Hospital (now known as Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital) back in 1982.  Since then they have done 230 missions in 68 cities/municipalities in the country, treating almost 24,000 children and young adults suffering from congenital facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate.  The 500 Smile Run aims to generate funds for Operation Smile’s 30th Anniversary Missions in 8 sites around the country.











The 500 Smile Run (Manila)

When: November 06, 2011
Where: Quirino Grandstand, Manila
Distances: 16K, 10K, 5K, 3K, 500m

  • ₱300 for 500m (kids)
  • ₱500 for 3K and 5K
  • ₱650 for 10K
  • ₱800 for 16K

The 500 Smile Run (Davao)

When: November 27, 2011
Where: Rizal Park, Davao City
Distances: 16K, 10K, 5K, 3K

  • ₱350 for 3K, 5K, and 10K
  • ₱650 for 16K

You may register at the following sites (until November 03, 2011):

  • Chris Sports
    • SM Fairview
    • SM Manila
    • Robinsons Place Ermita

Also at the following sites starting October 07, 2011:

  • Puma
    • Bonifacio High Steet
    • Trinoma
    • Greenbelt 5
    • Cash N’ Carry (Buendia)
  • Smart Business Centers
    • Ayala Avenue Head Office
    • Megamall


  • D-Tags will be used in all categories
  • Medals will be issued to all finishers (including 500m)
  • Runners who do not start within 10 minutes from respective gun start shall be flagged disqualified from the race, may not be allowed to start, and may not be given official race time result.
Distance Assembly Time Gun Start

Operation Smile is targeting 6,000 and 2,000 runners from Manila and Davao, respectively, to join the event and raise funds to provide free life changing reconstructive surgery to at least 1,500 Filipino children and young adults in 10 days through 8 simultaneous surgical missions in various parts of the country, namely, Bacolod, Cavite, Cebu, Cagayan De Oro, South Cotabato, Makati, Naga, and Pampanga.  (See, the 500 Smile Run will give smiles to 1,500 beneficiaries, and then more from volunteers and donors knowing they’re changing lives).

Before (bottom) and after (top) pictures: what a difference!

The media launch of this event was one of the most touching ones I’ve attended lately.  In developed countries it’s already a given that their governments give free reconstructive surgery to children born with cleft lip or cleft palate, but the Philippines isn’t one of those countries so some people are left to live its consequences for the rest of their lives.  This is sad and absurd since something can be done about it, and the benefits last for a lifetime, not only for the direct beneficiary, but also for their family, and from a macro perspective, even society.  Many of us are lucky that we’re not part of statistics, but for those who are coming from families that are not well-off, the gift of smile which we could contribute to give them will help them in more ways than we can imagine.  We may not all be able to help them directly, but together we’d be part of the solution.  If you’re looking for a fun and meaningful race, join me and the thousands more to bring the smiles back to these children’s faces.  We’d be changing not just their faces, but also their lives.

A day in her life



On her way to surgery

Actual surgery

Surgery room

Going to recovery room

Post-operation check-up

Going home

Riding home

New smile

1 Response to “Featured Race: The 500 Smile Run (a.k.a. Birthday Race-to-be)”

  1. 1 Rah
    2011-09-27 at 4:23 AM

    Wow, mukhang ok to salhan ah. Siguro doon ako sa 10k muna. Ang sarap talaga tumakbo kung alam mo ang purpose. Ang hirap lang mag training minsan kasi lately umuulan at bumabagyo. Advance happy birthday. Thanks for posting this.

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