Posted in #runrio, City Run, fun run, run for a cause, RUNdom thoughts, Runmania, Runmania PH, running, running event

RUNdom Thoughts: 10 Races that I miss and missed!

Every runner have their own personal favorite running events. The ones that we love to talked about with others and the one we will always join every time they’re available. Some of our favorites are still around while others have either disappeared quietly or discontinued for controversial or unknown reasons. Here are the defunct running events the I miss the most…

THE RUNNING EVENTS THAT I MISS

Outbreak Manila

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Outbreak Enchanted Kingdom, the third event, was the most popular of the series with over 8,000 participants. And who wouldn’t want to escape a zombie-infested theme park?
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My first fun run and the one that got me into the running scene.

If there is one race that I will never forget, one that I will always join, it’s the Outbreak Manila series. It’s chaotic, thrilling, and nothing beats the pure adrenaline rush of outsmarting or outrunning zombies. The first Outbreak Manila happened on the 14th of April, 2012 in Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna. It was a road and trail run with some obstacles. The objective is to evade the zombies who will try to grab your life flags (3 lives max with extra lives that can be found along the way or if some conditions are met) and make your way to the finish line with at least one life flag left.

I have never known about Outbreak until I saw their facebook page advertising their 4th event which was Outbreak Manila BGC 2. I was excited to join it, but I prefer to run with friends on my first fun run and it would be more fun as a group. I invited my former teammates from kgb_ Philippines, but none was available to join at the time, so my plan didn’t push through. Then came the announcement of a new concept called Outbreak Missions. It’s different the main Outbreak run because it added a plot, side missions, and branching paths that determines your ending. So, basically it’s like a live-action video game with tropes from popular zombie apocalypse pop culture like The Walking Dead, Resident Evil, The Living Dead series, etc. And the best part was halfway of the route takes place inside a mall (Festival Mall) and imagining a scenario like Dawn of the Dead or Dead Rising scenario got me completely sold.

The whole experience was amazing, the zombies make-up look great and the way they act is eerily realistic. A lot of runners are dressed for the occasion, it’s like a cosplay convention and even better with the apocalyptic surroundings (abandoned cars, tents, fire dumpsters, etc.).  I remember my huge grin after surviving the first rush to the safe zone, the loud screams as we ran on a dark road, the nerve-racking moment of navigating stealthily around the dim and zombie-filled food court of Festival Mall, and the first time I lost a life flag when I was cornered by 2 zombies at the 3rd floor of the mall. The most intense moment was when I lost another life flag, tripped and fell hard on Promenade Avenue of Filinvest City. With only 1 life flag left and bleeding on both knees, it was the moment I felt real fear because of the possibility of finishing without a survivor dog tag. I actually took my time and looked for an opening when a zombie gets distracted by another runner. The opportunity came and I sprint as hard as I can without looking back. I survived and it was an awesome feeling. After that I joined the Adarna Initiative Director’s Cut (still in Filinvest City), and the last Outbreak Mission, Operation Stronghold in Intramuros on April 5, 2014. Sadly, after an incident involving critically injured runner (it was reported that the runner was comatose) during Operation Stronghold, the Outbreak runs did not return. The organizer, Runtertainment, went on with other ventures like the live action zombie shooter simulation Outbreak Assault and the escape room series BreakOut. Many have attempted to duplicate the zombie run genre that Outbreak Manila popularized but none of them were successful.

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The last Outbreak Mission is just as memorable to me as the first one.

Outbreak Manila did make one final return more than a year later after Operation Strong Hold. It was set in Arca South, Taguig on December 5, 2015 and featured inflatable obstacles instead of the zombie-themed objectives it once had. It was a weaker offering compared to the previous events and couldn’t re-animate (pun intended) the excitement of the trails in Nuvali, the mall in Filinvest City, and the walled city of Intramuros. As of today (more than 3 years later) there are no announcements for a Return of the Living Dead. Is Outbreak Manila dead for good?

Valley Trail Challenge

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Trail Running. Just you and the ground. Nothing fancy.

The the first Valley Trail Challenge was set in Nuvali on June 18, 2011. On that year I wasn’t even running and was still into photography as my one and only hobby. I didn’t even know that Nuvali have trails, all I know about was Solenad and it’s man-made lake. I’ve learned more about this event by browsing other blogs, even read about the hardcore 3rd edition that pushed through in the midst of signal number 2 (in Laguna) typhoon Gorio on June 30, 2013. I was able to join the 5th edition (June 28, 2015) and it was my first full 30k (actual is 32 km) trail run. Running at 2 am in the morning on the trails is a different experience than running on the road on that same time. Though trails have that quiet, eerie vibe especially with grass and trees all around you and you being alone with just a headlamp to guide your way, it’s actually a soothing experience, a peaceful time. I love the run so much that it was my pick for favorite run of 2015 and planned to join 50k on the next event. Unfortunately, due to limited funds for running at the time, I was only able to join the 25k (actual distance 27+ km) category. And sadly, the 2016 edition was the last VTC run. According to race organizer Jonel Mendoza, the reason there’s no VTC the following year is because “it ain’t trails no more” referring to the literal change in landscape (housing development). Based on what I’ve seen recently there are still trails, but they’re not just as long or as beautiful as before. Too bad my first 50k ultra trail run didn’t happen when VTC was still around.

Men’s Health Urbanathlon

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Back in 2009, the running scene was booming. It was like the beginning of its golden age and there are numerous running events coming out and lasting more than a couple of years. Men’s Health Philippines Urbanathlon and Festival made its debut on November 22, 2009 at McKinley Hill in Taguig City. It was one of the mainstream obstacle course races set in the urban jungle. It featured most of the obstacles you see in the more popular OCRs that recently entered the local running scene like Spartan Race and Tough Mudder. When it finally made its way to Nuvali in 2014 and added the trails to its number of obstacles, it was the right time for me to join it. I enjoyed it so much that it made it to number 2 on my 2014 favorite races list. Seven events later, November 22, 2015 marks the last Men’s Health Urbanathlon called Survival of the Fittest. I wasn’t able to join that event because it was another month of limited resources for running, but I went there to witness the final Urbanathlon. It survived long, but feels like not long enough.

Condura Skyway Marathon

Condura Run

What so great about this run? it was the only event that allows you to run on the Skyway (until 7-Eleven Run also got the permission to use the route from 2015 to 2017). The popular Condura Skyway Marathon did not have the Skyway Route nor the marathon distance on its inaugural event (March 02, 2008). It started with the 10k longest distance and Bonifacio Global City was its home. The following year, it finally secured the rights to use the Skyway as the runners’ personal playground. Then in 2010 it finally added the marathon distance. The 2014 run was cancelled because, according to Condura’s announcement, they and the sponsors decided to cancel the event to use the budget and dedicate their time and efforts in helping the victims of typhoon Yolanda. The event returned in 2015 and it was my first Condura Run at 6k. They honored the brave men of SAF 44 that year and also made the national record in the most participation in the marathon distance category with 5,629 runners. I picked CSM 2016 for my first marathon and I all I can say is that it was an okay experience, but I agree with people who said that 2015 was better. Two veteran runners died during that race and after that incident, Condura Skyway Marathon was on hiatus. As of today, there is still no word on the next Condura Marathon. Some say that the runners’ death had an effect, others say it has something to do with the Skyway pricing going up. Whatever the reason is and despite my “just okay” marathon experience, I want it to come back, give it another shot, and I’m not the only one. The CSM series was still the premiere Skyway run as evident with the number of participants in the 42k category compared to the number of participants in the 7-Eleven Run 42k.

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The record-breaking numbers of CSM 2015.

 

Rexona Run To Your Beat!

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It was called the Rexona Run in its inaugural event in 2010 and in 2013 it became the music-themed fun run called Run To Your Beat. I picked the 2014 run as my first half-marathon with my buddy Alvin because I’ve read a lot of positive things about RTYB 2013 and the medal looked great. But, the 2014 edition is a disappointment compared to the previous event. The medal is cheap quality and the music zones, though well-designed and delivers the beats (though limited), are far in-between each other and shorter than we expected. The 2014 event was also the last RTYB, but I do want it to make a return with better implementation of music and with better gimmicks because it has been almost 5 years since the last event, the running scene has become more derivative, and the international brand Music Run already made its way in the country.

 

Those are the races I miss the most. It’s very unlikely that they will return knowing that years have passed since their last events and there is no demand or interest any more (other than those from die-hard fans like me). And then there are races that we missed, the ones we’re not able to join for reasons like they were on their way out at the time we just started running or we just never heard about them early. Here are the running events that I heard were good, but missed….

THE RUNNING EVENTS THAT I MISSED

Nike We Run Manila

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The brand name alone is enough to sell this run and to add even more hype it’s a global run held in many cities. It started as a Nike Club Run Manila 5k run on December 5, 2010. The event was very limited, there are no singlets, finisher shirts, and singlets, just a race bib, D-tag, and Nike token. Then came the official Nike We Run Manila 10k in 2011. The 2012 and 2013 Nike WRM races were still 10k. The event was on hiatus in 2014 and returned on May 9, 2015 as a women-only 10k race. It returned again as a women-only race called Nike Women Victory Tour 2016 Manila and this time it’s a half-marathon. That was the last of the Nike Run series in the country. It’s a bummer that the last 2 runs were exclusive to women because at the time (2015 and 2016) I was already in my most addicted stage in running.

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Adidas King of the Road

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Being the other leading running shoe brand, Adidas King of the Road have as much appeal as the Nike We Run series. The difference is the distances offered and the finale event pits the overall winners from each country (Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia) to battle each other for the title of King of the Road. Now that’s an awesome concept for the elite runners. The authentic Adidas singlet and the nice-looking medals were a big plus as well. It started in 2009 and the last event was held in 2013, the the same year Nike We Run held their last event. But, Nike returned in different form (the All-Women races) a year later, Adidas KotR didn’t.

 

Corregidor International Marathon (Dec 6, 2009)

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The Corregidor Run series has it all, an excellent race kit (beautifully-designed race shirt and backpack), huge and high quality medals (and trophies), and a challenging, scenic and historical route (it’s road and trail). The half-marathon distance was introduced in 2010 (now called Corregidor International Half-Marathon) and the marathon distance was added in 2014 (Corregidor Marathon). Through the years, the series had several postponements and reschedules. The 2013 edition which was originally set on December 8 was rescheduled to January 11 and 12, 2014 to make way for the relief efforts to the victims of typhoon Yolanda. The 2015 race originally scheduled on January 17 and 18 was moved to March 14 and 15 because of the Papal Visit (Pope Francis) and the imposed “no sail zone” at the time. 2016 was on schedule and it seems like 2017 is the last run of the series as the 2018 edition was postponed and a date was not set. A teaser was posted on September 2018 for a return date in February 2019, but an announcement posted on February 2 on their official facebook page said the event is postponed indefinitely due to new venue policies and restrictions. Complications with the venue is a very big problem and that’s why it’s hard to tell when Corregidor Marathon will return or will it ever return at all.

 

Greenfield City Run

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Greenfield City Run started in 2011 as Clean Air Run and carried that title to 2012. It was organized by Runrio. The 2013 edition was called Greenfield City Christmas Run and was handled by Runmania. More famously known as an ultramarathon organizer, Runmania made a finisher trophy for the 21k runners instead of the usual medal. And with a registration fee of only 500 pesos for the 21k category, it was a great value at the time. Then in 2014, organizing duty is back to Runrio and this time the event is called Run for Generations. The last Greenfield City run is Run for Generations 2015 and I was registered to that event. Unfortunately due to typhoon Lando’s imminent arrival, the event was cancelled and rescheduled to November 15. The problem was, it is in conflict with PinoyFitness 21k Challenge 2015, an event which I’m also registered to run. So, I gave my racebib to a running peep, J.A. so it won’t be wasted and I push through with PF 21k Challenge. It’s too bad that Run for Generation was phased out,  because it was a very favorable run for me. The registration fee is reasonable at 700 pesos for 21k and it’s near my hometown. There are numerous running events frequently held in Greenfield City like Runmania’s events and multiple loop endurance runs, but none of them is interesting to me as the original and best value Greenfield City Run.

 

Sofitel Battle of the Sexes

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Battle of the Sexes is a unique race. It’s a 5 and 10-kilometer race, men vs women runners. To make it a fair and balanced run, the women will run first with a 3-minute head start for 5k and 7 minutes for 10k. I think there were only 2 events for Battle of the Sexes runs and after that the next events were the Sofitel Manila Half-marathon runs (2014 to 2016) and then the family fun runs like the Goblin Run (2017) and Wizard Run (2018).

And those are the runs the 5 running events that I miss and the 5 that I missed. I have to mention the past running events in Nuvali. Immuvit Fearless Challenge, New Balance Trail Adventure,  and The Northface Thrill of the Trail are some of the events that I missed because I wasn’t into running back then. Nowadays, Nuvali is no longer home to the running scene because of several factors and restrictions. This is why some well-known events like TBR Dream Marathon and Runmania’s Resolution Run who made Nuvali their home have changed venues. You can still run the road and trails of Nuvali, but it’s no longer the same running grounds that runners enjoyed so much in the past.

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Nuvali was a mecca for trail runners and adventure seekers….. 9 years ago.