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 😀