I’ve read a lot of blogs and articles about last year’s Rexona Run To Your Beat. It was said to be one of the best fun runs last year with speakers all over the route playing live music by 10 of the country’s popular bands and DJs. I’ve also seen the 21k medal and it was one of the most beautiful medal I have ever seen. And to get the runners even more pumped up at the starting line, there were fireworks initiating the race. It got me excited especially after seeing the event photos and that nice looking medal, so I decided to join the fun run this year and chose it to be my 1st half-marathon (21km) run.
This is also the 1st time I joined a Runrio event, I have never joined to any of the Run United series before. We arrive more than a couple of hours early, the site is quite big as the event has an estimated 12,000+ runners. Let’s skip to the start of the race. I was nervous, this is the 1st time I joined a big running event, and as the countdown goes 3, 2, 1… boom! no fireworks like the one mentioned in a blog I’ve read. Excitement didn’t spike at that time, I was expecting the pyrotechnics to get everyone fired up. Starting with a walk then cruising at a steady pace, we entered the 1st music tunnel after a kilometer and a half. It was nice, pumping music, nice disco lights, then we got out of the tunnel in a minute. After that, we jog for like 14km or more without music because the 2nd music tunnel is somewhere between 17 and 18 km. This the 2nd ‘bummer’ part of the run, since we were expecting speakers surrounding the route and let the ‘music push us farther’ as advertised, we did not bring music players or earphones. So, yeah it was a long cruise without music. It’s good that I have a running buddy with me, at least I have someone to talk to and share random thoughts during moments that we had to slow down and conserve stamina. On a positive note, it’s worth noting that hydration stations and portalets are well placed and bananas and sponges are available. There was one weird thing that I have to mention because it’s quite interesting, sometime between the 8th and 10th km, we encountered a drunk guy with a backpack running on the race route. Dunno how he got in, the marshals doesn’t seem to notice him because he blended with the crowd and it was one of the darker part of the route, so it’s hard to see if he has a bib number. He was harmless, he’s not harassing anyone, he was just running along with the runners and we haven’t seen him after passing the km 12. Back to the race, since this is our 1st time running a half-marathon, we started to slow down after 13 km, my partially recovered injury from The Guerilla Race the week before has taken its toll. I felt something like a nerve pain on my right knee that prevented me to run long distances. So, my buddy and I alternate our movement with jogging and walking. I got a renewed vigor after consuming Booster C somewhere between 15km and 16km. My stamina feels like it was refueled and I was starting leave my buddy behind. But, since the nerve pain is doing its best in slowing me down, I cannot run longer and I slow down every now and then to wait for my buddy. We reached the 2nd music tunnel, we walked and took some time to enjoy the music and lights. Then the 3rd and last music tunnel, The Hip Hop tunnel, my favorite especially with the modified cars parked inside. I tried taking photos, but my phone and fingers are wet, so we just decided to just move along. In the last 2-3 kilometers of the route, I still have a lot of stamina, but the right knee doesn’t allow me to run long distances. Still, I was outpacing my buddy even if it’s only for short distances, so he told me to just go ahead to the finish line and I did. I made a run for it in the last 1.5km, but still can’t run continuously because the knee injury is really hindering my progress. I finished the race at 2 hours and 53 minutes (2:51:31 according to official chip time). I wasn’t in peak form, but I’m glad to have finished my 1st half-marathon at under 3 hours while running with an injured knee. But, there’s another and last disappointing part of the race, the medal.
The medal looks cheap. It looks nice in photo, but the inscription seems like a sticker on metal, because it is. Feels like the medal was rushed and this is definitely not what the original medal design (that was advertised in various websites) looks like, it’s a last minute change for unknown reasons (I should also mention that the route and tunnel locations also had some minor changes, the original route shows that we will enter the vicinity of Luneta and a music tunnel was place within the same vicinity, the final race route didn’t include that). In summary, Run To Your Beat 2014 is the exact opposite of Run To Your Beat 2013. There were no fireworks before the start of the race, no music along the route (worth noting, there were 10 bands and DJs from last years event, this year’s event only has 6 DJs and Sponge Cola for the post race music performance), and the medal is inferior to the one offered last year. I had so much expectations for this run and that is why I chose it to be my 1st half-marathon, it wasn’t a bad event, it was just average. But, I still have good things to say, the event is well organized and the freebies is definitely better compared to other running events I had in the past.
Overall, despite its flaws or shortcomings, I still had a good run and the event is a milestone in my running life. Would I still join next year? only if it will be like the 2013 edition.