Road Marshalls Were Great!

6 07 2008

Araw ng Maynila Half-Marathon on 06 July 2008 at Luneta Park, Manila

I was late for the start of the Half-Marathon Race due to traffic at EDSA and due to my pre-race activities (warm-up & looking for a place to pee) after I arrived at the parking area at the Luneta Park. I thought the Half-Marathon Race would start at 5:30AM after arriving at the starting area at 5:25AM only to realize that there were fewer runners who were waiting at the Starting Area. Once I arrived at the Starting Area, I realized that the runners who were waiting were the runners for the 10K race and some members of the Fort Striders Running Club told me that the Half-Marathon runners had left at about 5:10AM. More than fifteen (15) minutes had elapsed after the start of the race!

I had no choice but to start running and to push the start button of my GF 305. After running for one kilometer, I could hardly see any of the last runner and Roxas Boulevard (going to Pasay City) was free from traffic..and I was the only one running with a race number! I thought of going back to the finish line and declare myself as DNF (Did Not Finish) for being late and later join the 10K runners. But when I was about to reach the area before the Manila Yacht Club & Philippie Navy Headquarters, I could see the blinking lights of the Road Marshall’s car at the corner of Vito Cruz and Roxas Boulevard and I saw a lady runner with a senior runner running together. The sight of the road marshalls and the last runners made me decide to push through with the race. Aside from that, I consider myself as a “road warrior” who never surrender to any fight!

After I passed by the last two runners, I had to depend on the road marshalls which were positioned in every traffic light and street crossing/intersection to ask for the direction and route of the race. I was alone at the busy street of Harrison Road and I tried to maintain my pace. However, when I turned right at Quirino Avenue, I could see some runners staggered along the stretch of Quirino Avenue towards Nagtahan Bridge which were at least one kilometer away.

Road Marshalls were all around the crossings/intersections and along the route and some were on their motorcycles. Some of the road marshalls riding on mortorcycle would escort me after I turned right at Quirino Avenue and after I crossed Taft Avenue. They were really there to help the runners and maintain traffic, holding off the vehicles and giving priority for the runners to pass on busy intersections. These road marshalls really inspired me to continue with the race. They were great!

I thought I was the last runner who started from the Finish Line. But later, at Km #7-#8, Joms of Happy Feet Runners called my attention as he passed by. He started the race way much later after I left the starting area. He is really a strong runner!

Slowly, I had to overtake most of the runners along the way and was comfortable going through those bridges at Santa Mesa and Nagtahan. I was maintaining a sub-6-minute pace per kilometer up to kilometer # 12, but for the rest of the way up to the finish line, I started to reduce my pace due to the heat of the sun and it also made my body asked for more hydration. I was glad I had my Nathan Water Belt with me and had, from time to time, my staff giving me additional Propel Drinks along the way. Some of the runners complained of lack of water stations from the Nagtahan bridge up to the Finish Line and my staff was able to share some of my prepared water supply to some of the runners.

These runners on my back were some of the runners I passed by along the way. I was wearing an orange The North Face (TNF) shirt and my first time to use my ASICS Gel-Kayano 13 running shoes to a road race. The shoes is very comfortable and stable. I intend to use it for my San Francisco Marathon and Bulldog 50K Trail Run in Calabasas, California next month.

At this point, my pace became slower because of the heat of the sun but I ried my best to overtake and leave these runners!

I overtook the lady runner at the back when we were about to reach the Intramuros area. I was trying to catch up with a younger runner at this point but he was too fast.

I tried to smile at the Finish Line but my mind was pre-occupied with the thought of drinking a bottle of ice-cold bottled water once I get out from the chute. I was glad I finished the race.

I was able to overtake more runners on the last two kilometers before the finish line and my time on the last kilometer slowed down because of the heavy volume of traffic infront of Manila Hotel. I finished the race in 1:53:39 hours but my GF 305 registered a distance of 19.5 kilometers. I knew I would be able to improve my finish time from the 8th DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap Half-Marathon if only the race organizers were able to measure the route properly.

These were the data I gathered from my GF 305:

Distance—19.5 kilometers       Time—1:53:39 hours

Average Pace—5:51 mins/km           Average Speed—10.3 kms/hr

Maximum Speed—15.2 kms/hr        Total Calories—1,445 cal

Average HR—160 bpm                      Maximum HR—168 bpm

Total Ascent—918 meters                Total Descent—909 meters

My pictures with the “Friends of the Bald Runner” will posted tomorrow.



22 06 2008

Despite the rains and strong winds early this morning, I prepared to run the Araw ng Maynila Half-Marathon Race. I woke up at 3:10 AM, shaved, took a shower, ate my cereals and oatmeal, drank a glass of Ensure, wore my running kit and accessories and I was out of my place at 4:00 AM.

It was not raining along the road towards Luneta Park but I had observed that the wind was too strong and that I could see branches and leaves scattered along the street towards the assembly area. Thinking that the race would start at 5:00 AM and with an arrangement with my staff that I will have to get my race bib at the assembly area before the start of the race, I wanted to reach Luneta as early as possible.

When I reached Luneta at 4:30, I saw some runners waiting at the grandstand while a group of persons were talking and having a meting at the stage portion of the grandstand. As I left the car parked and proceeded to the grandstand, I could feel the strong wind that blows from the sea. I was trying to look for one of my staff who promised to give my race bib for the race. Unfortunately, I could not see one of the runners from the Armed Services and I started also to wait at the grandstand.

I was able to talk to one of the runners and he told me that the organizers of this race had invited the runners/athletes from all the universities/colleges and schools in Manila but the runners from University of Santo Tomas had just left the place. He also informed me that the race was postponed to a later date.

As I was about to leave the grandstand, a utility van arrived and the non-runners who were having a meeting went down from the grandstand and carried the food (in styrofoam packs) from the van to the grandstand. As soon as the food reached the grandstand, the volunteers/marshalls offered to us the food.

As I was about to get my share of the food, the guy who was giving me the pack told me that the race is going to be postponed to a later date because of the typhoon. The food pack consists of an egg omelette, one piece of jumbo hotdog, and lots of rice.

After getting my free breakfast, I went to my car and left the place. It started to rain and the winds blew stronger on my way back to Fort Bonifacio. I need to sleep some more!

To all the runners, I hope to see you on next Sunday’s Rush to Infinity Mizuno 15K Run. Happy running!

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