A whopping 12,000 runners participated in the 2013 Run United Philippine Marathon yesterday at SM Mall of Asia. Organized by Unilab Active Health and Runrio, it was the 3rd and last event of the Runrio Trilogy which featured the marathon distance. Approximately 3,000 runners joined the 42k event.
I joined the 21k event which was perfectly executed from start to finish. As always, for Run United events organized by Runrio, hydration, marshals, the course, directional and kilometer signs, lootbags, medals, and the post race area was well done. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the event will be a success. In fact, the race is just so expertly organized that, if you noticed, I don’t even bother to write a race review anymore! Perhaps, the only thing I would change about this event would be to move race start to 4:30 AM or even 5:00 AM during the ber months. Waking up at 2:00 AM for a half marathon is just a challenge. Is it the same for you? If not, then I must be getting old. Waaah!
As for the 42k event, I must say that Unilab Active Health took their own motto, Exceed Yourself, and applied it in their race. Full marathoners were offered gels, hydration, and grooming during the race and they ended the 42km running from the back of a stage and in front of a huge crowd. They also received ULAH slippers as part of their lootbag. ULAH definitely aims to improve their events with each passing year. Congrats again to Unilab Active Health and Runrio for such another successful race!
Now for my half marathon. I arrived at the venue at around 3:50 AM for a 4:00 AM gunstart with good friend Ton. I had only slept 2 hours the night before, but, fortunately, I felt I had enough energy to last me through 21 kilometers of easy running.
Yep, plan was to run easy. Correction: Ton and I didn’t have much of a plan! All we knew was that we would run this event to rid ourselves of the aliens that started residing in our bellies as soon as triathlon off season started LOL.
With little time to visit the potty, we went straight towards the assembly area where our other 5,000 half marathoners awaited. We chatted with friends Dra. Lora Tansengco and Eric Carpio while waiting. We failed to see Joey and Elaine who we intended to run with. Before we knew it, the race had begun.
Ton, Eric, and I ran together. There was a slight crowd due to the sheer number of participants. (Note to self: Never start at the end of a huge race!) So, even if we wanted to, there was not much of a choice but to run slow. This was completely fine.
By 5k, on Roxas Boulevard, Ton and I stopped at a quaint hotel for a toilet break. Eric decided to go ahead. That stop at the hotel was so refreshing that we hoped we could drop by again on our way back. I know, I know. It sounds like we took this race too easy. Hah!
By 10km, we both felt great but we decided to incorporate run-walks with a 4min-1min interval. Surprisingly, our 2nd half went faster than the 1st. We were running at 5:30 to 6:00 min/pace and alternating this with relaxing walks. The race even felt easier at the time.
It was great to see a lot of TBR Dream Marathoners doing the run walks during the race. As I saw them, I thought it would be great to just run an entire race with them next time.
At the last 3k of the race, we bumped into friends Vic and Cyn Icasas. Cyn is training for TBR-ULAH Dream Marathon while Vic is an alumni. Vic said that Cyn was on her way to a new PR. Without wanting to stress her out about this, he yelled: “No pressure, but what are the first two letters of “pressure” again?!” That made us all laugh, including Cyn who did break her half marathon PR that morning.
During the last few meters towards the finish, Ton and I ran strong. At the last 30 meters, I bumped into Dexter, a TBR-ULAH Dreamer who I had run with the day before. We joked that we would race against each other that morning. Well, we didn’t race; we did the opposite. Ton, Dexter, and I crossed the finish line together with a time of 2:24.
It was a fun, easy, and enjoyable run. The kind of run that left me feeling more energized than when I started. As I was about to leave the event, I was introduced Nary Ly, a runner from Cambodia who placed 2nd in the 42km that morning. Her time: 3:29. I gasped and congratulated her for an awesome time. She replied: “Oh, that was an easy run. I took the time to drink water and waved to spectators. My marathon PR is 3:02.” Gasp. I guess the words “easy run” are relative.