This race was probably meant to express a sort of vindication for Race Director Rio Dela Cruz to what was considered a humiliating disaster on his Century Tuna Superbods Run which he also organized two weeks ago. Picking up the pieces and trying to salvage some lost esteem, Coach Rio manages to direct the Unilab Run for Wellness held yesterday with masterly precision, like an orchestra conductor would lead his musicians into one cohesive playing unit!
This time, the firing gun was fired on time, no runners got lost, no marshals directed any runner the wrong way and that traffic was managed thoroughly. Those are how i saw things when i ran the 21k yesterday and what a hot and humid race it was!
I wasn’t even planning to run this race as i was honing to run the Globe Run For Home (21k) two weeks from now which should have been my first race after running the Condura 42k last month. However, running partner Betty Rosario, who had registered for this race earlier had some pressing commitments to do so she let me have her race packet and asked me to run it instead. So here i was, toeing the starting line as a ‘representative/unofficial’ runner! Haha…I thouught that this would be a good practice run for the Globe Run For Home race in two weeks time.
The race started as scheduled and runners were treated to a seldom used route at The Fort as we were brought along the University Parkway and its adjoining streets and not to the dreaded Buendia Flyover Bridge anymore. Today’s experience was favorable as i ran a steady pace of 6:30/km during the opening miles. I was initially pacing with Tonette Santiago up to the 2nd kilometer but she had to slow down as the pace must have been to fast for her.
It was nice looking at those long tables of water and isotonic drinks and no runners ever crowded these water stations when they took cups to drink. Up at 5th Avenue, there were nice, large bananas offered and entering Bayani Road, sponges were also provided. The route inside Heritage Park was an uneventful one and it was the first time we exited a second gate out of the park where more bananas were offered.
I had slowed down considerably at the last 5kms and was almost winded up when i reached near the front area of the American Cemetery. I finished at 2:25:30 (2:25:28 Official Time), a few minutes slower than my best time at the Condura 21k race last year but was thrilled to clock this time, nonetheless.
We were awarded our medals at the finish and what made this race unique was the almost unlimited amount of freebies they gave at the Unilab Wellness Exposition grounds. The small blue backpack was nice, an extra singlet and a T-Shirt were included, energy drinks, granola bars, packs of vitamins and even packs of feminine wash were also inside the loot bags!
Congratulations to all 8,000 plus runners that ran this race, specially to Tonette who ran a good race as per her account. Thanks also to my team mates at Runnex, Gani and Obet Alano for running beside me at some points in the route and to Jinoe and Mon for the sandwich stubs. Betty, i didn’t forget you for letting me suffer more in letting me run this race and to FINISHLINE for a splendid race.
This race still establishes Coach Rio as a major presence in road race organization. Only time will tell if he could maintain the high quality of managing his races and avoid the pitfalls that sometimes mar a few of his runs. That he was able to get a lot of positive reviews in this particular race was testimony to his and his group’s commitment.