ASICS Relay first launched in Singapore in 2015. This year, it has finally made its way to the Philippines and it’s one of the most fun running events I have ever joined. This is the first time I joined a relay race and the rule is simple, form a team of four runners, the first runner runs a specified distance and after the completion of the distance, the first runner tags the next runner in the team by passing the baton (in this race, it’s a snap band) to complete the same distance and then passes it to the next until all four runners complete the distance. There are 2 categories available, half-marathon and full marathon and I picked the full marathon to maximize the experience. My team which I named Rogue Rebels (because I want my moniker to be plural) consists of my two office mates, Nelson and Juanepri, and a neighborhood runner and short distance podium finisher Marlon.
Marlon and I meet up at the bus stop in Mayapa, Calamba and will meet Neslon at Starmall Alabang. Despite some slight difficulty in catching a bus to Mall of Asia in Ayala Makati (usual lack of buses and too many stranded passengers), the three of us arrived early at the event site. Juanepri had a business to attend to said he will make it before the gun start (and he better because he is the second runner in the line up). I immediately claimed our race kits so we can have a lot of spare time to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the activity area.
As the Team Leader I was assigned as the first runner by default and I’m very nervous because I feel like there’s a lot of weight on my shoulders and I have to perform well as the opener. The distance to complete is 10.5 kilometers, but the route is 5.25 kilometers and the runners will run the loop twice. The first part of the route was within SM by the Bay and it’s very cramped and hard to slip through the other runners. Add the body heat to the humid temperature and you have a hot and sweaty run. I feel dehydrated early in the race and had to drink at the first hydration station in J.W. Diokno Blvd. Although I sweat a lot more than the average person, in this run it feels like it was even amplified. I mean, I can run 6-8 kilometers without taking a sip and feel fine. In this run, I felt like I will pass out if I don’t slowdown to take a drink. I barely finished 5 kilometers in 30 minutes and it gets worst in the 2nd half. There’s now a lot of space between the runners and it helped lessen the heat, but my stamina is drained. I can’t even run my normal 5:30/km pace. I just kept going to survive and finish my run. I had a slight boost when the dancing LED mascots gave me high fives, after that I walked, then jog, then walk again longer than usual. I started jogging non-stop at the last 300 meters, but a lot of runners behind me started sprinting. I kept moving at a steady pace just to be safe and didn’t mind my finishing time. I just want to reach the transition area and pass the baton to Juanepri. He wasn’t on the front line, but was able to make his way through quickly. I was able to make my exit safely, exhausted, but glad that my run is over. Nelson spotted me and gave me a high five.
Now that I’ve got a lot of time in my hands, I decided to leave Nelson and walk around the activity area to get some drinks because I’m still dehydrated. A bottle of Pocari Sweat and Nature’s Spring water and a few minutes of rest later, I went to the sidelines near the finish line to watch the other runners. Nelson joined me and I also spotted a former office mate and runner Rodolfo David. He was supposed to run at the event but due to an injury, he gave his race kit to a friend.
I enjoyed watching the runners, their efforts can be seen in their faces and the way they run. Some we’re confused and almost entered the finish line instead of the transition area. I saw one runner being carried and escorted, poor guy probably collapsed from the heat. Another one fell right in front of us due to cramp. He was immediately assisted, got up, and continued his run. That’s the heart to finish.
I easily identified my running buddy and marathoner-in-the-making friend Diane. I know it’s her because of her attire and running form. Nelson and I saw Juanepri about to pass by his first loop. We called him by shouting his name, but he couldn’t hear us because he was listening to music. He was running in a slow but relaxed pace.
I told Nelson to be alert and ready in the transition area as Marlon is about to make his run and it won’t take as long as we did. I went to meet Juanepri and he said he almost had cramps and had to slow down. He stretched, re-hydrated, and rest whilst I went to the sidelines again to watch the runners. It didn’t take long for Marlon to finish his run, I wasn’t able to catch him in the first loop, but saw him as he finish the 2nd one. I went to the transition area again to meet him and it’s all down to our final runner Nelson to close the show (our show).
I easily spotted Nelson before finishing the first loop and gave him the good luck middle finger. I estimated that it will take him 35-40 minutes to finish the 2nd loop so I tried to look for Diane to congratulate her for finishing her run. She sent me a message informing me that she’s in the transition area but I wasn’t able to catch her there on time. I found out later that she left to eat hotdog and she was calling me on my phone but wasn’t able to answer. Based on my estimate, Nelson could be approaching soon, so I had to get near the finish line to take his photo.
Nelson finished faster than expected and he ran shirtless as I suggested (because I told him that some of the runners probably just took off their shirt just to show their abs. I told him to do the same and show his singular ab). Way to go Nelson.
It was one helluva night for all of us, we all had a hard time, but we had fun. ASICS Relay is the best run I had so far this year. It’s fun because it’s a team run and it’s very well presented. There are only a few gripes I have with this run and first is the race kit distribution. It was rescheduled from May 24 and 25 to May 25 and May 26 starting 12 noon to 8 pm. I decided to pick up our race kit on May 25 because I’m on leave that day and will be coming from our office in Alabang after my shift. I was there early and when it was time to pick up the race kits at exactly 12 noon, we were told that there was a delay with the arrival of the kits and pick up will be at 1 pm. This got me worried because we have ticket reservations to see Deadpool 2 in Ayala Mall Solenad in Nuvali at 3:30 pm and I might not make it on time. Some of the other runners got upset and that person in charge gave us options to wait until 3 pm (they said 1 pm earlier) for the race kits to arrive because it was on hold at customs. Or we can have it delivered. The race bibs are available, but the shirts and other stuff are not. So, I decided to just get the race bibs instead and still made it on time to see Deadpool 2. As compensation for those who wait that day, they offer free printing of names on their race shirts. Another one is the lack of photographers. There are some in the activity area, but I haven’t seen any official photos posted as of today (June 4) and there are no photographers along the route. If you’re a serious runner, photos are not that important, but let’s admit it, we do want to see a photo of ourselves running and it is a big deal for those who run for fun. Those are just minor flaws of the event, everything else is well done and organized. I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s event.
This run is part 1 of my busy Memorial Day weekend. A few hours after ASICS Relay is my 2nd run of the week, Run 4 Ur Life with my other office mates and that story is part 2 and to be posted soon.