Condura Skyway Marathon
Details: 6 February 2011, BGC and Ayala
Organizer: Condura, RunRio, Event King
– online registration and kiosk
– clean and comprehensive website
– race kit included safety tips and chocolates
– Runners’ E-Handbook
– attractive and high-quality shirts
– coral system, efficient race start
– ample hydration
– sponges and food
– Skyway route (of course!)
– high quality medal
– photos from marathonphotos.com (although I prefer Photovendo)
– medical aid throughout the route
– cheerers at the finish line
– giveaways and booths at the finish
– changing areas
– personalized finisher’s certificates
– more portalets along the route please! This runner needed it badly
Condura has definitely outdone itself with its spectacular staging of Condura Skyway Marathon. 13,000 runners participated in the event which offered local runners a taste of a well-managed event that is definitely at par with international races. By 2012, we hope that foreign runners can fly in to experience this awesome race.
Noticeably different this year was the back-to-basics approach of the organizers. I was told they focused more on providing runners with the essentials of the race (e.g., water, marshals, etc.) and delivered on these over and beyond expectations rather than spending precious time and money on frills and festivities—which I think is a good thing! The highlight of the race was the actual run on the Skyway; seeing the runners on both sides of the road was already a sight to behold. If you were looking for all the unnecessary race embellishments that I personally think we can do without, such as LCD screens or entertainment, you wouldn’t have gotten it in this race. This Condura Skyway Marathon was a runner’s run and truly one of the best races organized as of late.
To the Condura Team, RunRio, Event King, and all those who worked long and hard for this race, huge congratulations!
OFF TO A BAD START
It had all the signs of being an awful race. Fever on Monday. Tons of work for the entire week with Galloway, plus a side trip to Cebu on Thursday. To top it all off, I had a whopping 5k for total weekly mileage and skipped both strength training days…Yikes. I pretty much knew that I shouldn’t even hope for a sub-2 half marathon, much less a PR. I was so out of race mode that I had to rush back home for my D-Tag shortly after I realized I left it. I only had one thing to be thankful for: I didn’t sign up for 42k!
I arrived at the assembly area alone since Hubby wasn’t feeling well. It seemed like everyone signed up for this race; there were familiar faces everywhere from the portalets to baggage counters. I even spotted Ton Concepcion being the ever so hands-on race organizer attending to the queues at the baggage check in. I entered the assembly area and waited for my 21k race to start along with friends in front, to the left, and behind me. When the race started, I barely had time to wish them luck. I clicked on my Garmin, put my earphones on, and ran ahead.
As I type this, I can’t even remember clearly the roads that we took leading up to the Skyway. The hubby, who was eager to hear stories about the race that he missed, received nothing but a blank stare from me when he asked: How did you enter the skyway? Where was the turnaround? Duh. I couldn’t remember a single thing!
What I do remember was how great I felt running through the Skyway. Running on the paved, slightly undulating and seemingly endless road was almost tranquilizing just before dawn. There were no sharp turns nor potholes to ruin my stride; I set my sights straight ahead and settled into a hard but comfortable pace finding my rhythm. I wasn’t aiming to break my PR nor reach a specific time; I just wanted to run and revel in the experience. I felt like I could go on forever.
The problem with being ill-prepared for a race is that you feel strong, but at the back of your mind, you know you can bonk anytime if you put too much strain on your untrained body. So, I made sure not to push too hard knowing that, with the lack of training, I could find myself slowing down by 10km. I rarely checked my pace on the Garmin and listened to my body instead. No signs of weariness in the legs. Don’t go out too fast. Relax. Enjoy. Don’t try to outrun this stupid guy who thinks you’re racing with him.
I was fine for the first 19k. By the last 2k, I was exhausted. And, I knew this was coming. This is how I always feel if my last long runs don’t go past 21k. Had I run much longer a few weeks earlier, I’m sure I would’ve been strong until the finish. Oh well. I ordered my legs to work harder shutting out the weariness from my head. I climbed up Buendia flyover with smaller steps and tried to catch my breath as I rolled down the hill.
– Thanks to Vener Roldan for the image –
As I breathed deeply to recover while trying my best to just get to the finish, I heard my name: Jaymie!
Coming from behind was, of all people, my accountant who picked up running last year. We used to talk about numbers a lot. Taxes. Income statements. Mayor’s Permits. But, ever since he started running—and discovered that I had this blog—questions from him have shifted from income to races.
He chats me up. Asks my distance (he could converse because he ran 10k!) How I’m doing. And, I can barely talk. And, my eyebrows have transformed into a unibrow to demonstrate that I was in absolutely no mood for chatting. I just nod, wave my hand up to say goodbye, and increase the pace. Sorry dear accountant, wrong timing.
I head towards the finish—yes, this part I vividly remember—and was invigorated by the enthusiastic cheerers and spectators holding their balloons lining the road. What a fantastic way to end a tiring but completely exhilarating run. According to my Garmin, I clocked in at 2:05 for a 21.45km run with a pace of 5:50/km.
I chatted with a few friends in the post race area (which was huge and festive) and made my way out towards the parking lot. No photos taken, no breakfast with friends. Deep inside, the anti-social, solo runner that I am wouldn’t have had it any other way. A race is always about you and the road and—after conquering the Skyway despite the many challenges—I was on top of the world.