Nike We Run MNL was held last December 2, 2012 at SM Mall of Asia. While I flew off to run Angkor Wat Half Marathon, BERNARD MASA, the winner of my Nike We Run MNL contest, ran in my shoes and promised to report (or, in this case, Run-port) about the race. What follows is Bernard’s account of his fantastic experience at Nike We Run MNL (it was his first 10k!) including his special VIP Treatment and double post-race meal. Lucky, lucky guy! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. In fact, I was hitting myself on the head half the time for missing such an awesome race. (Thank you to Nike for treating Bernard like royalty!)
RACE REPORT: NIKE WE RUN MNL 10K
Words and Photos by Bernard Masa
After the cities of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, it was time for our very own capital to play host to the 2012 Nike We Run race series. And as they promised, Nike was able to draw some 13,000 runners for the Manila edition of its event. The achievement is all the more impressive when you consider that there were at least two other big races held in the Metro that same day. And this one was by far the most expensive, too. Except for the lucky ones who got in for free, of course. Cough, cough.
– Bernard at the Nike We Run MNL 10k race –
The 2012 Nike We Run Manila was perfect for anyone looking to set a new PR for their 10k. The race took place in the straight, wide and flat roads of the Seaside and Diosdado Macapagal Boulevards surrounding the SM Mall of Asia, with only a few turns to slow you down. There were also plenty of water and Powerade at the four hydrations stations along the route to help replenish and power you up for a faster run.
The race started at the Seaside Boulevard around 5:30 am, with the sky still dark. Because I was about 100 meters from the starting line when the race began, I had to spend the next several minutes alternating between running and hopping as I tried hard to overtake dozens of other participants. Fortunately by the first corner turn towards Coral Way road, there was no need for that as the road simply widened up for everyone. After about another kilometer, the runners then made a right turn to that long straight road that was the Macapagal Boulevard.
A few hundred meters after I crossed the 5.8 K U-turn, daylight had already brightened up the route. I noticed this because it was then that I was able to witness this sea of black and green in its full glory. One shirt, one race, one finish line. And all of them barreling towards me from the opposite lane. Even though I don’t usually like being in crowds, it was still a sight to behold. But as I noticed myself slowing down in awe, I gathered my thoughts and reminded myself that I have a goal to accomplish. Just like that, I was off to my race pace again.
I finished in 54:33, much faster than my target time of 60 minutes. For my first-ever 10k road race, it was good enough for me.
All in all, Nike We Run Manila was one of the most organized races that I’ve ever took part in. No hassles and long lines during depositing and claiming at the numerous baggage counters. On the route itself, marshalls were at just the right places to guide the runners. Vehicular traffic was well-managed, too. And bless the organizers for placing those portable toilets at the side of the road.
And at the end of the run, there was none of that typical mess and mad scramble after the finish line. The marshalls were proactive and all over the place (in a good way) as they guided the exhausted runners to the proper tents and stations. I was able to get the banana and finisher’s tee nice and easy. They were able to accomplish this despite the huge number of participants. Speaking of the finisher’s shirt, the bright green top looked as great as the race tee. But this was a Nike event, so we should expect nothing less, right?
But my great experience here was just starting. After gathering my stuff from the baggage counter, I headed straight to the spacious race village. I saw a few booths here as I surveyed the area, but I was surprised at the one booth where nearly everyone else was lining up: the photo booth! It looks just like another race starting line when you see how long it is. Just shows you how valuable this part of a race event is for the participants.
– Everyone’s willing to wait for a good photo! –
As for me, I thought that I better get good photos elsewhere in the area before the rest of the runners filled up the entire village. That led me to the Nike+ (NikePlus) Lounge, which as I understand was exclusive for Nike+ members only. The people there, however, were nice enough to let me in. So in yet another record time, I quickly filled up my plate at their eat all you can buffet. It was just the perfect post-race meal for me: sausage, scrambled eggs, yogurt, pineapple juice and tons of rice. All of it for free! I could not believe my luck at this event. The people who followed were not as fortunate though, as the security got tighter with more people coming in. Before this freeloader got caught by the officials in-charge, I went into race mode again as I left the area.
I also got a nice finisher’s medal near that booth, which are given out to the top 100 finishers of the race. It was quite heavy, too. But the thing is, I was 7 minutes off the time of the 100th finisher (good for 388th place as per Nike’s official results). I was more like one of the first 10 people who gorged through that Nike+ Lounge buffet. I just requested it from the guy who was handing out the medals, and he gave me one. No questions asked. Yes Google, I’m Feeling Lucky.
Then the post-race entertainment started. I heard the host Drew Arellano saying something about how good the food was at the VIP lounge. And it was only at this point that I recalled: didn’t the registration website indicate that my reg code was a VIP pass? So I went to the VIP lounge, this time at an easy pace because I was still full from that sumptuous breakfast earlier. And what do you know–my name was on the VIP list! And yet another eat-all-you-can buffet! There was Angus Beef Tapa, wild spinach and feta fritatta, banana pancakes, steamed Jasmine rice and homemade granola and yogurt served in a glass. It wasn’t the same power breakfast as the Nike+ Lounge’s. But no complaints here. For my already satiated stomach, the meals were just the perfect top-off to my feasting experience.
– Runners cheer during the show –
And there at one of the VIP dining tables was Apl.de.Ap of the band Black Eyed Peas, enjoying the same post-race meal. My photo-op with him could wait, I thought. Or rather, his bodyguard thought and said it to me.
As promised, the bands Never The Strangers, Sponge Cola and Chicosci filled the venue with some great live music. Apl.de.Ap himself put on quite a show as he performed onstage, belting out his band’s most popular hits. He was later joined by Slapshock vocalist Jamir Garcia. And because of my VIP access, I got to enjoy the performance up close as Apl performed one hit after another. Thanks again, TBR!
After a great run, great meals and some great entertainment, there was just one thing left to for me to accomplish in this great event. One last thing to make the most out of my free Nike We Run Manila experience. So just before he was ushered out of the VIP lounge, I went ahead and had my picture taken with Mr. Apl.de.Ap.
– Bernard with Apl.de.Ap of Black Eyed Peas and cover of TBR Magazine – May/Jun 2011. Click HERE to download the issue –
Just in case you’re reading this, Nike people, I would just like to ask: How do I get another VIP pass next year?