Spontaneity at the Philippine International Marathon (Part 2)

Getting complimentary race kits literally just hours before race day comes with a price.  We were surprised at what we saw: a decent singlet, a piece of paper that looked like an event flyer, and… wait, that’s it?!  Apparently we were just a singlet away from a “bandit”—no race number to distinct us and for use at the finish.  The “flyer” served as a “generic bib”—if it was a cinema ticket it would be a gate pass.  It became official—we were complimentary runners!

This is part of a series

Fortunately I still had some tricks under my sleeves—I still have the regular race kit from a fellow runner who incidentally registered twice so I’m still “officially” in the race.   The problem was that I need to get it on race day itself—another scenario for trouble.  I hate it when I’m right.


Before 4AM the gang met up at a 24-hour fastfood a few hundred meters from the starting line.  We had our last minute “carbo-loading” and after a few minutes we were off for the assembly area.  It was such a quick stay that I only had a sip of my coffee, literally.  The trouble now is I still have yet gotten my race bib—the one with a number, that is.


It was one of the most attended races so far, and with the backing of ABS-CBN, the assembly area was very lively.  In fact, the race was being broadcasted live nationwide.  The trouble is with all the runners around, I can’t seem to find my friend to claim my race bib.  Frustrating.

Gun Start

Just before 4:30AM the race officially commenced.  I still wasn’t able to get my race bib so I checked in my “generic bib” (prior to gun start of course) as proof that I started at the right place.  I even forgot to start my GF405 after gun start.  I thought that my friend was with Team Logan at that time so I waited for them to start, but after virtually walking for a while I got really bored and just decided to proceed without the race bib.  It turned out that Team Logan started a few minutes late, and my friend wasn’t with them.

Due to all the confusion I broke my targets so early in the race.  I decided to try to catch some time but unfortunately those that I was supposed to pace seemed to start slow as well.  As I mentioned earlier I decided to join this race as a pacer to have a more purposeful “bandit” run but apparently even that plan would fail.  I sure would love to correct my early mistakes but I know that I can’t force it to my “stakeholders” because that would mean doing a five minute per kilometer pace until delays were compensated—too fast, too early.   I also felt somewhat responsible because they probably waited for me.  Plans are being messed up, time for some compromise.

Back in the Game

What I didn’t realize was that my friend who had “my” race bib was indeed part of the relay team but would be starting not from the starting area but on the next relay station.  While approaching the area I heard someone call my name and to my delight it was the person I’ve been looking for all this time! Finally I got “my” race bib, and I’m an official participant of the race.

Running along Mendiola

The Grim Reaper’s List

The ETA list that I mentioned in a post a while ago is back.  That was when I realized the gravity of the situation—we were way off target.  The original plan was to set a pace of 6:30 (per kilometer) but we were running much closer to 6:55—even slower than the average pace needed to finish in four hours and 50 minutes.  We had a dire need to compensate!  My mind was getting nuts thinking of how I can effectively set the pace that would not burn my stakeholders out too early, while catching up for lost time, while still being able to give them their walk break!  If I was a calculator I would probably yield “E”—Error.

Sunrise over Manila

Confessions of a Grim Reaper

I wasn’t about to give up hope so early.  While I still can cover up the severity of the situation (we were gradually losing more time away from target) I would, if it would help motivate my “clientele.”  In fairness we were able be as little as a minute off schedule by skipping a walk break for kilometer 4-5, but eventually I had to give us a walk-break.  It was very difficult to tell them how much time we lost by not adhering to the 6:30 pace but I totally understand because even though the route was virtually flat and at sea level, bridges that we cross aren’t.  The consistently spaced water stations (that also served as relay stations for the 42K relay) didn’t help us get any faster as we tend to stop.  Eventually even the 10-minute buffer I planned to finish within cutoff of five hours ran out—and I can’t set the pace any faster.

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Spontaneity at the Philippine International Marathon:

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