Oval Track Marshals?

4 02 2009

If there is a need for Road Marshals during weekend Road Races, I think there is a need for Oval Track Marshals at the ULTRA Oval Track! Only in the Philippines!!!

Due to the increase of runners training at the ULTRA Oval Track to include the NIKE Running Clinic, Bald Runner’s “Speed” Training, Triathlon, Duathlon, Aquathlon athletes, Race Walkers, University’s Track and Field Teams, and simply those “walkers”, it was observed that the oval track was full to its intended capacity.

Last night, Tuesday, I observed that the ULTRA Oval Track had the biggest number of users since September 2008 when I started doing my training at the said place. As our group was busy with our speed training workouts, I observed that there are still a lot of runners & walkers who do not know the unwritten etiquette on the use of the oval track. It is always assumed that the lone Security Guard should be the one who should impose such “rules and regulations” on the proper use of the oval track but I can not blame the lone Security Guard as she/he was distracted on controlling the “guests” as to where they should park their respective vehicles. Actually, the lone Security Guard had her time directing those drivers of vehicles where to park and asking for other drivers to “fix” their parked vehicles as they parked in “non-parking” areas. 

No amount of shouting “Lane One” to slow runners and walkers using the said lane for them stay away from it but these people simply do not know what “Lane One” means and worse, they don’t know the unwritten rule of etiquette where Lanes 1, 2, & 3 are “reserved” for faster runners doing their “speed” workouts and for a group of runners on a speed training. This is like driving a vehicle at the NLEX where the fastest vehicles should stay at the inner lane and the slowest ones at the outer lanes.

In our “speed” training workouts, we always emphasize to our runners to do their “warm-up” jog on the outer lanes (Lanes 6, 7, & 8) and during our “interval speed runs”, the runners are advised to run along Lanes 1 & 2 in order to get their best times. Last night, our runners and myself, would be distracted to maintain our pace as more “ignorant users” of the oval track were walking on Lanes 1 & 2. What is worse is that most of these joggers and walkers are engaged in loud conversation or worst is that some of these slow “walkers” are listening to their Ipods! (Maybe this is one of the reasons why these “walkers” don’t hear shouts of “Lane One”!)

Despite my suggestion to the Security Guards to come up with a “big sign or notice” placed at a visible portion of Grandstand on the “rules & regulations” on the use of the Oval Track, nothing had been done about it. Maybe, the Security Guard should simply say a word of advise to every user as he/she receives the “ticket” that Lanes 1, 2 & 3 are “reserved” lanes for the faster runners.

Do we need to go to the extent of suggesting to the PSC authorities to employ or provide an “Oval Track Marshal” at the ULTRA Oval Track? Is it hard for us to understand/implement the “oval track etiquette” and be courteous to others?

By the way, the latest information I got is that the new University of Makati Oval Track will be opened this March 2009.




16 responses

4 02 2009

hi bald runner,
how far is that in miles from united paranaque phase 1- the makati track

5 02 2009

cdomine, if you want to know the exact distance, we might as well do a “runabout” with the hardcores soon! seroiusly, i don’t know the distance as i don’t have any chance of going to united paranaque phase 1. don’t worry, we’ll find out the distance.

4 02 2009

As a regular user of Ultra, I do agree with your observations Jovie. One thing if I may add is that the morning crowd is much better than the evening crowd. And the volume is definitely much lesser in the morning. That’s why I do mine at 5am and its only by 7am that crowd starts coming in.

5 02 2009

amado, the number of people at the ULTRA in the morning is lesser than the runners/walkers in the evening. last tuesday evening attendance really hit the record and it looked like you are in a festival or concert! i really pity the lone security guard who had her hands nad time full due to the influx of so many vehicles in the compound.

4 02 2009

Sir Jovie, I agree learning a sport is not enough we also need to observe proper etiquette. It is indeed difficult to run fast if there would be someone blocking your path. 🙂

5 02 2009

i think we need to discipline ourselves not only at the oval track but also in other places. i hope we will be able to inform all the users to follow some rules and regulations in the use of the oval track. thanks!

4 02 2009

People are looking for a nice safe place to walk. In the US I notice that this is not really a problem because there are many parks where people can walk safely. Maybe the can have a nice well lit walking path outside of the Oval but still in Ultra.

You really need to give the leisure walkers an alternative to the track oval.

Regards Mark

5 02 2009

mark, you are right. people needs a place where they can walk safely and at the same time spend nothing for parking or whatsoever. UP Campus & BHS/The Fort are ideal places, too! However, if people is just practical and resourceful, they can do their walking in places where they are near or within their house premises

4 02 2009

I think it is OK if one of your coaches or staff (who aren’t running) to approach those slower joggers and walkers, and in a nice way, ask them to take the outer lane. If they don’t comply, then it’s time to tell the security guards.

Back in college, I used to be one of those slow joggers. I was never aware of the unwritten rule. But if I did, I would have stayed in the outer lane. There were no signs for slow runners to stay in the outer lane, and nobody approached me.

5 02 2009

maybe, during those days your oval track was not full of athletes and other outsiders that nobody would need some order in the use of the oval track. my staff & coaches had been reminding the slow runners & walkers to keep the inner lanes open for our fast runners but i guess, some people are really hard-headed.

4 02 2009

Our thoughts exactly. Some of those walkers are not affiliated with any running clinic so they don’t have anyone to give the advise on track etiquettes (and are usually too busy with their iPods to care). I actually got injured in Ultra one time a few weeks ago while trying to avoid a lady walking on lane 1 on our finishing area during our intervals.

5 02 2009

yes, you are right! these people who are not involved in running clinics or training are just there to be with the crowd and most of them are playing their Ipods and showing off their nice NIKE tight outfits even if they have their “bulges” all over their body! i am sorry that you got an injury because of these walkers. one of my elite runners got injured also after running over a whole family walking on Lane 1!

5 02 2009

you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to understand that the inner lanes are for the faster runners. i haven’t been running as long as some of you, but have always instinctively known that if you’re going to walk or jog, do it on the outside. even at the races, it drives me crazy when the walkers take the inside lanes and walk in rows, making these slalom courses. race etiquette does not have to be taught, it’s just common sense.

5 02 2009

yes, that’s true. oval track courtesy is like road courtesy but there are many people who do not have “common sense” at all..thanks for the comment. i hope that the readers & visitors of this blog would be able to spread the word on the proper use of the oval track.

5 02 2009


Although you have good points, I would have to disagree with some. Yes, everyone has a right to use the oval, and everyone’s right is equal. However, like most things which are shared by the public, there needs to be order and discipline. It is the responsibility of each one to learn the rules (written or not), and the etiquette that accompanies it. This is not about ‘favoring faster runners’ but providing a venue that is safe and enjoyable for everyone.

My 2 cents…

6 02 2009

Hey Javy,

Point taken and noted. However, what I was driving at was, Mr. BR, in upholding etiquette, could still have the option of nicely communicating his point across. I know it gets annoying to have someone blocking your way (I should know) but inasmuch as it has happened to me a number of times, may temperance pa rin dapat. When I run, instead of yelling LAAAAAAAAAANNEEE ONEE!!!!! I just say “Hey excuse me miss/sir!” and just say thanks. I’m just as annoyed as BaldRunner or the other runners are when people walk and “barricade” our lanes, but I still had that control over my temper.

And Mr BaldRunner, in response to your query on my doing something about the “problem,” my answer is, I take it in stride. Someone blocks my way? “Hey, excuse me!” then pag naka-iPod, gentle touch and may kasamang “thanks.” I did something, in my own little way, without causing a scene. And that’s something I’d like to share with you and your readers, that a gentle, friendly way of communicating our concerns — even if it takes so much effort especially when we are under pressure — still works. If I allow these seemingly frivolous matters to make me lose my temper, ako rin ang talo. Ibig sabihin we let them get the best of us.

We could be firm in communicating, but still be civil. Real control lies in controlling yourself first. Temperance is still a virtue.

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