I’m back once again for another pacer duty, this time with the 21K leg of Takbo.ph Run Fest 2017. Here’s my recap of one of the most festive running events of the year.
My morning started very early. I had to be at the venue by 3AM so adding time for commute, there’s hardly any time to sleep. It’s one of those little sacrifices you do for the love of the running community. I live about 26 kilometers away from the venue so a lot of things can happen, and some things happened and in the end, I arrived around 3:30AM—just enough time to get everything ready and join my co-pacers at the starting line. 😪
I belong to the group finishing 21K in 2 hours and 30 minutes. That’s roughly 7 minutes per kilometer. It’s not something to brag about but I think it’s a decent finish time if you’re just starting with the distance and is testing the sub-2-hour finish. The easy pace should really test your endurance, letting you know if you should start doing your speed works. 🏃
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 (New King James Version)
Before the race started, we positioned ourselves in front of the half marathon crowd. It’s a great way for all the runners to see us and decide if they’d like to join us and if so, which group to join. But since we’re one of the slowest pace groups, we quickly moved to the left side of the route immediately after the gun start to make way for the much faster runners. 🙀
To the best of our efforts, we tried to maintain an even 7:00/km pace all throughout the 21K route. But since there are many factors on the road, we ended up sometimes faster, sometimes slower at the end of each kilometer. We really cannot rely on our GPS watches or apps alone as they tend to be unreliable around tall buildings so it’s a great thing that there are distance markers consistently all throughout the route. Each time we pass by a marker I check our elapsed time on my watch (a few seconds off gun start) and that’s how we approximate our average pace. For the most part, this manual approach comes at about the same figure as my GPS apps on my phone. 🐢
Initially, we had some runners joining our pace group. I think some of them loved our group so much that they run on our sides at times. But as the race progressed, we lost them one by one, to my dismay. Seven minutes per kilometer. Really? Is maintaining a consistent average pace per kilometer, despite of the terrain, really that draining? 🤔
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7 (New King James Version)
If you bothered doing the math, a 7:00/km pace would finish a 21K in 147 minutes or 2:27, 3 minutes ahead of our target 2:30 finish. And towards our final few kilometers, these “savings” caught up with us and we literally walked one of these kilometers to spend some of it. But in the end, I guess we fared a little too well for our own good, we clocked in at 2:26 and a few seconds (view the official race results and photos here). Needless to say, I felt a bit disappointed! Did we go too strong? Should we have gone easy and played catch up towards the end? 😱
The activity area of the Run Fest was just a sight to behold. Despite us being some of the last to cross the finish line (relative to the other runners of other legs), there still are a lot of stuff waiting for us. I was still able to take some samples from sponsors, and there are quite a lot of sponsors for this event! It really was like a feast of the running community. They didn’t call this event a “Run Fest” for nothing! 💃
Looking back, Takbo.ph Run Fest 2017 is one of the best races I’ve had so far this year, despite being locked up in a fixed pace. The distance is very accurate, the route is good, there are a lot of hydration stations that didn’t run out of water and sports drinks with one serving bananas, the distance markers were spot on (except for a few that faced the wrong way), there were so many energetic marshals, and there’s that really, really nice finisher’s medal and shirt. Even the post-race amenities were superb with so many sponsors, freebies, and great raffle prizes. This event achieved a level that every other race should aspire for! Definitely worth all the hours of sleep I didn’t have! 🏆
If there’s one thing I’d like to remark with this event, it would be for my fellow runners, and not the organizers (which did an excellent job!). If you intend to join a pace group, please do not crowd the pacers. Either you run ahead of the pacers, or behind the pacers, never beside. First, doing so would create a “wall” that would obstruct faster runners from passing through. Second, it restricts the movement of the pacers. Sometimes some runners tend to be too close for comfort and that makes it feel a bit claustrophobic. (I feel like there should be a third, but I can only think of two. 😂)
Overall, it was a fun experience and it was a pleasure to be at your service! Congratulations to all the finishers and thank you to Takbo.ph, Leadpack, and the rest of their staff for a job well done! 👍