Yes, I finished this race with a slow finish time but this is the hardest route so far for a half-marathon road race. I hope most of the runners who participated in this road race would attest to this observation.
The race started 10 minutes late due to some stretching exercises led by one of our lady soldiers who won in one of the past Milo Marathon races. From the Grandstand at Camp Aguinaldo (Start & Finish Area), the half-marathon runners started the run by leaving the Grandstand towards Gate 1 and turn right towards Boni Serrano Avenue which is downhill to Katipunan Road. From Katipunan Road, the runners had pass at White Plains and later to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church going to Ortigas Avenue. From the crossing, the runners had to go uphill towards Meralco and to EDSA. From EDSA, turn right at Boni Serrano Avenue towards Gate 1. That route consists of one loop and every half-marathon runner should go around for another loop and enter Gate 6 of Camp Aguinaldo. From Gate 6, the runners would have a brief tour of the housing facilities of AFP personnel, the Golf Driving Range, the Soldier’s Mall (SM), part of the Camp Aguinaldo Golf Course, the White House (official residence of the Chief of Staff, AFP), the St Ignatius Cathedral (which I had it air-con(ed) when I was the Camp Commander of Camp Aguinaldo), and later turning right towards the Grandstand/Finish Line.
In my GF 305, the distance registered 20.7 kms which is short by 400 meters. I slowed down on the last 3 kilometers due to hunger and the heat of the sun but my legs were still strong and could hardly felt any sign of getting cramps.
I was talking to this tall guy from India (I could hardly pronounce and remember his name) who served the Indian Armed Forces for 9 years in the Infantry and proudly said that he joined in a war with Bangladesh when he was in the active military service. He is a good runner and started so fast that I was able to overtake him at the uphill portion going to MERALCO at Ortigas Avenue. Colonel Oscar Lopez of the Philippine Army was listening to the Indian guy. Col Lopez owns a brand-new GF 405 & his 1st time to use it and it looks great and it seems better than my GF 305. It functions like an IPhone with the “touch” functions!
In my estimate, we had more civilian runners than the members of the military in both the half-marathon and 5-K race. I was at the middle of the pack together with the “friends of BaldRunner”. I saw Loonyrunner, Joms, Marga, Gabriela Calma, Runmd, datc, Segovia siblings, noel lopez, officers and men assigned at Headquarters Philippine Army, and at GHQ, Camp Aguinaldo and familiar faces whom I could not memorize their names.
I was using my ASICS Gel-Kayano 13 for the first time in a road race and it felt good despite a “mild attack” on my gout after eating a Protein PowerBar last Thursday on my 31K run. On this race, I became a model of New Balance (again!) using their new line of running shorts and T-shirts which are light and well-ventilated. I saw another civilian runner wearing the same T-shirt as mine and I smiled at him. At this point, we were going downhill from the 7th-Day Adventist Church towards Ortigas Avenue. I was surprised to see a Rustan’s Mini-Mart fronting the church where I saw a number of Porsche Sports Car parked with the owners looking at the runners passing by.
I was using my Nathan Water Belt and my Sennheiser MPX 70 earphone with my Ipod Nano listening to the songs of Bee Gees, Abba, and Barry White.
These two runners on my right were like Scout Rangers who ran together and finished together. They would overtake me but later I would overtake them at the water stations as they stopped to drink water. The curly-long haired guy would stop running & walked briskly while the other guy would wait for him. At this point, we were already going uphill at Ortigas Avenue. I left these guys on the last 3 kilometers of the course. MSgt Illut became my pacer on my second loop of the race and he was fast and strong. My thanks to MSgt Illut’s effort!
This is another view of running along Epifanio De los Santos Avenue (EDSA) on my last 4 kilometers of the race. It was unfortunate that there are some parts of EDSA that don’t have that “white paint” on the edge of the road. I had observed that such rubberized paint on the edge of the road (5-6 inches in width) added more comfort and bounce on my running shoes and I tried running consistently on the said line during the race. The next picture shows the white paint at the edge of the road. MSgt Ireneo Illut (the runner & pacer behind me) is presently assigned with the Philippine Army’s Special Service Unit administering our elite athletes assigned with the Phil Army.
Running along EDSA and going uphill towards Boni Serrano with all those smoke-belching vehicles was one of the hardest portions of the road race and we had to pass through this main road twice! It was a nice experience running uphill which could be hardly noticed if you are riding inside a vehicle or car. The smell of the gasoline and smoke from the vehicles would make each runner’s breathing hard and problematic.
This was my last dash towards the Finish Line! On my right hand is the bottle holder/strap that I bought last week at R.O.X., Bonifacio High Street. Aside from the water on my Nathan Water Jug, I used this bottle holder with a bottle of Propel on my last 5 kilometers and it served well for its purpose. I hope to get one more of this for my other hand. At the Finish Line, I was able to meet runners from Malaysia and Indonesia who finished the race and they said nice things about the race & the challenging route and proudly said that they are my daily readers/visitors to my blog. I met also Michelle of Mizuno whom I encouraged to start running. I told her also that she has a lot of fans here and abroad because of the “picture” I posted lately.
To all the runners, thanks for running in this race despite our problem in our water supply. To all the winners and finishers, congratulations and more power to all of you. See you at the next Mizuno Rush Infinity 15K Run.