This is the 3rd edition of this trail running race in Hongkong. It started with only 200 runners on its first edition and then followed with 750 runners on its 2nd edition and now, it has 1,213 participants coming from 40 different countries. The registration period lasted for only a few days.
The following is the tally of runners by each country.
This is the list of runners who will represent the country in this year’s edition.
Fernando Cunanan Jr
Rienzirobert Del Rosario
Alain Cuchas Llaguno
Ralph Angelo Real
Jessie Lou Sulague
Mark Carlo Villafuerte
Cheryl Bihag (F)
Verlie Bunao (F)
Laarni De Guzman (F)
Mallette De La Riva (F)
21 Manuel Dela Serna
Good luck to everybody.
To review on the last year’s edition of the race, you can click on the following links:
Last year, I ran the MILO Marathon Manila Eliminations but I DNFd at Km 23 because of my injury on my left knee.
This year, I did not have plans or intention of joining the MILO Marathon Manila Eliminations as I was out of the country when the media launching activity was held. However, my friend, Jonel, informed me through FB that he was able to register me to run the Half-Marathon distance which I thought to be a nice event for me to see the runners and at the same time to be seen by new runners after I’ve been busy going to the mountains and enjoying the beauty of trail running and hiking to the peak of mountains.
It was also a chance to expose one of my elite runners whom I’ve been training/coaching for ultra trail runs in the province. Danin Arenzana had been with me for 3 years and he has been consistently training for mountain runs. In his debut race at the Mt Ugo Trail Marathon Race (42K) by Jonel of FrontRunner Magazine last April of this year, he placed First Runner-Up, competing with the fast runners of Baguio City. I registered him for the MILO Half-Marathon distance as a test run on flat and paved surface.
As I said, I joined this race to be seen by other runners and also try to look for Marcelo and give him whatever I could receive from friends which they committed to be given to him. After giving some advice to Danin and making sure that he is positioned infront of the starters, I positioned myself at the back of the pack and find out how my body would perform without any structured training program as a preparation for this race.
The day before this race, I finished a 10K race in Fort Magsaysay where I finished in 1:02:15 hours. The course was relatively flat but there are hills to overcome which made the course very challenging. (Note: I will make a separate Race Report on this run). While traveling to Manila, I could feel some pain in my knees but with some massage, full sleep/rest and “voodoo” drinks, I was ready for a half-marathon race the following day.
On Race Day, I was surprised to find out that it took me almost one minute to cross the starting line from the back of the pack. It showed how many runners had registered and started for this race. I was informed that the number of runners had reached to 38,000+ making it the most attended running event in Metro Manila/in the country so far. This makes the MILO Marathon to be consistently called as the “most prestigious running event in the country”.
Well, going back to my performance. I was too slow and I understand that my age is slowly catching up with what is in my mind. My mind would say that I am still fast and strong as if I am 40 years old but my legs and my breathing were saying the reality—that I am already slow and getting older! On the first 10K, I was averaging a pace of 6:15-6:30 minutes per kilometer but on the 2nd half of the race, I began to slow down and had to walk before and after drinking water at the aid stations. My last 5 kilometers were really painful as I would experience some cramps on my calves. I had to walk on the last kilometer of the race. I would finish the race in 2:25+ hours. My slowest finish time so far for a half-marathon distance!
There are no alibis or complaints about my performance. I simply did not prepare for this race. At least, I was able to gauge the level of my running fitness with this race. Which means, I lack the endurance and speed to sustain a consistent pace for the distance. Damn those swimming laps which I’ve done as cross-training to lessen the pain on my knees, hoping that I could improve my swimming endurance coming from a zero and a non-swimmer for the past months and weeks. I guess, I am a land animal and not a runner trying to glide like a fish in the water.
It’s a blessing in disguise that my road races last weekend (10K & 21K) have started again my focused training in running with the hope of joining more road and trail races in the coming months. Running and hiking to the peak of the mountains will still be a part of the training. My knees are still in pain but some adjustments in my training will have to be done for me to be back in consistent training.
Danin, my elite athlete, surprisingly landed #9 overall in the Half-Marathon Race with a time of 1:30+ hours. He performed well and he has the potential to run faster as I advised him to restructure and make some adjustments in his training program. We will see him more in trail running events!
It worthy to note also that my Elite Team Bald Runner/Philippine Army runners, Elmer Sabal and Gerald Sabal placed 2nd and 3rd Overall in the Marathon (42K) Elimination Race, respectively. Elmer finished in 2:45+ hours while Gerald finished in 2:46+ hours. I hope these runners will train some more to be able to win in the MILO Marathon FINALS in December. Danin will run again the Half-Marathon Race in the Finals, hoping to improve his time and ranking.
Congratulations to MILO Philippines and to Coach Rio De La Cruz (RUNRIO) for the successful conduct of this year’s Manila Elimination Race. You did a splendid job! No doubt, this running event will stay consistently as the “most prestigious running event in the country” in the years to come. Plus the fact that you have provided more running shoes to more students and potential runners around the country through your “Donate A Shoe” Program!
I am starting to love (again!) the lighted roads of MOA since I am trying my best to build-up my mileage for my next marathon race (MILO Marathon Elimination on July 4). I started my run at 7:30 PM along the 5.5-Km loop which I expanded to 6.5-Km loop on my second lap around the MOA Complex. However, after running for 12 kilometers, I ended my workout to greet my elite runners who were registered to run in a road race which was scheduled to start at 9:00 PM. After talking to my elite athletes, I had the time to observe what was going on at the Start/Finish & Assembly Areas of this Fun Run.
The “fun run” which is sponsored by all the Call Centers has all the “works”—loud music from a sound system; lots of booths with free products for the runners; booths for pictorials; powerful lighting systems; a rock band; photograhers; big tarpaulins of sponsors; lots of race officials & marshals; start & finish arc; video camera team that goes from one group to another group of runners to conduct interviews; cash prizes for the top winners and above all, the presence of “newbie” runners and the Kenyans!
The fun started when the registration was conducted “on site” few hours before the scheduled start of the race. The second “funny” thing is that a runner has to pay Five Hundred Pesos for a 10K race; Three Hundred Pesos for the 3K Race; and Four Hundred For the 5K Race. The participants who are employees of Call Centers had lower rates, a difference of One Hundred Pesos from the Non-Call Center participants. Since I’ve finished my 12K run before the race started, I opted to save my money and instead be at the sidelines to cheer for my elite runners and at the same time observe the conduct of the event.
It was no longer funny when the start of the race was delayed from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The reason was that more runners are still registering at the booths and the race organizer had to wait until everybody had registered. Finally, the 10K race started first at 10:15 PM and after 15 minutes, the 5K runners were released. After another 10 minutes, the 3K runners which consisted of the biggest bulk of runners were off on the road. In my estimate, there were less than a 100 runners in the 10K distance; 150+ in the 5K; and almost 300 for the 3K run.
After 10 minutes that the 3K runners were released, the fastest among the 3K runners started to approach the Finish Line. I was surprised to hear from the RACE Officials asking the approaching runner “what is the race distance is he competing with?” What? I said to myself, this Race Official does not know how to distinguish the color-coded bibs given by them to their runners? WTF??? Personally, I also could hardly distinguish the color dark-green from the dark-blue color during nighttime even if the streets are lighted. (Blue bibs were for the 10K runners while the green bibs were for the 3K runners)
Well, one thing leads to another. This is a fun run where the route was not fully explained. The runners were told by the Race Organizer just to follow the directional signs and get directions from the road marshals along the route. I am sorry to say that many of the leading runners of the 10K race were lost! In the end, I even acted as a “volunteer” in reminding the 10K finishers to enter their respective “chute” so that their time will be registered.
Due to some of the technical problems encountered during the race, the awarding of winners was delayed. It was already 12 midnight when the Race Organizers finally awarded the winners. My elite Team Bald Runner members were able to place #4 in the 10K race; 1st, 3rd & 4th in the 5K race; and 4th in the 3K distance. This was their second race for the day and 3rd race for the weekend!!!
For sure, I will be going back to MOA Complex for more of my endurance runs in the evenings!
My rule of thumb in selecting a road race to join when there are two or more road races in a particular day is to select the road race with the farthest distance! So, I’ve chosen the Eco Dash: The Ayala Malls Environment 21K Run as my race run early this morning.
I was already at the starting area 15 minutes before 5:00 AM (the scheduled start of the 21 K race) and I was hoping that the 21K race will start on time. However, the 21K runners are not yet in the corral/starting area and I knew already that the race will start later than the time it was scheduled. While waiting before going to the corral, I did a short stretching and slow jogging drills just to warm up my body as it was raining. I was able to see familiar faces who are “die-hard” and “hardcore” runners belonging to the MASTERS group and from the younger ones. I had a brief chat with the HING’S Running Club, the Hardcore Group, the takbo.ph group, the MASTERS runners who joined last week’s 15K race in Camp Aguinaldo, my brother General Samie with Babette & nephew Lemuel; Sir Amado aka Reinier6666, and the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner. Simple words/statement of guidance and encouragement to my elite runners before the start of the race had always been a part of my ritual to boost their morale.
The race started at 5:30 AM after 3 “demonstrators” conducted a simple stretching exercises infront of the runners with the beat of music at the background. And all of a sudden while I was talking to my Elite Runner Rene Desuyo, I just heard the sound of the starting gun and we were off.
My race strategy was to maintain an even pace of 5:00 mins per kilometer or faster and “attack” the uphill climbs at the Kalayaan Flyover and Bayani Road with “surges” or “fartlek” runs with 1-minute duration which I repeat until I reach the top. I usually count my strides as my left foot strikes the ground up to 90 or 100 and repeat the process by counting back to 1. I usually do these “surges” and “fartleks” when I want to overtake and pass someone who is a faster runner infront or beside me. This is a good technique which anybody could do to improve their time and performance in road racing.
On the first 2 kilometers of the race, the runners’ distance with one another stretched out and I was happy to maintain my average pace at 5:00 mpk with ample space on the road but a “newbie” runner kept on making “surges” on me and made criss-cross cutting on my lane/direction as he overtook me for so many times before we reached the Kalayaan Flyover. I did not mind him and continued with my pace but as soon as we hit the uphill climb, he slowed down and did not bother me anymore.
The rain kept on pouring and the road was full of flowing water and some areas were with “potholes” but the runners were not deterred from the adverse condition but for me, it was very comforting that I felt refreshed with the cold rain and seemingly fresh air. I really appreciate the presence of so many water stations and Gatorade Stations along the route and I observed that our Race Organizers had improved on this but I still have to wish the presence of longer tables for these water stations in future races.
I enjoyed running along the wide streets of Makati Business District—Paseo De Roxas; Makati Avenue; up to the turn-around beside the Shang-rila Makati Hotel, without any vehicles. The road marshals were very efficient in controlling the vehicles in all the crossing/intersections. I was running alone while I was running along those wide streets.
On my way back at the Kalayaan Flyover, I met the bigger group of the 10K runners and I had to take a limited space at the right side of the road and I was hearing a lot of greetings from the runners I met on this part of the route. Despite the blurred images of runners I saw through my peripheral vision, a simple wave or “high-five” to these runners was enough to acknowledge their greetings. Thanks, guys! Your greetings kept me running at a faster pace!
As I turned right at Rizal Drive (the street along the old Jollibee and McDonald at The Fort), I saw a lot or 3K & 5K runners & walkers who filled the whole street and I could not see the 21K runners ahead of me! Knowing the route for the 21K race, I kept on passing and weaving through the slower runners until I reached 5th Avenue. Once I turned right on this street, I saw that the 21K runners infront of me had gained so much distance from me and I started to “surge” on the uphill portion until I reached the McKinley Road. As I reached Lawton Avenue, I was able to pass more runners and I was surprised that almost all the HING’S runners were infront of me. These MASTERS runners are really good and fast runners! I think their Ice Cream & Ice Buko and other Ice Candies mixed with Ice Cold Beer is their “secret” in running and road racing!
Running along Lawton Avenue up to the end of Bayani Road-C5 turnaround was a lonely one but I kept on looking on my watch just to be sure that I kept my average pace and I observed that I became slower when I attacked the uphill climbs at the Bayani Road by 10 seconds. However, I made sure to pick-up my pace when I reach the downhill/plain portion of the road. More “surges” or “fartleks” along the way and more counting mentally until I was back at The Fort area and up to the Finish Line.
For the last 4 kilometers, my GF 305 registered an average pace of 4:35 minutes per kilometer, a pace faster than my 5K average pace at the Mommy Milkshake last week, and I found out that I have more strength left after completing the race. I finished the 21.06K distance in 1:45: 25 hours, registering an average pace of 5:00 minutes per kilometer based from my GF 305 watch.
After a brief rest to drink two cups of water and some “photo-ops”, I ran another 3.6 kilometers around the BHS loop and extending the distance up to 5th Avenue as my “cool-down” run. It was nice to know and witness the awarding of the members of the Elite Bald Runner as Champions in the Men’s & Women’s Champions in the 21K Race ( Rene Desuyo & Anna Vargas) and Champion in the 10K Race (Jujet De Asis).
I am satisfied with the result of my run in this race. Based from my previous post on how to predict finish time for the Marathon Race, my finish time for this Half-Marathon (after adjustments) could, hopefully, give me a finish time of sub-3:45 hours.
In the early morning of July 16, 2009, I was invited for a meeting with the leadership of NESTLE, Philippines in the presence of his staff and Mr Jim Lafferty of P & G Philippines. The discussion was centered about my Elite Running Team Program which I had organized 14 months ago. Being the most consistent corporate entity in the country which had been supportive to running events, I was also informed that NESTLE has been closely looking for “ways and means” to contribute in the country’s quest for our first Olympic Gold Medal in any of the Sports events. Since my Elite Running Team Program was also in conjunction with NESTLE’s objective, the meeting resulted to positive efforts to enhance the training and exposure of the Elite Team Bald Runner in running events within the country and the possibility of exposure to road running events outside of the country.
As Mr Nandu Nandkishore, Chairman & CEO of NESTLE, Phils., had said during the meeting, “We have to start “walking” together towards our destination”. For almost one month since our first meeting, NESTLE, Phils and the Elite Team Bald Runner had been “walking” together.
To Mr Nandu, his staff, and Mr Jim Lafferty, thank you very much!
Let the following pictures describe the said visit & meeting at NESTLE Philippines.
Have you seen “angels” wearing running shoes? Yes, they are all everywhere! They don’t use their “wings” to fly but they have their running legs and feet (with their running shoes) to help those who are in need.
Since Tuesday this week, I’ve been doing at least 30-minute active recovery runs in the afternoons and in these recovery runs, I met these “angels in running shoes” and each of them provided support to the projects being administered by the Bald Runner.
Last night, Jonel aka Bugobugo85, Jay Lee Cu-Unjieng, Charlie Chua and Armand aka Pinoy Mafiosi, members of the Hardcore Runners of Team Bald Runner donated eight (8) pieces of Bed Mattress to the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner. These guys will be joining the TNF 100 Sacobia’s Solo Event.
Javy Olives of Team Bald Runner-Professional Group and presently training for the Camarines Sur Triathlon Event this coming August 2009, donated five (5) pairs of used running shoes.
Jael Wenceslao of Team Bald Runner-Professional Group, who is leaving today for the USA, donated seven (7) pieces of “never-been-used” Finisher’s T-shirts and singlets for my Project Donate A Shirt. Jael is going to join the 2009 Eugene Marathon (Eugene, Oregon) this coming Sunday, 03 May 2009. After finishing his first Marathon Race at the 2008 SC Singapore Marathon last December with a time of 5+ hours, I told him that he can finish the race in less than 4 hours. Jael had been a regular member in our “runabouts” and he had shown a great improvements in his latest races.
To these “angels”, thank you once again. May the “Force” be with you always in your running adventures!