Photo credit: Lorebelle Joy
Joel Baring is one of the three race directors in Cebu who has been organizing road races way before the running boom hit town. The other two are Joe Deresas and Raffy Uytiepo.
I’ve had the occasion of running many of Joel’s races. There were some that fell short of basic technical standards such as the first Ayala Eco dash in September 2009 where frontrunners got lost due to poor marshalling, while others while not directly attributable to Joel’s fault, lacked the basic necessities such as water and water cups (2009 Kapamilya Run).
But when Joel Baring gets it right, he can be brilliant and the run he directs – memorable. (Think: Boljoon Heritage Run in November 2010). He likes making new routes on old rubber-weary streets, his timing and race result can be fast and accurate even without the aid of timing chips or RFID his flag bearing marshalls visible at all crucial corners and turning points.
The 11th Kapamilya Run last Sunday was again directed by Joel Baring. As any race organizer knows, DYAB and ABS CBN, with its network red tape and bureaucracy, are not the easiest race organizers to deal with. Still, Joel managed to come up with a race that satisfies all the basics of a good race. Good marshaling, adequate water supply, accurate race distance, new race route (even on old streets and with another run being held simultaneously), and accurate record keeping with nary a complaint and controversy among the winners and podium finishers.
Despite Joel’s past mistakes and shortcomings, you really can’t help but like Joel Baring. While his races may not always be grand or flawless, you know he tries and tries really hard to make the next race better than the last. It helps too that he’s such a humble guy and willing to listen to criticisms – whether positive or just plain irate.