At long last I was finally able to get back to regular racing, and staging this comeback was with the Yamaha Run for Heroes held last July 03, 2011 at Bonifacio Global City. it may “just” be a half-marathon, but it was a race of different caliber.
As usual, I find it difficult to wake up so early in the morning. Racing every Sunday morning isn’t really a habit of mine lately so to make the story short, I arrived late—by about 20 minutes! I was already on the outskirts of BGC inside a cab when the race started but I still had to do some routines and look for the starting line (which was placed in a new location) and look for the baggage counter—ending up starting with the 10K. I could’ve started earlier but I don’t want to take the spotlight running the course alone.
It was one of the biggest races I’ve seen so far. Starting with the 10K crowd, I found it difficult to get a spot near the front, so I had to settle in the middle of the pack—good for my “camouflage” as being the “late runner” (or so I thought) but bad for setting a good starting pace.
I joined the 10K crowd thinking that I could hide the fact that I started late (the “timing chip excuse”) but just a few meters ahead the 10K and 21K routes split in opposing directions so I ended up running alone—the run of shame! Surprisingly though I wasn’t alone! There were still a few that dot the route, but most of them were leisurely runners. As for me, this would be my assessment run to evaluate my current state—more like a long tempo run.
Initially I found the many turns a bit annoying but I thought it was better early in the race rather than later towards the end. Eventually my route merged with the 10K so I was back with the main pack of 10K. And weaving through this dense pack was no easy feat—I was hit a few times and almost hit a few more, mostly by those who stop abruptly or overtake (make that swerve) slowly (trivial). Surprisingly, the tail pack of the 21K was just hundreds of meters away! Even the 21K pack was huge! Eventually the 3K, then 5K, then 10K separated routes so I was back in the company of half-marathoners. As our paths separated I kept thinking why I signed up for a 21K and if I had joined that I would’ve been done.
We were thankfully blessed with a good weather, but despite that I still needed much dousing of water. Being a Runrio race, water was, as expected, more than sufficient and some were even chilled. I can’t really express how good it felt having chilled water on your overheating body. Inevitably though, I found my socks and shoes soaking wet with water! Blister alert!
As usual, the Kalayaan flyover was a challenge for many runners, and I guess it did drain me a bit upon heading back to BGC. It still was a bit of an uphill from the foot of the flyover t 11th Ave. so it was a bit tough towards the end. I wasn’t even able to muster enough energy to make a sprint towards the finish! (Well there was a guy in front of me posing for pictures so overtaking him the last few hundred meters may make me look bad!)
This race was one of the most organized race I’ve ever joined, and good to say that the race marshals were competent. It was the first time I asked a marshal where the baggage counter was, and they knew exactly where to point me. Starting late, I was alone on the road (until I reached the 21K pack that is) so their guidance on the route was very much appreciated.
In terms of portable toilets, there were so many that I never saw a queue—first time I’ve seen such. I wasn’t able to use one though, so I can’t comment on its sanitation.
In terms of hydration, water was more than sufficient and there were sports drinks at several stations. Sometimes though, it was difficult for the staff to keep up with the demand leading to some empty cups. Additionally, bananas were served! It’s pretty rare for a half-marathon to have one, and it was pretty much appreciated!
As per the route, the starting and finishing lines were new to me but it was pretty much the typical 21K route originating from BGC. Distance markers were placed practically every kilometer for all distances, and it was placed accurately leading to a very accurate distance for the 21K. My GF405 registered 21.12K, or a mere 0.57% excess—practically GPS exact! The only challenge that I had with this route though was with the intersections: I had to stop at Makati Ave. for about a minute to let some vehicles through. I know this would always be a challenge and it would be impractical to have our own bridge. 😀
A finisher’s shirt awaited 21K finishers, aside from the generous goodie bags that I think every finisher got. Due to the bad weather conditions of the past week though, the delivery of the 21K finisher’s medal were delayed but every 21K runner that crossed the finish line were informed with a note stating this, along with contact info on how to follow up.
Overall, this was one of the best races I’ve joined lately, and i can’t help but compare it to my first “perfect” race—the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (2009). We’ve come a long way, and now we have races that are at par with the best races in the region—and this is just a half marathon race!
To all the finishers of this weekend’s race, Congratulations! Thank you as well Yamaha, Runrio, and all the sponsors for a highly-organized race with a very fun post-race activities! Kudos to all the people behind this great event!