SM Mall of Asia was again host to another major running event, the Rexona Run 2011, which was one of the biggest races in the country lately. Aside from serving as a preview to half of the following MILO Marathon route, the race was also a ticket to more adventures, and the debut of new timing technologies: the non-disposable Runrio timing card and the discreet B-Tag.
It had been so long since I had a race that starts at SM Mall of Asia. It is quite farther for me compared with Bonifacio Global City, but it’s much more convenient. For the first time in a very long time, I didn’t have a problem locating the baggage counter, but interestingly I found it difficult to locate the starting line—there were so many obstructions that blocked its view, and getting there was also a bit of a challenge because of the huge crowd, one of the biggest I’ve seen lately. There were also only a handful of runners (myself included) that didn’t wear the event singlet so it was a sea of orange. Even the expected Kenyans wore the event singlet!
I started about 12 minutes after 21K gunstart. Of course I wanted to start along with most 21K runners but I didn’t want to stress myself with it since I’m not running for the prize—which also made me think that I seldom see a wave gunstart in races here in the Philippines. (According to a race organizer, a leg will have this if it exceeded 5,000 runners—something not too many races have.) If there was a wave start I’d probably join the latter one, except for longer distances of course. 🙂
The first thing I noticed with this race was the close distances between hydration stations, with the first (and eventually the last) one only 500m away from the start/finish line. They are also located on both sides of the road so you don’t need to get to the other side to get water or sports drinks. The table is also quite long so you can find room despite the huge crowd. Bananas were also served at two locations past halfway of the 21K route, which was a first time I encountered on a 21K race. There was also a shower station but it was quite weak so dousing yourself with water was much better.
It had been so long since I last ran on Roxas Blvd. and while it may seem like an easy route, the half marathon route features running up (and down) two flyovers which may arguably be more challenging than the prominent Kalayaan flyover of Bonifacio Global City routes. I was hoping to better my previous half marathon time since this route seemed easier, but my lack of mileage before the race due to work seemed to have its effects. Hand-carrying a bottle all throughout the race was also more tiring that I had anticipated so all these combined resulted in one of the most tiring races I’ve ever had. I had marathons and ultras where I finished in a much better condition! In the end I just had to be contented with a sub-2 hour finish, and the lovely finisher’s medal at the end.
After the race, Rexona entertained runners with one of the most interesting activity area I’ve ever seen! In a way it’s like a section of a theme park with all the activities you can do. And as much as I wanted to do many of these activities, I was really exhausted, and the very long queues weren’t too inviting. I wasn’t even able to drop my raffle entry for the raffle!
I originally intended to go to Bonifacio High Street after the race where many of my other friends were, participating in another race, but aside from being exhausted, the sun shone brightly at the time, which wasn’t very motivating. For most of the time during the race we were fortunate to have some good cloud cover, no rains, but afterwards it became hot.
Overall, the race was as expected, excellent! Everything you expect from a great race, perhaps even more, was here. Even the race results were furnished fast, although I don’t understand why there were isolated reports of inaccurate timing despite the dual timing system.
With regards to the use of the non-disposable timing cards, I honestly find it a bit more tedious than the disposable timing chips (D-Tag), but if it’s for the sake of reducing waste for the environment I’m still up for it. I hope thought that someone formulate some means of properly disposing (and hopefully recycling) these timing chips (D-Tags, B-Tags, ChampionChip, etc.) for races that don’t use the non-disposable timing cards.
Thank you Rexona for coming up with an excellent and unique race! Congratulations for a successful event, and hope that this won’t be the last of this run. You stood up to your name, and didn’t let us down. Too bad though, I have no chance of winning any prize in the raffle. 😦
To all the people behind the success of this race, thank you for a job well done!
To all the runners, congratulations!