Greenfield City was an unknown place to me prior to this run. All I know was that is was in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, and that’s about it, and this run became my introductory. This run was also my first “regular” race outside Metro Manila—it’s usually trail runs that take me out of the city and this race was indeed an escape from the usual.
Like what I mentioned on my earlier post, I wasn’t expecting to join this race because of its distance from home, but the free shuttle service allowed me to do just that. There were two buses that would take the participants to the assembly area of the race scheduled to leave at 4AM and arrive in the area about 4:40AM. I arrived at the pickup location 3:59AM just as one of the shuttle was about to leave. A lady I assumed was with the organizers asked us if we (I together with some fellow runners) have our race bibs with us. All we had were our shuttle passes and this lady told us that our race bibs can be claimed in the other shuttle so we were advised to take the other one instead, and so we did.
Unfortunately, the second shuttle left late, about 20 minutes later than scheduled, so as expected we arrived late. By the time we got to the assembly area the 21K race had already started. Unbeknown to us that our race bibs weren’t actually in the bus but was actually in the registration area itself in Sta. Rosa. Had I know this I would’ve taken the first bus even if I had to stand for 40 minutes in the bus—I would’ve been spared of the hassle of starting late. After disembarking the bus I still had to go trough all the trouble of going to the registration area and claim my race bib, have some restroom break, and deposit my bag at the baggage counter—all done hastily (and stressfully) that I was able to start at least 10 minutes after gun start of 21K.
It was pretty obvious when I started that I was screaming late—I was the only runner leaving the start area. I was pretty much the lone runner for about 1K which was admittedly nice, for a change, but I was a bit worried of losing my way since it was still a bit dark that time and I may miss some directional signs (I don’t really look at the race route prior to any race). Thankfully I didn’t lose my way and encountered my first co-runners after about 4 minutes and 1K of running. Yes you read it right, 4 minutes—I was in such a hurry to find other runners that I didn’t notice my pace and reached my first kilometer in 4:11 followed by a 4:44 second kilometer. This was a good pace if I was running 5K or 10K but I was running a 21K course so I had to slow down and save my energy, otherwise I may run out of juice early.
I had a very good pace for the first 14K maintaining an average pace between 5-6 minutes per kilometer but for the next 6K it slowed down to a low of 6:49 (at km 18) mostly due to the very long but gradual uphill in Laguna Technopark area.
Looking at my GF405 a 2-hour 21K was very much attainable so for the last kilometer I had to invoke every ounce of energy I still got to run as fast as I can—my fastest speed for the entire 21K at 16.3 km/h and finish at 2:00:02 (GF405 time). Officially I clocked in at 2:09:23 so had I arrived on time it may have been my first official sub-2 hour 21K race. Regardless of that this was still a new PR so I guess I have to do better on my next half marathon to finally break the 2 hour barrier.
As expected from Runrio the race was very well organized. There were more than sufficient hydration stations that serve water and sports drink (and water-soaked sponge in some stations), the most accurate kilometer marker I’ve seen in a race (almost 100% GF405 GPS-certified), ample race marshals, a very good location for a race, and of course blazing fast results. They even placed torches (sulo) alongside unlit roads as guide and illumination since it was still dark when the race started. The best part about this race for me was receiving my finisher’s medal which I didn’t really expect, so it was a pleasant surprise for me.
Of course no race is perfect. There was no loop cord given in the turn near Eton Overpass so if you were thinking of cheating you can very much get away with it in this area and cut 3K on your run. There were also critical areas that lack directional signs but they made up for it by putting race marshals.
Overall this was one of the most organized races I’ve had this year. There was also a loot bag with nice freebies from the sponsors, and free souvenir photo from PhotoVendo (which I wasn’t able to attend because of the very, very long queue).
As a newly-made tradition, every race doubles as an opportunity to again meet fellow runners from takbo.ph family (and with that of course comes a lot of picture-taking moments). We were fortunate enough to be invited by runnermhel to his home to meet his family and have breakfast. Thank you very much Mhel! It was very nice to meet you and your family and we very much enjoyed your company (not to mention the feast). 😀