38th Milo Marathon Manila Elimination
July 27, 2014
SM Mall of Asia Grounds, Pasay City
DISTANCE RAN: 21K
RACE ORGANIZER: Runrio Inc.
I was in perfect form heading into my supposedly marathon entry. I had finished a previous Nat Geo Marathon race last April 27 in just a shade below 6 hours despite not having prepared for the event. I likewise finished my Run United 2 32K distance last May in a shade over 4 hours. I did a 30K “Power Kembot LSD” with my Fabulous Running Divas group in between the former and the 32K Soleus Valley Trail Challenge by the end of June. My trail run did not end up good though I finished the race within the magnanimous cut off time of 6 hours and 30 minutes. However since this was just my second trail run and my first at this distance, I think I was not that prepared physically for its challenges. Not to mention that by time I finished it was already scorching hot. In the last 7K, I already felt dehydrated and disoriented. This and the fact that the weather was bad at this time of the year made the whole of July a battle with the colds cough and fever for me. This set my entire training off that I needed to downgrade my distance entry to half just to be able to run and experience the event of this magnitude and stature once more.
As for my outfit preparation, there was actually no such thing. Well aside maybe from the fact that I will be using my shocking pink calf sleeves by Zenzah, the No.1 compression brand in the USA, for the very first time. This time I made sure that my music would go uninterrupted so I fully charged my phone. Like my calf sleeves, I likewise used my Yurbuds Inspire Pro earphones for the first time and it was superb. Racebelt to carry my phone, check; visor and shades for sun protection and sweat wicking, check. I am good to go. Nothing fancy, just the right amount of understated fab.
This is one of “the” races in the country so everything was well coordinated and planned. After all, Milo was at this for 38 years now! Moreover, with the usual Runrio stamp for flair and “up there” scale, everything was just child’s play for this partnership.
Before the Run
- Baggage – a bit of an effort to reach but in big races with an even bigger activity area such as this, this is to be expected. The baggage personnel were efficient and in good number though.
- Pre-Race Program and Event Hosts – nothing spectacular but were pros in what they do. They efficiently weaved through the program without hitches.
- Start Chute Area and Atmosphere – very friendly but at the same time, you can feel the jitters of an impending stiff cut-off time written in all the faces.
- Gun Start – on time but given the number of runners, those at the back started minutes off the gun start. The cut off times were adjusted correspondingly though.
During the Run
- Hydration – ice-cold and in expected distances apart with matching sports drink in most stations plus bananas. I had two fruitful if I am not mistaken.
- Route Marshals – very visible and in enough numbers
- Traffic Marshals – very efficient as I did not encounter any problems with the vehicles demanding to pass through given the extra ordinary number of participants.
- Route – the route is somewhat boring as this had been the very same one by many races doing the MOA and Roxas Blvd. route. But where else in the Metro can you go to?
After the Run
- Finish Line Area – The presence of steel gates helped control the flow of pedestrians around the vicinity of the finish line. In a way, this made sure that by passers and kibitzers were held at bay except for the cheerers belonging to different running groups.
- Medals and/or Finisher’s Shirt Distribution – There were a good number of medal givers so there was no piling of finishers. And with 42K and 21K, there is usually not much of this problem to deal with since they come one at a time. I heard some complaints of not getting their correct finisher shirt sizes. This is the area that I think needs ample of attention and improvement.
- Freebies and Loot Bags – The distribution was smooth and fast as there were enough man power provided. There were ample booths for distribution too.
- Activity Area Atmosphere – well managed and planned despite the many goings on including the cheer dance competition after the race. By the way, it was spacious.
- Post-Race Activity – The usual Milo trademark of cheer dance competition is always a crowd-drawing spectacle among young runners who populate the 3K and 5K distances. By the way, they number in thousands!
It was a great race overall. Now it is very hard to comment on a race that had given the local running industry so much for the longest time. Now that it has collaborated with Runrio, the proponent of the local racing standard, it has even gotten to a higher level. It is sad that some problem arising from the lack of available finisher shirt sizes will mar the completely great thing. For me it did not, but being a constantly refraining problem, this must be as if a stone left unturned. I hope that this will be addressed finally.
I was flying as I always do during this initial segment of the race. I do not know why, given the length of time I had been running continuously, I had not learned to control my pace over a particular distance. I think it is more of a mental control than a physical experience thing. No matter how you train for a negative split if, you have no self and, in this case, pace control, it will just be useless. Therefore, off I went overtaking almost half the number of runners knowing that later I will be the ones they will overtake.
It was more of a run walk routine for me by the time I reached the 5K mark. Of course, I executed my kembot at this point getting up over the Buendia flyover. I made the length of the hydration stations as my walk breaks. On the midpoint going back near the NAIA Road of the Roxas Blvd. stretch, I was more comfortable with my walk-along-the-stations routine.
In the last 4K, I encountered the mass of 5K and 10K runners filling the entirety of the four-lane road heading for the MOA finish line. It was almost impossible to run continuously in a straight line. In critical moments like the last few Ks, a run momentum needed to be sustained and uninterrupted as it is increasingly hard to keep at it. Unfortunately, you are left with no choice but to weave your way across this human maze of young runners carrying backpacks and those groupies taking pictures of them right in the center of the road! In fact a number of them was surprised and amazed at a wet and weary runner shouting, “Excuse me, padaanin ang lola!” repeatedly while tapping their shoulders at the same time!
Overall, my performance was not that superb because if it were, I would have regretted not going the entire marathon distance. Two weeks off running is something that will have some impact on your overall performance. Good for me, I had zumba, which I took up just recently (and I highly encourage you to do so too), to keep my cardio level up despite not running. Because of this, I still finished the race with a good enough time (well for me at least) of 2:17.