I’ve always loved Saturday night races: there’s no risk of a sunburn and there’s absolutely no need to wake-up early! As such, I was really excited with my first night race of the year, Energizer Night Race Manila.
Energizer Night Race Manila is quite unique as all participants use the provided headlamp. I remembered having this same headlamp years back for my first ultra-marathon and it was quite expensive in those days. These days it comes free with every Energizer Night Race registration—how lucky can runners these days get? Sure the face value of today’s races sky rocketed, but with Energizer Night Race, it was “sulit” (value for money) as the combined costs (based on SRP) of the contents of the race kit practically makes it a giveaway. These headlamps make the event seem like a race of fireflies, and not only that it looked cool, it was also for a good cause. (Click here for more details on the global Energizer Night Races)
When I arrived at the event’s activity area to look for the Baggage Counter, I was quite surprised to see a bib number-based system of keeping your bags. I first saw it during my Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in 2009 and I thought I’d never see this implemented in the Philippines. It makes practical sense as it makes fetching your items much faster after the race.
My good first impression was a bit lessened soon after when the marshals around the starting line didn’t inform the crowd where they should line up—we actually thought we were already inside the runners’ coral only to find out we were actually on the other side blocking the race! Good thing that the crowd was quite cooperative and easy to manage. It wasn’t until the hosts’ announcement did we know which leg comes first (it was the “10K”) and until the actual gun start nobody really knew what time the “5K” (where I belonged) should start. The organizer must not be too particular with punctuality that’s why they didn’t even announce beforehand what times the 10K and 5K actually should start.
Energizer Night Race Manila isn’t really a “professional race” that you get to join to set new personal bests—it’s a fun run to raise awareness about Energizer’s “that’s positivenergy™” campaign, and it’s quite obvious with all the props lined up along the route of the course. “Stay positive” was the motto of the night. Unfortunately, there will always be those that takes their races seriously, even in fun runs, and these runners didn’t stay in the positive for long. Some race marshals don’t seem to know where runners should be directed so at times it was really confusing, particularly in the University Parkway area where we had to run to the other lane by crossing the center isle of the road (by design?). The 10K runners were more confused as their route involved a certain number of loops around the area, with many runners not knowing how many loops exactly to take.
Personally I joined Energizer Night Race Manila 2013 for fun and not to set new personal bests so those “shortcomings” during the race was of no bother to me. Unfortunately, this is 2013, not 1993. Just about everyone has a GPS device, and just about every runner is obsessed with the accuracy of the distance of the race they join. Hearing complaints that the race was short from just about everyone timing their races just after the finish line, I knew that the race organizer is going to be in the “hot seat.” Personally I logged my “5K” race at least 500m short (10% inaccurate) and some “10K” runners reportedly logging only 6.8K (32% short)!
After conducting an investigation through the race organizer, our understanding is that a barricade was inadvertently moved from its original location, leading to confusion for some runners and mar…shals [sic] concerning the 10 km course. This resulted in some of the 10 km runners completing only 6.8 km and we consequentially awarded those legitimate winners of the unplanned 6.8 km course.
Nonetheless, I still found Energizer Night Race Manila 2013 a fun event and I’ll look forward to an improved race next year. #StayPositive
Pictures from the event are posted in Energizer Philippines’ Facebook page.