By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
At least 100 runners wearing stilettos sprinted down a stretch of Shoe Avenue in Marikina City for this year’s staging of “Tour De Takong” or Stiletto Race on Saturday.
Among the runners were soldiers from the Philippine Army who proudly wore their high-heeled shoes and dashed the around 550-meter distance towards the finish line.
Cpl. Mark Angelo Hipos from the 51st Engineer Brigade of the Philippine Army told the Manila Bulletin that they have participated in the activity to show their support to the campaign of the city government in ending violence against women and children, which is the theme of this year’s race.
“We really like to participate in this activity to show our support to women and to the campaign of ending the violence against women and children,” Hipos said.
Public elementary school teachers have also showed their support and joined the race as representatives of the Department of Education-Marikina (DepEd-Marikina).
Wilfredo Santos Jr. and Johnny Timbreza, Grade 6 teachers of Fortune Elementary School, set aside their black leather shoes they usually wear in school and slipped on a pair of stilleto shoes for the race.
Unlike other participants who wore sports attires, Santos and Timbreza wore their teachers’ uniform.
“We have participated in this race to spread the message of unity and to promote gender equality as well,” Santos said. “This is not about the race but more on camaraderie and unity.”
The Tour De Takong is one of the main events in the annual Sapatos Festival of Marikina City where participants run while wearing stilettos instead of running shoes. The city government has been organizing the race since 2013.
In his message, Marikina City Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro emphasized that the staging of “Tour De Takong 2019” was to promote the empowerment of women.
“Sinisimbolo ng paligsahang ito ang pagbibigay ng boses sa bawat babae upang gumawa ng mahahalagang desisyon para sa sarili man o sa lipunan (This competition symbolizes the need to give every woman a voice so they could make important decisions for themselves or for the society),” Teodoro said.
“Hangad nitong ipaalala ang sense of self-worth ng mga babae; ang kanilang karapatang pumili, ang access sa oportunidad at resources; ang pagkakaroon ng kontrol sa kanilang buhay, sa loob man o sa labas ng bahay; at higit sa lahat, ang kanilang abilidad na magdulot ng social change upang magkaroon ng mas patas na lipunan (This seeks to remind the sense of self worth of women; their right to choose; access to opportunity and resources; control over lives; and most importantly, their ability to create social change in order to have an equal society),” he continued.
The starting line for the race was at the Marikina Clock Tower and the finish line was in front of the DepEd-Marikina Office.
The registration was free and runners were required to wear stiletto shoes made in Marikina. The eldest participant of the race was a 63-year-old woman who wore a Sta. Claus costume.
For this year’s stilleto race, first place winners for both male and female categories bagged the P15,000 cash prize, while the second placers received P10,000 cash prize, and P8,000 for third placers.