Posts Tagged ‘Globe-Ayala Land City Run

25
Jul
09

Run for Home Race Results, Criticisms, and Commendations

Have you seen your race results?  Perhaps one of the best innovations that this race contributed to the Philippine running scene was its adaptation of globally competitive race results due to the usage of the timing chips.  Although it took a little longer than runners expected, the informative race result was never seen before in the country—complete with interesting facts that makes for a fascinating read.  Before, runners are just given a list of runners’ official time with some basic info and ranking, and now we get much more information than we’re used to.  Exclusively local runners didn’t realize what they were missing until Run for Home showed them what runners on other side of the world enjoy.  As the saying goes, “you can’t crave for something you don’t know,” and with what this race had shown the archetype of races had just been heaved higher—way above the previous norm.  Had this result been furnished earlier, my “fair” rating for this race would’ve been “good” since it really improved the overall experience of the race (by the time of the next race the organizers should’ve improved on this aspect).

My Run for Home results

You may get your individual race result from Globe’s website.

Criticisms and Commendations

Despite best efforts and intentions, a new system would always have some problems, and in this case some of the issues were wrong gender information (thus ruining the otherwise great result set) and missing results (which possibly could’ve been due to a system “bug” or incorrect use of the timing chip by the runner).  There were a lot of denigration thrown at the organizers but in fairness to them not all of it is their fault so if you had problems with your race results you may always inform the organizers your concerns and hopefully they can address your issues.

I know there were a lot of disparaging words about this race that circled the blogosphere and as it may seem like it’s “whining” and sometimes even a bit unreasonable but these are actually “unsolicited feedbacks” from the runners themselves.  Had it not been for these “whining” runners there may not have been a need for innovation in the local running scene and nobody would’ve initiated a feat like Run for Home did.  If nobody asked for better races, would a necessity to have one arise?  Finishline being a pioneer would of course have to endure all of these criticisms, like soldiers in the frontline on the battlefield.  And for being brave enough to be up front, I truly commend the people behind Finishline.  Being run by humans we accept that we have shortcomings and realizing these leads to improvement.

Some say that we should be thankful of what we have now because most of the things we enjoy didn’t exist even a few years back.  Given that fact we know that we are improving.  We improved not by knowing what we had—we improved by realizing what we lack.  If you were to improve your run, do you compare yourself to the poorer runner, or do you seek to be like the better one? In this case the poorer runner was the “old” standards and the better one would be the world-class standards.

Run for Home may not have turned out the way a lot of people had hoped but the lessons and experience gained with this race surely would lead the local running scene to better tracks and higher standards.  Let us keep supporting local races and let us keep giving organizers our “unsolicited feedbacks” so that they know if they’re on the right track.  Critique the problems but commend the accomplishments.

23
Jul
09

Thank You, PhotoVendo!

I would like to thank PhotoVendo for capturing a really nice photo of me during Run for Home:

My Run for Home photo courtesy PhotoVendo

Run for Home pictures are free for download for all registered runners, all you have to do is supply your bib number in the space provided from Globe’s website.  You may also view the very informative race results there while you’re at it.

See Also: Globe Run for Home 2010 photos from PhotoVendo and Runpix results

22
Jul
09

What is an Electronic Timing Chip?

Disposable electronic timing chips finally made its Philippine running debut during the Globe-Ayala Land Run for Home event by Finishline.  Although it ended up being a fancy accessory, a timing chip utilized properly does have huge advantages over manual time capturing processes.  For the said event the organizers picked the “chips” from ChampionChip, a Netherlands-based company.

The Chip

The chips that were used were disposable versions of radio-frequency identification (RFID) transponder made of waterproof glass capsules that contain a silicon chip and an energizing coil.  This coil is inactive until moved into a magnetic field generated by a send antenna in a mat (used to mark the start and finish lines of a race), thus not needing a need for a power supply like a battery.  The chip then transmits its unique identification number to a receive antenna in a mat.

ChampionChip used in Run for Home

Disposable ChampionChip used in Run for Home

In other countries one may simply buy a chip which can be used many times in different races, provided that the race uses the same standard as the chip (ChampionChip-branded chips are only compatible with ChampionChip timing systems).  For economic reasons, participants may also lease these chips for use during the race but of course this comes with the hassle of returning it afterwards.

The Mats

The mats are normally located at the start and finish lines but can also be located en route of the race.  Strategically placed, these mats may give individual runners their “lap times,” and of course prevent cheating.  These mats actually are the antennas connected to a nearby reader.  These mats “charge” the transponder which then emits its unique code.  Because each transponder must be energized before it emits its code, there can be a delay in the tags response to the mat.  The delay should be negligible and depends on the system used.

Gun Time and Net Time

Runners in races with huge attendance naturally incur delays in reaching the start time which of course affects their time.  Having a timing chip allows the exact “net time” of each runner to be calculated (by subtracting the delay) as compared with “manual” time capturing that is usually based on “gun time” (which ignores the delay incurred).  Locally, we can assume that races utilizing these chips would use “net time” but in other countries, particularly races using USA Track and Field rules, performance is based on “gun time.”

Forms and Factors

What runners have seen during the Run for Home was the traditional ChampionChip disposable transponder.  These transponders are not limited to such form factors as they may come in all sorts of shapes and forms.  It is also not limited to running.  See the chip used recently in Miami Marathon (courtesy karlo.org).

References

Some of the competing brands

Now that the genie is out of the bottle, we’ll all see if this technology would be adopted well in local races and if our sports regulators would set standards on its use.  While it may not be used to its potential during its debut it’s definitely a promising improvement to the local running scene.  Hopefully next time around we’d all get to see how these chips are really used.

20
Jul
09

Race Review: Run for Home

Run for Home can be proud to be one of the country’s largest race in terms of attendance with more than 6,000 runners and raising more than a million pesos for charity, according to the race organizers.  This was aside from the fact that this race introduced disposable electronic timing chips in the Philippine running scene for the first time.  This race was a joint project of Globe and Ayala Land for the benefit of Habitat for Humanity and organized by finishline.ph.

Run for Home 21K Route

The Review: From a 21K Perspective

In terms of the race course I’ll give it an “A” for an excellent route which was at the same time very a very accurate 21K.  Attendance like previously mentioned was also excellent and so were the cause of the race.  Unfortunately this race was plagued by so many “mishaps” that really irked a lot of runners, from registration to claiming of the kits to the actual race itself.  Here are my breakdowns:

Pros:

  • Very accurate distance of 21K (Garmin GPS-certified)
  • Very good route
  • Disposable electronic timing chip (no need for returns)
  • Accurate distance markers and plenty of directional markers
  • For a good cause
  • Great attendance

Cons:

  • Lousy water stations
  • “Clueless” people at the assembly area
  • Unreasonably very, very long queues
  • Insufficient supply of the carbonated drink after the race (another distribution problem?)
  • Some road marshals don’t know how to manage vehicular and runner traffic
  • Cheater-friendly
  • No medals for non-placers (not even for 21K)
  • No certificate

Elaboration

For a race being handled by finishline.ph I am very surprised at how much loose-end got into this race.  Pre-race was anything but clear and smooth, and on race day there was still not much sign of improvement.

Baggage Counter
Imagine asking the people on the booths where the baggage counter was and nobody knew!  One even told me that there wasn’t any!  Wow!  Wasn’t people placed in the assembly area so they could be of assistance to runners?  Eventually after searching in the dark (literally since it was early morning) I found it.  Probably due to lack of manpower this counter had probably the longest queue after the race, next being the line for the carbonated drink.  I think I spent close to half an hour here just to get my bag.

Timing Chip
Primarily a timing chip is used to capture a runner’s time so regardless of what time you passed through the start/finish line only your actual running time would be captured.  Positioned strategically, chip readers along the route also aide in preventing cheating and gives additional lap data for runners.  And of course utilized well it should also mean fast and hassle-free results for both the organizers and runners.  In the case of this race I think it got stuck on the first item.  The mats that activate the chips were placed along the route but personally I think is not in the optimal location—there were so many places that professional cheaters may take advantage of especially that loop cords were no longer given on critical points.  I’m not sure how much it costs to place mats like these but with the number we saw on the race it could’ve been sufficient if placed well.  As for the third, past races by Runrio utilizing “manual” record saving was much faster.  As of press time no race results have been published, even unofficially.

Lousy Water Stations
Being a race handled by finishline.ph I gambled that there would be sufficient hydration stations.  True, there was but the service runners got from most of these stations were poor.  The race had already started but may of the stations were just being set up.  There were also a lot of cups but not all were filled with water or carbonated drink.  I even had to stop twice just to get a severely needed water ration because you had to pick it up yourself with a 50% chance of getting an empty cup.  And yes being unlucky as I am had an empty cup at least once so I had to run till the next station.  And to the sponsor of the carbonated drink, I’m sorry for being brutally honest but for me and many runners carbonated drinks aren’t exactly ideal for running (it was more of a dire need for elements not found in plain water).

Road Marshals
I think some of the road marshals weren’t informed properly on how to manage vehicles and runners.  Surely you can’t close all the roads that cross the route, but since the road was “leased” for the race, runners should have priority.  There was one in particular that was manning one intersection with BGC that had it the other way around—he was stopping a couple of runners just to give way to a car and two motorists.  Regardless of the time the safety of the runners should come first since it would be the runners that would get injured, not the motorists in their vehicles.

Conclusion

A good race doesn’t start and end on the race day, within the race course, and during the race hours.  Ultimately a good race is made by an overall “feel-good” experience, from registration to getting your accurate results, fast.  It’s a plus if it had a good cause or value for money but then again in my opinion the total experience we get defines the race regardless if it was a few meters short or had no freebies.  This race had a huge potential with lots of positive points but it had fallen short of many runners expectations, so for the first time I’m giving a rating of fair for this race.  Hope that the organizers learn from these experiences and come up with a better overall runner experience next time.

Rating: Fair (2½/5)

17
Jul
09

The Run for Home’s (Troublesome) Race Kit Claiming Process

Claiming of race kits for Run for Home started yesterday and to describe the process in one word it would be “manual.”  Ironically, a race of this scale coming from some of the country’s largest company would have easily the most complicated, cumbersome, and annoying registration and kit claiming process.  I’ve already expressed my concern about their not-so-clear registration process, and now I’ll focus on the race kit claiming process.

Issue #1: Manual

Like our past elections, claiming your race kit is entirely manual.  When you registered you were given a claim stub with a control number.  Of course you’d expect that this control number is already associated with your information from the registration form on their system—wrong.  When I arrived I was surprised that the people manning their booths didn’t have any reference whatsoever of your registration information except for thick stack of paper documents.  They had to ask you to write down your name, distance to run, and singlet size at the back of the claim stub for them to look it up.  This is fine if you’re just claiming your own kit, but in my case I was claiming for three more people of various singlet sizes and distances.  If they knew that they won’t be using their records they should’ve written on the claim stub this information, or at least asked us to write it down.  And if they intended to really use those records why didn’t they since they have all the resources in their own backyard?

Issue #2: Queues

Different queues for different registration centers (Globe Business Centers, Fitness First, and Runnr).  While this may be good if you’re claiming a single kit, claiming for several people who registered on different sites requires you to line up on two different queues which was of course very inconvenient, considering that the claiming area is open air and it’s rainy season.  Aside from that you’ll have to queue up for another line to claim your P300 call card (for non-Business Center registrants).

Issue #3: S.O.P.

Standard Operating Procedures. When you put people on post they should know what they should do.  I lined up for a queue dedicated for non-Business Center registrants where aside from the race kit they should also issue a P300 call card claim stub.  This was for the P300 payment we issued on the partner establishments.  If I hadn’t noticed one of my buddies having this stub I wouldn’t have known about it so I had to return to the same queue and ask for it (and yes, queue up again to claim the call card).  Since everyone in that queue should have one, why should there be a case like this?  If I didn’t notice that there would be a call card, would they be honest enough to inform me afterwards?

Overall this had been the most troublesome and complicated registration and kit claiming process I’ve ever had.  Now I appreciate the slow but simple and straight-forward process of other races—and I didn’t even mention about the online registration process!  Overall this race I could say was plagued with bad execution of otherwise good intention.  Their registration process was anything but clear and concise with a lot of room for misinterpretation, and the kit claiming process was worse.  Yes, this race can lay claim to having the first electronic timing chip but unfortunately the pre-race processes really ruins the entire experience.  I sure hope that these troubles stop right here and not affect the actual race itself.

Reminders:

Fitness First or Runnr Registrants
Make sure that you line up in the right queue and make sure that you receive your P300 call card claim stub.  Those that registered in Globe Business Centers already had their P300 credits loaded so only those that registered elsewhere has this call card to claim.

Online Registrants
If you were charged more than P300 you could ask the organizers for a refund of the excess amount.  Also, make sure that the registration fee was charged to your card.  There had been a case where the fee was not billed for some reason so that person was unfortunately not registered.

16
Jul
09

Run for Home Race Update

Claiming of race kits for Run for Home begins today on booths located in front of Nike Park, Bonifacio High Street (B3, BHS), and not in ROX as stated in the claim coupon.

The race kit should include a singlet, the official race number with safety pins, route map, and electronic timing chip.




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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
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