Saturday evening was supposed to be a regular rest or chill night for me but that didn’t happen as i was invited to don on non-running gear and pick up my camera to witness and document the first ever NIKE We Run Manila All Women’s 10k Race as part of the media/blogger contingent for NIKE and that presented an opportunity to be a part of everyone else’s excitement!
Whether one was running as an elite to take center stage or a newbie running a 10k for the first time, Race Director Coach Rio Dela Cruz sure knows how to put together a grand event uniting 8,692 strong women to physically and mentally challenge themselves and even inspire us to watch from the sidelines their limitless energies to break the tape at the finish line!
Like all the NIKE races in the past, this all-woman version of the race was very well-organized, notwithstanding the big crowd of runners that took off in 5 wave starts, at 2-minute intervals. The start was so efficient that it caused no congestion even when some runners stopped to take selfies while crossing the starting lines. Coach Rio made sure that all runners were moving in and out of the corrals to give way for the next wave of participants to their starting positions.
It was an eye-opener for me to be a witness to things runners have to go through which i assumed was only normal, being a long-time participant of race events–the excitement, suspense, thrill of waiting at the starting line, i found a new appreciation for what exactly a race represents.
Almost all roads leading to the starting area were closed to the public but we were fortunate enough to be brought near the starting area on a media van. We then alighted and brought to the race village by Nike’s media relations group, EON.
The race village is actually a huge multi-level car park converted to a runners’ haven where you find booth set-ups, freebies claim area, baggage counters, crossfit competition areas and the most awesome part, the roof-top deck where you get the extra freebie shirt if you came among the first 500 runners. Present too was up and coming DJ Jess playing some vibrating pop music, a massage area for the finishers (which i availed to give my aching back and shoulders some rub-down) and a hair saloon for those having bad hair moments after the finish!
Also at the grand parade ground was a huge air-conditioned dome where one could sit down and relax to enjoy the projected images above the ceiling which Nike had set up.
From the starting line, i immediately went back to the finish line to watch the fastest females break the tape as i wanted to see who were the fastest of them in the local running scene. First place finisher was from my Soleus Team, Cris Jaro who clocked in at 39 minutes, not too fast by local standards but one who just a week before finished the Borneo International Marathon in about 3:10 hours, placing in the top 5 amongst women!
It was a vibrant evening just seeing all these runners cue up to take pictures in front of the Nike walls and i was content on taking their pictures too where i saw old and new friends giving them a pat for a job well done.
The biggest take away for them is probably the feeling of accomplishment, specially for the newbie runners who proved that they could finish their first 10k if they commit the time and energy into it! I saw other runners congratulating and hugging each other while some were in tears while crossing the finish line. For them, it didn’t matter what their finish times were and it didn’t matter who came ahead of whom. What mattered was that everyone had shared an experience, whether in pain or in glory and it’s hard to beat the energy of a women’s race!
Many thanks to Elise, Janessa, Therese, Nina and to the rest of the EON PR Team for inviting us to one of the most spectacular all-women events of the year! Thank you Nike!