The last installment of the Run United Trilogy 2016 concluded last October 02 with the Run United Philippine Marathon. This also marked my last pacing duty for the year where I volunteered for the 60-minute 10K. Here’s my recap.
Posts Tagged ‘Pacer
Are you running the full marathon (42.195K) leg of the Run United Philippine Marathon 2015? Are you aiming to finish in six hours the most? If you answered yes to both these questions, feel free to join our pace group tomorrow. Here’s our game plan to accomplish this:
I had just returned from a wonderful pacer duty as I write this post and I think I can still feel that “runner’s high.” Did not set any new personal best. Did not take home that enviable Run United 1 Finisher’s Medal. But I feel great! Here’s my story.
Tags: All Terrain, Angel Brigade, Botak100, Climb, Condura, EDSA, Eliminations, Firsts, Ilocos, Long Runs, Manila, Marathon, Men's Health, Milo Marathon, Mommy Milkshake, Montalban, Mt. Maculot, Ninoy Aquino Day, Ohio, Pacer, Pico de Loro, QCIM, Races, RunHikers, Running, SIM, Singapore, Tagaytay, takbo.ph, Timex Run, TNF100, Trail, Trekking, Ultramarathon, USA, Winter
Running has taken me to places I never imagined I’ll go to and for my first full year of running the year broke all previous records not only in terms of distance covered, and pictures taken! 2009 toll: about 20 gigabytes worth of pictures and videos, around 11,500 files. Among these, here are some of my favorites:
2009 was a splendid year indeed for me, and hopefully yours as well. Let us make 2010 a better year for everyone and be the change we want to be. Happy New Year everyone!
Tags: Commonwealth Ave., Commonwealth Market, Diliman, Elliptical Road, Fairview, GF405, Grim Reaper, International Marathon, La Mesa Eco Park, Marathon, Mindanao Ave., Nene, North Ave., Pacer, PBB, Pinoy Big Brother, QC, QCIM, Quezon City, Quezon City International Marathon, Quirino Highway, Race, Running, SM City Fairview, University of the Philippines, UP
Six hours was a pretty long time to run, and to run it at a consistent pace makes it more difficult. This would be one of the longest races I’d have done, surpassed only by ultramarathons.
The good thing about running on major roads was that as long as there’s electricity there’s light so even if it was still dark when the marathon started you’re not running blind, especially with competitive and casual runners running side by side on very wide roads. From Elliptical Road the road got considerably narrower entering University of the Philippines Diliman Campus but since the fast runners were already way ahead of us it was very spacious for us laggards. Before we were able to leave UP for Commonwealth Ave. the leaders of the 21K leg were already entering the campus. It’s always exciting to see the leaders of races—at that time we were simply “spectators.”
While running along Commonwealth Ave. I was startled by a very fast female runner that dashed very close on my right side, followed by another—they were the female leading pack of 21K, a Kenyan was leading chased closely by a Filipina. Amazing! It was competition happening right in front of my eyes! Yet another spectator moment. All we can do was just enjoy the show as our ordeal had barely just begun.
By the time we reached Commonwealth Market the leading pack for the marathon was already on their way back! Of course this was the most exciting pack to see so us “spectators” can’t help but stop and just watch like we were in front of our TVs, only this was happening live in front of us. A world-class level competition and we got front row seats. Who says being slow at races meant being last?
All along the route the community was also made aware and got involved with QCIM. This actually made the race more festive and interesting which I thought was very nice. By doing this QCIM successfully brought the sport closer to the masses and hopefully create more interest. On the other hand I also do hope that the local government would provide the facilities for the sport.
Before we knew it we were back on my favorite part of the QCIM route, La Mesa Eco Park. Not only because that the view here was spectacular, the cleanest air in the Metro is here. The exciting part was that we finally got to pass through areas that were usually restricted to the public. Ironically, there were no water station for the entirety of this section. Luckily I was able to grab a bottle of water from a water station back in Fairview, but due to the rising temperature and the distance already covered it was also running out. The water station at the Quirino Highway exit seemed promising, but alas, still no water. Now we can really feel the heat.
From Quirino Highway the race passes in front of SM City Fairview, through Mindanao Ave. and eventually back to Commonwealth Ave. By this time the roads were partially opened so it meant a slightly dangerous run for us at the back pack, not to mention unhealthy. We were suddenly running side by side with buses and trucks, among others inhaling their fumes as they pass us by. Thankfully conditions improved by the time we were in Commonwealth Ave. as there was a wide space between us and passing vehicles.
I was virtually alone along Commonweath Ave. maintaining my pace for the six-hour finish and while I was cruising-along I stumbled upon a celebrity—Nene from the reality show Pinoy Big Brother. Since it was practically just the two of us might as well have some conversation to help pass the time. To my surprise she was actually very nice and I was very amazed at her feat—she’s never done any shorter races but instead just jumped off into a full marathon! That for some could be considered “suicide” but for me I find it “courageous”—doing a marathon is not a walk in the park. As much as I had wanted to stay, eventually I had run ahead of her to maintain my pace. Duty calls.
The downside of being a pacer near the end of the spectrum was the heartaches it causes. Being an official race pacer I was virtually “married” to the time I signed up for. The worst feeling I had during this duty was whenever I pass a runner—somehow it gives me a feeling of a heart break. I am like the Grim Reaper of QCIM—whenever I pass by a runner somehow I felt like I killed his aspiration to finish within six hours. Because of that I usually hold back to avoid overtaking runners but whenever I am a few minutes behind schedule, I had no choice but to keep up. I was practically the personification of a six hour finish—if you spot me the six hours finish is near. I had hoped that I’d be able to pull runners near the last parts of the races but sadly the most I see were already walkers. On the good side though I was able to push those that are slacking—if I catch them they’d finish in more than six hours. For the last 10 or so kilometers it was countless heartache for me, but it was a feeling that I had to endure if I was to reach my target time.
I was again alone at the last two kilometers of the race. I kept looking at my GF405 to maintain my pace, and then I realized that I had assumed that the race would only be 42.195 kilometers long—what if the actual course was slightly longer? With this in mind I started to increase my pace and when I saw the digital clock on the finish line it was already a few seconds after six hours! It was much faster than my GF405’s time which was based on gun time. Naturally I’ve no choice but to haste and cross the line as soon as possible.
Since it was six hours after the race you won’t expect a lot of people at the finish line. This was a new experience for me because the only time this had happened to me was during my finish at TNF100 (at 30 hours). Fortunately there were some familiar faces there so I had a feeling of relief. Vener (run unld.) was there to take my finish line picture and to my surprise the clock face facing the other side reads only six hours and nine seconds! My GF405 was right after all! Too bad, I was actually aiming to finish in 5:59:59 but due to the wrong clock face up front display that didn’t happen. My actual finish time (gun time) was 5:59:48.
In the end I had mixed feelings with being a pacer. It was good because never before had I exercised so much control over my pace and patience for a very long time run. It was bad that I felt awful passing several runners. I didn’t know either if my decision to stick to the target pace and time regardless of other runners was right. All I know was that it was easier to pace with specific persons than to be a pacer on a race. I’m still willing to do it all over again though, and not just to get a free race. Being a pacer is doing a public service to fellow runners, should they view me as the Grim Reaper or a chance to reach their target remains with their perspective. As for me, it was a task successfully completed. I sure hope though that that those that saw me beforehand were “pushed” into finishing their goals. This has been the Grim Reaper, I mean, six-hour pacer, QCIM thank you for the opportunity. Congratulations to all finishers!
A pacer is someone who sets the pace of a runner, or runners, to help them achieve their goal time. His main responsibility is to finish as close as possible to his designated time so that those who avail of his services would achieve their target. Having pacers are optional both for runners and races but QCIM went all out to make this international marathon a “finisher’s marathon”—one that does not set a cutoff time. This is a story of a pacer—this is my story.
I never had prior experience of being an official pacer before, nor do I have a long marathon track record. In fact QCIM was just my second marathon race, the first one during 33rd Milo Marathon Eliminations earlier this year. And I never imagined being a pacer, especially for a marathon.
The rising costs of joining races were taking its toll on my budget, but despite that I was never deterred from joining. When I first heard of QCIM I knew I want to run it, especially that I am a resident of Quezon City and it goes through the road I regularly pass, Commonwealth Ave. When I heard that QCIM was employing volunteer pacers without hesitation I immediately signed up—I get to run the race that I want for free, and I get to be of service to my fellow runners.
Being a first time pacer wanting to do his duty properly I knew I had to pick a pace I’d be comfortable running for 42K. Based on my lone marathon time of 4:47:XX I can sign up for a five hour finish—but that’s not my only consideration. The weekend following QCIM the Subic International Marathon would be held passing along one of my dream route, SCTEX, which I dare not miss. Why pick one when you can choose both? Thus it was settled, a six-hour finish would be my goal—an “easy” pace suitable for beginners and those who don’t want to be spent. I gave my commitment to the time when I realized that it was actually an 8:31/km pace—unchartered territory for me so it would definitely be a run for endurance.
Traffic flow was rerouted very early in the morning along Commonwealth Ave. This spelled trouble for me as I was dependent on public buses which were rerouted far from the starting area in front of the City Hall. Fortunately I was able to alight at the closest possible location near the assembly area, but unfortunately it was about one and a half kilometer away! Because of the distance I had to cover and I was running out of lead time for our pacers’ meet I had no choice but to run—running late literally! By the time I arrived at the assembly area I my sweat were already dripping—a forced warm-up you might say.
There were numerous pacers for QCIM in various finish times for both 42K and 21K. For runners to promptly notice us we wore a different singlet and for our finish times it was stuck onto balloons that we tied to our clothes. If these balloons had helped us by reducing our weights or hindered us aerodynamically with drag I don’t know but one thing is for sure: kids want those balloons!
Finally, the race that many (including myself) had been waiting for was about to start. Five seconds before 4:30AM on my GF405 the race was started. It was either Elliptical Road was very wide or the number of runners was less than anticipated as there was no overcrowding after crossing the starting gate. This is it! The start of the longest marathon race of my life was about to begin. Six hours—that’s a pretty long time to be running.