Finally, it was great to complete the UNILAB Run United series with an emphatic exclamation point added to its final running event of the year, the 1st Run United Philippine Marathon (RUPM) which i finished last Sunday and what a race!. This was only my second longest race of the year, the first being the Tagaytay To Nasugbu (T2N) 50k ultra-marathon done last May and lots of shorter races in between.
Run United’s inaugural marathon was supposed to come out with a bang; red carpet finish line, marching bands, Philippine miniature flags which were handed out a few meters from the finish, cowbells ringing to greet you at the home stretch and they sure delivered!
Before last Sunday’s marathon, never was i so pessimistic about this race knowing that i was going to do it “under-trained” which you might think is better than over-trained but the sloppy training schedule was really pathetic: 2-3 days a week, comprising two short runs of 8-12kms and my farthest week-end run of only 25kms with no cross-training in between. So, how would you survive a marathon with such inconsistent training? I was just lucky to have survived it, i guess.
Still, i was satisfied of my results despite the much slower finish time compared to my last marathon this past December at the Quezon City International Marathon.
Here are some highlights of the race:
ARRIVING AT THE MALL OF ASIA
The early morning began when good friend Jun Santiago and i arrived at the MOA at about 1:45am and immediately boarded one of the many shuttle buses that would take us for the 20 minute ride to Bonifacio Global City start line. This was our usual itinerary during the Run United run series when races start at the BGC and ends up at MOA.
JUN’S FIRST MARATHON
What’s significant about this race is this is Jun’s debut marathon and he’ll be finally doing it after years of prodding him to run one. I know he was shit scared but wouldn’t admit it and his aim was just to finish, regardless of time. I was confident that he could do it, though.
Part of the RUPM route was C-5 Road, the main thoroughfare in Taguig and this was going to be the first time that runners will be running on this highway in a race. We exited at the back of Market-Market and traffic was building up that early as we merged with vehicles occupying just a lane to 3 lanes for the runners. True to what race director Coach Rio has told us prior to the race, police and marshals were seen deployed along the route and the highway was mostly well-lit.
I was somewhat distracted by the blaring of sound systems, videoke bars and the shouts of youths that were either cheering or jeering us until we reached the somewhat solemn area of the Heritage Park, another route which we hadn’t use in a race for a while.
It was very unusual of a Run Rio organized race to run out of water on their hydration stations and more unusual to see nothing being replenished when i ran passed the whole stretch of Buendia Avenue. The tables were empty on the 5 hydration stations starting from the station fronting Jolibee, just before climbing up Kalayaan Overpass and it was like a desert afterwards. Good thing that i brought my hydration belt with a bottle of Gatorade that sustained me all along Buendia Ave.
Mini-Stop and 7-Eleven convenience stores must have had a field day as dozens of runners rushed to their doors and buy bottled water and brought them along for the rest of the run. I think the stations ran out of supplies because of the deluge of the 21k runners who were first to reach Buendia Avenue.
The last 15k running this stretch was a bit of chaos as thousands of runners, bikers, rowers, walkers and Sunday strollers converged and made this stretch really crowded. And it was on this stretch that i did my run-walk routine just to have something in reserve at the end of the race. I saw my team mates Chito, Tonet and Sylvia, all encouraging each other while also noticing the strain on their faces. We were all hurting but we were moving forward.
The heat was beginning to set on us specially during the last 5 kilometers. I had to pour a lot of water on my head at all water stops thereafter and it did greatly to dissipate the heat.
Walking towards the last kilometer, i saw Tin Ferrera who took the time to pace me and pour some of her water on my head. This gave me some sort of a second-wind to sustain a run-jog pace where we were able to over-take a lot of runners. As soon as we reached the last 150 meters, Tin left as i continued to make that one final push.
The mood towards the finish was not only festive, it was also very heart-warming as i had goosebumps when running host-emcee Boy Ramos, his baritone voice booming, acknowledged my arrival and that really psyched me up to sprint the last 150 meters past the large cheering crowd as i crossed the finish line!
42k done in 5:51, a not too proud achievement but satisfied enough to be able to make it despite the sloppy training.
I was waiting for Jun and was a bit worried when i never saw him during the race. Elated when he called me up that he was done and finished in 7:09, his first marathon! Congrats, pre! Fotah…
RUPM was a great experience and i would definitely run this one again next year!
Thanks to the Running Photographers for some of the pictures used.
You can check out the race results here: http://unilabactivehealth.com/rununited/results.html