Rexona Run 2013: Ran to the Beat, Beat the Sun and Beat Myself

It was another sleepless race.  A half marathon starting at 3AM.  That’s got to be the earliest 21K I joined that I can remember.  You’d have to sleep before sundown if you were to get a good sleep before the race.

Entrance to the activity area

When you joining weekend races, sleep will have to take on a lesser priority, and when it comes to out of town or very early races, it becomes optional.  It’s a good thing that my body can manage “sleepless” races since I don’t do it every weekend.  I just focus on the goal at hand: get to the race venue and run!

Conspirator to this very early half marathon: adidas Energy BOOST

Rexona Run 2013 was so early that I had quite some difficulty catching a bus.  I had to wait several minutes before I got a ride, which made me worry a bit if I’d make it on time.  So far my record for this year when it comes to attending races had been flawless—I always made it before gun start.  I don’t want to start breaking that record now.  Fortunately, Sunday very early morning traffic is a bliss and I arrived at the venue, SM Mall of Asia, with time to spare.

Arriving at the race area early is important for me because I do have some prerequisites before running.  The first is to get a cheeseburger from this international fast food chain (which oftentimes is just around popular race event sites) which serves as my breakfast or pre-race meal.  The second is using the portalets, for a “lighter feeling” sort of speak.  And finally, depositing my bag in the baggage counter which is usually the one that takes the most time by my experience.  I don’t want to stress myself before a race by arriving late.

The baggage counter, taken after my run

Despite arriving doing all my pre-race chores with minutes to spare before gun start, I found myself joining the second “wave.”  Attendance was just huge!  Rexona Run is a “sold-out” race, so they say, so even if it’s improbable to have 100% attendance, the turnout was still huge!

Sending off the 21K runners with this year’s musically-inclined race was the band Sandwich, playing their event-appropriate song, Sugod.  Fireworks coincided with the firing of the gun sounding the start of the 21K race.  Being part of the second wave means crossing the starting line five minutes behind the first wave, but I didn’t mind as we got to finish the entire song performance.

One of the many balloons in the activity area

The race route was dotted with huge speakers, often within audible range of each other and some stages with DJs and performers.  But there was one part that I really liked: the “neon tunnel” which is basically a closed tunnel-like enclosure filled with laser and light shows and of course music which makes you feel like you’re inside a club!  It was pretty entertaining and very much distracting (in a positive sense of course).

Because of the constant “flow” of music all throughout the route, I ran like I had a music player on all that time—without the control of the music that is.  The beats were pretty good and kept me running to a good pace without being conscious about it—I think I had experienced firsthand the “power” of music with running.  I don’t personally play any music when I run because I want to be aware of what’s happening around me (which is of dire importance on open roads and trails), but I think I appreciate it more now.

Speaking of music, my qualm I have is that apart from the sounds emanating from the DJ booths along the race route, there’s really not much variety of music being played!  The music were good and the beats were perfect for running a decent pace, but if you have less than a handful of items on your playlist lasting for about two hours, it can be quite dull.  They could’ve asked their DJs to make up a playlist of at least an hour long and then just looped or shuffled it.  And oh, another thing: the music along the route aren’t synchronized so as you’re leaving the range of a speaker you can already hear the other one but they’re playing different tunes so it’s a bit “noisy” in between.

Rexona Run 2013 is really one of the best 21K races I’ve ever joined.  The hydration stations were really long, perhaps some of the longest ones I’ve ever seen!  In this aspect, hands down, this race was of international caliber.  And it’s quite funny that there’s probably more sports drinks this time than there is water.  I just missed my banana though, but the music may have complemented for that (for me at least in terms of overall performance effect).

As I was about to finish my race, it just dawned on me: the really early gun start actually works well for me!  The entire race was practically a night run in the sense that the sun has yet risen when you finish (assuming you run your 21K in two hours), and that makes the race setting in the coolest temperature nature would permit.  As one who can’t run well in the heat this is perfect.  Match the cool weather with beats, you get a good race.  In fact, I did much better than anything I’ve anticipated without even trying.

Since I crossed the starting line more than five minutes later (and oblivious to the actual time I crossed the starting line) and isn’t consciously monitoring my pace during the race, I didn’t know how I’d fare.  I started my watch just before I crossed the starting line so I had absolutely no idea about my actual “race time” but as I made that final turn towards the finish line, I knew I was doing a sub-two hour race.  As I gradually saw the finish line come closer, I looked at my watch and my timer was telling me, “1:59:XX.”  I can make it.  I can revert to a sub-two hour half marathon.  Just a little more.  Push!  And as I crossed the finish line, I looked at my watch…


I did it!  After missing the two-hour mark in my previous 21K races, I’m glad to have bettered myself.  I ran to the beat.  I ran to beat the sun (rise).  And best of all, I ran to beat my previous self.  It was one of the best races I’ve had for the year.  And I’m really, really glad!  (Imagine my delight when I saw my official race results when I actually clocked in at 1:59:52!)

Rexona Run 2013 21K route

The sun had yet shown its beautiful face when I finished but the Rexona Run party had just started.  I finished just in time to catch Rico Blanco performing on stage so I was really, really delighted.  It was either the latest or the earliest concert you can attend!  And since the temperatures were still cool, watching the performance was a delight.  There were also quite some interesting booths to keep everyone occupied, but I admit I do miss free food samplers.

Rico Blanco on stage
But this booth got me “nervous”
But they actually serve juice 😀
Post-race chilled watermelon drink: delicious!
Sun starts to rise as the activities progress…

Overall, Rexona Run 2013 Run to Your Beat is one of the best 21K races I’ve ever joined, one of the most memorable, and one of my best performances of the year (without conscious effort that is).  The beat of the music en route really helped, and the excellent hydration supported that.

21K Finisher’s Medal

To the crew behind Rexona Run 2013, thank you for making a great race possible!  To all the finishers, Congratulations!  You may view the detailed Rexona Run 2013 Run to Your Beat race results here.

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