The Manila Half Marathon Challenge: Back of the Pack

This run was supposed to be held last June 22, 2008 as part of the activities in celebration of Manila Day. However, due to the arrival of typhoon Frank, the run was postponed and re-scheduled for today.

I woke up early this morning, did my pre-run preparations, packed my bag and left for the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta. As I was approaching the area, I was beginning to worry whether I had missed an announcement that the race was again postponed. From afar, the area didn’t have any lights, and it was really quiet. When I arrived, I was relieved to see a start banner, and runners who were already starting to warm-up. The race would push through!

(the start line)

After getting my bib number and depositing my bag, I did a warm-up jog around the start area. It was here that I got to see many familiar faces. I got to meet Ibanrunner (the Malaysian soccer player-turned-runner), Pat Concepcion (RunningShield), Don and Doknoy of Happy Feet, and DATC.

My goal for this run was to start out from the back of the pack, run at a consistent pace, and see where I’d eventually end up in the rankings. I wasn’t positioned that far from the start though since about only 200 runners probably joined the 21 km run. Many of the other runners were probably in UP Diliman also preparing for the start of their own run there. (Another run was scheduled for today at UP Diliman entitled Tik-Takbo)

(back of the pack)

The course used some of the major roads of the City of Manila. It was a mostly flat course, with a few flyovers (I counted 3) providing the inclines. For the race, I had an average pace of 5:31 min/km. I started out at this pace, maintaining it for around 12 km. I was able to run and chat with ibanrunner for a few kilometers at this point. I was able to pick it up to ~5:15 min/km for the next few kilometers, but I eventually slowed down to 5:45 min/km at the latter portions due to fatigue, and the sun was already brightly shining at this point. I did sprint it a little at the finish giving my muscles a nice jolt!

I finished with an unofficial time of 1:47:11. It would have been a very good time for me for a half, except that when I checked the distance, my garmin measured it to be only 19.4 km, the run was short by 1.6 km! (Runningshield’s measured it at 19.36). Adjusting my time if the race were 21 km, and assuming that I would be able to maintain my average pace, I would have had a finishing time of 1:55:51. Still under 2 hours so I would have been happy with that time.

At the finish, I was able to see RunMD, who was sporting his brand new GF 305, and Joms , also a Happy Feet member. I got to have a nice chat with MarkFB, Charlie, Baldrunner, who gave away stickers of his web address (many thanks!), Pat Concepion, Ibanrunner, and DATC.

What’s nice about the race:

1. there were a lot of water stations

  • it seemed that everytime I was beginning to get thirsty, there would be a water station looming at the horizon! The people manning the stations were also very jovial and were at times providing words of encouragement to the runners 😀

2. there were a lot of marshals

  • the advantage of this race being a Manila City sponsored event was that they were able to tap the Manila Police District as marshals for the race. They were at every intersection directing traffic, and providing directions for the runners. The city was able to close some of the roads to traffic, while able to minimize them in the others. This provided enough safety for the runners even though we were plying through some of the busy streets of Manila. (Of course, this being an early Sunday morning probably helped lessen traffic since people aren’t out yet at this time). Also, less cars = less exhaust 😀

What needs improvement

1. proper race distance!

  • common problem for many races in Manila. However, this race was short by 1.6 km!

2. the timer was not prominent at the finish

Congratulations to the organizers, MASCO (Manila Sports Commission), and to the City of Manila for a very well organized race. Hopefully, this will become a permanent activity for future Manila Day celebrations. In addition, I’m hoping other cities, not just in Manila but all over the country, will follow suit 😀


21 thoughts on “The Manila Half Marathon Challenge: Back of the Pack

  1. Hi Loony, nice talking to you yesterday. I got a 19.4km distance reading too. I measured the planned course on google earth and I got 21km. I noticed 2 deviations though when we ran the actual course:
    – from Vito Cruz, we turned left to Mabini, between Harrison Plaza and BSP, instead of turning left at Taft towards Quirino
    – at the Pandacan flyover going to Sta. Mesa, we made the u-turn in the middle, not the end of the flyover. I think this resulted in the biggest discrepancy.

    Overall, pretty well organized race, lots of water and marshals in all of the intersections (and there were a lot of intersections to cross!). I thought it was just me, but I felt pretty warm too in the last few kilometers, causing me to start fatiguing and walking some parts of the course. See you at the races!

  2. COngratulations for the Half! 🙂 Love the post, it surely is something worth learning from c”, One day, someday I’ll be able to do this too *winks*

    see you, la salle run?

  3. hi joe. the 21K race should have started at 5:30 am. I wasn’t late (I arrived at 5:25), they started earlier. I wanted to still run for the 21K but the runnners were nowhere in sight already when I arrived at the starting line.

  4. Hi Joe. Congratulations on the run. Whenever I’ve found courses to be quite short or quite long, I do what you and Patrick Concepcion do and that’s adjust. BR mentioned the same thing in his blog that it was short. It appears that it was well enough organized with enough water stations, road marshalls and road closures so the runners can be safe!

    I agree. Hopefully, other cities will follow suit and have runs on the anniversary of their city.

    Also great photos at that hour. I need to do it more with my runs / races. Also, saw the photos on BRs site and now can place the name with the face. Certainly, it didn’t hurt with the low mileage week you had.

    Anyway, take care, and as always have a good week!

  5. Ayan… I saw you at the race yesterday but I couldn’t figure out from which blog yet. There was a timer at the right side of the finish line but I saw it later while taking pics at the finish line. It wasnt that visible. I didnt see it myself when I finished.

  6. No wonder why my time was a bit fast than expected. If it were really a 21km then I would be past my target time. Great finish time and congrats.

  7. hi!

    DATC… nice talking to you to yesterday. Thanks for the info, those may have been the reasons why the race was short. I was actually surprised at the Sta. Mesa turn-around point since it was in the middle of the road and not at an intersection…

    Aside from the heat at the end, I think we still haven’t fully recovered yet from last week’s Mizuno run, thus affecting our run yesterday… still, it was a run I wouldn’t have wanted to be postponed again 😀 See you at the races!

    chefsy… thanks! About a year ago, I could barely finish running a kilometer! Now I’m running half marathons! I’m sure with more training, you’ll be running a half-marathon too 😀 hope to see you on Sunday!

    runMD… sayang! Sana humabol ka pa din… well, like BR said, at least you still ran the 10 k when other people would probably just have packed up and left… though I’m sure that wasn’t an option for you… gumising ka na ng maaga e hehehe 😀

    wayne… thanks! yup, the race was short… and thanks to DATC, we now know why 🙂 I’ll probably be having another low mileage week this upcoming week. Need to re-energize for a 10-miler this coming Sunday… have a nice week too!

    jinoe… yeah, there was indeed a timer. I just didn’t see it… wups 😀 You should have gone to baldrunner’s booth, some of the runner-bloggers were there chatting and having photo-op sessions 😀 See you at the next races!

    taki… see you on Sunday. Sana makahabol kami sa you 😀

  8. hey loonyrunner, nice meeting and running with you. I told High Altituted yesterday during our speed run that I found a runner with almost the same pace. Eventhough you are slightly faster but if I train smarter enough, I could have run with you all the way. Too bad, its to humid for me. THe humidity in Manila just drown me…

    Now, I have to change my time of training from morning to afternoon (3:30pm) if I want to experience the same amount of heat in Manila. In Tagaytay, the mornings are much cooler and more fresh air. THe heat will only comes around 9am. Where as in Manila, by 6am-6:30am its already humid.

    by the way, if you have free time one of these sundays. Come over and run with us (High Altitude & friends). The Taal lake is the best place to do speed training.

    see you in the next race- all the best

  9. Hi loonyrunner! Congrats for finishing the race! My polar registered 20.6km naman. Ang labo pala…iba-iba yung distance. I enjoyed it though, one of a kind experience umikot ng manila.

    Wow 1.47 ka pala! Super duper galing! Wawa pala yung time ko of 2:24 but I’m still happy I finished it. Perstaymer sa 21k 🙂

  10. hello!

    ibanrunner… That’s probably why I was a bit faster than you, I’m more acclimatized to the humidity of Manila than you… thanks for the invite! 😀

    runpinayrun… thanks! Have you calibrated your polar recently? hey, a 2:24 for a half is a good time, especially for a first-timer. I’m sure you’ll improve further in the next races… congrats! 😀

  11. Hi Guys,

    Thank you for your comments. The route was re directed on the race itself along Vito Cruz. Our Lead car took the initiative in turning the other way due to some traffic problem. We were just informed right after the lead runner crosses the finish line… our apologies.



  12. thanks bards! well, though the distance was short… i think my legs are a little bit thankful that it was hehehe 😀

    gay… its ok. Congratulations on a very well organized race. Hopefully this becomes a regular annual run! thanks!

  13. hi runpinayrun… is your polar gps based? If it is, then no need to do any calibrating. But if its foot pod based, you need to calibrate it so it can be personalized to the way you run, so the distance it measures would be more accurate 😀

  14. hi to all runners who joined us in The 2008 Manila Half Marathon Challenge. CONGRATULATIONS! Thank you for your commnents guys, surely all of these will be taken. as an organizer of this event, we always want to make this perfect for all YOU! see you on our next years marathon. GOD bless us all!

  15. hello!

    patrick… Congratulations on your run too! It was nice meeting you at the race. Hmmm if your not running the SFO marathon, will you be running in Milo instead?

    kenneth… thanks! Congratulations to you too! Looking forward for the upcoming races. Keep up the good work! 😀

  16. hi loony, thank you. hopefully i can organize more marathon event like Manila Half Marathon Challenge. im glad that majority of the runners are very suportive like you. hope i can meet you guys personaly. anyway, i registered at lasalle race tomorow, hope i can finish my run though its 3k only. thanks guys.

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