One of my most awaited races for the year, Adobo Run After Dark didn’t disappoint as far as being one of the most fun events of the year! It was a real fun run, and here’s how it was from my perspective:
My story began with getting the last but most important piece of my “costume.” I ran out of ideas so I had to settle with something simple, timely, and most of all, running-friendly. Of course a toy store would be at the top of the list on where to find it, which I did, but I was surprised how long the queue was to the cashier—it was like Christmas came early. Luckily, my missing piece surprisingly had a 20% discount bringing my cost down. 🙂
Next stop was SM Mall of Asia. The sun was slowly setting on the horizon of Manila Bay when I arrived. It was here where I did my last minute preparations including my last meal before the race.
I had no idea where the starting line was except for the keyword “Aseana” so I had to look it up from Google Maps. Then I realized that it wasn’t as close from SM Mall of Asia as I had expected. From the map it looks close, but the scale in these areas of Metro Manila is just huge! Add to that the fact that the short-cut bridge isn’t yet passable so I had to take the long way to the area.
Arriving in front of the new Department of Foreign Affairs Office (DFA) I was greeted with a long queue of what appears to me to be participants of the event. Apparently there are shuttle services that bring runners to the starting area more than a kilometer away, but these shuttles don’t carry that many, especially with the good turnout, there’s not that many in service, and they don’t run fast! According to one of the event bouncers, these shuttles are electric (the reason for not being that fast) and some of them are being charged (the reason for the limited service), so we’re advised (if we wanted to) to just walk. I was a bit concerned that I may not have enough time to finalize my costume (which was halfway at that time) so I walked the 1.2K distance, which for the record was the longest I had to walk to a starting line.
I was surprised when I arrived at the starting area—there were only a handful that wore costumes! In fairness most of them were wearing the event singlet, but it does take a lot of fun out of an otherwise fun event. Even the 3K costume run which was about to start a few minutes from then was dull. I really felt awkward changing into my costume so I decided to wait for my friends—we had agreed to put on costumes and run the 5K.
Finally, Banjo “Ulikblogrunner” and Wilbert “Vballrunner” arrived; I no longer was “solo” in a costume. They too were a bit reluctant to put on their costumes but when Banjo saw someone at the changing tent changing into his “revealing” costume, we had no reason to be shy. A few minutes later the rest of the gang arrived, of course in their own costumes.
I had no plans of running this race as my goal was to have fun. At the back of my mind was the fear of breaking my costume while running, but of course I didn’t want to run solo. At first I was running with Banjo, Wilbert, and Gigi, but later on I stuck with Gigi “The Fit Mommy Now”. Costume-wise, our outfits are a perfect match (or so they say in Tagalog slang, “unkabogable”) as she was a red-hot lady devil while I was an all-white angel. Balanced. 🙂
While we were chatting/running I noticed that there were quite a lot of seemingly first timers with the race. We were in the 5K but I saw a lot of walkers. Don’t get me wrong, I actually think it’s nice to see a lot of new recruits! I too started with a 5K, and I too walked some parts during my first race. Just keep running!
We started real slow but inevitably sped up as we warmed up, normally cruising just above the six-minute per kilometer pace. It came to us as a surprise when we saw that we’re finishing below 30 minutes! Uh oh! Garmins may not be 100% accurate, but they don’t exactly lie: 4.5K.
Upon crossing the finish line we were presented with a good looking finisher’s medal. All over the activity area were free products from sponsors but I guess most runners were happy with the free-flowing Manila Beer! There were also performances held on the stage together with raffles and giveaways.
Here are my observations on the race:
- Excellent hydration
- Fun and festive atmosphere
- With a good cause
- Finisher’s medal for 5K and 15K
- Quick publishing of race results
- Dark sections in some parts of the route
- More than 10% short for all distances
- Distant starting area
- Baggage claiming
I was asked which is worse of the event’s two major offenses, and I think it’s the first one, the unlit sections of the route. Normally I’d say the short distance but this being a fun run, I couldn’t care less. It was also explained by the race organizers that they had to make a last minute adjustment with the route for the safety of the runners. It was an exodus weekend and for the benefit of both runners and motorists, the route was diverted away from the major roads, thus leading to the shorter than desired distance.
The unlit sections unfortunately could’ve been addressed earlier. Since we’re talking about safety, running on unfamiliar grounds in the dark isn’t exactly safe, more so if there are children, and especially if there are those in costumes. Since it’s a night run, it’s expected to be dark, but we didn’t expect it to be running in the dark! Anyways, it’s not pitch black as some lights from the nearby highway creeps to the area, and our eyes adjust to the darkness after a while.
Baggage claiming was another issue, and I think it stems from the inexperience or lack of training of the people manning the area. It is normal but at this age of RunRio races it becomes so much more pronounced. No harm done to me, but it was very risky.
As far as the isolated starting/activity area, I can’t help but wonder why it had to be placed where it was placed. I first thought that the venue was a sponsor but I didn’t see any flyers from Aseana from the finisher’s kit so that must not be it. The area near DFA is still practically empty, they may have attracted more onsite registrants if the activity area was placed there, and they could’ve saved energy because they wouldn’t need a shuttle to transport runners to and from the activity area.
Overall, Adobo Run After Dark was a great and fun event. Sure there were some things that went wrong, but I think it’s a great opportunity for the race organizers to learn and hopefully make more great events in the future. Hopefully these shortcomings don’t deter another Halloween run for next year, which I’ll be eagerly looking forward to! For now, they’d have to suck it all up, and learn.
To all finishers, congratulations!