I was looking forward to getting this done, the last of Run United’s trilogy race. This marathon got me thinking whether i would be able to finish it without the internal discomforts that bothered me during training, knowing the ordeal i went through after failing to finish the Milo Marathon a few months ago. Back then, i had suffered from diarrhea and a bad case of acid reflux.
My goal was just to redeem myself, finish the race before the prescribed cut-off time and put all those bad experiences behind me.
WARM UP: Fifteen minutes before the start, we had the usual cursory warm-up exercises but what made this warm-up special was that this was lead by no less than our team mate Gemma, a Doctor by profession who also dabbles as a physical fitness instructor at Gold’s Gym! She had the crowd of about 3,000 runners moving on their feet, dancing on some Zumba beat with our movements suppressed, given the limited space runners had to stretch and swing their legs on!
START: The 3:00am start was right on the dot… 3:00am! We were positioned at the middle, right side and since there were only about 3,000 runners for the 42k, no wave corrals were necessary. The gun goes off and i’m seeing many in blue and white all around me. Always funny to see male runners dashing into the first available walled fence to relieve those over-loaded bladders while getting heckled from the other runners. I even so a female runner pulling down her shorts oblivious of the other male runners around her! Wtf!
I was still worried about my acid reflux and could feel some discomfort while pacing with Betty and Carol so after about 3 kms, i decided to just slow down and keep my pace a little tolerable.
WATER STATIONS: They were pretty abundant and every aspect of it was very satisfactory. Lots of cold water, plenty of extra ice where volunteers would even pour some into your water bottles, abundant sponges which i didn’t feel any need to use since i could pour cups of cold water into my head unlimitedly. Gatorade drinks were also limitless but the taste would vary from station to station as some were blandly mixed while others had the taste just right.
PORTALETS: I saw some that were strategically scattered along the route but there were lines that you have to queue into and that would take precious time. I had already felt some ramblings and queasiness in my tummy and wanted to relieve myself but seeing the long queue prompted me to delay the visit. However, the chance came when i reached the Petron station at the corner of Buendia and Makati Avenues so decided to sprint up the second floor and make a #2. Oh la la!
TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT: I think the marshals, Police and traffic aides did a great job in controlling the intersections although there were points that we really had to be stopped to give way to the motorists for a few seconds and that was fine with me. Bottlenecks were at the Buendia-Dian junction, corner of Roxas Blvd and Buendia, junction of Buendia and Macapagal Highway and the bus crossroad near the coastal highway along Macapagal Avenue.
MEDICAL SUPPORT: They were all over the place! One thing i like about them is their medics carry with them liniment oil which they readily sprayed to whoever needs it. One tip to keep cramps at bay is to have your calves and thighs sprayed with this oil even if you do not feel any cramps coming as yet. I had my legs sprayed twice and for someone who cramps during the end part of the race, i didn’t feel any tightness for the whole duration of the race.
FINISH LINE: Nice touch at this year’s finish when after crossing the finish line, the marathoners are led to a chute that passes beneath the stage as we exit to a supposedly throng of crowds waiting in the open area while they’re watching on the going-ons up stage. Except that there were few people out in the open field (most were under the shade of tents watching from afar).
I think the intended purpose of getting people to cheer you when you come out of this chute was lost as people watching the awarding ceremonies and the pop bands that were playing at the stage didn’t mind who finished the marathon or what. It became a perfect photo-ops session instead, 42k finishers proudly displaying their medals and Philippine flags while photographers from the fantastic Photo-Ops Photographers Team were clicking their cameras non-stop.
OVERALL: A great experience and every aspect of this race was so well organized. Water stations, medics, all-you-can-eat bananas, great race photographers and fantastic runners whom you bump and chat into, sharing thoughts, commiserating each other’s pain, breathing together step by step until the end.
The small Philippine flag given you 400 meters before the finish line is a great booster, at a time when you just want to throw in the towel or just jog to the finish. There was a runner who i assume is from Singapore asking the marshal if he had any Singapore flag to carry instead of the RP flag. Told there was none, she just graciously accepted the Philippine flag and wave it over her shoulders with a broad smile on her face.
Runrio and Run United put together a great event and i’ll look forward in running it again next year! A special mention of thanks to my photographer friends along the route, my team mates at Team 90%, Mommy Vimz Mendoza, Claire Papa, Janice Miguel, Dada Teves, Runrio, Run United, Judith Staples, my product sponsors and my 2 inspirations, Chica and Marlies! 🙂
Results of last Sunday’s race here: http://runrio.com/2013/10/2013-run-united-3-philippine-marathon-results/