When I started this blog, it was all about the chronicles of my life as a runner and other outdoor activities. Little did I know that one day, my blog was noticed by Philippine Seven corporation thru Michelle Saludes and Mr. Jose Ang jr. and offered me an opportunity to witness and experience an international running event. And that is how I became a member of Team 7-Eleven Philippines as part of the social media group to cover the 11th Laguna Phuket International Marathon. This is the 2nd part of our a story, and it’s all about what we did in Phuket before and after the marathon. For the 1st part of story, how we dominated the 11th Laguna Phuket International Marathon, go here: https://theroguerebel.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/paradise-revisited-and-reconquered-11th-laguna-phuket-international-marathon/
We left Manila around 8pm and arrived in Phuket around 11pm. It was already passed midnight when we arrive at Chabana Kamala Hotel. After collecting our key cards, we were told to meet at the lobby after leaving our stuff in the hotel rooms, so we can go to the nearest 7-Eleven store and grab stuff that we need like food, drinks, etc. (7-Eleven is very generous, but I was a bit shy and only grabbed a handful of stuff like chocolates, bananas, tooth brush + toothpaste, and some drinks).
DAY 1: KAMALA BEACH
One of the first places we visited was Kamala Beach. It’s just a few hundred meters away from the hotel, so we took a quick stroll to see the beach before the start of the 1st day of Laguna Phuket International Marathon. It looks and feels like the Marine Base beach in Ternate, Cavite and I like the cool, fresh breeze that counters the hot temperature at the time. We didn’t stay long because we need to prepare for the running event.
DAY 2: ISLAND SAFARI
After the marathon event, we went to the hilly part of Phuket to visit Island Safari. It’s a place where you can ride elephants and watch them perform tricks. There’s also a monkey performance show. Gotta give props to the runners for still having the energy to enjoy the rest of the day even after running the long distance and winning.
THE ELEPHANT SHOW
THE MONKEY SHOW
DAY 3: CHALONG PIER and ANDAMAN PRINCESS DINNER CRUISE
On our last day in Phuket, we went to Chalong Pier for a boat ride to Andaman Princess, a ship turned floating restaurant. This is the most memorable dinner because it was our last night in Phuket and we were able to eat a lot of pork and chicken again (because we ate a lot of spicy and sea foods in the past days). We don’t have photos of the interior of the restaurant because we all just ate and forgot to take pictures. We also just want to enjoy the night with some of the 7-Eleven Philippines staff showcasing their voice talents on stage (worth noting that the 2-person band of Andaman Princess are pinoys).
And that’s our trip in Phuket, Thailand. It was an awesome weekend for me and I really enjoyed it. Phuket is a nice place to visit especially if you like to go beach or island hopping and there are a lot of foreigners around, making it Thailand’s version of Boracay. The surroundings, the weather, and the lifestyle looks and feels similar to our country, but the people are much more disciplined and the roads and driver’s side of the vehicle are the mirror image of ours.
I thank Philippine Seven Corporation (7-Eleven Philippines) and their major sponsors, Safeguard, Selecta, Pocari Sweat, Del Monte, Nature Spring, Gatorade, Powerade, and Summit Water for the all-expense-paid trip. Like John Hammond, they ‘spared no expense’ in taking care of everyone. I did not spend a single dime during the whole trip, all of us are well-fed (actually, overfed is more like it and we really, really like that), and we had a lot of fun. Special thanks to Mam Michelle Saludes, Project Head/Head Cheerleader of the Team, she’s like the cool mom who always make sure that we’re having a good time. And to Sir Jose Ang Jr., General Merchandise Division Head/Head Coach of the Team, he’s like the awesome dad who makes sure there’s never a dull moment when he’s around. And the 7-Eleven Philippines staff, they’re the best cheering squad in the marathon, and they provided the runners the much-needed vigor with their morale-boosting cheers.
If you want to be a part of the team, all you have to do is join the 7-Eleven Run series, do your best to grab a spot in the top 3 of the 21k and 42k categories, and you’re in. You don’t just win a cash prize, you become part of a team (and not just a team, like a family) with an excellent track record in winning races internationally and the best support/cheering squad. .
For now, I close this article with some more photos, the sights and feels of Phuket Thailand…
In the past few years, 7-Eleven Philippines has created a stable of successful runners. In fact, the Milo Marathon Queen, Mary Joy Tabal, ran a half-marathon race for the team in Seoul and won. Since 2014, Team 7-Eleven Philippines’ runners has been winning races internationally and they’re winning it like it has become a yearly tradition.
In order to join the team, runners must first join the 7-Eleven Run series. The top 3 winners of the 21k and 42k categories will have the opportunity to run in Phuket. As for me, I was lucky enough that my 7-Eleven race report article in this blog was noticed and I was given the opportunity to join them as the blogger of the social media group. And aside from witnessing the race live, I was also given the chance to run the 10.5k category to experience the event. So, read on to know the full story, because it’s another good one to add to the record books.
INTRODUCING… TEAM 7-Eleven Philippines Batch 2016
This is the 2nd time 7-Eleven Philippines sent runners to Phuket (paradise revisited). This year’s batch consists of returning members, Mario Maglinao, Cristabel Martes, Eugine Postrado, Gregg Osorio, and Mark Anthony Oximar. And the new bloods, Richard Salaño, Argel Mendoza, Jho-ann Banayag, Lany Cardona, April Diaz, and Nhea Ann Barcena. It’s worth noting that Cristabel Martes was a former Milo Marathon Queen and the National Female Marathon record-holder, and Jho-ann Banayag was also a former Milo Marathon Queen and SEA Games Champion. How awesome is that? it’s like having living legends in your team line-up.
The runners were also joined by the 7-Eleven Philippines staff/support group/cheering squad, led by Project Head, Michelle Saludes and General Merchandise Division Head, Jose Ang jr. And the social media group, Jeff Lo of pinoyfitness.com, Paulo Fernandez and Kristian Encarnacion of Solar Sports, and blogger/runner, The Rogue Rebel, Gian Carlo Rodil.
RACE DAY 1 (June 4)
The first day of the event was for the 2km Kids Run, the 5km Run and Community Walk, and the 10.5k Run. Sir Jose, Sir Bernie, and Mam Joselle ran ran the 5k, and I ran 10.5k.
The event started at 5pm (6pm Manila time), it’s a sunset run, so it’s going to be a good run.
Over 1,400 participants in the 10.5 category and everyone was excited to run, positive vibes emanate the starting line as the timer initiating the run was counting down. The run started slow and the road was congested, it took some time for the faster runners to overtake and make some breathing room.
The only problem during the run was the weather, it’s hot and very similar to Manila temperature. Good thing that the event has proper hydration stations and ice-cold sponges are available for that much needed cool down. The race route is nice, some parts are scenic (I can even see the beach), and there are some long straight roads to make up for the loss momentum on the uphill segments of the route.
I finished the race at 01:04:12. It did cross my mind to do a Sub-1, but it was hot and I just decided to run a smooth pace, slow down to take some photos, and just enjoy the scenery. The event has an international appeal, the majority of the participants are foreigners, from countries like Singapore, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, and more. It was a fun race and I enjoyed it a lot, truly fits the ‘run paradise’ theme, and I highly recommend it for first time runners.
RACE DAY 2 (June 5)
The 2nd day is the main event, the Half-Marathon and the Full Marathon. This time around, I’m a spectator, part of the support team, and a photographer.
Mario Maglinao, Eugine Postrado, Argel Mendoza, Lany Cardona, and April Diaz are the runners for Marathon which started at 4:30 am.
Richard Salaño, Mark Anthony Oximar, Gregg Osorio, Cristabel Martes, Jho-an Banayag, and Nhea Ann Barcena will be running the Half-Marathon an hour later (Jeff Lo also ran the half-marathon just for fun).
THE HALF-MARATHON (21k)
Whilst the Marathon started on time, the Half-Marathon was delayed a little bit because the Princess of Thailand will be running and she probably got late due to traffic. Everyone in the event, the spectators, runners, and event the event photographers were politely asked to not take photos of the Princess. As a sign of respect, everyone seemed to have complied. When the Princess finally arrived, she was joined by a few runners (probably some friends or family), a personal photographer, as the police escort them towards the starting line. She was then surrounded by personal bodyguards who will be running alongside (it’s quite a sight to see a VIP surrounded by guards, think King Joffrey and his Kingsguard, but without the intimidating armor, the bad-assery of medieval weapons, and Sandor Clegane).
The race started with the Princess having a few minutes head start and the announcer said the the runners don’t have to worry about passing her during the race (and if that was King Joffrey, he’ll probably shoot a crossbow bolt on your rear end).
I had more than an hour to kill before the first runner crosses the finish line. So, I walked around the area nearby, just a quick stroll and sightseeing. I returned to the event site, near the finish line as the spectators await the first runner to arrive. Then came the announcement as the first runner from the half-marathon is only a few kilometers away from victory. The American announcer is enticing the crowd, creating suspense. And when the announcer finally said the leading runner is from the Philippines, followed by the word ‘maybe,’ (to stir up excitement and suspense) the 7-Eleven Philippines support/cheering squad erupted with joy, they started clapping and cheering louder, especially when the name Salaño was mentioned (even before the runner was on sight). I can hear and feel their excitement, they’re ecstatic. I’m excited too, knowing that one of us is just a few strides away from winning. Then I can hear their cheers getting louder and louder. They can see Salaño approaching, I can’t because the start/finish line arch is blocking my view. The best I can do is wait and capture his moment as he crosses the finish line. So, I’ll let my photos below tell you what I saw…
See that? it’s the moment! the stuff of legends, the result of hard work and dedication. Richard Salaño, the first runner to cross the finish line with an official time of 01:15:18. He is Laguna Phuket Internation Marathon 2016’s Half-Marathon Overall Champion.
After taking the photo above, I greeted and congratulated Richard. I also asked him if that amazing 1:15:18 time is a new PR. He said, no, his current PR is 1:10. How amazing is that? want to be more impressed? he actually beat 3 Kenyans at 7-Eleven Run 2016 to get here.
And the winning doesn’t stop there. Team members Gregg Osorio and Mark Anthony Oximar were right behind him, securing 3rd and 4th place respectively.
Moving to the Female category, the first woman to finish the half-marathon was Vivian Tang from Singapore who crossed the finish line at 1:27:11. The defending champion, our very own Cristabel Martes finished at 2nd place with an official time of 1:28:13.
Just a minute behind her is another team member, Jho-An Banayag taking 3rd place.
Triathlete and last year’s Run United 32k Champion, Nhea Ann Barcena, put up a noble effort and finished at 1:35:10, ranking 5th in the female category.
THE MARATHON (42k)
Moving to the Marathon Category, there is a new champion. Koji Nishizawa from Japan finished the race at 2:37:53. Congratulations to the new champion.
Our defending champion, ‘Super’ Mario Maglinao, fell to 3rd place overall with an official time of 2:49:54. He may not have won this time, but he put up a good fight and there’s always next year to look forward to.
Eugine Postrado and Argel Mendoza secured the 4th and 5th place, respectively. Mendoza finished the race at 3:08:50 and also ranked 1st in his age group, whilst Postrado finish at 2:55:36 and got 3rd place.
In the Female Marathon category, April Rose Diaz finished the race at 3:35:21. She ranked 23rd overall, 4th in the female category, and 2nd in her age group.
And finally, saving the best for last. This year’s Laguna Phuket International Marathon Female Champion, another newcomer to the team, Lany Cardona. This year’s Marathon Queen, Lany crossed the finish line at 3:23:00.
So, that it for the 11th Laguna Phuket International Marathon. All of the runners bagged awards. Our runners dominated the Half-Marathon category including the overall championship. We also won the Marathon female category. It’s very similar to last year’s sweep, just in reverse (our 42k champion is now a female and the 21k champ is now male). And if the trend continues next year, it’s gonna be another successful run (pun intended) for Team 7-Eleven Philippines again. If that’s the case, the team might as well be synonymous to the words consistency and winning streak.
The support from 7-Eleven Philippines staff is amazing, it’s part of the runners’ success. They take care of you, they cheer loudly for you to boost your morale, and most importantly, they make sure you have fun and a good time. Want to be part of the Team 7-Eleven Philippines? all you have to do is join the 7-Eleven Run series (usually scheduled on the first month every year), do your best to make it to the top 3 of the 21k and 42k categories, and you’re in. Bringing out the best in you is what the team encourages. Work hard, dedicate yourself to your passion, and give it your all. The next international half-marathon or marathon champion could be you.
Thanks to Philippine Seven Corporation (7-Eleven Philippines) and their major sponsors, Safeguard, Selecta, Pocari Sweat, Del Monte, Nature Spring, Gatorade, Powerade, and Summit Water for the all-expense-paid trip and for supporting our runners and giving them the chance to shine in the international marathon scene. See you on the next 7-Eleven Run.
Since I started joining the running scene in late 2013, my passion has taken me to some of the most popular running grounds in the country like Nuvali, Filinvest City, SM Mall of Asia-CCP Complex, and Intramuros. Finally, for the first time, I was able to run in Bonifacio Global City, one of the most popular running event sites in the country.
Aside from the opportunity to run in BGC, I joined Financial Fitness Run 2016 because of the cheaper than usual registration price for a half-marathon race (850php vs the usual 1,000 php price), a plaque instead of the usual medal for finishing the 21k category, and the nicely designed singlet and finisher shirt. I was able to convince 2 officemates, Alvin and Cristian, to join me in this run as part of their preparation for running their first marathon (it has been quite a while since the last time I joined a run with buddies).
We arrived at BGC around 1 am and decided to eat and kill time at a nearby Family Mart. Around 3 am, we left and headed to the event site with the excitement to run in tow. But, midway from the site, Alvin found out the he left his smartphone at Family Mart. Fearing that other customers might have stumbled upon it and took it away, his heart was pounding faster than it is while running as we brisk walk back to the store, hoping that it was still on the table where he left it. Luckily, was still on the table and we all had a good laugh about it.
With some time to spare, we walked around and checked out the activity area as we wait for the gun start.
The race started late. Dunno why, probably the hosts were late because when they were talking on the stage, everyone was in the starting line waiting for the race to start. So, they transferred to a smaller stage beside the starting line, initiated the warm-up, and the race finally started at 4:45 am, 15 minutes late than the original 4:30am gunstart.
I started the first 2 kilometers slow, assessing my buddies to see if they can keep up. But, as I was starting to run my normal pace, they can barely hang. They finally gave me the signal to go ahead and run my pace.
I like the first 10 kilometers of the race route, although there are a lot of turns, there are some straight roads to gain momentum. We ascended to Kalayaan flyover going to Makati and I noticed a change of route from the original race map. The first U-turn was suppose to be in near RCBC Tower (as seen on the race map), but the U-turn was placed within Gil Puyat Ave closer to the flyover. The reason for this? there was another running event happening at the same time as ours. Runrio’s DZMM Run had a U-turn on the other side of the flyover and it was reasonable to make adjustments so that the two groups of runners from different running events won’t clash or get mixed up.
The 2nd part of the route was the part where things got a bit harder. It was hot and there were a lot of vehicles around, smoke and some slight slow down due to traffic management was expected (traffic was handled well by the marshals). Since the route was revised, the next U-turn was in front of Heritage Memorial Park. Finally had a taste of cool Pocari Sweat drinks which makes up for the exhausting heat (worth noting that I accidentally drank on two leftover Pocari drinks. It was only when I saw the Pocari cups were filled almost full and I drank on two partially full cups that I found on the water station and not the 100plus station. Had a good laugh about the realization and shame on those runners for not throwing their used cups on the trash bins. I’m just glad that healthy specimens drank on those cups because I’m still fine by the time of this writing). There was also a candy station and ample amounts of bananas and cold sponges available around the route.
Going back to BGC, the last 5 kilometers got even harder because of the heat (this is why I think 2 or 3 am is the ideal way to start a half-marathon during summertime), I struggled a lot and just forgot about my plan to make a new PR. I just did what I could and run at a decent pace.
I couldn’t make a mad dash or sprint the last kilometer. I feel so exhausted and I want to avoid cramps, so I just jogged my way to the finish line. A smooth and easy finish. Amazingly, I still managed to finish at 02:15:02 (02:14:28 chip time), which is better than my previous half-marathon finish at 7-Eleven Run 2016 (02:17:00). Surprisingly, I was close to beating my current 21k PR of 02:13:20 from last year’s 7-Eleven Run 1500. But, it’s okay if I didn’t make a new PR, the most important thing is that I had a good run and my first time running in BGC was a success.
Financial Fitness Run 2016 is good event, it was handled well by RG Events, an organizer that I’m not yet familiar of. I’ve heard some complaints, one coming from Alvin, that some of the hydration stations ran out of water and Pocari drinks. But, it’s a common complaint in running events because the fast runners consumes too much that the slower runners are left with scarce supplies, and this is why hydration belts are still a good investment (wink wink) for runners. Hopefully, for some, the sponsor freebies make up for it. With its advocacy of providing information and to educate the public about the right way of investing and the importance of being financially fit integrated in a fun run, the event is a success. Let’s see what they can do next year.