Unilab Active Health Introduces Pacers in RU1: Tips for Pacers and Runners

It was great to see “Pacers” finally introduced at the recent Run United 1 where 5k, 10k and 21k runners were guided to finish in their particular projected times.

This “Pacer” activity in running is close to my heart as i was the one who introduced and directed the idea of having pacers during the first 4 iterations of the Quezon City International Marathon from 2009 to 2012.

Joining a pacers’ group will help runners not only achieve their goals, but have FUN, whether the goal is a personal record, or simply to cross the finish line! Pacers are extremely experienced runners, dynamic and personable, chosen based upon their previous running and/or pacing performances and know what it takes to hold a steady pace and give their runners a great running experience. They are dedicated to making sure you have a great time on the course!

Pacers during the 1st QCIM International Marathon

The job of my pacers then were direct and simple. I had “LEAD” Pacers situated at the front of the pack and the “SWEEPER” pacers at the rear. The Lead Pacers are in charge of setting the pace and the Sweeper Pacer are usually tailing the group to offer support and encouragement to any runner who may be dropping off the pace.


The objective of the Pacers is to be able to comfortably run the pace they have volunteered for and to be prepared to offer encouragement and motivate runners in their respective packs with the following in mind:

  • Pacer should be able to lead runners cross the finish line at the same finishing times, achieving their target time goals;
  • Lead the group. Pay attention to the overall group goal, not personal/individual goals;
  • Look out for the welfare of all;
  • Have FUN leading them across the finish line so they remember the race as one great experience.

Important points for the Pacers:

  • Pacing duty is a big responsibility. So pacers must be fit and strong to run and pace a group, should have ran the 42K and 21k many times before, and must have a wealth of running experience to lead and pace a group effectively. Running a marathon or half-marathon is hard enough as it is; to run it at a different pace is even harder. And the challenge of pacing is to maintain consistency.
  • A pacer is a leader, coach, cheerleader, psychiatrist, clown, one who wags his/her tongue non-stop, etc. A good sense of humor will greatly help.
  • Ideal set up: pacer and a back up pacer in the same group.
  • Pacers should maintain an “even split,” which means that every kilometer will be run at approximately the same pace. A pace guide shall be provided to all pacers, and even the runners. Pacers must maintain their designated pace.
  • Pacers should meet with their group before the actual race so that an assessment of the group’s individual and collective capabilities and personalities can be done as soon as possible. That way the race day strategy can be drawn up. Pacers are encouraged to communicate their strategy as soon as possible and as clearly as possible.
  • Hydration and water station strategy must also be drawn up. Walking breaks can be encouraged right after the water stops especially for the slower groups (2:30 and up for the half-marathoners). However the runners must be told that after a walking break, the pace will have to pick up a bit in order to compensate for the walk and so that the time goal can be met. Also pacers should communicate re-grouping instructions.
  • Pacers shall be equipped with clearly identifiable time markers in a flag or balloons.
  • Pacers shall take up corral starting positions arranged with the faster groups in front and the slower groups taking up the rear positions.
  • About ten minutes before the start of the race final instructions shall be issued. This will include any adjustments being made to the pace due to course conditions. This shall also include back up and contingency measures. This is another great opportunity for the pacers to encourage questions from the runners they shall be leading.
  • Try to spot as early as possible those who have a difficult time keeping pace. Encourage them to fall back to the next group if they can’t really keep pace, or walk. Do not risk the safety, health or condition of the runner.

Important Points for the Runner:

  • Meet up with the Pace Groups on race day, look for them at the start, holding up large signs with the pace group finishing times printed on them. Try to meet up with your group twenty minutes before the start.
  • Five or ten minutes before the start, your Pacers will give their “final instructions”. This will include any adjustments being made to the pace due to course conditions, as well as your Pacers’ method of meeting back up and keeping the group together at the fluid stations. This is another great opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have!
  • Fluid station philosophy, regarding whether the Pace Group will walk or run through it, is up to the Pacer(s). Each Pace Group will let their team know their strategy for getting back together after a water stop. Traditionally, the pace groups from 4:00 and slower (42k distance) will be walking during fluid stations. Be sure to check with your Pacer while running or prior to the race if this is extremely important to you.
  • Pacers would want you to run your own race. If you feel great on race day, and you want to go ahead to catch the next team, they’ll cheer you on. If it’s just not your day, slow down and wait for the next Pace Group behind to catch you. And if you want to just fall in and match strides with your Pacer, they sure will appreciate the company!

Congrats and good luck to the Pacers of the forthcoming Run United 2 (who are mostly my friends) who will once again do the pacing chores of this June 7 event. Keep on motivating!

Unilab Active Health introduces “pacers” in Run United 1 to motivate runners to finish faster and stronger

(Press Release)

Maintaining an active lifestyle has always been the advocacy of Unilab Active Health. To elevate Run United’s training component, pacers were introduced in Run United 1 held on March 8 at the Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City.

Unilab Active head Alex Panlilio says pacers provide in-race training to help runners reach their goal time known as “PR” or personal record. Pacers are seasoned runners who provide that extra push, especially when one’s energy dips. They are identified through their shirts, bibs and the colorful balloons they carry as markers.

One of the Run United 1 pacers is race organizer Jaymie Pizarro who finished 21K with a time of 2:11. She says pacers act as team leaders, and she had fun leading her pack.

“I’m used to focusing on my own time goals, but for Run United 1, I’ve paced runners and it was a fulfilling experience. It felt great reaching the finish line together, and it was heart-warming to know that they have reached their PRs.”

Pizarro gives several tips to runners who want to join a pacer:

• Train for pace. Make sure you’ve trained for your target pace and that you can sustain it. If unsure, sign up with a slower pace group and work your way up.
• Practice variety. Run a mix of interval and tempo runs to build your speed, and long runs to build endurance. Practice running at your goal pace without checking your performance in a watch or an app.
• Run with a group. It is easier to sustain the pace running with group; you can draw energy from each other.

5K pacer CJ Lampad of Runadoboking blog has some tips, too:

• Just join. Some runners are too shy. They secretly follow pacers—which is just okay. Always remember that you can stray from the group if you find the pace too fast, or go ahead if you can run faster.
• Expect a steady pace. There won’t be bursts of fast or slow runs; the target is to maintain a pace of say, seven minutes per kilometer, and finish on time.
• Talk to your pacer for guidance.
Coach Mherlz Lumagbas, Run United 21K first-place winner in the women’s division, has these final reminders: “Start slowly and gradually. Focus on training, not mileage, to avoid injuries. Make time for training and take a supplement such as Unilab Active Health Gel during the race for a boost of energy. Join pacers in races, but train regularly.”

Another pacer was Run United organizer coach Rio de la Cruz who paced 5k runners at 25-30 minutes. For 10K, pacers were triathletes: Peter Gonzalez for 50 minutes, Ed Inocentes for 55 minutes, coach Raul Cuevas and Gino Abano for 60 minutes, Odj Reyes and Joseph de Lara for 65 minutes, Vincent Co Say and Ting Joson for 70 minutes.

Marathon finishers paced for 21K. These are TV host Kim Atienza and FrontRunner magazine editor in chief Jonel Mendoza who paced runners for a 1:55 time. Pinoy Fitness website founder Jeff Lo paced for a 2:37 target, while triathletes Vince Corpus and Bobby Go paced runners to finish at 2:27.

Rico Blanco, Moonstar88 To Perform Live At Run United-2

Are you a fan of Moonstar88 band or maybe pop icon Rico Blanco? Well, they’ll be performing to you live during the awarding ceremonies for this Sunday’s Unilab Run United 2 at the Mall of Asia grounds.

I don’t really follow much on these cool guys but i know most of you will bob their heads when their hits will blast on stage! How ’bout some jazz music next time, Unilab? (asa pa!)

See you there!

Moonstar 88

OPM icon and singer-songwriter Rico Blanco will rock the stage this Sunday, June 2, with pop band Moonstar88 at Unilab Active Health’s “Run United 2013”, which will be held at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

Blanco is known as a pop icon in the local entertainment scene and has been, for years, considered as the face of the popular 90s band “Rivermaya.” Moonstar88, on the other hand, immortalized the OPM hits “Torete” and “Sulat.”

Rico Blanco

More than 12,000 have signed up for the second leg of this year’s Run United event.  The run features 500m, 10k, 21k and 32k routes which starts and ends on Seaside Boulevard near Block 16 of the mall’s expansive parking lot.  The 10k loop trails the Diosdado Macapagal Avenue on to Roxas Boulevard and back, while the 21k loop reaches as far as the Luneta Park (also on Roxas Boulevard) and Uniwide Theater/Movie Hall on Diosdado Macapagal Avenue.

The 32k route will take the same path as the 21k’s except that it will also reach the opposite end of Roxas Boulevard where it meets the Manila-Cavite Expressway and the NAIA Road.

Although registration for the race is already closed, non-runners are still welcome to participate in exciting and fun-filled health events at the Unilab Active Health Village Areas, which will be situated a few meters from the finish line. The Health Village is divided into five zones namely the Ceelin Playground (for kids); Health, Sports and Leisure zone; UST Physical Therapy zone; Active Health zone and Sports Nutrition zone.

The Ceelin Playground zone includes a giant inflatable playground, a kiddie salon, and henna tattoo, face painting and photo booths.  The other zones offer health lectures, running tips, physical exercises, and an ice pool, among others.

Additionally, three conveniently located areas are designated for the Active Health Apparel shop, Food Pavilion and iConnect booth, which is a social media photo booth where pictures of participants are uploaded in real-time to Unilab Active Health’s Facebook fan page.

Run United is an annual running event sponsored by the pharmaceutical giant United Laboratories (Unilab) through Active Health, its advocacy for the Filipino’s health and wellness, in partnership with RunRio, Inc., a race organization company founded by running coach Rio Dela Cruz.

More than 10,000 runners participated in the first leg of the 2013 Run United, which was held on March 17 also at the SM Mall of Asia.  The final leg of this year’s Run United trilogy will be held on October 6.  For more information, check out Unilab Active Health’s website at http://www.unilabactivehealth.com.

Apart from Run United, Unilab Active Health also sponsors the annual Tri United (a triathlon event) which is organized by Bikeking### (Press Release)

2013 Run United 2 Now Set!


All those aiming to run the seldom held 32k distance, now is your chance to conquer this event at the leg 2 of the Run United 2013 which is going to be held at the Mall of Asia on June 2, 2013.

More than 4,000 are expected to run in this distance alone and if your training has gone well after running the Half last month at Run United-1, expect this to be another feather to your cap and aim for the RU Philippine Marathon (42k) this October.

I was able to attend the launching of this race yesterday at the Chocolate Kiss Cafe inside the UP Campus and here in brief are the details of the race:

Presenter – Unilab Active Health

Organizer – RunRio Inc.

Beneficiaries – Gawad Kalinga and Children’s Hour

2013 Run United 2 will be held on June 2, 2013 with Ceelin 500m dash, 10k, 21k and 32k race categories. All categories will start and finish at the SM Mall of Asia.


Online Registration: April 1 to May 12, 2013

In-Store Registration: April 15 to May 19, 2013

Priority Registration for Run United 1 21k Runners: April 10 – 14, 2013 (only at Riovana BGC)


  • BGC –28th Street corner 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City –Monday to Sunday from 12nn to 8pm
  • KATIPUNAN – 3rd Floor Regis Center, Katipunan, QC (infront of ADMU) – Monday to Sunday from 12nn to 8pm


  • SM Mall of Asia – Monday to Sunday, 12PM to 8PM
  • SM North – The Block – Monday to Sunday, 12PM to 8PM





Singlet Design

21k Finishers Shirt Design

32k Finishers Shirt Design

Coach Rio discussing the event at yesterday’s launch


  • Registration is on a first come, first serve basis, and may end earlier than the announced deadline. Race kits may run out before May 19, 2013.
  • Singlet size availability will be on a first come first serve basis.
  • Singlet and finishers shirt samples will be available for fitting at the registration centers.
  • A timing device (d-tag) will be used by all participants during the race.
  • D-tag will be presented when claiming the finishers’ kits – no d-tag, no kit.

Here’s a promo offered by Riovana Store. If you buy specific products from their BCG or Katipunan branches worth P5,500.00, you get a free registration entry for this race at whatever distance you choose. Check out the poster for details.

Run For Free Promo



For In-Store Registration Inquiries:

  • Globe – 0927 347 7700
  • Smart – 0929 7178164
  • Landline – (632) 887 6194

A Sneak Peek Of The Run United2 Race Expo

Like a lost Bedouin tent in the middle of Bonifacio Global City, this is what the race expo looks like from the outside. Note that the expo area is only half-occupied. More tents will be installed in the coming days.

Early yesterday afternoon, i was able to claim my Run United2 race packet which  just took all of 2 minutes in a very orderly fashion, thanks to the Runrio staff. I was with a few other runners trying to take advantage of the early afternoon lull, avoiding the rush i’m sure will deluge the venue later in the evening and the succeeding days prior to Sunday’s race event.

After that brisk time in the counters, i was led by a lady to check-out the race expo area which was still being continuously spruced-up. The expo area is only about 50% complete and the setting up of tents were still being completed. So i went inside to check out the booths. My first time at a fairly large running expo opened up one thing. You can find many gears not commonly found in our local running stores.

I’m talking about different designs of compression gears, tri-suits, bike helmets, with shoes for half the price and some free pass to a well-known fitness club.

Here’s what the expo looks like:

No big crowd yet

Getting ready for the action! The Runrio staff were well and ready for the deluge of runners expected to claim their race kits later.The race kits were pre-arranged in their corresponding boxes

My Race Packet

Entering the expo area

An over-load of 2XU gear

Many shoes were on sale

One of the exhibitors

Many triathlon gears were on sale

New Balance had its own sale

Part of the NB gear

There were great bargains like this Avia Trail shoe which had been marked-down to P2,500.00! Will somebody be my fairy god-mother?

Yurbuds, Oakleys, Timex, etc…

More about the expo here: http://www.unilabactivehealth.com/rununited/raceinfo_raceexpo.html

My race kit consisted of my bib no., a belt bag, my timing chip and the RU2 singlet which i’ll be wearing  on Sunday. I wonder what the weather will be on race day as there’s a storm that has just entered the country. For sure, it’s going to be all wet and wild this Sunday.

From the Run United1 Race

Per conversation with Coach Rio dela Cruz, Race Director whom i got to talked with last week, their target of 5,000 runners for the 21k category have all been filled up, even exceeding the 4,000 21k runners they had last Run United1.

The Run United 2 Race Expo will only be up to June 16. The expo grounds is situated along Block 51, 9th Ave. corner 26th Street, BGC, Taguig City. Claimants should bring their registration receipt or confirmation email when claiming their race kits.

For more inquiries on Run United and Active Health, check out these websites:www.unilabactivehealth.com and www.runrio.com as well as their respective fan pages on Facebook and Twitter. Race results will be available within three days after the race.

See you at the race!

2012 Run United 2 and Race Expo To Open in June!

Coach Rio announcing the opening of registration for the Run United 2 Race and the Run United Race Expo

Registration for the second leg of the Run United Trilogy Races or the Run United-2 is now ongoing! To add to the excitement of this race, there will be a Run United Race Expo happening prior to the race on June 13-16, 2012 at the BGC Grounds near Mercato.

All types of running gears will be sold in this expo and the claiming of race packets will also be held here. Hope to see you all there soon!







RU2 MAP_21k Route-2 (as of Apr 30)

RU2 MAP_10k Route

2012 Run United 2 and Race Expo Slated in June

In Unilab ActiveHealth’s continuing efforts to promote an active and healthy lifestyle among families, 2012 Run United will have its second leg on June 17, 2012 at SM Mall of Asia.

Kids from age 5 to 12 years old can join the Ceelin 500-meter dash to jumpstart their journey to fitness. Moms, dads and older siblings can choose from the different race categories like 3km, 5km, 10km, and 21km.

Registered participants of 500-meter dash, 3km, 5km, and 10km will receive their singlet upon registration. The ActiveHealth race belt bag, bib with timing chip, and Riovana 10% discount stub can be claimed during the 1st ever Run United race expo scheduled on June 13-16, 2012 at BGC Grounds Riovana from 2pm to 8pm on June 13 and 10am to 8pm on June 14-16.

The participants of the 21k category will have a different singlet color design which makes the runners extra special, aside from the freebies that they will get during the race expo in BGC and the 2nd piece of the collectible medal and finisher shirt. A personalized RunRio Timing Card will be exclusively given to them they just need to present their old IPICO timing chip during the registration to get the replacement.

21km runners will also get to enjoy running the Bonifacio Global City to Mall of Asia race route, giving them a chance to improve their PR for Run United 1. Shuttle service will be provided from MOA as pick-up point for 21km runners.

“ActiveHealth delivers Unilab’s vision of providing active health solutions for Filipino families,” UnilabActiveHealth Head Alex Panlilio said. “We encourage families to start or continue leading active lives through our events like Run United.

ActiveHealth Sport Events Executive Lester Castillo said, “As we have always done in the past, we continuously improve Run United series to give runners a better experience and encourage them to keep running. Through our partnership with Coach Rio dela Cruz, Run United has become one, if not the best, running event in the country.”

As a testament to the level of commitment that ActiveHealth brings to the runners, it has brought in the Team Bike Boutique, the official merchandise partner of Ironman races worldwide, to organize the Run United Race Expo happening on June 13-16, 2012 at the BGC Grounds near Mercato.

The race expo completes the active health experience by gathering runners, sports enthusiasts and their families in this four-day event. Runners can hang out with their friends while checking out the coolest and latest sports apparel. Fitness and athletic brands also present their latest products and services, including gadgets, running gear, among others.

Coach Rio dela Cruz said the race expo brings Run United to a whole new level. “Major international marathons like the ING New York Marathon and Chicago Marathon hold their own expos days before the event. Together with UNILAB Active Health, we look at some of the best practices from international races, and apply them to the Run United Series to further enhance the race experience of the Filipino running community.”

Registration for 2012 Run United 2 is ongoing at the following stores

  • Riovana at Bonifacio Global City and Katipunan, Quezon City
  • Toby’s at SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City and SM North The Block, Quezon City

For online registration, check details at www.unilabactivehealth.com or www.runrio.com. Registration is until June 3, 2012 on a first come first serve basis.

Bloggers and media at the race launching

2012 Run United 2 is for the benefit of GawadKalinga and Children’s Hour. For more inquiries, check out www.unilabactivehealth.com and www.facebook.com/unilabactivehealth.

RU2: As Far As The Eyes Can See

Yesterday morning, I was one of the runners who invaded the streets of Fort Bonifacio in Taguig and if running in the middle pack with 16,000 other runners either in front or behind you doesn’t carry you like a rushing wave of flood waters in a swelling river, then you might have just been a stunned spectator, amazed at the sheer volume of runners passing by you, non-stop.

The Unilab Run-United 2 race was indeed crowded but it moved along just fine. No jostling but it was sure noisy like one big party! It was one long, continuous line that probably stretched as far back as 3 kms, if you include the 2nd wave of 10k and the whole 5k runners which were running the same route during the first few kms (i’m just guessing here as I couldn’t see any diminishing tail-end).

Runner Invasion: Both lanes crowded somewhere here at the 5th km

Today’s experience was mixed. I went out with the first wave of 10k runners feeling great at 6:30 pace till about kilometer 7 when I took my first walk break and at about the U-turn on 5th Ave, I was feeling the signs of soreness in my heels and had to slow down a bit. I remember bringing some sports jelly beans stashed in my waist pack, took some with the Powerade at the last hydration station and it was an even cruise till the finish.

I’m sort of getting my groove back, maintaining a 7:00 min average pace even overtaking some struggling runners during the last kilometer. I wish the finish line area could be cleared of runners as crowds gathered just a few meters after the finish that makes it difficult to weave outside of the area.

Over-all, it was a great race and well organized although runners would surely welcome a different route next time as Runrio races have been using the same routes on their past races.

After the finish: Runners finding their way through the claim booth area

A tinge of green in a sea of blue

With the new father: Mark had to rush home after the race and bring his wife to the hospital for the scheduled delivery of their first baby. 24 hrs later, Mark is the the proud father of twins! Way to go, Mark!

Next Sunday, I’ll be running my first half-marathon distance for this year, the 2nd Avenue Earth Run. Yes, you read it right, my first for this year! Last year (2010) was a busy year for me, having finished 4 full marathons and about a dozen half-mary’s before Plantaar Fasciitis reigned in during the first half of this year.

I’m sort of edgy just thinking about it although I know I’ll be able to tackle the distance but still hoping that I don’t struggle too much and the pain on my heels doesn’t get ugly at the end. Betty, one of my running buddies will be pacing with me. She’s fast and furious so i hope she can control herself and doesn’t get away too far!

See you Sunday!

Unilab Run United 2: August 21, 2011

I was planning to be done with my chores for the night when i suddenly remembered about an August 21 date, well, aside from Ninoy Aquino’s death anniversary, a race i had previously registered already and forgot about amidst all the weekend schedule of fun runs and races.

The Unilab Run United 2, Runrio Leg 2 Series is slated to be one of the biggest race for the 3rd quarter of this year and i anticipate a mammoth crowd of runners at the starting line come race day at The Fort.

This race will be using the RE-USABLE Timing Chip that tracks your moves and performance, auto-feed status updated to your Facebook account as you pass the finish line and allow you to get race pictures and analysis of your performance during the run.

This timing chip can be re-used for the Unilab Run United 3 Race and for future Runrio events.

I’m so looking forward to running this race and here’s hoping the skies will open up with some light sunshine. Rains not allowed here this time!

Check out the poster above that contains all the info for this month’s premier race.