Tatakbo Ka Ba? GMA-7 5K/10K Run @ The Fort/ 6:02 AM 30 August 2009
This was my general feeling when I finally registered to participate in the GMA-7 10K Run. Who cares about the incoming elections, anyway? The purpose of my participation of this run was to evaluate my racing performance after doing a lot of running workouts for the past weeks. I wanted to run in this race with an average pace of less than 5 minutes per kilometer.
The race was scheduled at 5:30 AM and I was already at the starting area at about 5:15 AM. I was surprised to see the festive atmosphere of the place with the presence of three (3) elevated stages; one for the race which was located at the far back of the runners & front-left side of the starting line and another big covered stage for the “special program” initiated by GMA-7 for the swearing in of oath by the candidates for the presidential elective position. Most of the runners at the corral area were not interested or listening on what the Emcees were announcing. In the first place, I don’t watch GMA-7 programs and I really don’t know the personalities or even the news broadcasters. Instead, I started to stretch my leg muscles while waiting for the race to start. I saw the family of Annalene aka The Meek Runner and I approached them. I had a brief time talking to them until such time the Emcees transferred at the front of the starting area and continued their program. We were surprised that we just heard the starting gun.
The number of runners who joined this race was also unprecedented. There were lots of runners and I can estimate that it reached at least 4,000 + participants. I am sure the runners did not participate the race because of the presence of the politicians but I am pretty sure most of the runners just wanted to run and the rest of the participants wanted to see the “stars” and personalities of GMA-7.
The race finally started at 6:02 AM and it was a “mass start” for both the 5K & 10K runs. Since I was few meters from the front runners, I started slowly making sure to warm-up my leg muscles. I weaved through the slower runners as I tried to find my comfortable space and pace during the start of the race. From the start, I slowly passed the slower ones and those who made a dash from the starting area who ultimately run slower after running for about a kilometer. All the streets were fully packed with runners and I could hardly weaved through the runners. It was only at the 2.5-km turn-around where the 10K runners started to have more space. From the 2.5-km point, I started to peak up my pace and was able to pass more of the runners. Running towards the Market! Market! area was a breeze as I saw a lot of familiar faces who were ahead of me and those who were trailing me as I passed at the turn-around area.
The problem about the narrow route at the British School and at the vicinity of DILG’s Public Safety College started to be encountered by the 10K runners as most of the 5K runners and “walkers” occupied the road. At this point, it was the last 3 Kms of the 10K route. I had another problem of weaving through the slower runners & “walkers” that made my pace slower up to the point when I reached the road in between the new St Luke’s Hospital and the Ford Car Store.
After running through the streets west of Rizal Drive, I knew I still have one more kilometer to go before the Finish Line. On the last Five Hundred Meters before the Finish Line, I had to slow down because of so many spectators along the route who completely filled almost one-half of the road. The spectators were waiting for the “stars” and GMA-7 personalities to finish the race.
I finished the 10K run in 46:29 minutes with an average pace of 4:40 minutes per kilometer (based from my GF watch). I was able to run well during the race but it could had been better if not for the numerous runners that clogged the narrow streets along the route.
After the race, I did not bother watching the program being prepared by GMA-7 for the politicians. I just overheard that they were reciting an oath that mentioned that “they will be honest, that they will serve the poor and hungry, that they will not abuse their power, that they will not “pocket” the money of the government which are to be used for education, social services, and infrastructure, that they will “so and so”. Whatever, Guys! It sucks to see the politicians reciting such oath infront of the runners and signing such oath on LIVE TV Telecast. If you can not even support or see to it that we attain Sports Excellence in the country, then stop promising to serve the “poor and the hungry” and the the whole country! To me, everything was “bull….”; empty promises; and a “show” to be forgotten after it will be published on the daily newspapers & seen on TV newscasts and finally, I am sure the Race Organizer was laughing all the way to the bank despite of so many “lapses” (again)!
I am already tired mentioning to this blog the different “lapses” of the Race Organizers. As a runner, I just want the following things to be perfect, at least—appropriate length of table for the water stations; abundance of water & water cups in Water Stations; accuracy on the route distance; presence of digital clock at the Finish Line & publication of Race Results; and lastly, punctuality of scheduled time on the start for the race.
The race was significant because I was able to meet new acquiantances (Raffy Uytiepo & others); awarded my “1,000-Km Club” Finisher’s T-Shirt to Joseph Baltazar; talked to the family of David & Rowena from Great Britain; meet a young runner at the age of 11 years old who beat me by one second; meet the Finishers of the 1st BDM 102K (Ralph Salvador, Eric Socrates, & Dionisio Potonia); talked to the registrants of the 1st MASTERS 15K Run; and happy to see the awarding of the winners of this race who are members of my Elite Team Bald Runner. The following pictures will speak for themselves: