Over lunch yesterday after finishing the Corregidor International Half-Marathon (CIHM), Dante, Tonet and myself were whining about the difficult climbs that made us walk on long stretches throughout the hilly course. Maan Briones, a yoga practitioner who together with her daughter accompanied hubby, Dante in this race commented that there should be a cessation of races during the month of December. When i asked why, she simply said, “December is party time…most runners are in no condition to run races!”
True enough, the nightly Christmas parties, drinking and eating binges which sometimes lasts up to the wee hours of the morning and the erratic training really took its toll on us where we had to stop and walk many times just to catch our breaths. With very little sleep three nights in a row before the race and the last long run being the QCIM two weeks ago, i wasn’t expecting much from this run in terms of a good race except that this was just going to be a “picture run” as Alfred V coined it..running while taking pictures of the scenery.
With just 2 hours of sleep the night before, Tonet and i arrived at the Folks Art Theater a little past 5am and left Manila by 5:35. There was just a total of about 350 runners who registered in this race, a far cry from the organizer’s expected 800 runners. It was however, good to see just a small number of participants, sparing us the chaos during starts of those mega races held in Manila. The race started promptly at 8:00am and it was nice to see race organizer Edward Kho sporting a new “barber’s cut” hairstyle doing the countdown.
I felt real bad during the first kilometer or two as it was a slight uphill going towards the Malinta Tunnel and my heart was really pounding as i couldn’t get into my usual rhythm. The first turn-around was a bit of a struggle as we had to go back that uphill past the Japanese Gardens and saw for the first time runners who were now walking.
I was a bit surprised to see the first off-road grass path as i didn’t see that during our test-run a few months ago. It was like a mini runway except that grass was obviously trimmed to create a pathway for the runners. We had good weather and the wind was breezy and i enjoyed this part very much. The second trail was the longest and i noticed that the wild grasses were really trimmed completely to make room for the runners. Good job by the organizers!
I reached the 10k mark at around 1:08 which was inside the cut-off mark of 1:45.
The top-side and middleside parts of the islands were the most arduous as these are where the hills are located. While walking these side of town, i heard one runner commented that this race has become one long “walkathon”! Although the water stations were generally well-stocked, i sometimes encountered some tables where station marshalls were struggling to contain the crowd that were getting water that runners had to wait their turn in getting their cups filled-up.
One innovation that this race had was that they offered honey placed in small sip-locked plastic sachets which were really good tasting. I didn’t really notice how it affected my running but its good to have them specially in longer races.
Approaching the 19th km, one couldn’t miss the killer hill that really reduced us to walking zombies! Some walked backwards while the others took one step at a time and it was really funny to see how runners reacted climbing this hill…some were cursing, some laughing and it came at a time when muscles were at its sorest!
I finished the race in 2:36 and got one of the most elegant finishers medal i have ever received! Over-all, the race was well-organized, helped by the gorgeous weather and a nice lunch to boot!
Congrats to Edward, Raymund, Vanessa and the rest of their organizing team!:-)
Here are some of the pics taken before, during and after the run. Thanks to Jinoe and Alfred for some of the pics.