I was planning to run the 21 k route for this race, but when I registered a few weeks ago, all they had left were 10 k bibs, so I had to settle signing up for this shorter distance. Days prior to the run, I was debating with myself whether to run the 10k or bandit the 21k. I decided to run the 21k after seeing a copy of the 21k run route. The route would traverse a longer portion of Buendia and since this has been part of what I’ve been running the past few weeks, I had wanted to try running it sans the traffic.
I woke up early, dressed up, packed my camelbak and ran to the Fort via Roxas Boulevard-Buendia, arriving just in time for the singing of the national anthem. When I went to the starting blocks, I saw that the areas for the different distances were separated from each other. Since the 21 k runners were starting first, they were positioned in the front. The area was cordoned off by steel barricades and there was only a small opening in the side. The entrance was “guarded” by marshals who were checking in runners as they entered the starting block. I knew I couldn’t enter through there since I would definitely be found out due to my differently colored bib number (blue for 10k, black for 21k), so I decided to just climb over the barricade and join the 21 k pack. After a few seconds, the starting gun was fired… and we were off!
I started in the middle pack, those in front of me were really running fast, and those behind me were zooming past me! At the Buendia flyover, I saw DATC (I recognized him because of his trademark nike bandana) and I decided to try and keep pace with him the whole length of the run. While in Buendia, DATC shared that his goal for KOTR was that he be able to run the whole route and not end up walking. So, I told him that we’d pace each other, he’d pace me at the start, and I’d pace him at the end making sure he won’t walk. He agreed and with that, we continued our push.
After the flatness of Buendia, it was now time for the more difficult part of the race. Beginning at the Buendia flyover to the Fort, Lawton, Bayani and back… the roads now become undulating. This is another reason I ran the 21k, I really like these kinds of routes, where the second half is more difficult than the 1st. It really tests one’s mettle and teaches one about race strategy.
It was here that I was supposed to pace DATC, however, on the way back up Bayani, I was already teetering in the brink of bonking. The weight of my bag, the heat and dehydration were pushing me to my limits. Since I didn’t want to slow down DATC, I told him I’d run behind him, and that he shouldn’t walk because I would be behind him. I used this tactic so that even if I had to really slow down, he’d still continue to push on thinking I was there behind him… as long as he doesn’t look back of course.
As we trudged along Bayani and Lawton, DATC was pushing me, and I was feebly pushing back… I was able to keep up with him only until the Serendra area. There, DATC was steadily increasing his pace and I just couldn’t keep up… so I ended up walking for 10 seconds or so. Nearing the finish, I was able to run again, crossing the finish line through the 10k chute with a time of 2:10:40.
- Filipinos don’t really sing the National Anthem anymore… it would have been an awesome sight to see/hear thousands of Filipinos sing the Lupang Hinirang during race day… but alas, we had to settle for canned music…
- Don’t do back and shoulder exercises the night before race day, especially if you’re planning to lug your bag around during the run
- I still have a long way to go before I can be really ready for the Bataan 102km in April… though the question is will anyone be truly prepared for such an undertaking?
- I am in awe of those guys who still continue to strive to complete the race even if they know they’re almost in last place… while walking towards Mckinley Road, I met 10 or so runners (some in a small group, others singly) who were still running to complete the course. They had this pained look in their faces, and yet you could still sense a certain glow in them. Inspite of them being so tired and thirsty, they still manage a smile as they see me. An hour after I’ve finished, under the intensifying heat of the sun, open roads that were no longer blocked, marshal-less intersections, and definetely water-less stations, here they were, still continuing to push themselves. They could have quit at any point of the race but they didn’t. And I am sure that when they cross that finish line, even if no one’s there to applaud them, the elation they’ll feel… the sense of achievement… will be just as much as those who finished first. They were facing adversity and yet they were persevering to triumph over it… it is that determination that defines them as athletes… as runners.