June 12, 2010 112th Independence Day Celebration @ The Fort
My last road race in Metro Manila was the Century Tuna Half-Marathon on February 21, 2010 which was held at The Fort. However, I was able to finish a 50K Ultramarathon Road Race in Jeju Island, South Korea on March 27, 2010 and since then I stopped joining 10K, 15K and Half-Marathon Races. After the Jeju run, my running workouts were geared towards my preparation for the 34th MILO Marathon Elimination Race on July 4, 2010. As part of my training, I decided to join this Half-Marathon Race in order to break-in my running shoes (ASICS Gel-Tarther) and apparel (ASICS running shorts & singley) for the MILO Marathon. The cheap registration fee and my plan to test my race strategy for the next full marathon were also the reasons why I joined this race.
I am a sucker for running events that celebrate historic events in our country plus its advocacy to end poverty ( the white “ONE” band that I am using on my right wrist is the world’s symbol for the advocacy to “make poverty a history”) which I am trying to adhere to with the small contributions I’ve been doing through my projects like “Donate A Shoe”; “Donate A Shirt”; and my Elite Team Bald Runner. In short, I just wanted a simple road race to assess my training and at the same time celebrate a historic event for the country.
But from the Start of the Race, it showed some signs of “dangers” to come! All the runners (21K, 15K, 10K, & 5K) were mixed together in the coral which means that all the runners shall start at the same time. And it happened. Some group of runners started the race ahead without any command or the sound of a starting gun. Although the race started a few minutes late (5:36 AM), the rest of the runners just simply started running from the starting line without even hearing a countdown from the Emcee!
From the start, I was able to maintain my pace within the 5:15-5:40 minutes per kilometer average pace except at Km 3 & 4 where I was able to register a pace of 4:45 mpk. The race strategy was to be able to finish the first 10K in 55 minutes and slowly picking up the pace on the last 10K of the race and be able to finish the race in slightly above 1:45 hours. However, when I and the other 21K runners reached the 15K mark, we were lost! We tried to ask for assistance from the route marshal but they could not give us the correct directions. There were ignorant of the race route. They just simply told us to proceed to where the runners were going!
That was it! The runners were lost. I was lost, too! I was already out of focus and just simply wanted to finish the race! My companion and I went around the “bigger loop” at The Fort for two times before reaching the Finish Line. My GF 305 registered a distance of 18.2 kilometers!
I got my Finisher’s Medal but I was not proud to wear it. After I changed my wet running apparel, I went nearer to the event stage to find out who is the Race Organizer/Director. I was not surprised to hear from the Emcee that the Race Organizer/Director was Mr Franco Atienza…again? Well, the “usual suspect” is confirmed to be responsible with “fucked-up” race routes in the past road races and the traces of lack of water cups and short length of water aid stations for a thousands of runners were still there despite the complaints from participating runners.
My GF 305 registered a time of 1:35:18 for the distance of 18.2K. It is not a fast time/PR but I know I can be faster if I did not relax and slowed my pace after I was lost. My running shoes and apparel were great and they passed the test. I am confident that they will help me in another successful marathon finish on July 4th.
Race Organizers/Directors who do not learn from their past mistakes and “lapses” should get LOST from conducting races that honor “heroes & patriots” of our country. This road race was supposed to be a “Gathering Of Patriots” not a “gathering of LOST runners”!!!