Run for Home can be proud to be one of the country’s largest race in terms of attendance with more than 6,000 runners and raising more than a million pesos for charity, according to the race organizers. This was aside from the fact that this race introduced disposable electronic timing chips in the Philippine running scene for the first time. This race was a joint project of Globe and Ayala Land for the benefit of Habitat for Humanity and organized by finishline.ph.
The Review: From a 21K Perspective
In terms of the race course I’ll give it an “A” for an excellent route which was at the same time very a very accurate 21K. Attendance like previously mentioned was also excellent and so were the cause of the race. Unfortunately this race was plagued by so many “mishaps” that really irked a lot of runners, from registration to claiming of the kits to the actual race itself. Here are my breakdowns:
- Very accurate distance of 21K (Garmin GPS-certified)
- Very good route
- Disposable electronic timing chip (no need for returns)
- Accurate distance markers and plenty of directional markers
- For a good cause
- Great attendance
- Lousy water stations
- “Clueless” people at the assembly area
- Unreasonably very, very long queues
- Insufficient supply of the carbonated drink after the race (another distribution problem?)
- Some road marshals don’t know how to manage vehicular and runner traffic
- No medals for non-placers (not even for 21K)
- No certificate
For a race being handled by finishline.ph I am very surprised at how much loose-end got into this race. Pre-race was anything but clear and smooth, and on race day there was still not much sign of improvement.
Imagine asking the people on the booths where the baggage counter was and nobody knew! One even told me that there wasn’t any! Wow! Wasn’t people placed in the assembly area so they could be of assistance to runners? Eventually after searching in the dark (literally since it was early morning) I found it. Probably due to lack of manpower this counter had probably the longest queue after the race, next being the line for the carbonated drink. I think I spent close to half an hour here just to get my bag.
Primarily a timing chip is used to capture a runner’s time so regardless of what time you passed through the start/finish line only your actual running time would be captured. Positioned strategically, chip readers along the route also aide in preventing cheating and gives additional lap data for runners. And of course utilized well it should also mean fast and hassle-free results for both the organizers and runners. In the case of this race I think it got stuck on the first item. The mats that activate the chips were placed along the route but personally I think is not in the optimal location—there were so many places that professional cheaters may take advantage of especially that loop cords were no longer given on critical points. I’m not sure how much it costs to place mats like these but with the number we saw on the race it could’ve been sufficient if placed well. As for the third, past races by Runrio utilizing “manual” record saving was much faster. As of press time no race results have been published, even unofficially.
Lousy Water Stations
Being a race handled by finishline.ph I gambled that there would be sufficient hydration stations. True, there was but the service runners got from most of these stations were poor. The race had already started but may of the stations were just being set up. There were also a lot of cups but not all were filled with water or carbonated drink. I even had to stop twice just to get a severely needed water ration because you had to pick it up yourself with a 50% chance of getting an empty cup. And yes being unlucky as I am had an empty cup at least once so I had to run till the next station. And to the sponsor of the carbonated drink, I’m sorry for being brutally honest but for me and many runners carbonated drinks aren’t exactly ideal for running (it was more of a dire need for elements not found in plain water).
I think some of the road marshals weren’t informed properly on how to manage vehicles and runners. Surely you can’t close all the roads that cross the route, but since the road was “leased” for the race, runners should have priority. There was one in particular that was manning one intersection with BGC that had it the other way around—he was stopping a couple of runners just to give way to a car and two motorists. Regardless of the time the safety of the runners should come first since it would be the runners that would get injured, not the motorists in their vehicles.
A good race doesn’t start and end on the race day, within the race course, and during the race hours. Ultimately a good race is made by an overall “feel-good” experience, from registration to getting your accurate results, fast. It’s a plus if it had a good cause or value for money but then again in my opinion the total experience we get defines the race regardless if it was a few meters short or had no freebies. This race had a huge potential with lots of positive points but it had fallen short of many runners expectations, so for the first time I’m giving a rating of fair for this race. Hope that the organizers learn from these experiences and come up with a better overall runner experience next time.
Rating: Fair (2½/5)