Posts Tagged ‘QCIM

03
Mar
14

La Mesa Eco Park Quickie

It’s quite interesting that sometimes familiarity in one place is inversely proportional to your distance away from it.  The closer you are to it, the less likely you are to go to it.  And one such place for me is the La Mesa Eco Park.

Behind that mound is some of the waters that quench Metro Manila’s thirst—the La Mesa Dam

Continue reading ‘La Mesa Eco Park Quickie’

25
Nov
11

Quezon City International Marathon 2011

The Quezon City International Marathon is back for its third installment, and aside from an improved route all finishers get a chance to win a condominium unit from its sponsor!

[ More… ]

09
Aug
10

My Marathon Wish

I may not have run the best marathons in the world, and I need not to, to know what makes a great marathon.  As a runner who has joined quite a few marathons locally and one internationally, I’ve had my fair share of good, bad, and noxious races.

Darkness that is SIMLast year I got tired of a string of heartaches from poor races.  The lone marathon that I’ve prepared for, the infamous Subic International Marathon, almost broke me into tears, literally, as I felt abandoned by the organizers in the midst of the race in the absence of the basic but dire need—water.  I knew for a fact that I would’ve reached my goal of a sub-4 hour marathon that night had the race been at least decent.  And that story was just one of the few.  If I can’t get “my race” in the Philippines, I might as well get it elsewhere—and I found it in Singapore.

(Continue reading…)

03
Aug
10

Double Millionaire

If meters were currency I would’ve been double a millionaire as I’ve earned my two millionth meter last night, or 2,000 kilometers, since I started running almost two years ago.

So many obstacles hampered this long sought after but very much delayed milestone of mine, mostly for reasons of injuries, but as I gradually recover, so did the kilometers.  And finally on the month that I started running two years ago I finally reached that target.

I really wanted to hit my first 2,000K by the end of July, but failed!  Then it was moved on August 1, and finally was able to do it last night, August 2, after one of those dreaded days at the office.  I think I had too much stress then that late in the afternoon my eyesight blurred for a few minutes, then replaced by a headache.  Add to that an hour of overtime!  Man, I almost thought that I had to postpone my run!

(Continue reading…)

04
Jan
10

2009: Year in Review (Part 2: The Bests and the Worsts)

Not all races are made equal and this is the time to give due credit to those that gave us great experiences.  Because of the ordeal many runners encountered during the period it was requested that penitent races also be mentioned (79% of respondents to my poll want bloggers to feature lowlights for the year).  As much as I want to satisfy this request, I would just like to focus on the faults:

The Worsts

Race organizers did a lot of morbid offense to runners in 2009, the worst I’ve seen since I started running in August, 2008.  When we signed up for a race there’s a mutual understanding between runners and organizers that both parties would act accordingly on their behalf.  In many races it seemed that only runners were fulfilling their end of the bargain.  Here are my list of the top five most neglected:

5. Fast and accurate race results. As much as we’d love real time race results (as seen abroad) we can settle for accurate ones at a reasonable time frame, meaning within the week.  Runrio was able to come up with same day race results while still using manual timing proving it can be done even without disposable timing chips.  Accuracy is the key word as we don’t need race results where we have our name, not our time.  It would be best if the date of release of race results be announced beforehand, or if there would be race results at all!  Of course it is common sense that tabular race results be sorted by ranking, not alphabetically.

4. Distance. No one can make a “perfect” course but it’s a different thing if it’s half a kilometer or more off.  Runners would know if the margin was notable because even PATAFA-certified courses get criticized (oftentimes inappropriately) particularly by GPS-equipped runners.  At this day and age there’s no reason for such huge inaccuracy especially in Metro areas nationwide because of the availability of free online maps with measuring tool (which is GPS-accurate).  A 1% margin of error is ideal (e.g. 100 meters for 10K, 400 meters for marathon) but anything beyond 2% should be avoided.

3. Punctuality. Runners do struggle to get up very early in the morning just to make it on time in a race.  It’s an utter disrespect of runners’ time if organizers delay the race just to let their sponsors talk about their product.  It’s the runners’ skins that get burned in the sun in the first place.

2. Protection. Runners aren’t demanding that the entire course be fenced (like those abroad) but they should have some protection when out on the street.  There were many that just let runners run on the street like there was no race.

1. Water. Basic need for life.  Basic arithmetic on how much you need.  If organizers don’t think they have enough for all they should mention it beforehand so that runners are aware.  Just attach the phrase, “runners are encouraged to be self-sufficient.”

The Bests

Finally here are my personal picks for the best local races for 2009:

Best Sub-Half Marathon: The Happy Run

At par with the best local races, this race was one of the most enjoyable while still having the low race fees of 2008.

Best Half-Marathon: Timex Run

One of the most organized and expensive local races of the year.  Excellent no frills course utilizing disposable timing chips with fun post-race area.  The huge heavy medal could’ve been more specific with the race though.

Best Marathon: 33rd Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations

The most hydrated marathon for 2009 beating all races for the year.  It was well organized but race marshals could have been more professional, typical for Milo races.

Best International Marathon: Quezon City International Marathon

It was far from being perfect but for this category it was easily the best.  If there would be a lone international marathon in the country, this would be my best pick.  Government and local community support goes a long way making this race one with the most potential of truly reaching international standards.

Best Ultramarathon: The North Face 100

It was my most expensive local race for the year, also the longest time-wise and distance-wise, and most difficult.  This was one race I was proud of finishing and the experience was well worth all the ordeals.  Combining trail runs and an ultramarathon proved to be the ultimate race.

Best Trail Run: The North Face Thrill of the Trail

There were very few races for this category but the natural and picturesque trails of Batulao were enough to make this my favorite trail run for the year.  It was my first and the reason I fell in love with trail runs.

Best Race Finisher’s Medal: Quezon City International Marathon

Personally I believe that a beautiful medal is one that needs no paint—it in itself is enough.  QCIM’s finisher’s medal is at par with those given abroad although the medal for 21K seemed to look better that for 42K.

QCIM Finisher’s Medal

Best Race Singlet: adidas King of the Road

For the second year in a row adidas gave runners the best race singlet that was the envy of runners and non-runners alike, and no other local race singlet even came close!

adidas KOTR 2009 singlets

Best Marathon Route: Quezon City International Marathon

There were so many marathons with excellent route in 2009 but the La Mesa Dam route was quite tough to beat.

QCIM Marathon Route

Best Race: The North Face 100

An ultramarathon combined with crazily difficult trails traversing mountains and with countless river-crossings—it’s an experience of a lifetime! Of course only a proud few have bragging rights of conquering TNF100 Philippines 2009, completing it was an achievement.

I hope that this year we have enough examples of which races to emulate, and which ones to learn from.  I just hope that organizers start paying attention to details, not just profit.  2009 proved that if you provide a good quality event, fees aren’t much of a deterrent.  It also proved that fees are not relative to the quality of races as many “free” races were much better than the majority. We should all demand for quality, not quantity—a good resolution for the year, agree?

31
Dec
09

2009 Favorite Running Moments: In Pictures

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:

January

Transition: from Bench Pedometer watch to Garmin Forerunner 405

TNF Thrill of the Trail: my first trail run and magazine appearance, Side Trip Magazine April-June 2009 edition

Happy Run: First 15K

February

EDSA: First LSD

LSD with takbo.ph

First winter run (Ohio, USA)

March

Condura Run: First 21K

April

Trail run at Montalban with takbo.ph

May

Takbo.ph goes climbing to Mt. Maculot

TNF100: First ultramarathon (100K)

June

Debut climb of the RunHikers at Pico de Loro

Back on trails with Men’s Health All Terrain

Back at ultra via Botak100 (as a pacer)

July

First Marathon via Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations

August

Repeat of Manila-Tagaytay ultramarathon long run (56K)

Ninoy Aquino Day Run

September

Mommy Milkshake

October

Reaching out through Angel Brigade

Pacer duty at QCIM

First sundown marathon via SIM

November

Chillax pacing during Timex Run

Running in Ilocos

December

Running in Singapore

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!

28
Dec
09

runningpinoy’s 2009 Second Half Report

Before we look back at the year in its entirety let us first review the Philippine running scene for the last six months.  This period saw highs and lows as far as races were concerned.  Races reached all-time high in terms of participants while inversely its quality fell to all-time lows (since August 2008 when I started joining races).  We’ve also seen race fees skyrocket to outrageous levels but there were still great races from good organizers that gave free races.

July

July marked my marathon debut on one of the best organized race of the year with the 33rd Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations. It was at a caliber unseen before locally and although it fell a little short it served as an epitome on how races should be organized.  Globe’s Run for Home was also a milestone as it introduced disposable timing chips while being virtually a free race when prepaid loads served as registration fees.

Personal achievement: First marathon and half-marathon PR

Disposable timing chip used in Run for Home

August

Kenny’s Open Urbanite Run introduced the first organized night race in the Metro with disposable timing chips to boot.  It could also be credited with starting the steep rise of race fees that would ensue throughout the year.

Personal achievement: 10-mile PR

Scene from KOUR

September

Mommy Milkshake was one of the most organized fun run of the year and the only one to be really free!  It puts in question organizers’ “reasons” for putting up expensive registration fees with races.  It was also during this month when race distance accuracy became a serious issue when RotaRun’s 21K was 3K short.

Personal achievement: First provincial Milo race

Pink Power at Mommy Milkshake Fun Run!

October

International Marathon (IM) season has begun with Quezon City International Marathon (QCIM) followed the following weekend with Subic International Marathon (SIM).  The use of the words “international” and “prestigious” became in question when races that used these didn’t live up to their promises. This month also started the “Kenyan invasion.”

Personal achievement: First marathon pacer duty; first back-to-back marathon (second and third)

World-class competition at the QCIM

November

The Philippine International Marathon (PIM) ended the “IM” season and was also highly criticized for not rewarding marathon finishers with a medal (the only one to do so thus far). It was a month plagued with poorly organized races!  The month seemed to turn for the better when Timex Run came but was derailed when Fit ‘n Right Fun Run didn’t turn out to be fit or fun for many disappointed runners.  Fortunately Run Ahead in Laoag, Ilocos Norte reminded everyone of how races should be with a well-organized, fun, generous, and charitable race making Metro Manila-based organizers look very greedy.

Personal achievement: Fourth marathon; 5K PR

Team Logan during PIM

December

Corregidor was a breather for many local runners and although it wasn’t trouble-free it was definitely unique.  There were still plenty of races for the month but personally I’ve had my dose of preposterous registration fees with mediocre races so I decided to be in abstentia for the month.

Personal achievement: Fifth marathon and new PR (via Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon)

Takbo.ph in Singapore!

Lessons and Tips

There were a lot of lessons both runners and organizers can learn with these period.  As long as these points were taken we have no reason not to improve next year.  Personally here are some tips I can give to fellow runners especially those that are just beginning to join races here in the Philippines:

  • Time yourself. Not all races we join are “reliable” and if you intend to monitor your progress get a watch.  You don’t even need one with a stopwatch, you just you’re your common sense.  Buy an über cheap children’s digital watch for P20 (from sidewalk vendors; no reason not to have a budget), remember your time when you start and look at it when you cross the finish.  You should get a rough approximate of your time which not accurate but it’s much better than nothing (what do you expect for P20?). You may validate it later when the race results come out.  If you have some dough buy a stopwatch, but if you have some serious dough get a GPS watch!
  • Bring your own water/sports drink. You need not buy a hydration belt; just bring a small flask or bottle of water or your preferred sports drink in case the organizer didn’t fulfill his obligation.  Consider investing in one though but ask around fellow runners first before purchasing.
  • Don’t be a distance freak! A few meters off the mentioned distance doesn’t mean you’ve been ripped off by the organizers.  Here’s my point: try to make an accurate 1K route using any GPS device.  Run that same route at least twice and see if you can get an accurate 1K every single time.  If you do try to make routes in 5K, 10K, 21K, and 42K and do the same.   If you still have an accurate distance every time you can make yourself a race route director.

I hope that newbies don’t get intimidated by bad experiences from previous races and continue joining reputable races, especially those with a “real” cause.  Before signing up for a race, don’t just join because everyone else does—ask fellow runners about the reputation of the organizers or the conduct of its past races.  Even the “pros” have “bad days” while on the other hand everyone deserves a second chance.  Best of all follow your heart—regardless of what everyone says it’s up to you to decide where you’re investing your hard earned cash.  Remember that we are not only paying for our right to join their race, we are also paying for the experience.

Summary

It was a “one step forward, two steps back” half for the year.  Disposable timing chips definitely placed Philippine races forward at par with races abroad but the proliferation of unbelievably disorganized races with outlandish registration fees were really traumatizing especially to newcomers to the sport.  Even race results became optional as we saw some races with no official race results, and those that do have inaccurate, very much delayed, or alphabetically-sorted race results!  Common sense wasn’t very commonly applied as far as this half was concerned!




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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
– John “The Penguin Runner” Bingham
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