ALASKA MILK DAY RUN 2013 RACE REPORT
How would I describe Alaska Milk Day Run 2013 in a single word? Classy. Why so? And how would I know, you might wonder, the thing of class when I am not exposed to it (I am cheapangga lest you forget) or at least have a taste of it in the first place?
I cannot pin point precisely how I came to feel that way with this race. This is not as big as, well as of yet that is, the major prominent races like the Run United series, the Condura Skyway marathon, the National Geographic run, etc. But the vibes and the ambience are the same. Some kind of déjà vu feeling may be that I cannot understand where it came from and what it is precisely.
Oh well but anyways, let me enumerate certain points that hopefully would sum up to something tangible as to why I described this race as classy and not trashy.
Baggage, Start and Finish Area and Gun Start
The gun start was on time. Or maybe a little bit early by some minutes. How would I know,? I was a bit late! Talk about arriving at the area while the field was abuzz with doing stretching and warm up exercising while I was still looking for the baggage area. Hurriedly I search for it and it was located somewhere at the back area coming from the street corner near the starting chute.
After the efficient staff attended to me making all the motions as if they have been doing the baggage duties all their lives, making me feel at ease that my cheapangga possessions will be taken cared of, I sped towards the starting area as I heard the countdown by the emcees. Proceeding to the area near the front of the activity area hoping to catch the just released runners from the front and simply retrace my way to the timing pad below the chute and then run back again towards the tail of the group.
But I was wrong. The coral was fenced in such a way that all runners should enter it through the back part where the baggage is. This actually makes it easier for runners doing baggage to reach it, but harder for “singetero” like me who felt it their right to just approach the starting line wherever they feel like. I missed some precious 2 minutes due to this as I unwittingly went back to the baggage area and to the entrance of the chute some few meters back from the starting line.
What is classy?
- That the baggage area is near the entrance of the runners’ chute and manned with efficient personnel complete with plastic ties to attach corresponding tabbed bib numbers to the bags and markers to place the “b” letter to the bib and not just any letters or symbols to suit their caprices;
- That the gun start is on time commanded by the very energetic emcees;
- That the corral of runners is tightly and properly fenced and cordoned for unruly runners and late comers like me who would just enter the starting area from anywhere they like.
The route at first glimpse seemed ordinary and familiar to most frequent runners of Bonifacio Global City area. But some not so major adjustments and tweaks here and there would prove refreshing.
Starting at the usual starting/activity area of most BGC races nowadays, 34th and 9th Streets, or the turf area, or the former Mercato area, the route moves out to this 8th Avenue area going towards the 38th Street and doing U-turn before reaching that. Then the route heads out towards the Kalayaan flyover. I may be wrong but I think this is my first 10K run here in BGC that touched the Kalayaan flyover. The U-turn was somewhere before the Paseo de Roxas area which is the entirety of the flyover and some.
After some uphill and downhill leg breaking Ks up and down the FO, the route follows the Rizal Drive path way towards the 5th Avenue and until somewhere before the McKinley Hill area where another U-turn is. The route then proceeds back to the McKinley Street towards 9th Avenue where it is a straight path towards the finish line.
Speaking about the finish line, it is different from the starting line! Arriving early in the morning in the cab, I had it stop when I saw the finish line chute at the 9th Avenue near the 32nd Street. Only to find out that the starting area is in the 34th Street area. Another refreshing aspect of this race though I must have seen this in some other previous races I cannot readily recall.
What is classy?
- That the Race Director was classy and imaginative enough to find something new out of the very much used and abused route of the BGC area;
- That the Kalayaan Flyover is incorporated in the 10K route.
Hydration and Marshals
Hydration stations in the first 5Ks of the route came in 1.5 to 2K apart. The tables are of proper size and build. Large Gatorade tumblers with blocks and blocks of ice and an ample amount of disposable cups are on hand. Hydration marshals are very clean and neat looking with matching gloves while handing out the cups personally and individually to runners. I felt like some professional athlete doing international race circuit.
There were no sports drinks served along the route. Some races have them but personally I really don’t feel the need. Sports drink is a necessity after an hour of work out and since most runners nowadays manage the 10K route in an hour, give or take a few minutes, they may or may not be served along the route. But it should be a must to have then at the finish line, which this race thoughtfully provided each finishers with a bottle full.
I felt some lack of hydration presence over the Kalayaan Flyover and along the Rizal Drive. I am not sure of how long this particular route is but I believe this is more than 2K so there should have been at least one table. Or it is just that I was sooooo slow that I thought this area much longer than it is.
Route marshals are efficient and friendly. They can be found where they are needed in areas like intersections and U-turns. They look accommodating and maybe they are only that I didn’t feel the need to approach them. Traffic marshals are likewise adept with their responsibilities that not only were the runners safe and undisturbed by heedless vehicles but the motorists on the other end as well.
What is classy?
- That the cups filled with cold water were handed out properly and antiseptically to the runners by the marshals themselves with their gloved hands;
- That because of this I felt like a professional athlete in an international competition;
- That the marshals, route and traffic, are all clean looking, efficient and approachable.
Along the route are numerous photographers all looking professional and armed with fierce looking cameras. They did not spare a single second not aiming their cameras at the runners. It helped also that most of them are my friends who also run. They came from the new group called Photo Ops and are made up of prolific and hardworking shutters. I have seen their works at the recently concluded Xterra Mud Run and the IronKids Duathlon and Running events and they were fabulous! Almost all of my profile pictures were taken by them.
What is classy?
- Professional looking and prolific photographers taking quality pictures of all.
It was such a relief that despite being that slow in my 10K endeavor, I arrived at the activity area with much time to spare as to get my loot bag, get my bag at the baggage area, make “chika chika” with running friends present, co-bloggers, some strangers, change in the clean, well lit, with proper tables for things changing area into something cleaner, fresher, some more picture taking opportunities, before heading to the various booths for lots of milk, magazine and “pan de sal” freebies before the area gets congested with 5K and 3K runners!
Such thoughtfulness in management of finisher’s traffic in the activity area is superb. I think this is the first time I experienced running the longest distance offered and arrive at the activity area not yet deluged by shorter distance runners who usually over power longer distance runners in number. In fact, the 5K runners were released right after I arrived at the finish line making me think they were 3K runners!
There were lots of Alaska milk which came in two flavors, regular and chocolate, as recovery drinks for those who are not lactose intolerant. They can even be partnered with some bread for more carbo load. Even for the kids, and even for the young of heart, there is the presence of this inflatable slide akin to the one used in Run United 2. Indeed, the organizers of this race took into consideration family related matters making this race very friendly for all even the non-running family members.
What is classy?
- That the activity area is not only accessible but very spacious as well;
- That the gun starts for each distance are all well-spaced taking into account the crowding of the finishers at the activity area letting longer distance runners have their time checking all booths before other distance finishers arrive;
- That there is something for everybody including the kids with the presence of inflatable slides;
- Entertaining and energetic host during awarding and raffling of prices.
A box of Alaska powdered milk, some chocolate and yogurt drinks, and then some. I am not really particular with the content of loot bags. All I wanted is their presence just to know that the race organizers made some effort to collect them. Even just the bag is enough vis-à-vis the registration fee.
What is classy?
- Loot bags will never be classy! Hahaha….
Despite a very lackluster performance in my 10K run, I went home satisfied. My pictures taken may look fierce and strong because after all these years joining fun runs, I have learned how to fake the look. But take a close look at those around me, they don’t look fast. It is because we are not fast! I was struggling in my run the entire route. When then this distance is but my every other day exercise, now it’s as if this was my very first run all over again. But the quality of this race, the people behind it, the planning and the execution, were all precise and above standard.
Then it hit me! The event organizer is Sunrise Events which is the same group behind National Geographic, Exterra and Ironkids events! That’s why the quality and the class!
Race result can be viewed at Strider.ph.
Story In Pictures