Despite last year’s 7-Eleven Run 1500 flaws, it was one of the best running events last year. I loved it so much that it’s a no-brainer for me to join the next 7-Eleven Run. So, here it is, 7-Eleven Run 2016! did it improve from last year’s event? Read on to find out.
First improvement, there were no more issues with the race kit distribution like last year. I got my race kit from the 7-Eleven branch where I registered (7-Eleven at Fast Bites in Northgate, Filinvest City) and I haven’t read or heard any more customer complaints that pushed the organizer’s customer service into the DEFCON 3 equivalent of customer response last year.
The race village is done properly, some booths like the Powerade booth were conducting fun games for participants and people who were there to kill time, and there was an inflated playground for those who brought kids.
I didn’t stroll much around the race village, I was excited (and nervous at the same time) to run. So, most of the time, I just rest at one place and walk around to warm up and that sped up the waiting time.
Like last year, the starting line was near Filinvest Tent going to Acacia Hotel, Toyota + Ford Alabang, and then finally that road to the Skyway. I did a good pace at the first half, almost similar to last year’s. The weather and temperature was excellent at the time, it’s cool and windy, it’s what I like best in running on the Skyway aside from the elevation.
After taking a leak in the portalet at the 21k U-Turn, I was smoothly sailing away in a good pace, feels like I could even set a new PR. Some time around the 13th kilometer, I was surprised to see 3 kids running side by side at a slightly faster pace than mine. Tip of the hat to the 3 kids, I rarely see kids run a half-marathon, let alone at a fast pace.
All seemed well for my run until the 15th-16th kilometer. As expected, the… cramps… are.. back!, here again to ruin my chance of a new PR. The pinching sensation was on my left calf. I tried to suppress it with an alternating walk-jog method, but it was only effective for a few hundreds of meters. My breathing was good, no problem there, just the cramps. I also ran with a different style to counter the cramp, by landing the left leg softly and letting the right leg carry the acceleration and harder impact, so it’s like running with the power being on one leg instead of both (kinda like a limping zombie but faster). It was kinda effective, helping me carry on with at least a 6-7 minute per kilometer pace. I was also tapping my right thigh every now and then to minimize thigh pain and the possibility of my old right knee injury manifesting itself. But, it didn’t take long for the right calf cramp to show up for the party. Yep, just as I feared, the cause of my pre-race nervousness, is back for a reunion.
So, I just had to make do with a jog and walk method, slow down every time I feel a pinch on my calves. There was one time that it got so bad, I flinched and lost my momentum. The runner just a few meters behind me noticed it and asked ‘okay ka lang?’ as he pass by. I gave him the thumbs up, though in reality, it was a sudden and very painful experience that required me to walk longer despite only being 2-3 kilometers away from the finish line.
I was very exhausted at the last kilometer. It was a very slow cruise, rolling with short jogging and some walks, I even took a selfie before going down the Skyway. But, I don’t care, despite the pain and exhaustion, I still had a great run on the first half and the hydration was the best ever (no more cold Bacchus energy drink near the 21k U-Turn, but the cold Fit and Right drinks near the last few kilometers more than makes up for it). I finished with a slow jog to the finish line at 02:17:09 (chip time is 02:17:00; while Nike+ Running app had it at 02:17:16 with 21.8 km total distance).
Walking back to the race village, the pain is still there. But, knowing that this is the 7-Eleven Run, you know you’re gonna get rewarded big time. It’s freebies overload once again. The Pocari Sweat booth was the first to greet and offer the runners their first taste of recovery. After grabbing my finishers kit and some freebies, I went to the car (parked at Festival Mall) to drop some of my initial loot and went back for some more. The exhaustion, the pain? they quickly subsided once you’re out grabbing free stuff. I was hungry after the race, but there’s no need to spend money and eat at nearby fast food establishments. All you have to do is walk around the race village. I ate food samples like Tulip luncheon meat, Mister Donuts, Dole bananas, chocolates (Reese, Snickers, Hersheys), noodles, and more. There’s also Kettle Corn, Sky Flakes, energy drinks like Red Bull, Extra Joss, Booster C, and Rockstar. Slurpee, more sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, Blue, Light Water, Vitamin Boost, POC, and more. Why do I always say more? because there’s so many sponsors I can’t even remember all of them. Need condoms? the Premiere Condoms booth got you covered (pun not intended) and they’re also handing out mosquito repellent (love-making on the great outdoors, maybe?). Robust also gives a free sample and a calendar. What about personal hygiene products? you can get Safeguard soap, Rexona anti-perspirant, Colgate tooth paste, Penshoppe cologne, and 69 sunblock to name a few. Want beer? free shots at the San Mig Light booth and next to it is the Boy Bawang booth, so beer + pulutan, pinoy style. There’s some free massage at the Salonpas booth, had some applied on my arms and calves (by that time, I barely feel the painful cramps anymore). Some of the booths also have games for even better prizes. Saucony, my favorite shoe brand, gives 500 pesos discount vouchers and there’s a raffle where you can win stickers or T-shirts (too bad I got the sticker, I wanted the Saucony shirt). And then there’s Selecta Ice Cream! I ate 4 ice creams sticks because I always went back to the Selecta booth for reasons below.
The race village is alive and filled with happy runners. Happy to be healthy and enjoying all the free stuff that only the 7-Eleven Run can offer.
Okay, so 7-Eleven Run 2016 is an awesome running event. So, what about the flaws and compared to last year? well, I can barely think of any blunders this time around. It’s a very well-organized running event and has none of the complaints or flaws of the previous event. Walking around the race village, all I see are happy and satisfied runners, especially those who were new to this running series. I’ll just point out some things like the finisher shirt. Though the organizer listened to the previous complain of not having the race distance printed on the shirt, they corrected it this time. But, the shirt design is still the same and it’s still cotton. It’s not a big deal though, just a minor thing pointed out, and it’s better than nothing. And as a bonus, even the 5k and 10 category got finisher shirts. How’s that for good customer service?
Another minor complaint was the medal design. It still looks like the medal from last year, but it’s not a big deal. It still looks good.
In closing, all I can say is that the 7-Eleven Run is still one of the best running event series in the country. You run and get rewarded. I hope that the series will always be held on January or the 1st month of the year because it is the best way to start the year. Everyone was happy and a winner at the 7-Eleven Run 2016. As always, looking forward to run again next year.