I have been posting on other topics this week, mostly on upcoming races (and there’s a lot of them in the following weeks) but I didn’t want you to think that I had given up writing about my experience in last Sunday’s Condura Skyway Marathon (CSM).
In fact, i had just up-loaded some pics of mine taken during the race which surprisingly were just a few when i remember hollering every time i came upon photographer-friends who were snapping shots relentlessly.
Last Sunday’s run was only my third up there in the Skyway, having ran the inaugural half-marathon during its first edition and doing the full the following year, 2010.
Having registered for the full marathon last Sunday, i didn’t really have any serious training the weeks prior to it, not even running more than 10k on occasions that i had time to run so a week prior to Sunday’s event, i swapped race packets with team-mate Leo and downgraded myself to running the half instead.
There are a lot of ways to describe the Condura Skyway Marathon and you just have to be there to experience it yourself:
- Logistically, the race was flawless and i think the race organizers did an incredible job in planning and preparing for security and the well-being of all runners atop the Skyway.
- Adequate parking spaces near the start. Arriving at the venue at 2:45 am with my team-mate Betty, we were able to get a parking space inside the Festival mall although had we driven nearer the starting area, there were still parking spaces on many vacant lots.
- Well organized race-start. Corrals were adequately marked as we found our way to Wave A. However, wave A was further cut into half even though it wasn’t too crowded so we found ourselves in A2 and had to wait for another 5 minutes before our turn to start.
- Adequate hydration stations were present, manned by uniformed marshals that offered an abundance of cold water.
- Individual medics were stationed in strategic points all through out the course to give first-aid to those who need it.
- Presence of portalets after every water station which were heaven-sent to those runners who used it.
- Bananas were offered during the last part of the race which was just fine.
- Ambulances were at key areas to ensure immediate medical attention was provided when needed.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
- While CSM was high in organization, the route was low in scenery be it dark or daybreak. Although no fault of the organizers here, i wish that the Skyway route be spruced up with more entertainment as it got to the point of being monotonous, specially for those running the half and full marathons.
- Those marching bands and percussion ensembles that were playing near the finish line should have been sent up there and provide some color and excitement at the tedious route. Also, the pom-pom girls cheering 150 meters away before the finish line should be a boost if they were stationed just before going down the skyway.
- The 100 Plus carbonated drinks should be a welcome treat for runners *after* finishing the race and not while racing. Again and again, i’ve heard runners complaining about doing unscheduled pit stops at the portalets because of these drinks. For me, i know what it does so i just limit myself to a sip or two near the end of a race to avoid making a no.2 or 3.
- Activity area was overcrowded after the race so they should have spread out the booths farther away from each other.
If you are after setting a PR, no route can top this course because you can be assured that you can run uninterrupted, no street intersections to deal with. Even with those slight long and tricky uphills, you can adjust your pace without losing much ground and attack those downhills easily.
I was able to manage the boredom that was setting in by “zoning-out” during the run, pretending that the lamp posts on the middle and both sides of the Skyway were pine-trees or any tall tree giving light from the darkness. Also, i would sometimes peak over the railings and look down, pretending that i was seeing ravines and rivers below, imagining that i was on a mountain trail.
Was able to manage a 2:36 for the half, satisfied enough even with the lack of training!
Over-all, i say this race is one of the most satisfying running event to join every year, specially those who have not ran the Skyway yet. The race organization was spotless and well supported and as drab as the course might be, once you conquer it, you’ll be patting at each other’s back forever.
Thank you Condura Skyway Marathon!
Check-out race results here: www.conduraskywaymarathon.com