My QCIM 2014 Night Run Experience

I’ve ran on all QCIM races since their inaugural race last 2009, three of them the full marathon and the other 2 running the half, including this one i did last Sunday, November 30. It was dubbed the QCIM Night Run Half-Marathon and sponsored as usual by the Quezon City government.

The race start at the Quezon City Memorial Circle is just up my alley, a short 2.5 km jog away from my doorsteps which i have looked forward to running every year. It was staged successively from 2009 to 2012, took a hiatus last year when organizers couldn’t find a major sponsor to support it but has now been revived this year with the help of the QC government.

The stage fronting Commonwealth Avenue

In all its stagings, this event isn’t without some serious logistical issues as the main concern is always the road re-blocking and detours bringing traffic to a stand still along Commonwealth and Quezon Avenues and gets the ire of motorists and commuters alike.

As having been part of the organizing committee that staged this race during the first 4 years, it is indeed incredibly hard to organize a race at these busy thoroughfares so I definitely understood the complexity of it all. However, if you go into knowing what to expect and ignore the boos and the catcalls you might sometimes hear from commuters even in a race held late into the night, you will have a good time and a great experience as well.

At the starting line

With all the negative feedback this race has been getting because of the chaos it has caused commuters, i still come back to run this race and the reason why this is still a “to-do” race is because it’s not everyday that you get to run along the “killer highway” of Commonwealth and along the bar-club row of Quezon Avenue. I think all the clutter of this race has become a normal occurrence to those who have ran QCIM before; cursing, hollering and shouting matches between marshals and motorists–been there, heard those, seen that!

Here’s what i felt great and the not so great about this race:

GREAT:

  • Location of the starting line. It was at the sheer end of the Quezon monument, facing the entrance to Commonwealth Avenue. Nice stage with music blaring while runners were waiting for the start.
  • Runners had two full lanes of Commonwealth and Quezon Avenues, wide enough for us to avoid the smoke belchers.
  • The ever present marshals on choke points who guided the runners along the route.
  • Kilometer markers were evident along the course.
  • Ambulances and medical aides were on strategic areas.
  • Nice finishers medals and tech-shirts.

NOT SO GREAT:

  • Gun time started late! A program was held at the time the race should have started. The speeches of the city officials and the endless babbling of the hosts should have started an hour earlier before race start. And where is the Running Host, Boy Ramos when you need him? He would have kept us entertained during those dull moments while waiting for the start!
  • Lack of paper cups! Shortage was evident as early as the first turn-around along Commonwealth Avenue and on some water stations along Quezon Avenue.

The race started at about 9pm when runners have to do one loop of the elliptical circle which is about 1.8kms in diameter before we headed up to Commonwealth Avenue. At the 2 kilometer mark, i was joined by trail running friend, Ashley Dimanlig and we strode side by side along this stretch.

Pacing with Ashley

Seems that Ash had some issues with her calf muscles which cramped as early as the 5th km. She later revealed that she was skipping ropes the week prior to this race as part of her cross-training which evidently showed why her calf and achilles tendons were still sore and tender. Bad move, Ash!

So to alleviate the cramps, we had to slow down on occasions, walk or stop on the side road to let her stretch the muscles which provided temporary relief for her. Sometimes, i would physically knead my knuckles into her calf hoping to alleviate the pain. This went on several times, run-walk-run or run-stop-stretch-walk then run again. There was no pressure though as we were just having a good time savoring the experience of running the long stretch of Commonwealth Avenue.

At the Tandang Sora flyover

Approaching the 10 km mark when we were about to turn right going towards Quezon Avenue, Ashley must have sensed the futility of it all and urged me to just go ahead so she can rest a bit. I asked if she was going to be ok and insisted that she will. So i continued my run, alone, and try to catch up with the tail-enders.

Fishers Mall at night along Quezon Avenue

Starting from the 10th km., i was running on pure adrenaline. I picked up the pace considerably. But then, i was a bit sad leaving Ashley behind, i also felt a little tensed and pressured but after reeling-in some of the tail-enders and overtaking more of them at the 16th km turn-around, i felt much better.

Finished the race in a still decent time despite our stop-and-go first half.

Finishers’ shirt and medal

For those who have not ran Commonwealth and Quezon Avenues, QCIM may be the race to run at least once, with no expectations of a perfect race. There’s nothing like running these major thoroughfares at night, so make the most of it and enjoy for what they offer.

Click this link for the race results: http://myrunti.me/#/race/QCIM2014

 

 

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