TBR RACE REVIEW: 2009 NIKE+ HUMAN RACE 10k
Overall rating (10 highest): 4
• Unique concept: to run with the rest of the world.
• Nice shirts. High-quality material, great fit.
• Race started on time.
• Scenic, out-of-town event.
• Nike bags given out after the race.
BETTER JOB NEXT TIME:
• Marshals were mostly on bikes only.
• No kilometer markers.
• Lack of water at the station.
Nike calls the Nike+ Human Race “the world’s biggest run” as runners from all over the globe run 10k on the same day. Sadly, the 2009 Nike+ Human Race at Subic International Marathon failed to live up to the hype of the global race and paled in comparison to the spectacular 2008 Nike+ Human Race at McKinley Hill.
Less than 200 runners showed up for the race, which was unexpected for a Nike event, but not too surprising either for an out-of-town race that only offered a 10km race distance and coincided with two other weekend races in Manila. With the limited number of participants, one would think the race organizer could’ve provided runners with a perfectly organized race. Unfortunately, it was quite the opposite.
The course initially took runners through flat roads, but eventually led to a steep and tortuously long uphill climb lasting for about 2.5 kilometers. Disappointingly, after the 5k turnaround, there was no water left at the last station. Marshals were mostly on bikes so they failed to block traffic as runners crossed major intersections heading back to the finish.
The saving grace of this race? Wonderful race shirts provided by Nike, plus a chance to view the Kenyans as they finished their marathon. That’s about it.
I had fond memories of Nike+ Human Race last year. And, the thought of running with the community of runners spanning the globe was a novel idea. So, I was intent on signing up for the Nike+ Human Race this year despite the 3-hour journey from Manila to Clark, the disruption of my training program (I don’t run on Saturdays), and the exhaustion I expected from running 10k that day followed by a 21k at Adidas KOTR the next.
When we arrived at the assembly area in Remy Field, I was surprised to find such a small gathering of runners. Clad in the red Nike+ Human Race shirts, the runners were in relaxed mode awaiting race start. I chatted with Nike+ Human Race ambassador, Bards of Banana Running, spotted another ambassador, Lino Cayetano, but failed to see the other three ambassadors.
The race started at exactly 4:30 p.m. My run was quite the antithesis of the atmosphere of the event. As we rushed out of the track oval and through the flat but busy road, I found myself running in full race mode, not my planned slow 10k. My friend, Alvin, had sent me a commanding text message earlier (in full caps): “EASY PACE ONLY!”, but since Alvin was in distant Manila, he would never know, right?
I had ran this road twice before so it was nothing knew. At around 3km, a man yelled out to me that I was in 5th place, so it gave me an added boost of energy to go faster.
The next portion of the course was a shocker; it was a never-ending uphill climb that left me wishing I had listened to Alvin instead. But, there was no turning back. I focused on my breathing, took smaller steps, and paid no attention to runners who started walking instead. It was a long, dreadful, and exhausting climb to the top. What made it worse was I was chasing after the 4th placer! Shortly before the 5km turnaround, I ran past her. 4th place, baby!
Soon, I rolled down the steep hill I had just climbed. With my paranoia over my old injury, Runner’s Knee, I slowed down and stepped on my inner breaks. By this time, everyone—yes, even those guys who were walking up the hill—were leaving me behind! Grrrrr! As for that female runner I had worked so hard to overtake up the hill, she swept past me and was gone from my sight in a matter of seconds. Double grrrr!
By the time we reached the flat roads again, I caught sight of female runner again and tried my best to catch up with her. For the last 2 km until the end of the race at the track oval, I ran close behind her trying to overtake her. I never did. She finished a few meters ahead of me.
I finished the race at 59 mins. Considering how spent I was, I thought I ran it much faster. No worries. I’m just glad I survived the toughest 10k of my entire life.