Not since the Condura Skyway Marathon have i seen such a big crowd of runners at last Sunday’s Run United-1 21k race at the Mall Of Asia grounds. I was amazed at the throng of mostly young runners who i figured have leveled-up in distance, those who have embraced the challenge of tackling the half-marathon for the first time in their pursuit of doing the full which Run United will be having near the end of the year.
We were sent off in two waves and i happen to be among those in the first but after just about 1.5kms the fast runners among the second wave started to pass us and the merging of both waves, numbering to about 5,000 were evident near Roxas Blvd. and the scene along Buendia Avenue was full packed!
I always take a light pre-race breakfast to provide me some fuel during long races but this particular morning has to be one of my most annoying ones after taking a large moon cake just minutes before the race with just sips of energy drinks i had with me. The result, indigestion or dyspepsia which i had to deal with for most of the first half of the race! I couldn’t burp or pass air so i had to contend in slowing down to ease the tightness in my chest.
Taking water didn’t help much on the indigestion but a half-banana portion seem to absorb some of the food stuck on my air waves. Whatever help that brought me, i knew i wasn’t going to achieve a good race time that i had hoped for.
Things eased up a bit when i reached back at Seaside Blvd, about the 10km mark on the way to the south side of Macapagal Avenue. I finally got into a groove of sorts running with old time friends like Jinoe Gavan and Jen Kun who both seem to be taking their time. Now at Macapagal Avanue towards Airport Road, it was a bit of smooth sailing and from then on, i was just pushing it further and only breaking to a slow jog whenever i reach a water station.
At the last turn-around point, i was finally joined by Jay Nacino, an ultra-marathoner and now an active triathlete whom i talked animatedly about bikes and triathlons. He was just doing the 10k as a training run and he seem to be just gliding his way through while i was struggling to keep up with his pace and it seem to worked for me getting those kilometers after kilometers done. His stories and company seem to rev-up the little steam that i had left.
The last straight to the finish, a stretch of about 800 meters was so long that you seem to be running it endlessly but i was dead set in getting it there, bumping with other runners also finishing their respective distances. For the last 100 meters, i picked up the pace and veered towards the left lane which was the finish side of the half-marathon runners. Whatever energy i had left, i gave it all out to compensate for the lost time during the start.
As expected, i didn’t PR but considering what i had to go through during the first half of the race, i was elated just to be able to finish strong. Finished it in 2:38 and still felt some energy left. I high-fived Jay who was just on the other side of the finish and seem to be all relaxed like he was a few kilometers earlier.
I have ran this route several times in the past and although the sections along Buendia Avenue between Roxas Blvd and Taft Avenue were a bit dark and crowded, the marshals did a fine job in controlling the early traffic as cones were properly deployed along the route.
Over-all the race organization was tops, there were adequate drinking stations, drink-all-you-can Gatorade, courteous marshals and a vibe incomparable with other road races.
An A-1 race!
Thanks to the Running Photographers for some of the photos!
(Check out the race results here): http://www.unilabactivehealth.com/rununited/results.html