20 January 2008
I arrived at the assembly area on or about 5:15 AM and the runners for the Half-Marathon, 10K, 5K, and 3K were jampacked at the starting area. The runners of the 42K/Marathon just left the starting area at 5:00 AM. The organizers were explaining to the runners that the routes for the 3K & 5K were going out from the Main Gate and the routes for the 10K and Half-Marathon will be taking the route going to the airport.
Most of the runners were members of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and cadets/lady cadets of the Philippine Military Academy and Philippine National Police Academy. I was part of the Philippine Army Team. Other runners came also from Metro Manila and other cities in Central Luzon. Estimated number of runners reached to almost 4,000.
The ever-popular singer Dulce entertained the runners with some of her original songs in the 70′s with some changes in the lyrics to praise God as she is known today to be active in some Religious Ministry. After the songs, two PNP Chief Superintendents (Brigadier Generals) delivered their speeches explaining to the runners on the objectives/goals of the said event. One of the PNP Chief Superintendents, my classmate in PMA, acknowledged my presence and the other Chief Superintendent also acknowledged me when he delivered his speech.
I was able to meet the members of the Gold’s Gym Glorietta Runners Team and were surprised to see me. They joined in the 5th DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap Team Relay last June 2007 which was held at the Parade Ground of Headquarters Philippine Army. I found out that we were going to run the same distance, the Half-Marathon, on this race.
Dulce sang the Philippine National Anthem and there was no Invocation/Prayers before the race. The City Mayor of Olongapo suddenly arrived and he was given the chance to talk also to the runners. He was asking for the cash prizes for the top runners. I thought he was about to commit some additional cash prices but he just said “Good Luck” to the runners. He was even telling to the runners that he is also a runner!
The race started exactly at 6:00 AM. I was able to have my stretching and warm-up exercises before the race. I tried to squeeze myself infront of the runners where I found other runners from Manila who were wearing triathlon suits with caps and sunglasses. I thought they were running the Half-Marathon but they actually registered for the 10K run.
I started the race at a very slow pace and I was happy to see kilometer marks along the way. I started with a pace of 6:00-6:20 minutes per kilometer and later slowly increasing to 5:00 minutes per kilometer.
The “mountain route” was a killer from Km. 8 to the turn-around point and the uphill portions from Km. 6 to 7. These parts of the route slowed down most of the runners. My time at the turn-around point was 1:02:35 hours. I tried to increase my speed on my way back but my tired leg muscles were becoming to feel pain. I alternately slowed down and then later picked up speed but the heat of the sun was too hot to the body. I tried my best to attain my desired goal but the mountain route/portion took much of my strength and stamina. I was confident that my hill training in Jamindan was enough for me to overcome the uphill and mountain portions of the route but the one at the Subic mountains have a higher elevation.
At the “mountain route”, the runners were able to disturb the crows and lots of big birds in the jungle on both sides of the road and they started to fly. I was “lucky” (ha!ha!ha!) that I was hit by fallen “bomb” (crap) from the birds. My right hand was hit, barely missing a hit on my bald head!
I was using my Nathan Water Belt and I did not stop along the way to drink the water. The only time that I got water from a water station was when I was already 1-2 kilometers away from the finish line.
By the way, the PNP used their Fire Trucks and Fire Hoses as sprinklers to produce showers along the route. These showers were useful to slower runners who were still running under the heat of the sun.
I finished the race in 2:12:56 hours and failed to attain my goal of sub-2 hours but I considered this run as my long run for the week and served as part of my preparation for the Pasig River Heritage Marathon on February 24.
Overall, this Marathon is outstanding! The route has nice views on both sides of the road, clean air to breath, no traffic from vehicles, well-prepared and organized, more participants and has a very challenging “mountain route”/terrain. And most of all, the roads are made of asphalt which is softer to the feet, leg muscles, and knees than roads made of concrete/cement.
My congratulations to the organizers, sponsors, and volunteers who made this marathon event a success.
My pictures will be posted soon!