Takbo.ph Runfest is one of the races that I always look forward to each year for sentimental reasons. I always think of it as Takbo.ph “pioneer” group’s annual reunion, back from the days when race registration cost ₱250 and a big race does not exceed thousand runners.
From the start I already knew that this is going to be a happy Sunday. I had just entered the 21K runners’ coral and I had already met some old familiar faces. Despite the number of runners present that day, the race somehow felt intimate. With the number of runners joining each races lately, I can hardly remember when the last time I met someone familiar on a race.
This was one of the races where I actually looked at the route beforehand. I usually don’t bother as there’s usually a “template” route whether you start in Bonifacio Global City or SM Mall of Asia, but this time around I took the time to see the 21K route and saw some new “twists” from the usual. Kalayaan flyover was placed early into the route, a section of C5 was included, and the numerous turns were placed last. Somehow I knew it would be challenging, but it was more challenging than I had expected.
By now most runners joining Manila races are pretty much familiar with Kalayaan flyover, but for many of us the ramp from Market! Market! to C5 is new (myself included). From Market! Market! it’s a long way down to C5, and a long way back up. Afterwards, the numerous turns around University Parkway followed which I didn’t realize until lately were anything but flat! Indeed, the hardest part of the 21K route were the last parts!
Upon reaching the finish line I again was greeted by familiar faces. Don’t you just love it when people you consider family not only greets you on your finish, but also puts your finisher’s medal on you? Takbo.ph Runfest is really a “family affair” for me. This was why I felt in love with running many years ago—despite being a solitary sport, you’re never really alone as you enjoy the camaraderie of fellow runners, which eventually become your friends. I’m not sure if it’s still the same with those newly introduced to the sport, but that’s how we were!
Overall, I find Takbo.ph Runfest a great and fun race. Distance markers were consistently placed every kilometer so we could keep track of our pace even without GPS trackers, there were bananas in at least two places along the route, more than sufficient hydration with Pocari Sweat as sports drink (which I so love as it was my preferred sports drink when I was starting to run), there was a water shower which I so miss dearly (which I don’t see in any races in the country lately), customizable race bibs, challenging route, and finisher’s shirt and medal. Even the post-race activity area was full of generous sponsors so I ended up adding quite a bunch of items aside from the finisher’s loot bag. In fact, the only issue I had with this year’s Runfest was the claiming of my bag from the baggage counter since they just placed the bags on top of each other and didn’t formulate a system to make retrieval quick.
(If I were to suggest the cheapest, most efficient way I found, it’s the one used with the recent adidas KOTR: placing a sequenced number on the bag and on the bib of the runner so upon retrieval, they know exactly where to find the bag as the number of the bag is in the order it was accepted.)
After the race, and I mean after the last runner crossed the finish line and the finish line arch was removed, it was so nice to have that post-race late breakfast with the gang. Gosh, I so missed these guys a lot! Hopefully we get to do this old-forgotten tradition again soon.
To Takbo.ph, Congratulations on a great event and happy fifth anniversary to us!
To all the finishers, Congratulations! You may view the race results here.