My Run United Philippine Marathon Experience

Finally, it was great to complete the UNILAB Run United series with an emphatic exclamation point added to its final running event of the year, the 1st Run United Philippine Marathon (RUPM) which i finished last Sunday and what a race!.  This was only my second longest race of the year, the first being the Tagaytay To Nasugbu (T2N) 50k ultra-marathon done last May and lots of shorter races in between.

Run United’s inaugural marathon was supposed to come out with a bang; red carpet finish line, marching bands, Philippine miniature flags which were handed out a few meters from the finish, cowbells ringing to greet you at the home stretch and they sure delivered!

Just before the race

Before last Sunday’s marathon, never was i so pessimistic about this race knowing that i was going to do it “under-trained” which you might think is better than over-trained but the sloppy training schedule was really pathetic: 2-3 days a week, comprising two short runs of 8-12kms and my farthest week-end run of only 25kms with no cross-training in between. So, how would you survive a marathon with such inconsistent training? I was just lucky to have survived it, i guess.

With friend Jackie

Still, i was satisfied of my results despite the much slower finish time compared to my last marathon this past December at the Quezon City International Marathon.

Here are some highlights of the race:


The early morning began when good friend Jun Santiago and i arrived at the MOA at about 1:45am and immediately boarded one of the many shuttle buses that would take us for the 20 minute ride to Bonifacio Global City start line. This was our usual itinerary during the Run United run series when races start at the BGC and ends up at MOA.


What’s significant about this race is this is Jun’s debut marathon and he’ll be finally doing it after years of prodding him to run one. I know he was shit scared but wouldn’t admit it and his aim was just to finish, regardless of time. I was confident that he could do it, though.


Part of the RUPM route was C-5 Road, the main thoroughfare in Taguig and this was going to be the first time that runners will be running on this highway in a race. We exited at the back of Market-Market and traffic was building up that early as we merged with vehicles occupying just a lane to 3 lanes for the runners. True to what race director Coach Rio has told us prior to the race, police and marshals were seen deployed along the route and the highway was mostly well-lit.

I was somewhat distracted by the blaring of sound systems, videoke bars and the shouts of youths that were either cheering or jeering us until we reached the somewhat solemn area of the Heritage Park, another route which we hadn’t use in a race for a while.


It was very unusual of a Run Rio organized race to run out of water on their hydration stations and more unusual to see nothing being replenished when i ran passed the whole stretch of Buendia Avenue. The tables were empty on the 5 hydration stations starting from the station fronting Jolibee, just before climbing up Kalayaan Overpass and it was like a desert afterwards. Good thing that i brought my hydration belt with a bottle of Gatorade that sustained me all along Buendia Ave.

Mini-Stop and 7-Eleven convenience stores must have had a field day as dozens of runners rushed to their doors and buy bottled water and brought them along for the rest of the run. I think the stations ran out of supplies because of the deluge of the 21k runners who were first to reach Buendia Avenue.


The last 15k running this stretch was a bit of chaos as thousands of runners, bikers, rowers, walkers and Sunday strollers converged and made this stretch really crowded. And it was on this stretch that i did my run-walk routine just to have something in reserve at the end of the race. I saw my team mates Chito, Tonet and Sylvia, all encouraging each other while also noticing the strain on their faces. We were all hurting but we were moving forward.

The heat was beginning to set on us specially during the last 5 kilometers. I had to pour a lot of water on my head at all water stops thereafter and it did greatly to dissipate the heat.

Pouring myself some water along Roxas Blvd

Walking towards the last kilometer, i saw Tin Ferrera who took the time to pace me and pour some of her water on my head. This gave me some sort of a second-wind to sustain a run-jog pace where we were able to over-take a lot of runners. As soon as we reached the last 150 meters, Tin left as i continued to make that one final push.

With Ultra-runner Tin Ferrera

Thanks to Tin for the company!

The mood towards the finish was not only festive, it was also very heart-warming as i had goosebumps when running host-emcee Boy Ramos, his baritone voice booming, acknowledged my arrival and that really psyched me up to sprint the last 150 meters past the large cheering crowd as i crossed the finish line!

42k done in 5:51, a not too proud achievement but satisfied enough to be able to make it despite the sloppy training.

I was waiting for Jun and was a bit worried when i never saw him during the race. Elated when he called me up that he was done and finished in 7:09, his first marathon! Congrats, pre! Fotah…

Jun and i with the extra large 42k medal and finisher’s shirt!

RUPM was a great experience and i would definitely run this one again next year!

Thanks to the Running Photographers for some of the pictures used.

You can check out the race results here:

RUPM: A Look At The Medal and Finisher’s Shirt

This should be one of the biggest, if not the pinaka biggest finishers medal runners of the 21k and 42k distances would received when they cross the finish line of the Run United Philippine Marathon this coming Sunday, October 28, 2012!

The medal is humongous, like a large saucer where a cup of rice, your favorite chicken-pork adobo and a dessert can easily fit in! The medal was shown to us earlier this evening during the RUPM Bloggers Conference held at Annabel’s Restaurant along Tomas Morato in Quezon City.

The bloggers meet was organized by Run United themselves in order for them to share the highlights and the unique features of this Sunday’s event and to hear questions and suggestions on how to better improve on the race.

Among the highlights:

  • 42k runners will be given the red carpet treatment, which means that they will be walking on a long, red carpet once they enter the starting chute and another upon crossing the finish line.
  • about 200 meters before the finish, they will be handed out miniature Philippine flags to wave and foster a sense of nationalism in this Filipino- themed race
  • tents will be set-up at the finish line area for the families of the 42k runners so they could cheer them up while nearing the finish line
  • a plethora of cowbells will be ringing to signify the crossing of a 42k runner at the finish line (ala PAU-Bald Runner Ultra race finish)
  • the medal saucer will be awarded to both the half and full-marathon finishers, as mentioned
  • a Finisher’s shirt plus another “Loyalty” shirt for those who have completed Legs 1-3 plus the RUPM (hope i got this right).

The RUPM finisher’s shirt

Another look at the medal

Also, there will be an awarding ceremony for those who have finished the 21k-21k-32k-42k Run United Series of races which will be announced on a later date.

Here’s a quick preview supplied to us by Run United for the October 28 event:

Run United Goes the 42Km Distance

There are marathons, then there’s the Run United Philippine Marathon (RUPM). Everyone is excited to participate in newest addition to the country’s running calendar that will go on a debut run on October 28.

Finally, one of the most-popular running series, Run United is going for a full marathon, as it added 42km to its race categories. And the running community is giving the new ‘mary’ in town its full support.

Unilab Active Health (ULAH) and partner race organizer, Runrio, are certainly pulling out all stops to make the first ever RUPM running success.

“The runners clamored for a marathon from us and we also believe that Run United enthusiasts are up to the challenge of finishing a marathon already, so it’s all systems go for Run United Philippine Marathon,” said Alex Panlilio, head of ULAH.

RUPM, besides being the first marathon jointly organized by ULAH & RunRio, is set to create milestones for participants.

Runners will surely get a memorable start and finish at Run United Philippine Marathon–complete with red carpet, marching bands, exclusive finish arc, colorful balloons, video/photo shots, and the other surprises.

“We want to make sure that participants will not only remember how well organized our events are, we want their participation in our events memorable too by providing them the best race experience possible,” said Panlilio

According to Panlilio, “We cater to all types of runners, including progressive and elite runners. RUPM is our way of helping them level up to more challenging distances.”

RUPM will also be high on nationalistic touches to celebrate Filipino sportsmanship. Philippine miniature flags will be given to all participants crossing the finish line. The design of the limited edition race singlet also depicts Filipino pride.

There will be separate categories for Filipino and foreign winners, to give credit or recognition to more runners.

The Unilab Active Health Village will also be part of the Run United Philippine Marathon experience. It will be classified in four categories: Active Kids Zone, Health, Sports, & Leisure, Runners’ Lounge and iConnect.

RUPM will also feature short and medium distance categories— the Ceelin 500m dash, Hydrite 3k, Dolfenal 5k, Enervon HP Recovery 10k, Alaxan FR 21k with the highlight, Enervon Activ 42k.

All categories except for 42k and 21k will have start and finishline at the SM Mall of Asia while 42k and 21k will start at Bonifacio Global City and finish at SM Mall of Asia.

42K runners will get to run in three cities: Taguig, Makati and Pasay

Online registration is already closed.

In-store registration is until October 26, 2012 at the following outlets:

– RIOVANA BGC – 28th St. cor. 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

– RIOVANA Katipunan – 3rd floor Regis Bldg. Katipunan, Quezon City.

– TOBY’S SM Mall of Asia – Ground Floor Entertainment Hall

– TOBY’S Trinoma

Registration fees are as follows:

500m – P350

3K – P600

5K – P700

10K – P800

21K – P900

42K – P1,300

The race kit will contain the following: limited edition RUPM singlet, bib number, and wrist tags for 500m dash participants and will be available upon registration.

RUPM is part of the ULAH running series. Run United started with only 6,000 runners when it was launched in March 2010 and the numbers have steadily grown in succeeding events. An estimated 12,000 runners participated during its previous race—at Run United 3.

Run United 1 on March 4 started off this year’s RunRio Trilogy, followed by Run United 2 on June 17. Besides the run races, Unilab Active Health also has a triathlon series, the third leg, Tri United 3, will be held on November 11 at Ayala, Alabang.

The mechanics as discussed by Unilab’s Mr. Lester Castillo

Race organizer Coach Rio answers some of the media’s questions

For further information or inquiries on race details, results, photos and discussions, please visit the following websites: or ### (Press Release)