Posts Tagged ‘RotaRun


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 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


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


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!


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


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


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) 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.


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!


Dilemma at 21K: My RotaRun Story

Around 4:30AM we arrived in front of Chinese International School, the vicinity of the assembly area of the race.  According to the race packet the 21K would start at 5AM but according to online sources it would be at 5:30AM.  The latter turned out to be closer to the actual but the confusion made us arrive in the assembly area early.  Unfortunately many still had a late start because the race actually started 5:22AM—eight minutes before 5:30AM as stated in online sources.

Even at 5AM it was still very dark—Christmas season is indeed here.  It was not until a few minutes later that it became light enough to see the road.  5:30AM was indeed a good time to start sub-marathon races at this time of the year—any time earlier and we’d be running in the dark.  It also made me wonder about the forthcoming QCIM which could start at 4:30AM.

5:22AM the race finally started.  From our starting line behind the International School we made our way to Campus Drive before heading back to McKinley Road—it’s probably best that we had this difficult leg early in the race while our feet were still fresh.  After turning around near the British Embassy you see the long line of runners and have an idea on where your friends are placed.

It wasn’t hot that morning but it was very, very humid.  I didn’t realize this at first until I saw that I gulped down more than half of my 500mL sports drink so early in the race.  Thankfully there were ample supplies of water along the route (more often than not I used to pour over my head to cool me down) and some cold drinks from the sponsor (I think it was vitamin-ized water).  I love the fact that the drinks from the sponsor was cold but I was a bit concerned because it contained L-Carnitine—usually mixed with drinks and claims to help burn fat.  As if we won’t lose enough fat during our 21K ordeal.

5th Ave. I got an unexpected guest who paced with me.  I knew he was faster than me so I told him to go ahead anytime he felt like it.  It was his first 21K and I knew he could even break my 21K PR (he is a fellow member and is one of my DailyMile buddies so I have an idea how fast he is).   During this particular race I was not aiming for a new PR—I was doing this run as part of my training and assessment of my “raw” skill level—whether my relatively relaxed run would still lead to a sub-2 hour 21K.  All throughout the run I barred myself from looking at my current pace but I had to break that rule when he asked me what our pace (per kilometer) that time was—4:43.  That time I wished I could tell him that without me knowing it as well but that’s impossible and I didn’t want to be rude.  If there were some things I’ve learned about runners during races these were:

  • Many don’t wish to be disturbed (no talking, no socializing!)—they’re in their zone so don’t misinterpret it to be rude.  Plenty to time to socialize before and after the race.
  • Some don’t want to know how far it is to the finish—I feel positive knowing that I only have 1K to go to the finish while some hate to know that it is still 1K to go!
  • Some don’t want to know their current pace—knowing it brings forth some pressure.  Some would just like to relax and enjoy their run and be surprised on their finish time.

The latter would be my situation for this race, and since I found out I was running beyond my normal cruising speed I think that subliminally made me run slower.  Maybe next time I’ll put a tape over my GF405’s screen whenever I decided to run a relaxed race so I won’t know.

The loop cords that were given during the race were odd—too small to wear as a necklace, too lose as a bracelet!  I was afraid of losing one accidentally as I saw many of these lying around along the route so I placed it in my hydration belt.  There were five of these cords all along the 21K route and I virtually had to stop almost as many times just to secure it on my belt.  If I was aiming for a PR I would’ve been very angry.

By running the race loosely I was able to free myself of the time pressure.  Except for that time I knew of my current pace, I was running keeping my heart-rate low at a level where I consistently am able to breathe through my nose and at a speed I was comfortable.  Sometimes not knowing is better (as many GF users would attest).

RotaRun “21K” Route

RotaRun “21K” Route

Nearing McKinley Road I was hearing that we were just a few hundred meters to the finish.  At first I thought it was for everyone else but 21K since I knew it was too soon for 21K but when the signs directed us to McKinley Road I thought we’d still return to C5 before heading back.  When I saw the signs directing us towards the finish I asked a marshal if 21K also goes that way.  When it was confirmed I was really concerned that I may have skipped some routes of the race!  Did I really made some unintentional shortcuts?  Upon crossing the line I was asked if the distance for 21K was really short and that’s when I knew it really was.  Even without a Garmin I could tell that the 21K was way off the mark (I can feel it with the distance I ran and I can tell it with the time elapsed).  I crossed the 21K finish line with a gun-time of 1:34:36 (unofficial, self-timed)—had it been close to an actual 21K I would’ve been very proud.  Checking the GPS distance and compensating had it been an actual 21K I would’ve broken my old 21K PR (even at seven minutes per kilometer pace).

Another photo-op for gang

Another photo-op for gang, courtesy Carlo

Looking back at the race (from a 21K perspective) as a whole it was Good.  In fact the only issue I had with the race was the seriously short 21K (checkout my running logs to see the actual GPS distance).  While it was beneficial for PR purposes (Press Release) it does bring forth a dilemma.  That dilemma is: how do I log thee?  Indeed this was a “21K” race PR, but it was far from 21K.  Should my 21K PR retain itself since that was a valid 21K, or should I have a “21K Race” PR?

Special thanks to Marga for the “shuttle service,” Bong Y. for our “special arrangements,” and Carlo (Drum and Run) for the pictures.

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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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