Posted in #runrio, 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, fun run, half-marathon, Pacer Duty, run for a cause, running event

Where “R” you? NatGeo Eath Day un 2018

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So, where is the “R?” According to NatGeo Run’s public announcement the “R” is with YOU and represents Recyling (sic), Reducing, and Reusing for a zero waste future. And they admitted they messed up. It’s a good witty reason though. But, the letter “R” is very important and without it, the activity some of us like to do would be called Unning not Running. Would you like to go out for an “Un?”

With the photo above and its caption pretty much explained the title of this article, let’s get it out of the way because this is the story of a girl (and it’s not about crying a river and drowning the whole world). Her name is Diane and she wanted to run her first half-marathon. Whilst browsing the internet, she stumbled upon my blog site which chronicles my running adventures and my first half-marathon run. She found me on facebook and I accepted the ‘friend request’ when I saw her profile photo is of her running (because I usually accept friend requests by runners even if I don’t know them personally). I received a personal message from her on February 9 asking me if I do coaching sessions. I said yes and she asked how much I charge for it. I told her that I don’t charge people who want to get into running and run with me, just snacks and drinks is enough. So we made a deal, food and drinks it is and since our chosen training grounds is SM Mall of Asia, she agreed to pay for my travel expenses and our sessions will be on Saturday mornings after my shift.

TRAINING DAY(s)

Our first meeting and training was set on February 17, unfortunately she was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and advised to rest for 3 to 5 days, so we rescheduled on February 24. Diane has a delicate immune system, according to her she had pneumonia twice in the past 5 years. She is very prone to tonsillitis which leads to bronchitis or asthma which lasts for a week or two. She takes a lot of medications like steroids and antibiotics and recently stopped smoking.

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February 24, first meet and training with Diane.

When I first met Diane she’s very cheerful and looked healthy for training. I planned to take it easy on her since it’s her first day of training and a slow 5k jog-walk then rest and another 5k will do. To my surprise, she was running a bit faster and longer than I expected and I scrapped the original plan and let the run go her way so I can assess her level. We ran 6.2 kilometers from SM By the Bay to CCP Complex and back before taking a break. Then we ran another 6.2 kilometers from SM By the Bay to Aseana City and back. The 2nd session is actually more than a minute faster than the first and based on my initial impression and assessment, she can run a half-marathon without problems and will likely finish it under 3 hours. She can run continuously at a steady pace and has the tendency to do random sprints when she’s fired up (which surprises me because I wasn’t expecting the sudden burst of speed).

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March 10. Second training session. 

Because I had a run on the first weekend of March, the next training session was scheduled on March 10. The week prior, she ran a 10k on a treadmill finishing it at 1 hour 4 minutes, which is faster than her personal best outdoor at 1 hour 7 minutes (Note that running on a treadmill and a controlled environment is different than outdoors with many factors that can slow you down). She also had right shoulder pain and cough and colds, but recovered before training day. We ran 10 kilometers continuously, she almost didn’t want to during the 6th kilometer, but she still pushed for it. That’s the reason why I admire her courage and motivation and impressed with her endurance. She also felt exhausted at the 9th kilometer, but still managed to finish a bit more than 10 kilometers at 1 hour and 11 minutes despite not being in her best fitness level.

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March 16. Third training session. Friday Night Run at BlueBay Walk.

I was scheduled to run a half-marathon on Sunday, Runrio Trilogy 2018 Leg 1 and found out that Diane is also running on the same event’s 10k category. So, I did not make a plan for a Saturday morning training session because it was the day before the event and told Diane to just rest and prepare for it. But, she still want to have a maintenance run before the event. The original plan was Thursday night, but I had an invitation to the ASICS Relay press conference on Wednesday morning and the lack of sleep before my graveyard shift at work affected the plan and we had to reschedule it on Friday night with at least one day of rest before Sunday. It was a slow and easy run covering 7.6 kilometers at 1 hour and 9 minutes. She performed well at Runrio Trilogy Leg 1, finishing her 10k run at 01:08:29 and with that I think she can finish a half-marathon under 2.5 hours if she can maintain a small drop in her pace. Our next training session was set on March 23, Friday night because I will attend Comiccon Asia on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, she got a Urinary Tract Infection days before and on Friday morning she confirmed the cancellation of our training to rest and recover. She was set to visit New Zealand on March 28 and I will spend the holy week with the family in Tarlac, so the next training session will be in April.

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April 8. Fourth training session. Sunday morning.

I was scheduled to meet with someone to buy his Xbox 360 games on Sunday morning, so our fourth training session is on a Sunday morning. Diane never had a serious training run for more than 2 weeks since Runrio Trilogy Leg 1 and that made her slower than usual. It’s not her best form and she finished 6.7 kilometers at 52 minutes in the 1st session and 5.5 kilometers at 42 minutes in the 2nd session. I encouraged her to join Fire Run 2018 as her tune up run because an easy run on the 16k category is the ideal preparation so she can have a preview of what it feels like to go beyond 10 kilometers.

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April 10. A Tuesday evening run to prepare her for fire run 2018.

She offered me to join the run as well and I accepted it so I can assess her fitness at the time and she performed better and it didn’t surprise me this time.

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Finished her first 16k run at 1 hour and 47 minutes.

On April 20, Friday night, we had our last short run in Bluebay Walk in preparation for NatGeo Run on Sunday. It’s a 5 kilometer run, but she still closed it a bit faster than usual at 34 minutes. After that, I told her that sleep is very important and she should rest and relax until race day.

NATGEO Earth Day RUN 2018

April 22. NatGeo Earth Day Run 2018. Diane’s first half-marathon. This is it, the culmination of five training sessions and a tune up race. I know Diane can do this, I know she can finish strong. I woke up late again and almost missed the last trip of the commuter van from Calamba to Alabang (because there are no more buses from 10:30 pm onward). Still made it a couple of hours early to SM Mall of Asia and had time to walk around the activity area and prepare. I don’t think much of anything else other than to make sure that Diane finish her first 21k run. We met up 16 minutes before the 3:30 am gun start. She’s warmed up and ready. We positioned ourselves as close as we can to the starting line, but since there are thousands of runners, we’re a bit far from it, but ahead of the middle of the pack.

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Pre-race selfie for her first half-marathon.

The race started on time and it took us more than 2 minutes to cross the starting line. Diane is fired up, she was overtaking the crowd, swerving left and right, whilst I’m trying to keep up because I’m a very careful runner when it comes to crowded and cramped roads. I had my eyes locked on Diane and my other senses on the surroundings because I don’t want to lose sight of her especially when there’s too many runners all around you. Diane only slowed down to walk after 2 kilometers and started running again at a decent pace. It was a very hot and sweaty run especially in the first 3 kilometers and our water bottles deplete easily. Part of my strategy for this is to refill Diane’s water bottle when it’s near empty while she keeps going and I’ll catch up as fast as I can. We finally had some breathing room when we finally reached Roxas boulevard. She told me that she’s having some trouble with her pace because her mood is off and she feels a bit sleepy (lacking sleep due to the anticipation of the run earlier). She asked me to lead and she’ll follow my pace, I did, but there’s a time that she’s actually overtaking me because I was taking it easy on her. I like it when she’s giving effort and her pace is efficient enough, covering 10 kilometers at 1 hour and 12 minutes.

Some time between the 11th and 12th kilometer, we stopped because she had to take off her shoe when she felt something. And like a random encounter with a wild Pokemon appearing out of nowhere, a runner friend, John Paul Gentica spotted me. I know he was at the event and was near the front line of the starting area when he texted me (and I was suppose to give his long awaited Sungay 50k Ultramarathon trophy earlier). But, what I didn’t expect is us overtaking him in the first half of the race. I introduced him to Diane and he ran with us (I told him he can go ahead if he feels we’re slowing down because my priority is to pace with my runner and to make sure she finish this race). It’s good to have him with us because it pushed Diane to keep going and add more effort now that she has two pacers along for the ride (well, along for the run). The three of us are having a good chat while still moving at a decent pace. John Paul decided to go for a Sub 2.5 finish and he left us after kilometer 15. Diane is slowing down, so she asked that she run while listening to music. I agreed because music can help boost the pace and gave her the earphones.

When we finally reached CCP Complex and the last 3 kilometers of the race, I was surprised when Diane asked me to lead her to a 2.5 hour finish. When I checked my GPS watch the time was around 2 hours and 15 minutes, which means we have to finish 3 kilometers in 15 minutes or less. But, from what I’ve seen in Diane’s condition at that time and knowing that she never ran 5 minutes per kilometer before, it’s too risky, like dangerous to your health kind of risky. And I don’t want to be put in a scenario of a boxing coach who will throw the white towel when he sees his boxer is in critical danger. And unlike Rocky Balboa in Rocky 4, I will seriously throw the damn towel. So, I told her to just relax, we can finish this under 3 hours and even under 2:45, and that would be better than to get seriously injured or DNF (Did Not Finish). In the last 2 kilometers she started to feel pain on her shins (shin splints) and a moment later on the thighs. That is what I’m worried about and that is why I told her to go easy, walk if she has to. Jog-walk is what we did in the last kilometer and it’s very safe and effective. In the last 300 meters she started running again, she saw and waved at her father and family. She smiled and the sight of her loved ones gave her a second wind. Her father even ran behind her while recording her finishing run towards the finish line. I boosted my pace to run by her side, but there are runners that we had to overtake and I’m not exactly sure, but I think we stepped on the finish line side by side but with some runners in-between us.

She did it. She finished the race at 2 hours 41 minutes and 51 seconds (for her Personal Record, her chip time is 02:39:22), rank 1,198 (don’t know how many 21k runners this year, but in 2015 there are more than 6,000 runner in the 21k category).

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Post race selfie for her first half marathon. Congratulations, Diane. Achievement Unlocked!
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John Paul didn’t make it to Sub 2.5 this time. He was just a few seconds ahead of us at 02:41:18, rank 1,174 but his chip time is 02:40:37. He had a head start in crossing the starting line, but Diane ran a bit faster throughout the race that’s why her chip time is faster (02:39:22). Mine is 02:41:46 chip time, 02:39:17, and rank 1,194.
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Diane grabbing the right tag line. This tag line is a good and bad idea. Good if runners take it home for display in their medal and trophy gallery, bad if they grabbed one and left it on the road. That’s another case of Earth Day Run littering. 
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With my runner friends.

 

As per my expectations, she finished under 2:45 and it’s just her first half-marathon and she’s not even in her best health and fitness level. Compare that to my first half-marathon which I finished at 02:51:31, she’s faster and has a lot of potential and definitely big improvement if she continues to run and train harder. I hope she does because she has the heart and will of a long distance runner. It will also be good for her health and immune system because running strengthens our immune system (in my case, I never had bronchitis or broncho-pneumonia for 7 years now since I started running). Based on my overall assessment from training day 1 to NatGeo Run, her biggest strengths are her perseverance and endurance even with current health conditions preventing her from reaching full potential. She is fit for to run more half-marathons and with more training and in good health she can definitely finish a half-marathon under 2.5 hours safely. She can definitely finish a full marathon and with time and more experience she can run and do well in ultramarathons.

For me, it’s mission accomplished as a pacer and running buddy. I’ve ran with first timers before, but this is the first full time job (from training to race day) and I’m very glad that everything turned out great. Thanks to Diane for the experience and the opportunity to join this year’s NatGeo Run.

As for this running event, it’s good that they managed to enforce the “no cups” policy for the environment successfully. I only encountered one or two stations that couldn’t keep up with the supply for the runners, but I didn’t experience any major problems with hydration. The bring your own water bottle policy should be enforced in other running events as well. The lack of cold sponges is understandable to avoid littering of sponges on the race route, but they should’ve thought of something to help cool the runners especially since it’s a summer time running event (the fire truck spraying water is okay, but there’s not enough water supply and it’s too much waste of water. why not something like a tub or huge pail of ice cold water that runners can splash their face with or dunk their face towels with?). The medal distribution is a mess, it’s a high volume run, thousands of runners on the route, it’s okay if medal claiming is in a booth inside the activity area. The queue near the finish line is taking too long and taking up too much space and it’s the reason why some runners can’t cross the finish line immediately. And the biggest issue is with the medals and finisher shirts. As seen in the top photo, why is the letter “R” missing in the word Finisher? who in quality control was dumb enough to miss this? why was this not noticed early in production? do they not know how to spell finisher? At least the 10k medal has the complete word, but another problem based on what I’ve read in the comments section of the FB page is that they ran out of 10k medals. And why do the finisher shirts don’t have 21k Finisher printed on them? there’s a lot of space on the back of the shirt. It’s not a big issue for me, but too bad for those who chose this event as their first half-marathon (like Diane).  Since my bad experience from the my first NatGeo Run, I have no intentions to join any more this event and the only reason I joined this year is for Diane. I give props for the “no cups” policy, but I hope that next year’s run will be better (for the good of those who plan to join their first Earth Day Run or those who made this event their yearly tradition run).

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Contents of the loot bag.
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Simplistic medal design and the letter R in the word Finisher is missing. I like the Finisher Shirt’s fabric, but what’s the reason for the absence of 21k Finisher at the back? There are some runners who had it printed at the activity area. I wonder if it was free.

 

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Posted in #runrio, 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, fun run, half-marathon, run for a cause, running, running event, Runrio Trilogy

Rogue Rebel Redefinition (Runrio Trilogy 2018)

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Now’s the time to finish the trilogy.

When I started joining running events I always do it alone. I run alone and when I have friends or somebody I know joined the same event, I don’t pace with them, it’s either you finish first or I do (we’ll see each other at the finish line). Gone rogue or going rogue is what defines my moniker since the first time I did it in a team-based run by going my own separate way instead of sticking with them. Until recently I started running with buddies and enjoyed it. To be honest, it’s more fun than running alone and I got tired of training hard just to shave a few minutes off my Personal Best. And that feeling of helping others finish their first trail run or ultramarathon by running along with them is just a feel-good moment to yourself. And that is why I am currently training someone to help her finish her first half-marathon next month. Sure, it destroys the whole concept of being a Rogue and Rebellious Runner, but times change.

Every now and then, there’s a feeling that I want to run alone, purely for myself, and maybe even go for breaking my PB. The feeling isn’t that strong as before, but sometimes I just wanna go back to my old ways and this year’s Runrio Trilogy is the right event to go Rogue Rebel again. And besides, I’ve been trying to join and finish the trilogy years ago, but the issues with 21k of leg 1 selling out quickly (due to some runners hoarding just to sell their slots online for a higher price) and the recent price increase of registration fees prevented me from achieving my goal. Luckily, this time I have the resources.

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The event hosted by Rizza Diaz and Vince Velasco.

I haven’t really trained for serious speed for this run. In fact, the last 3 training runs I did were short (not even a 10k) and slow runs. But I was able to sleep well for the race at the cost of waking up late (10:40 pm) and almost missing the last commuter van to Alabang. I was able to reach the event site at around 1 am and had some time to rest and eat before the 4 am gun start.

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National anthem before the race. Photo from Runrio facebook page.

I spotted Richard Salaño positioning himself in front and wished him good luck. The race started on time as always with the Runrio races. Fueled by excitement, I ran the first kilometer a bit faster than my usual 5:30/km pace. It was around 4th kilometer when I slowed down to make sure that I don’t burn too much of my stamina early. I was able to reach the 5th kilometer around 28 minutes (according to my GPS devices), slowing down at the 6th kilometer to take my first sip of Gatorade, and it was smooth sailing all the way to the 9th kilometer. Going to the 10th kilometer is where things get a bit tough as we go up the Kalayaan flyover which is a bit taxing because it’s a curvy uphill with very little lighting. It’s hard to see the road and it’s very likely that you’ll trip and fall if you’re not focused. There’s an opportunity to speed up during the downhill going to the U-turn at the end of Kalayaan flyover, but my pace dropped to 6+ minutes per kilometer on this part of the route. Returning to the flat road of Buendia Avenue, I was able to return to a sub 6 minute per kilometer pace from kilometer 12 to 15. Then things get a bit more difficult as more motorists enter the roads and there are times that we have to stop at intersections to give way to the impatient motorists (some even defied the traffic enforcers). Adding more challenge is the fact that we are now running with the 10k runners and congestion builds up since we can only use one lane and the rest are for the motorists which are on a stand still because of the traffic caused by the run. Nearing the intersection going to World Trade Center, we were at full stop because the motorist are getting hot-headed and the noise of the vehicles’ horn are overwhelming the traffic enforcers so they had to let them pass. By the time I reached Macapagal Blvd, I was already exhausted but still trying to up my pace because my GPS watch is telling me that I can make a Sub-2 finish, but my Nike Run app on my smartphones disagrees with a discrepancy of more than 400 meters, and the kilometer markers along the road not matching the distance on my smartphone app. I still tried to push it regardless of what I hear or see from my GPS devices. Unfortunately, I started to feel cramps on my calves when I finally reached Seaside blvd (which is probably the last 2 kilometers). I was trying to prevent them using the jog-walk method and I did walk a lot because a pinch of pain worries me a lot, making me think that of the worst possibilities. When I finally saw the traffic light and the finish line just 100+ meters away from it, I made one last dash (well more like a slow jog) to the finish line. And that was it, I finally finished the race not with the results that I want, but also not disappointed.

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Well, my fastest half-marathon is 2:06 from last year’s Eggciting Fun Run (assuming that the distance is indeed 21k and not 20.6 km that my Nike Run app recorded), 02:07 isn’t so bad. And Rank 182 out of 2,000+ runners is good enough.
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Aside from getting bitten by a vampire along the way (kidding, my hand hit a sharp metal along the route), my GPS is the other annoyance for making me think that I reached 21k at 01:59:38 and the total distance is 22.04 kilometers. To be fair, I’m starting to have doubts that my entry-level Soleus is inferior to the more expensive brands considering that Anne Curtis’ Garmin recorded 22.1 kilometers (saw it on instagram and I’m not a stalker). Also saw similar posts by runners on instagram resulting at 22 kilometers and more. My Nike Run app recorded 21.59 km. If only I could test more GPS devices for accuracy to update my experiment.
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Bumped into Paulo Gabriel who finished the run at 01:41. Whoa!
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Given but Earned! Yeah! Photo from Runrio facebook page.
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Spot me and my neon green Kinvara 7 shoes. 2,000+ 21k Runners. How many will be able to complete the trilogy? Photo from Runrio facebook page.
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Fastest 5k Barkada Runners (group of 4)
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Fastest 5k Family Runners (2 adults and 2 kids).
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Music number by all-girl band Rouge. Fun Fact: In the press conferences I attended, people misspell Rogue (read as ‘rowg’) with Rouge (‘read as rooj’).
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The Top Three 10k Buddy Runners.
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The Top Three 21k Runners Female Category.
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The Top Three Male 21k Runners. Fastest is Kenyan Alex Melly 01:12:09 and 2nd place Richard Salaño at 1:12:12. Just a 3 second difference. Very similar to Salaño’s 21k result at 7-Eleven Run 2018, just 3 seconds behind another Kenyan.
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And the lucky winner of the Garmin GPS watch. Why can’t it be me?

I enjoyed the run. I have a strong dislike with running events in the Pasay area and the same old route, but I probably liked this run because it has been quite a while since the last time I ran this route. And it is slightly different because the last time I ran it was the same old MOA to Roxas blvd to Baclaran and back. I hated the intersection between World Trade Center going to Sen Gil Puyat Ave though. Too many vehicles on the sides and there are potholes along the road that almost tripped the runner beside me. Kalayaan flyover is also not properly lit, but it’s good that there’s an ambulance on standby in that area. With that said, I have finally made my decision to finish the trilogy. The Afroman distance, 32 kilometers is up next in June and I will train properly for that. My mindset before is back, finishing the trilogy is like graduating a prestige running event. This is it, the opportunity, my chance to finally complete the trilogy, the right time because it’s been long overdue. Oh, and a big congratulations to my running buddy, Diane, whom I have been training to run her first half-marathon next month. She finished her 10k at 01:08. Big improvement from the 01:10 training run we did the week before. She’s improving faster than I did when I started joining the running community.

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Got the first piece of the TriForce! yeah!
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Probably the reason for the pricey registration fee. Adidas Running shirts ain’t cheap ya know.
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Contents of the loot bag. Loved that Bear Brand Sterilized Milk with Ginseng and Kit Kat Gree Tea.
Posted in #runrio, 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, 42.195 kilometers, 42k, half-marathon, Marathon, Relay Race, running, running event, Running Soon

Running Soon: ASICS Relay Philippines 2018

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Press Release

Pasay City, March 14th, 2018 – ASICS, the true sport performance brand, is set to hold the first ASICS Relay Philippines 2018 on May 26th, at the SM By The Bay in Pasay City.

Succeeding from the 2017 version, ASICS Relay 2018 will feature the additional of Philippines in its 5 countries relay series, among participating countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. Kicking off its first stop in Manila, the capital city of bustling Philippines, the edition expects to attract 750 teams, each consisting of 4 runners.

ASICS Relay Philippines 2018 is the first night relay race in the country. It features two race distances – 42km Full Marathon and 21km Half Marathon. Each participating team can choose from three relay categories – Male, Female, and Mixed team.

The Asics Relay highlights the uniqueness of relays as it encourages teamwork among the participants over individual abilities. The concept is premised on the idea that running 21km and 42km is challenging to most aspiring runners, and the relay concept offers participants the chance to complete a half or full marathon with three teammates. Each team member is required to complete 2 legs of 5.25 kilometers for Full Marathon, and 1 leg of 5.25 kilometers for Half Marathon to meet the total distance. The preceding member of the team will need to hand the relay token to the next runner within the designated transition zone to delineate the changeover of runners.

Participants of the ASICS Relay Philippines 2018 will be rewarded with an attractive finisher’s medal, personalized race bib, and an exclusive ASICS branded race tee.

In addition to the cash and product prizes for winning teams in both full and half marathon categories worth over Php 790,000, the champion team of the Full Marathon race categories will also be walking away with a grand prize – team slots to any one of the ASICS Relay race held in another country, inclusive of flight tickets and accommodation.

“We’re always looking for new ways to expand the Asics Relay, and with the addition of Philippines in the 2018 relay series, all runners can expect an evening of fun and excitement coupled with a great running experience with their teammates,” said Andy Neo, sports marketing manager of Asics Asia Pte. Ltd.

 

The Relay Concept is explained in the illustrations below:

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Registration Details

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ASICS Store Promotion

  • Receive a complimentary team slot to ASICS Relay Philippines 2018 when you spend PHP 5,900 and above in a single receipt in any of the participating ASICS store. Valid from March 14 to April 14, or while promo codes last. (Terms and conditions apply).

 

Scenes from the Launching Event

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The event was hosted by Vince Velasco and Dyan Castillejo.
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Running teams can choose their preferred team shirt color. They also get a backpack for their stuff, snap bands which serves as the relay token, and all runners get medals for finishing the race.
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I’m the red shirt guy on the edge, on your right. Photo from ASICS Relay facebook page.
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The Powers That Be of ASICS Philippines (L to R) Managing Director Adrian Mok, Sports Marketing and Manager Andy Neo, and ASICS Ambassador Mary Joy Tabal.
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ABS-CBN Sports’ Dyan Castillejo interviewing Mary Joy Tabal.
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With one of ABS-CBN’s legendary Sports Caster, Dyan Castillejo.
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With the first Filipina Marathon Olympian, SEA Games Silver and Gold Medalist, and 5-time Milo Marathon Queen Mary Joy Tabal.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, what if a runner doesn’t have any runner friends and what’s to join this event, ASICS got you covered. They will find a lone runner like you to team up with.

Visit the following sites for more information

Website:                                www.asics.com/asics-relay

Facebook, Instagram:     @ASICSRElay

Official Hastags:                #ASICSRelay  #IMovePhilippines

 

Posted in #runrio, 10 kilometers, 10k, 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, 5k, 5km, fun run, half-marathon, Press Conference, running, running event, Running Soon, Runrio Trilogy

Running Soon: Runrio Trilogy 2018 (Press Conference + Awards Night)

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Here for the rundown and the runners for the dress up.

For several years the Runrio Trilogy race series became the Run United trilogy. Last year Run United became a separate event called Run United Exceed and the classic Runrio Trilogy Race Series returned last year. The traditional Awards Night also returned to honor all the runners who completed the trilogy distances of half-marathon 21k, 32k or better known as the Afroman distance, and the full marathon 42k. Completing the trilogy is the runner’s equivalent of Graduation Day. I have never joined any of the past trilogy runs, but I was invited to witness the Awards Night and the press conference to see what it’s like and what they have in store for runners this year.

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With the members of the press. Photo from Runrio facebook page.
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Classy venue.

AWARDS NIGHT

The Awards Night ceremony held in Okada Manila is classy, most of the runners are dressed up for the occasion, and very good food was served. All completionists of the trilogy get a commemorative medal hanger and there are also special rewards for the fastest runners overall and on each age group. The fastest male and female runners gets the ultimate reward of an all-expense paid trip and entry to the 2018 Chicago Marathon. All of the runners are called on stage just like Graduation Day.

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Coach Rio congratulating the graduates.
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If you ran your first marathon in the trilogy, you might just cry on stage.
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A Street Dance presentation to entertain us during the intermission.
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A running mate, Rick Frias (7th from the left) with his batch.
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Another running mate, Mark Ponteres (5th from the left) with batch.
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Meet Gil Brazil, the fastest runner in the age 60 category. He is 65 years old and finished 21k at 02:07:23, 32k at 03:28:27, and 42k at 04:46:08. Yes, he is faster than some of the younger runners present at the event.
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Fastest female runner is Philippine Marathon record-holder Cristabel Martes who wasn’t present at the event.
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The fastest male runner Jojie Daga-as.
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Through Runrio and the runners who participated in the events, the beneficiary YesPinoy Foundation received PhP500,000 donation. Thank you.
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Congratulations graduates of Runrio Trilogy Class of 2017.

RUNRIO TRILOGY 2018_logo

PRESS CONFERENCE

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From Left to Right, Pebbles Sanche-Ogang (Exec. Director – YesPinoy Foundation); Coach Rio Dela Cruz (President of Runrio), and Andrew Neri (Managing Partner – Runrio)

A press conference for the announcement of the races for the Runrio Trilogy 2018 was held after the awards night. A major addition to the series is the expansion to Cebu. The first leg will be held on March 4 in Cebu and on March 18 in Manila. The second leg will be on May 6 for Cebu and March 18 in Manila. The last leg will be on August 9 in Cebu and September 23 in Manila.

New running categories are also added to make it more fun for runners who prefer to run with friends and family. There’s a 5k Family Run for a group of four consisting of two adults and two kids. A 5k Barkada Run for a group of four adults age 16 years and above. And a 10k Buddy Run which is also for runners age 16 years and above. Group registrations are entitled to discounts on the registration fees.

“This year promises to be exciting for us and for all those who went to join our runs,” said Coach Rio Dela Cruz, RUNRIO President and CEO. “Running enthusiasts can look forward to the 2018 RUNRIO Trilogy not only as an avenue to push their limits but also to spend quality time with friends and family.”

The RUNRIO Trilogy was made possible by its other partners, namely, Gatorade, Maynilad, Garmin, SM Mall of Asia, Nyxsys, Inside Manila, Fitbar, KitKat, Efes, Nizoral, Salonpas, and Milcu Deodorant Powder.

For more information on the registration fees and online registration schedule, visit http://www.runrio.com

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A look at the new tech shirt and medal.
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A closer look at the interlocking medal. During the Q & A, Runrio Inc’s Andrew Neri said that if you missed a leg due to instances beyond control or schedule conflicts but still want to complete the medals, you can try to get a medal from a different venue (Cebu or Manila) because the medals from both are the same and interlocks without compatibility issues. So, in video and video game terms, the medal is “region-free” 🙂
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The 21k and 32k (Afroman Distance) medals.
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With running mate and 2017 Graduate Rick Frias.
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With the ever awesome Coach Rio Dela Cruz.

I had a good time at the awards night and press conference. Special Thanks to Sir Alvin Marayan and Mam Lyn for the invitation and transportation. As for this year’s event, I will be running the half-marathon and we’ll see after the run if I will be continuing with the series (which I actually planned years ago but always had the misfortune of  registering too late because the 21k category of leg 1 always sold out in just a couple of days) and be part of Runrio Trilogy Class of 2018. In-store registration starts on February 10, for more details go to https://www.runrio.com/race. See you there.

Posted in 10 kilometers, 10k, 16 kilometers, 16k, 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, 42.195 kilometers, 42k, 50 kilometers, 50k, 5k, 5km, 7-Eleven Run Series, 711, 7eleven, adventure, backpacking, fun run, guerilla race, half-marathon, Marathon, Obstacle Course Racing, obstacle run, places to run, running, running event, running locales, Trail run, trail running, travel, ultramarathon, Uphill Run, Yakult 10-miler

2017 Wrapped Up!

This is article replaces my 2xxx Bests series where I take a look back and rank the best events and moments of the previous year. For this year’s article, I decided to make it shorter by limiting it to just running events and honoring only the best singlets/tech shirts, finisher shirts, medals/trophies, and then finally ranking the races. I participated in 10 running events last year and here are the goods starting with…

=== BEST SINGLET/TECH SHIRT ===

Run United Exceed Tech Shirt

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The blue color and overall design of the Run United Exceed makes it the overall winner. It’s very comfortable too and quality is very similar to the 2016 Condura Skyway Marathon Tech shirt which is an honorable mention from last year.

 

=== BEST MEDAL/TROPHY ===

Yakult 10-miler Medal

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Its minimalist design and stainless metal made it my favorite. No fancy use of colors or anything written or etched on front or back of the medal, just  a simple design the looks elegant. And that Yakult pillow is a nice finisher bonus too.

 

=== BEST FINISHER SHIRT ===

Hero 2 Hero Rizal Day 50k Ultramarathon Finisher Shirt

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This one became my instant favorite finisher shirt. I like the use of colors especially the red color tone on the right and gray on the left. And the logo is nice too with Philippine hero Jose Rizal’s face and silhouette blending with the yellow-orange color. Another good addition is the name on the back of the finisher shirt to let everyone know that it’s yours, you worked hard for it, and earned it. Gotta mention that it comes with a nice finisher trophy too.

 

=== 2017 Races ranked from worst to best ===

I joined 12 running events last year, but one of them, My Little Pony Run, got cancelled and rescheduled and the other one is a trail running class, I’m only ranking 10 official races that I participated in last year. So, starting from the worst experience….

10. Sungay 50k Challenge Calamba to Tagaytay

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Of all the races I ever participated in the more than 4 years of experience this is the worst. See that photo above? that’s the first time I (and maybe the other runners too) was stopped by highway patrol because we were running on a road where running (and cycling) is prohibited. Wait, what? then why was it part of the route anyway? what the hell was the organizer thinking? oh, and to top that, there are no finisher shirts and trophies for the runners to take home once they’ve crossed the finish line. The organizer said that the manufacturer made a mistake with the trophy design (and the finisher shirt? same manufacturer?), so all we got was the medals. The organizer said that he will ship the trophies and shirts once they’re made. So, it’s like more than 2 months of waiting now, still nothing. We’re not updated or even asked for the shipping address and contact details. Dunno if we will still get what we worked hard and paid for.

9. Run United Exceed

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Run United Exceed seemed exciting for me at first, especially since the Run United Trilogy wasn’t announced at the time and it had all the good stuff like a nice looking medal, shirts, and the 2 1/2 time limit made it an exclusive for above average runners. I also convinced my college mate Ryan to join the event. But, when I found out that the race route is 2 loops around BGC, I was disappointed because I really hate repetitive loops. Still, it’s not that bad, I loved the tech shirt and the medal design is very good and a great addition to my collection.

8. Yakult 10-miler

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Most running series don’t last more that 10 or even 5 years. Yakult 10-miler is the 2nd longest-running event in the country and that title alone is one of the reason for me to join at least once. I had a good time, it was one of my more relaxing runs and the finisher medal and finisher’s pillow are nice addition (especially with the affordable registration fee).

7. Eggciting Family Adventure Fun Run 2

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This is definitely one of the best family-friendly events in recent times. There’s an option to look for easter eggs along the route that you can bring to the finish line in exchange for prizes. With the affordable registration fee and lots of freebies, this is one fun run you shouldn’t miss.

6. 7-Eleven Run 2017

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This running event needs no introduction. Most people in the running community and casual runners already know the event’s reputation as a “grocery” run due to the fact that you can grab as many freebies as you can after the race. This year’s edition is as good as the previous ones and there are even better stuff you can get. What makes this race very memorable for me is that I was finally able to break the 5-hour marathon barrier, I’m now a Sub-5 marathoner. Since Condura Skyway Marathon won’t be returning for the 2nd year in a row, this is the only running event that allows you to run on the Skyway exclusively.

5. Resolution Run 2017

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What I like about Resolution Run is its beautiful, but challenging route that covers Nuvali and the uphill parts of Baranggay Casile. You even pass by the famous Marcos Twin Mansion. This is my recommended January run for those who want to burn all those fats they gained from the Christmas season, this is your Resolution Run. Too bad I wan’t able to join this year’s event.

4. Rizal Day 50k Ultramarathon

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To wash off the bad taste left by my previous ultramarathon I joined this event. I’m glad that I did because it’s a good event. It’s very challenging, but finishing it feels good especially since it’s already New Year’s Eve once you’re done. I might join this event again if there’s a new route and if the trophy and finisher shirt looks as good as last year’s.

3. Splendido Sunset Run Trio Edition

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I’ve been eyeing Splendido Sunset Run since 2015 and I finally joined it last year. And I wasn’t disappointed. Set in Splendido Golf and Country Club, runners can enjoy the cool Tagaytay weather and the race route is just amazing, it’s beautiful. I love the downhill domination part and challenged by the uphill hell part. The 21k route has 2 loops and I really hate multi loops, and it rained adding more challenge, but with a route like Splendido’s, I’m not complaining. This is my highly recommended year-end race.

2. Guerilla Race Splash

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Before the popular obstacle course racing series Spartan Race made its presence known in our country last year, Guerilla Race has been around for more than 3 years now and has become one of the most popular obstacle course race in the country. Guerilla Race has one advantage over its competitors, it’s an obstacle run that changes its location frequently. That is Guerilla Race why is so awesome, it doesn’t feel like the same race as before. Last year was the Splash edition, taking place in Splash Island and added water-based obstacles like kayaking. The registration fee is also reasonable as you get a free pass to enjoy Splash Island after the race. Looking forward to more Guerilla Races this year.

 

and here it is, my favorite and best race I’ve ran last year is….

 

1. Sandugo Pacific Ultra Coast 100 

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I always prefer trail running over road running and the only reason I’m not joining more trail runs is because most trail races are held in locations far from my hometown. Sandugo Pacific Coast 100 is no different, it’s even farther than most trail events because it’s set in General Nakar, Quezon. But, since I was able to convince 2 buddies to run their first trail run and kept the budget at a minimum, I finally ran my best trail race experience since Valley Trail Challenge V. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the incredible scenery and friendly environment of General Nakar. The very friendly race marshals and staff plus the reasonable registration fee (taking into account the free ride and freebies) round up the best parts of my choice as running event of the year. I have a feeling  that we might return for this year’s event. Could be the start of a new running tradition.

 

And that wraps up my 2017 races. For 2018 I’m not sure I can join as many running events as before, but I will still keep running and deliver more stuff about running, video games, photography, and more. Thanks for the readers who find my blogs useful and inspiring. I’m just here to share my experiences, I’m very thankful for your time to read, especially my articles that go way beyond 1,000 words. Thank you.

Posted in 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, fun run, half-marathon, places to run, running, running event, running locales, Uphill Run

A Splendid Suffering! (Splendido Sunset Run 2017)

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You know the saying “it’s all downhill from here” can have a positive or negative meaning depending on the usage? Well, here it starts with the positive, but once you get to the point that there is a very steep uphill in the distance, there’s your negative right there.

The best running events are found in areas away from the big cities. I learned this when I finally had enough of joining races with the same old locations (SM Mall of Asia, CCP Complex, BGC, etc.) and the same old route. This is why travelling to provincial areas and lesser known locales to run is a rewarding and memorable experience. When I heard about the Splendido Sunset Run series and its location, I already have a feeling that’s it’s going to be one of those “definitely worth it” kind of events. The series started as a fun run with 2.5k and 5k distances way back in 2010 and has added more distance categories including a half-marathon in the following years and a new Trio category this year which is team run for a group of 3.

Situated in the elevated grounds of the Tagaytay and Nasugbu border, it is known for its challenging terrain and with that in mind, I decided to join the 21k category to see if it is as good as advertised.

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Splendido main gate.
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A view of the starting line from afar.
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It was a cloudy day and very cold. Loving the weather.
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A view of Taal Volcano and Binintiang Malaki in the distanceas seen from the parking grounds of Tower 2.
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A view of the 1/3 of the route from Tower grounds.
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With my unreliable assistant XD
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The family building.
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The starting line. Photo from Splendido facebook page.
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Just a before-the-race selfie. Nothing to see here.

After the pre-race dance warm-up, all categories started at the same time (4 pm, but 5 or more minutes late though). The first part of the race is pure downhill, it’s fun to go fast at this point because the downhill is so steep that even if you don’t speed up, you’re going unintentionally fast anyway. I just let my feet go without adding momentum because if I burn out a lot of stamina early, I’m gonna pay for it later. And I’m glad it did because at the end of the downhill, there’s a steep uphill climb that can be seen from a distance and this is where the running ends and the walking (for some runners) starts.

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Downhill Domination! See that hill in the distance? that’s our 1st U-turn.
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Downhill Jam! Photo from Splendido facebook page.
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Approaching the uphill challenge.
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And here it is. Whoever said falling in love is hard on the knees have never ran a steep uphill.
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A view from the uphill U-turn. Big houses, the Golf course, and a lot of trees around you. It’s a very beautiful sight even at night.
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And to show you just how far it is from the starting line to this point. Down and Up the road.

After the U-turn, a part of the route requires us to turn right and down a curvy road. This is the toughest part of the road because the downhill and uphill is even steeper. It’s like the mountain roads you see in Initial D and where you go Ridge Racer but without the cars.

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I was taking photos while running downhill. It’s good to see that my smartphone’s camera is handling the shakiness of my hands and the bouncy motion of jogging.
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Yes, it’s another up and down road here.
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The leading 21k runner (Kenyan) and the other elite runners of the Trio category just behind him. Saw Richard Salano and Abril Rosas, two of the elite runners I met at the 2016 Laguna Phuket International Marathon.
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There’s a ranger/watch tower up ahead. Are there any wild animals here? Only saw cows.
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The Splendido Two Towers as seen from down below.
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Approaching the 2nd U-turn. The 2 foreigners probably thought I’m an instagram runner for stopping frequently and taking photos. Just doing it for my blog =)

The 2nd U-turn is where we get our first ribbon/marker. These markers serve as proof that runners passed by the check points to avoid cheating. This is very important because even with a timing chip, the sensor is only located at the start and finish line.

The way back at this point is harder because we are going back up and this area is the steepest of all segments of the route. At this point some of us, including the foreigners who are ahead me now, started walking. It reminds me of Sungay Road only shorter.

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Walkathon on the way up.

It doesn’t get any easier when I finally reached the main road again. Remember, it was a downhill before, now it’s payback time with another uphill battle. I was struggling even with a walk-jog method because most of my energy were burned out. Had it even just a straight flat road, it would’ve been easier to recover. I was in okay condition by the time I reached the mid-point Pocari Sweat aid station near Splendido main gate.

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Tired, but happy. Enjoying the suffering so far =D Photo from Splendido facebook page.

It’s getting darker by the time I started running towards the 10 kilometer mark which is a U-turn in a downhill road near the main gate.

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The route to the 10th kilometer still have some uphill segments. Uphills and downhills here are as overrated as a Star Wars movie.
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Going back to complete the 2nd loop.
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The Splendido towers as seen from below.
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It’s a beautiful road combined with the close to nature environment and away from city pollution. The people living here are so lucky.

Then it started to rain as I run my way up and it intensified as I pass by the Pocari Sweat mid point station. The rain is refreshing and it helped me run continuously downhill and towards the uphill U-turn. Some parts of the road are dark and I was glad to have brought my trusty energizer headlamp (which is a mandatory requirement).

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Going up the hill again on a cold, rainy night. It’s very dark in this area, my smartphone’s camera used a high ISO setting, resulting to a grainy photo.
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Like I said, the view from this point is beautiful even at night.

I was told by the marshals to just go straight back to the main road and no need to go back down the curvy, mountain-like road. Too bad, I was anticipating a thrilling, scary pitch dark run with only the headlamp to guide me run on the curvy roads again. But, that would be dangerous especially on a rainy weather. I also thought that route be a few kilometers short if we don’t run there again. Turns out I’m wrong.

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One of the best looking house along the route. There are speakers outside with music playing.

I had a conversation with a runner who was there to pace with his wife. He told me that this is a really tough course, but elite runners have been showing up to compete every year. He also told me that Kenyans already won the Trio and 21k categories and there was at least one Kenyan who gave up. That is a testament to the difficulty of this race. The other runner then paced with his wife and I continued to run the last kilometers of the race. I still have to go down again to the last U-turn to get the 4th and last marker.

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Dark, lonely, and silent. Not much difference from my daily life, going to work.

The rain turned to drizzle in the last 2 kilometers. Not much to say, I was very tired, but i keep moving. I got the final black marker, the marshal from the U-turn congratulated me, and I moved by alternating walking on uphills and jogging on the short flats and downhills. I just kept going and surprised myself for finishing the race with a sub 2.5 time.

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To be honest, I was expecting a near 3 hours finish time when I felt burned out at the 6th kilometer. Surprised that I was able to make it to sub 2.5 hours. My Soleus GPS watch yielded 21.19 at 02:28:59 whilst Nike Run Club app had it at 02:29:17 with 21.32 km total distance (I was able to stop the app after I hit the Soleus watch). Official results here.
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Happy to have survived another tough challenge. Nice finisher shirt and medal too.

So, is Splendido Sunset Run a challenging race as advertised? does it live up to its “Are you tough enough?” slogan? the answer is a big YES, definitely. The uphills may not be as long or as steep as Sungay Road, but they are harder than Nuvali’s. I know because it’s my training grounds and I can run a half-marathon faster there. The alternating uphill-downhill terrain is stressful for even seasoned runners. Just think what it’s like for an automobile to go uphill and downhill, it puts so much stress to the engine that you have to shift to the lower gears to go up and then to the higher gears as you go down and repeating it several times also results to increased fuel consumption. Same thing with the human body, your breathing and stride is affected, and there’s a big chance of cramps and other injuries if not careful. In fact, on our way out of Splendido, our car stalled twice as I shift to 2nd gear, it can only climb at 1st gear. That’s how steep the uphills are because Splendido is already on an elevated location.

Splendido Sunset Run is one of those hidden gem type of running events. It’s not well-known to the running community. But, once you discover it, give it a shot, and experienced it, you might go back for more. My only complaint is that there’s no sunset, so it’s false advertising!…. just kidding, it’s the weather’s fault for being cloudy that day. But, I imagine that it could’ve been a perfect day if we could see the beautiful sun going down in the distance. It’s a running event so good that it’s already in my Top 3 races this year.

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Traffic was very bad at the time, it was very late at night, and I was still a bit dehydrated, but we still went out for a meal and drinks because it’s on the house, courtesy of friends. Thanks, peeps.
Posted in 10 kilometers, 10k, 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, 5k, 5km, fun run, half-marathon, Marathon, places to run, running, running event, Running Soon, travel

Running Soon: Five Fast Facts about Clark Sunset Marathon

I was invited to attend the media launch of the Clark Sunset Marathon yesterday morning and here’s what I learned…

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1.) This is the first marathon event to be held in Clark Freeport Zone.

This is the first Clark Sunset Marathon and the destination was chosen so runners can enjoy running in a place away from city traffic and pollution. According to Noemi Julian of Clark Development Corporation fun runs has been done in Clark before, but this is the first full marathon event.

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The official race singlet.

2.) Four distance categories

There will be four distance categories, a full marathon (42k) and a half-marathon (21k) for the long distance and competitive runners. And 10k and 5k categories for those who prefer to finish the running event early to have some time to chill and explore. The 42k race route will have portions outside Clark while the rest of the distances is within the vicinity.

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Runrio’s Andrew Neri introducing the first Clark Sunset Marathon.

3.) The race route is AIMS / IAAF certified.

This is the first running event with a race route measured and certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) together with  International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The route is measured using The Jones Counter instead of a GPS device for accuracy.

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Media and Bloggers’ Q&A portion.

4.) One of the main objective is to attract foreign runners.

The event is expected to attract 5,000 runners including foreign runners who wants to run on an IAAF-labeled route (which means it has the same certification as world class marathons like the Boston Marathon, New York Marathon, and Tokyo Marathon)  and promote tourism.

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Runrio’s Franco Bambico, CDC’s Noemi Julian, and Runrio’s Andrew Neri presenting the official race singlet.

5.) A Music Festival after the race.

After enjoying the sunset and a nice night run, a music festival will be staged for a relaxing and more fun Saturday Night experience. DJ Ashley Rivera and DJ Tom Taus will be there to provide a memorable party for the participants.

 

That’s about it, feel free ask questions or leave comments in the comment section below. Online and in-store registrations are open. I will update this article once I get the digital copy of the press release.

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Media launch at Burgoo SM Mall of Asia.
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The singlet and the Finisher by Adidas.
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Looks similar to the Gatorade Run shirt.

 

REGISTRATION AND RACE INFO:

Registration Fees:

5K – Php 650 (Php 1,300 international fee)
10K – Php 850 (Php 1,700 international fee)
21K – Php 1,400 (Php 2,800 international fee)
42K – Php 1,800 (Php 3,600 international fee)

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Racekit Inclusions:

Singlet, Finisher Shirt (for 21k and 42k categories only), medal, loot bag, and music festival ticket.

Gunstart:

5K – 5:45PM
10K – 5:30PM
21K – 5:15PM
42K – 5:00PM