TBR Race Review: Milo Manila Eliminations
– good management of foot traffic (runners)
– clear course with marshals
– directional signs and kilometer markers
– plentiful portalets at the start and along the route
– free gels and bananas along the route
– elite athletes as pacers (although I only found out about this after the race)
– medical aid stations along the course
– entertainment from bands
– use of timing chips
– announcement of names near the finish
– qualifying time per category
– lootbags for finishers
– various post-race activities at race area
– medical aid and marshals’ prompt response
– improved registration with satellite registration centers
– fantastic marketing campaign with worthy advocacy
BETTER JOB NEXT TIME:
– insufficient water at stations, specifically at Km 8 and stations during the last 3km. A marathoner friend informed me that they didn’t have hydration for the last 10km.
– lack of stations, there could’ve been more
– slow refill of water by marshals at stations
– water marshals were freely giving out water to non-runners
– no sponges
– crowding at the timing chip mats
– lack of control with pedestrians or finishers who leisurely crossed the route, especially near the finish
– 5:30 a.m. too late a start for 21k
– more expensive race fee compared to previous years
27,000 runners gathered at Quirino Grandstand for the Milo Marathon yesterday. The race start went by smoothly and the 21km started on time.
With the change of course—from out and back last year to loops along Macapagal-Roxas Blvd.—runners were concerned about heavy foot traffic among half and full marathoners who were likely to converge along the route. The foot traffic was capably handled by organizers, a feat considering the enormity of the race. The high-traffic areas were where the timing chip mats were located. (Methinks Milo should invest in more mats next year. A gift to those who will be gunning for PRs.)
Free Hammer gels and bananas were distributed, but there was no water within the area to drown both. Missing were the blaring Milo jingle from last year (which I surprisingly wanted to hear to pump me up!), sponges, or even cheerers along the route.
What was astounding and devastating was the poor management of water stations. A few stations had water but glasses were not quickly filled. This runner had to pick a cup out of a stack and pour her own from a pitcher! Some hydration stations, especially the last few kilometers, were empty, which left runners suffering in the heat or worse from dehydration.
Coming from a well-organized Milo Marathon finals last year, all that was required was a repeat of that race at the very least. The failure of this race to provide the most basic requirement: proper hydration was, in itself, enough to cause a huge disappointment among runners.
Milo Marathon is an institution; it is and always will be one of the most anticipated races of each year. This is a double-edged sword as runners have high expectations from Milo and its organizers. Runners will continue to look forward to Milo Marathon (as this runner does) and have faith in Nestle and its organizers to improve the race next time. After all, they came so close to perfection already last year.
THE LONGEST WARM UP OF MY LIFE
Bumper to bumper traffic. That’s what greeted hubby and I are 5 a.m. on the way to the assembly area. We hopped out of the car and left our driver to battle the traffic alone as we sped off to run what we thought was a 1.5km warm up to the race start. It turned out to be a 3km warm up for our 21km.
We entered the starting chute to meet Jay (Prometheus Cometh), Jun (The Solemates), and Jun Bisnar of Nuvali. They looked fresh while hubby and I were sweating like pigs.
OFF TO A FAST START
We started the race as a group. Slowly, we broke away from each other with Jun and Hubby running at an easy pace, while Jun, and I were made to believe (by Jay) that we were running at an easy pace.
For the first 5k, we happily chatted along Roxas Blvd. as we do when we, along with Dindo who was running 42k that day, meet up for lunch every now and then. We talked about NYC Marathon (all three of us are registered), triathlon dreams, and more.
It wasn’t too long after when Jay confessed his strategy. He planned on chatting us up throughout the race hoping to have us run at a fast clip (and hopefully a PR) without our knowledge. I laughed and told him I was actually panting already so I had a clear idea of how fast we were running even if I refused to glimpse at the pace on my Garmin.
Shortly after, Jun asked: Is this the first flyover we’re climbing? Jay answered: No, it’s the second. I guess Jay’s strategy worked enough to have Jun obliviously attack an ascent!
For us to forget about climbing another flyover, I advised Jay that he could promise to cover our airfare for NYC. Perhaps, that way, we could even PR in the race without breaking a sweat.
By around 8k, we had parted ways. Jay was ahead of me, so I just focused on him and followed his lead. I enjoyed feeling like I was in full race mode, without distraction, and focusing on the game.
It was at this time when I was completely parched and the water station was nowhere in sight (over 2.5k distance I believe). I was even more annoyed to find free gels and bananas being distributed as my throat dried up. I ran 5:24 and 5:34 mins/km at Km 9 and 10 respectively in desperate search of water.
After finding water after 10k and using it to drown my own Hammer Gel from my pocket, I forged ahead.
Except for that brief water problem, it was smooth-sailing all the way. In my mind, I thanked KL Marathon last week for the preparation.
I thoroughly enjoyed the race. Climbing the flyovers a total of four times was exhausting, but it was a welcome challenge that made the race more colorful. (I heard the marathoners climbed it 10x. Oh boy.) The new 21k route was quite enjoyable for me, actually.
From 10k until the end of the race, except for Km 11 when I walked to swallow the gel, I ran sub-6 minute pace, which told me that my body had finally climbed out of the out-of-shape phase I was stuck in for months and that my speed was gradually returning.
The last 3k was torture. I was thirsty and exhausted, but there was no water in sight. I bumped into Donna Cruz who was battling the heat too, but still ran at a fast pace.
I mentally blocked the thirst, heat, and hurt from my body and just started counting from 1 to 100 until I reached the finish line. I don’t remember much anymore, except for those annoying pedestrians who crossed the street and stopped you midway through the run. My counting reached 6 sets of 100’s in my mind before I entered the finisher’s chute.
My unofficial time was 2:02 for 21.03 km with an average pace of 5:50 min/km. 1 minute shy from my PR at Cebu Marathon last January. And, over 2 minutes shy of a sub-2 half marathon, which is fine because I had no plans of breaking any personal records at Milo anyway. The good news: tI placed 12th for 21k Women’s category! Click HERE
My reward after the finish? 2 Nestle Twin pops! Perfect food for recovery and the best twin pops I’ve ever had in my life.
Photos courtesy of Ben Chan of Photovendo. Visit photovendo.ph