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“Where are those water cups”?

10 05 2009

Race Report on the BOTAK 42K Paa-bilisan @ The Fort/10 May 2009

By looking at the map route of the Marathon Race, I already predicted that the marathon race will have some problems. And my predictions were right. There was a lack of road marshals, many runners were lost and most of them registered fast finish times for the marathon distance, the race started late, there was a lack of water cups (again!), and you need to really have your personal support team in order to finish a marathon race with better results.

I am sorry, Franco but you need to improve your support system for the runners if you want more runners to join your races. Please don’t give me the reason that you “sub-contracted” the guys who delivered the water supply and water cups for your race. Do I have to do the mathematics again on how much a race organizer would spend for the water cups in all the water stations? Okey, we will do the math again. Assuming you have 600 runners for the marathon distance and there are 20 water stations for the marathon distance, you will have a total requirement for 12,000 water cups. If you buy water cups in Divisoria, it will cost you P 37.00 per 100 pieces. So, that is 120 X P 37.00 = P 4,440. The cost for the water cups is equivalent to the registration fee of 11 runners. The cost might be lesser because not all the 600 runners are running the full marathon distance.

Meeting & Talking To BDM 102 Finishers

Meeting & Talking To BDM 102 Finishers

1st Marathon Race For The Year

1st Marathon Race For The Year

I was happy at the first 10K to see Gatorade drinks in Gatorade cups but it ended there. I never saw and tasted Gatorade drinks in the succeeding water stations. It is also a very pitiful sight to see runners using the covers of those 5-gallon containers as water cups!!! From my support team, I would share my bottled water, Gatorade drinks and even food to the runner on my side. Armand Abalos from Lucban, Quezon and my running “buddy” from Km # 75 to 90 in the BDM 102K was my running “buddy” again for this marathon race and he is really a strong runner. 

1st 20K of the Race

1st 20K of the Race

Eating Hard-Boiled Egg While Running

Eating Hard-Boiled Egg While Running

The race lacks the much-needed race marshals as there are more turns (right & left) than the number of kilometers in the race. By following the runners infront of me and the other runners, I admit that I missed the Pasong Tamo (after coming from the Kalayaan Flyover) turn-around as runners should proceed directly to the said turn-around before proceeding the the Powerplant Loop. Due to the absence of road marshal, we turned right towards the direction of Powerplant. In my estimate, we missed at least one kilometer distance. However, at the Finish Line, I heard comments from those GF 305 users that they registered a distance of 43, 44, and 45 kms. Afterall, the distance was longer than a full marathon distance and the turn-around that we missed had compensated for the additional distance. Ha!Ha!Ha!  Unfortunately, my GF 305 did not work efficiently as the digital readings kept on “flashing” from the very start of the race.  Instead of being “pissed off” with the condition of my GF 305, I just maintained my pace and treated the run as my long run.

At the Gil Puyat Avenue (26K)

At the Gil Puyat/Buendia Avenue (26K)

I did not have any problem about the late start of the race. The marathon race was supposed to start at 4:30AM but it started almost 5:00AM. After the grueling experience with the heat of the sun during the BDM 102K last month, the early heat of the sun for this marathon was never an “issue”. At least, the shaded streets at the Powerplant loop gave comfort to the runners but there were no water stations on sight. However, running along Gil Puyat Avenue, Kalayaan Flyover and at The Fort area before reaching the Finish Line gave problems to the other runners.

With my GF 305 not working, I don’t have any numbers and location points to speak of or write on this post except for those observations I’ve noted during the race.

Drinking Water from the Bottle While Running (No Cups!)

Drinking Water from the Bottle While Running (No Water Cups!)

The race route is very challenging. The terrain of the route was very hard as it was concentrated in Taguig and Makati. In the history of the US occupation of the country before start of the 20th century, the US Army selected the area called Fort Bonifacio, formerly called as Fort McKinley as their Artillery Camp (where the US Army deployed their artillery guns) because it was the highest point in Manila where they can observe the movements of our “revolutionaries” passing along the Pasig River and easily can pinpoint targets within the populated area of the Old Manila and Manila Bay. So, running in Makati & Taguig entails a lot of challenging rolling terrain. Such race route would never attract a world-record pace for the marathon race.

Running Along the Powerplant Loop

Running Along the Powerplant Loop

Despite constructive criticisms from runner-bloggers about how we “race organize” our road races, it seems that we are not improving, instead, we are going back to the “stone-age” where we have to bring our own water & provisions after paying somebody to support us in our road adventures.

Guys, I don’t blame you why you prefer to go abroad to run a “perfect” marathon race but you must also think that you are paying an equivalent average amount of Five Thousand Pesos or more for the Registration Fee as compared to a measly P 400 to P 500 for a marathon race in our country. Having said that, at least, our race organizers must be able to buy enough water cups for all the runners. We don’t need fresh fruits, gels, power bars, pain relievers and other “gimmicks” (loudspeakers with music) along the race route, just give us potable water and water cups and responsible road marshals. I was laughing when one of the road marshals along C-5 asked me if I am a 42K runner. The road marshals did not know what distance the runners are running  even by looking at the color-coded race bibs!

My Running "Buddy", Armand from Lucban, Quezon (BDM 102 Finisher)

My Running "Buddy", Armand from Lucban, Quezon (BDM 102 Finisher)

At the Kalayaan Flyover, 3 Kms from the Finish Line

At the Kalayaan Flyover, 3 Kms from the Finish Line

If there is a positive comment I’ve heard from most of the finishers, it is the fact that this marathon race was a “redemption” race for those runners who participated in last December’s SC Singapore Marathon. They told me that they improved a lot from their finish times and proud that they got new PRs on their marathon finish time in this race.

Before I passed the Finish Line, I slowed down to see the digital clock and I registered a Finish Time of 4:35:10 hours. I am not proud of my time as I ran too slow without an operational GF 305. Based from the Race Chart of Running Times Magazine, I had an average pace of 6:30 minutes per kilometer/10:30 minutes per mile. It is my ultramarathon pace! Ha!Ha!Ha! 

At The Finish Line

At The Finish Line

My Prize---A Finisher's Medal, Certificate & A Smile

My Prize---A Finisher's Medal, Certificate & A Smile

By the way, next Saturday will be TNF 100 Australia. There are 250+ solo runners for the 100-Km distance. Dean “Karno” Karnazes, the Ultramarathon Man, will be competing in the said race. The next Saturday after TNF 100 Australia, it will be TNF 100 Sacobia, Clark, Philippines. There are 100 solo runners for the 100-Km distance. Dean “Karno” Karnazes  will be in the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon Expo for his book signing. Good luck to all TNF 100 Sacobia Solo Runners!!!

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33 responses

10 05 2009
runnerforchrist

Despite all odds, you finished strong and victorious. I would say that your time of 4.35.10 is very impressive considering you joined also the BDM102. How i wish to run also with Karno but I don’t think he will join any of the TNF’s Ultra. Nice Basic Math out there and a constructive rebuke straight at the Organizer’s face!

Sir we will miss you at TNF100 on May 23, but by wearing your bandana (I’ll get it this week), your presence will be with me.

God bless.

11 05 2009
kingofpots

ronnie, Karno is a marketing model and athlete of TNF and he is going to run in the TNF 100 Australia. the water cup problem is very basic and it should not be a problem to a big race like the botak 42. good luck on your TNF 100 sacobia

10 05 2009
runnerforchrist

Addition…How i wish to run also with Karno but I don’t think he will join any of the TNF’s Ultra here in the Phil.

10 05 2009
bugobugo

thank you sir jovie to your support crew for the boiled saba,gatorade and water handed out to me in various points of the race.

mr. chairman, you have your work cut out for you.

11 05 2009
kingofpots

you are welcome. at least, you know that i am being supported by my staff everytime i run a marathon race. there is a need to make our runners aware of those irresponsible race organizers so that they can have an option to join or not to join a race

10 05 2009
i2runner

Botak’s one of the ugliest races I’ve ever joined in 2008. Expecting the same outcome, I’ve only registered for the 5K race. No water, no surprise.

11 05 2009
kingofpots

well said. it was so sad that there was no water at the 5K run.

10 05 2009
speedsterbikster

i know there is no “perfect race”. there would always be small glitches here and there but i do believe that there are POORLY organized race. the water stations were terrible. its either there’s no water, they’re refilling it, or there are no cups. either way, it didn’t help the runners. not to mention not having water/waterstation in the crucial stages of the race ( around KM 29-33). with the heat this morning, the least that they could have done is to have ample supply of water/gatorade for the runner’s to drink. actually i was also gonna mention the availability of sponges or bananas. but i thought “kung tubig nga lang wala na, ano pa kaya yung ibang supply?”. we all love running and we all want the sport to be promoted, but with races poorly organized, i dont think we are going in the right direction. i really hope we can have better organized races so we can someday have our OWN “new york” or “boston” marathon.

11 05 2009
kingofpots

our constructive/positive criticism will ultimately improve our races.

10 05 2009
therunningninja

Agreed. Lack of marshals and water/water cups made this race the worst race I’ve joined so far. I remember asking from road construction workers to allow me to take water from their own water gallons hahahaha! I also almost got hit by a BMW near the market market area. Marshals are non-existent there!

Sam the Running Ninja
http://www.therunningninja.com

11 05 2009
kingofpots

i am glad you were not hit by that BMW and you were able to survive the race. congrats for finishing your 1st half-marathon

11 05 2009
fanaticinformant

Hi Sir Jovs,

It was my first 42k. I took your advice and brought my water bottle, chocolate bars and such. I’m just glad that I was able to finish it. I do agree that they need to improve how they organize their races base on comments here and other blogs. Overall, it was great to see you again. 🙂

11 05 2009
kingofpots

FI, congrats for being able to finish the race despite those “lapses”. see you soon!

11 05 2009
ibanrunner

Im grateful you posted this earlier. I am one of those runners who got lost and confused! The distance I covered was around 32k. I got so frustrated because the Marshall didn’t know which direction I should go but instead keep telling me to go straight… And straight I headed for the finishing line!.. It is really Unfair!… The routes are already confusing plus with the lack of Marshalls ends my day disappointed for since it is a “farewell Marathon” for me.

If I were to return to the Phil. for marathon again, I will select those trusted organizers whom I know will do their work professionally yet keep it simple! I guess these organizers (Botak) need to be humble and learn from other road race organizers. Not to compete! But help to improve the quality of road races in the country.

11 05 2009
kingofpots

i was surprised to see you and the rest of the guys who were ahead of me to be going back to The Fort area already as soon as I was running down along the Buendia (Gil Puyat) Avenue. i knew already that time that something was wrong. anyway, if in case you want to run a better marathon race, join the milo marathon.

11 05 2009
sfrunner

Sir Jovie, I’m sorry to hear about the lack of cups and course marshalls. That is the “FIRST” thing that should be attended to at any long distance race. Hopefully, it won’t take a death or a hospitalization of a runner to realize that a race director(s) need to wake up and realize the needs for the runners. This type of thing is happening too much on a world wide basis.

To me, if you don’t know how to run an event, step aside and find someone who has running knowledge and is capable of putting one on. Sorry to put my two cents worth on the matter.

On a more positive note, congratulations on the 4:35+ effort. To me, I would have looked at this as a good long workout. Take care and have a good week ahead!

11 05 2009
kingofpots

wayne, true, it was my long run workout and a way to see how the race organizer prepared for the event. i am sorry to say that the race organizer got a failing grade in this race. good luck on your races.

11 05 2009
runmanila

To Baldrunner:

I think it is high time something is organized to protect the welfare of runners who are paying hard money in races. The problem is we are only able to provide feedback after the race.

My suggestion is for an independent group or blogger to ACCREDIT a forthcoming race and give it the a Class A, B, or C rating. The group merely interviews the race organizers beforehand and checks the preparedness. Then races can then be given the appropriate rating — ala Michelin. Then actual performance finalizes the rating.

Hopefully, the race organizers will aspire for this rating. Hopefully. Style kasi ng pilipino is to create another group that will rate to disacredit another.

We’ve seen the regular problems. Same old Same old. No cups. No water station. Inaccurate distance. Wrong directions. No road marshalls. No portalets. Nakakapagod na rin mag-complain at magblog.

Something really has to be done.

11 05 2009
kingofpots

runmanila, the first thing to do is for the advertisers to place at the bottom of their race flyers the name of the race organizer/race director for the race. the runner-applicant must be aware who is behind the race and its race organizer. most of the companies or groups who would like to conduct such road races select their road organizer from the “lowest” bidder. so, from there you would know how this winning bidder would maximize its profit by cutting some expenses for the runners. since we know already those road organizers who are “guilty” with so many “lapses”, i suggest we should refrain from joining their races. we should punish or sanction these race organizers by not joining their races. second, we can ask or request takbo.ph as to who is the race organizer every time they publish a certain race in their website. from there we know already if we need to join the race or not.

11 05 2009
runmanila

Hi Sir. You are saying 2 things – 1) inclusion of the organizer in the communication material presupposes the quality of the race and 2) we “punish” by not joining.

In my mind, advertisement of the organizer does not guarantee an organized race. Case in point is the first bull run this year which was done by an organizer with a good track record – me thinks. Also, not everybody knows organizers especially the newbies.

Two, punishing an organizer by not joining because we know he does not do races well is not a progressive way of thinking. We need each other and we need to help others be the best that they can be.

Regulation is really my point. In local promotions — we have the DTI approval. I was there in the 80’s when they had to impose it and now its in place.

On the bright side of things, there is a running boom. We have races every week until end of the year. We have this problem because we have more races. More runners. I think it will still grow three-fold.

We have the opportunity to make it better. And.. decisions and progress can be made by a handful of people who have the passion.

Onwards and Forward Sir Jovie!

11 05 2009
moljcy

Congrats on the finish sir! i think you finished strong and probably looked like that this was just a very relaxed long run with a solid finish time. It was unfortunate that i dint see you yesterday but i did bump into your support crew along Buendia during my run-about. I only did 10K yesterday and i have a long list of things to say myself, i can start to comprehend what the other runner in the longer distances have to say about it.

I just wonder if this is what to expect in the Botak 100km race also. Yikes!

11 05 2009
kingofpots

i suggest, every runner joining their next races would think twice or thrice before they register.

11 05 2009
runningshield

Congratulations on your marathon run
It’s sad that botak did not perform to all our expectation. They should have done their homework better. Sayang In my opinion Botak is the pioneer and is already an institution in the Phil. When I started running in 1980 Botak was already around. I remember their first store in Ali mall. Hopefully they rectify there mistake and do a better job next year. I’m sure they will.

11 05 2009
kingofpots

patrick, i am sure botak will rebound after this race. every race organizer to include rudy b and coach rio had their share of “lapses”. i am not exempted also as the race organizer of BDM 102K. i had some “lapses” too but these will guide me for a better race next year. thanks for the comment.

11 05 2009
rickgaston

You know Sir Jovie, you keep nailing down these pre-race analysis and people will be flocking to your site as part of their preparation for races.

I bet people would even be willing to pay a little more if the organizer can guarantee reliable aid on the race. Maybe this is how Philippine races distinguish themselves, more running, less aid. Take Marathon des Sables for instance. They don’t have to feed their runners, organizing geniuses, they made carrying your food for the next 6-days part of the hardship that must be overcome. We have ultra-runners here who complain that we are too “soft” because our races have so much aid. Maybe we send them over there. All joking aside, that’s too bad about the lack of water. On a hot day, it can make or break someone’s race. I would have been happy with your 10:30 per mile pace this weekend. I only managed 29 kilometers this weekend after 5:10 hours of running. It was more mental training than anything else. To keep moving despite lingering fatigue. A good comprehensive report. I’m learning a lot about the state of running in PI.

11 05 2009
kingofpots

rick, i can predict the outcome of these races by knowing the race organizer. i’ve joined a lot of road races in the past and i always made it a point to know the race organizer and remember their “lapses”. so, it is very easy to predict these people. but, the problem is that they are not improving. in fairness to the other race organizers, they also have some “lapses” but in their next races, they steadily improved the standards on how they conduct their races. good luck on your training for the SD100.

11 05 2009
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11 05 2009
markfb

The have a series of races this year. For sure, turn out on the next one will be very low. I hope they rebound from that if they disregard what has been posted in the blogs.

How do you get back the trust of the runners?

11 05 2009
king del rosario

thank goodness i had my own water bottles with me…. but yes, they had the shortage way too early….

11 05 2009
jmari101

Sir Jovie, what does it take for the race marshalls to be briefed with the correct race bib color or at least the 42K race bands as an indicator of where you should go.

i already gave my 2 cents on the day itself after the race … so much for my first official full marathon race hahaha … at least now i can call it my official 32K race 🙂

Now, they have at least a year to properly educate the race marshalls … it can’t get any worse for the 2nd edition, can it?

11 05 2009
wmtan00

sir baldrunner, i couldn’t agree more with your assessment of the race’s organization. terrible indeed. i was lucky enough to have a hydration belt of my own, but since i only brought sports drinks, i still had to rely on them for water. woe to those who relied solely on them for hydration and did not have support groups. i hope that botak gets to read your post and improve on their next races. great finish time, by the way! more power to you!

12 05 2009
12 05 2009
witchkitty

Congratulations on your Marathon finish sir! despite the finish time you are not happy with attributable with the conditions and the management of the event.

Unbelievable for an organized run :(!!

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