In the early days, runners use the stopwatch feature of their watches to check their Finish Time and it is assumed that the distance of the race route is accurately measured by the event organizers. Today’s generation of runners rely on the GPS functionality of smartphones and watches making it an essential feature. But, how accurate are the GPS of these devices? are they reliable?
I am not an electronics expert or engineer, I don’t know how GPS works technically, so don’t expect me to explain everything with scientific detail. I’m just a runner who relies on my GPS watch and smartphone app to record my performance and this observation and analysis is based on my experience in using them during training runs and running events. I use a Soleus GPS One watch and Samsung S7 Edge for tracking my runs.
Which is more accurate, a GPS watch or a smartphone app?
– Starting both devices and standing still, my S7 Edge using Nike Run Club app connects faster to GPS satellites than my GPS One. It usually takes less than a minute for the S7 to get a good signal, whilst the GPS One can take as long as 1-3 minutes to find a signal. The GPS One may also receive an unstable connection and deliver very unbelievable results like a running speed of 40-70 kilometers per hour which is impossible considering that Usain Bolt can run at a top speed of 44 km/h. The GPS One also has a tendency to lose signal in places where only a few tall buildings surround the area. There are times that the GPS One can yield better results than the smartphone like the time I ran the 2nd Philippine Marine Corp Marathon. When I entered the famous Kaybiang Tunnel, both devices lost connection, but the watch re-connected faster and delivered a more accurate distance. It should be noted that I was using a mid-range smartphone at the time, an Alcatel Flash 2, and not the S7 Edge that I’m using now. I mentioned this because high-end smartphones and GPS watches with superior hardware may be able to deliver more accurate results than entry-level like the GPS One and mid-range devices.
UPDATE (07-23-2017): I accidentally activated the mobile data of my S7 Edge instead of the GPS. Nike Run Club app relied on internet connection and due to the weak signal and speed, it resulted to a big miscalculation, counting 600-800 meters as 1 kilometer.
– Distance discrepancy between the two devices is not unusual. Sometimes it can be as short as 100 meters to as long as 2 kilometers with the GPS watch very likely to be inaccurate. One example of this was during Run United Exceed half-marathon last April, GPS One recorded the total distance of 23.45 kilometers, whilst the S7 showed 22.5 kilometers. The race route in Bonifacio Global City is surrounded by tall buildings and locking on to the satellites takes time, but I was able to get a signal for both devices before the gunstart. But, I’m very sure that the GPS One was inaccurate because it showed me that I passed the first kilometer in 4+ minutes whilst the smartphone app told me that I ran it at 5 minutes and 45 seconds. I’ve also seen social media posts from runners and most of them also covered 22+ kilometers. Others got results of less than 21 kilometers, but it’s very likely that they started their devices while it was still trying to get a signal and only got one after several kilometers (i.e. 18 kilometers of total distance was likely the result the device receiving a signal after 3 kilometers of running). During my usual Wednesday and Friday morning runs, it’s often that I get distance discrepancies and most of the time, the GPS One delivered inaccuracy.
GPS devices or just trust the Organizer’s Race Route?
I did an experiment to compare if the distance displayed on a car’s odometer will yield the same or close results with the GPS devices. I did a quick google search and found out that GPS is much more accurate than car speedometers when it comes to measuring speed because it is affected by tire size and condition. But, I’m measuring the distance and disregarded speed, so we focus on the odometer. Stopping the car at 1, 3, and 5 kilometers, the distance difference is somewhere between 30 to 200+ meters.
This experiment should be taken with a grain of salt since gps reading is affected by the position and availability of the satellites (take note that the experiment took place on a road devoid of tall buildings). It’s likely that distance discrepancy will increase if I travelled farther.
The verdict: Accurate or Fu*k-urate?
– So, are GPS devices like smartphones and GPS watches accurate when it comes to measuring distance and pace? the answer is yes… but, only if you get a good and stable signal. The advance technology in these devices assures you accuracy, but not always. There will be times that you will get unstable signal and even lose the signal especially in places surrounded by tall building or trees and that guarantees fu*ked up results. The reason why I use both a GPS watch and smartphone app is for cases when one fails, the other won’t (hopefully). A small distance discrepancy (like 100-300 meters) between both devices is acceptable, 500 meters or more is where you start to question accuracy and pick the one with less distance. In my usual training routes, I can tell which one is giving me the likely accurate distance because of the numerous times I ran on that place. Even if that devices failed to connect with the satellites, I remember where the kilometer points are.
The last time I joined an obstacle run or Obstacle Course Racing was 2 1/2 years ago and that was Men’s Health Urbanathlon. But, I am no stranger to the Guerilla Race series, and in fact, I am one of the pioneer participants of the very first Guerilla Race. The last Guerilla Race I joined was the 10k category of the Panther edition in Filinvest City back in October 2014. After that, I wasn’t able to join the other Guerilla events because they were held far from my hometown and I have very limited resources when it comes to joining running events. Now that Guerilla Race has returned to the south with the new water edition, my anticipation is not just at an all time high, I feel ecstatic.
For this event, I was able to get an extra race kit and gave it to my officemate, Jaypee (a Guerilla Race first timer). We arrived at the venue before 4 am and took a warm-up, reconnaissance stroll around the area. For some reason, the race started late at 0530 (suppose to start at 0500).
Excitedly waiting. Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)
I was surprised when the first part of the race route is inside Splash Island and even more surprising for me is the first obstacle…
Obstacle 1: the Kayak.
To be honest, I was a bit shocked and nervous about this obstacle because I don’t know how to operate a kayak. I kept thinking that I can’t stabilize it and will likely be moving sideways or unlikely to make the U-turn back to shore. Thankfully, I was able to relax, focus, and move it straight. I did bump unto other participants and vice versa, one time four of us bump each other but was able to get free easily. The next obstacle is much easier though…
Obstacle 2: Balsa River.
This one is easier and relaxing. You just go into the looping Balsa River and you can swim, float, walk, or run. We decided to take our time and just walk this one to conserve stamina. The third obstacle does slow things down a little…
Obstacle 3: Barbed Wire Crawl
One of the regular obstacles of Guerilla Race and it will definitely get you dirty and smelly. If you don’t go low enough and crawl, your clothes will get caught (see photo above) or the barbed wires will poke you like it did to me so I got down low and dirty the non-perverted way.
4th obstacle, Handrail walk?
I don’t know the official name of this obstacle, but this is one of the most difficult as it requires some degree of upper body strength and good grip because the rails are slippery. To add difficulty, you can only do this one time. As we approach this obstacle, we already saw some of the participants doing burpees as penalty for not passing the obstacle. When we started moving, it seemed very do-able, I was already halfway through when my right hand slipped and my foot touched the ground (as seen in the photo). Jaypee also slipped and we had to do 30 burpees as penalty. Doing burpees depletes your stamina more than the obstacle, so it is better to put effort in completing the obstacles than do burpees.
Obstacle 5: Window in the Wall?
I think this is called the military wall, but I’m not sure. Designed to just break your momentum, this obstacle is one of the easiest even if you lost some stamina after doing burpees. This will only be difficult if you don’t fit in the window properly, but I’ve never seen anyone having a hard time with this obstacle.
Obstacle 6: Bamboo Crossing?
Dunno what to call this obstacle. The only challenge here is if you feel pain on your thighs or that tight feeling of your hamstrings. It can also be painful on the knees when you’re already overfatigued.
Obstacle 7: Mud Crawl
This is easier than the barbed wire crawl because of the watery mud and the cool water is refreshing and kinda soothing. But, it has a foul smell though, so you need to breathe wisely and close your mouth to avoid fresh dirty water getting in your mouth.
Obstacle 8: The Wall.
The wall isn’t exactly as hard as the 1st and 2nd time I encountered it. In fact, I got it with only 1 try. I just jumped, hanged on to the top of the wall, and slowly push myself up. Jaypee who was very worried about this obstacle earlier got it in 1 try as well.
Obstacle 9: Inclined Wall.
This obstacle is easy if you know how to position yourself and pull yourself up. Plant yourself properly, firm grip on the rope and then move your legs and pull yourself up gently and relaxed. You can also run up just gather momentum and with the right speed and it will be over faster.
Obstacles 10, 11, and 12: Sandbag Carry, Walk on Fours, and Tire Field
Before we engaged these obstacles, we took our time at the aid station to drink and wash off some of the mud on our face. Three obstacles in one go. First you grab a sandbag (grab 2 if you’re strong enough and want to show off the power of them guns) and then walk or run 100 meters (estimate) then U-turn back and drop the sandbag. After that, you run or walk another hundred meters to a point where you have to start walking on fours like an animal (I call it the catwalk). This is a bit hard on the thighs and can be tiring, so it’s better to move at an easy and steady pace. Thankfully, the distance is shorter and once you got up, you walk or run towards the field of tires. It’s better to look at your feet as you make your way through the tire field because there’s a chance that your foot will get caught by a tire and pull you down.
Obstacle 13: Tire Pull and Lift
This obstacle can be done smoothly without affecting much of your stamina. First part of the obstacle is to pull the tire. Just relax and apply just the right amount of pulling power that it won’t affect your breathing. For example, pull with the left hand then breath in, now the right hand then breathe out. It’s that easy and keep your back straight. The second part requires you to lift the tire and put it back at the starting point for the next participant’s turn.
Obstacle 14: Money Bar
This is the second obstacle that I failed to complete. I made I mistake of having my hands gripping one bar apart and it put me in the position of facing sideways to the left. I was stuck and hanging for almost 10 seconds, trying to re-position myself, but I couldn’t and fearing that I might lose my grip. So, I decided to push through and tried doing the monkey bars sideways, grabbing 1 bar apart , and it seemed to be working as I made it halfway. Then I lost my momentum (couldn’t swing anymore and my hand couldn’t reach and grab the next bar) and I fell to the ground. Unfortunately, you can only do the obstacle once, so I just accepted the penalty. Jaypee got it right and avoided the stamina-depleting burpees.
Obstacle 15: Over and Under the bars?
By the time we reached this obstacle, I still haven’t recovered some of the loss stamina from the burpees I had to do as penalty from failing the monkey bars. I allowed Jaypee to go first so I can observe how it’s done. You have to go over the first bar (you can jump if you want), then under on the 2nd (you can roll if you want), over again on the 3rd, and under again on the last one. When Jaypee did this his grip slipped and a 180 degree while still holding on to the bar, so he did not fall on his back. Same thing happened to me and it feels like a technique, just be sure to keep hanging on the bar and let your feet touch the ground to recover quickly.
Obstacle 16, Rope Crossing
We refueled with cool water at the 2nd aid station (they ran out of cups, so Jaypee and I had to share with one that we cleaned before using) before initiating this obstacle. Balance with a chance of wobbling is best to describe this one. You step on a rope line with your hands grabbing another rope above you and then move to cross all the way to the end point. It’s easy until you end up in the middle with those ahead of you already got off the rope. As seen in the photos, I paused to pose for the photographer. I took my time for the photo that I caused a bit of a traffic and I’m the front guy now. Moving from the middle without any weight applied ahead of me made the rope wobble and it kinda threw me off balance a bit that I actually switched side (now facing right and the photographer on my six) just to regain footing. Once I got my balance back, it was easier to move again and finish this obstacle.
Obstacle 17: Cargo Net
This is the one obstacle that really got me a bit of a scare and thought about doing burpees instead. This version of the cargo net is harder than the pyramid version. Once you make it to the top to cross over to the other side, that’s when the difficulty level goes up a notch. Once you look down, you have a good view of how high you are and then you realize how hard it is to put your foot to the other side. The net is wobbling when there are no participants on the other side to balance it and it makes you feel like you’re going to flip over and fall to the other side if you’re not careful. That is how I felt at the time since those on the other side already got down and there’s 3 (or maybe 4) of us left on the other side. In my mind I think I’m gonna flip over and fall and almost gave up. Until Jaypee and some other participant hold a part of the net to keep it stable and I was able to cross over. It was only until I saw the photos on facebook that there is a technique to crossover properly. Next time, I’ll be ready.
Obstacle 18: Hurdles
Fortunately, the last obstacle, the hurdles isn’t as hard as hurdling (running and jumping). You can just walk and jump over and over again. Take your time if you want, the finish line is just meters away.
The surprise of the event was the actual number of obstacles. There are 18 obstacles instead of the original (and advertised) 12. For me, 6 more obstacles is a bonus, it’s like getting more of your money’s worth. Jaypee and I finished with a minute left before the cut-off time of 1.5 hours. I know it’s slow compared to my first Guerilla Race finish time of 40 minutes and 42 seconds in Nuvali. But, the reason for this is because I wanted to pace with Jaypee to see if he enjoys this event and I really want to take my time and have fun. Also, my first Guerilla Race only had 12 obstacles and I can say that the obstacles in this event is more challenging (and fun) than what I encountered before. I probably would’ve rushed this event and finished the race faster if I ran alone. But, I probably would’ve not enjoyed it as much because in the end, the finish time didn’t matter to me, I was focused on having fun and running with a buddy, and that is both mission accomplished.
Guerilla Race Splash (as always) is an amazing, awesome, challenging, and fun event. It’s the best way to test your overall fitness level. Obstacle course racing is intimidating to some runners and fitness buffs, but Guerilla Race is the epitome of a balanced challenge. The obstacles can be hard, but they’re not impossible, and finally finishing the race feels like a big accomplishment mentally and physically.
A big thanks to the Guerilla Race Team and mam Nikka Ramos for this fresh and unique edition of the Guerilla Race. We, the fans of this wonderful race series, are so thankful that all of you keep innovating to deliver an experience like no other. You are all continuing the legacy of its founder, the late Lt. Col. Dennis Bumanglag and doing it with excellence.
Guerilla Race Splash is a strong contender for my pick of the best running event of 2017. Jaypee, a first-timer in the Guerilla Race love the experience so much that he’s looking forward to the next events. It got a lot of things right like a reasonable registration fee (which includes a day pass to Splash Island worth 499 php and discount coupons), a good venue (the right choice for the summer season), and a memorable experience (challenging, but fun obstacles). I want to see it grow with more participants and interesting locales in the future. The next Guerilla Race will be at Camp John Hay in November. Stay tuned for the complete details and updates regarding this event once the press release is officially announced.
After the event, Jaypee and I decided to take advantage of the Splash Island day pass to maximize the day (especially since it was the long weekend for us BPO employees thanks to Memorial Day). It was also my first time in Splash Island (yes, I live in the South and I’ve been to Splash Island until this running event), so I have to see and experience the best things the place has to offer. Unfortunately, Splash Island was very crowded at the time with 2 company outings (NIDEC and Villarica Pawnshop) taking place along with the usual weekend visitors. But, I still got to experience the major attractions of the water park thanks to Jaypee’s encouragement (because if I was rogue running (solo) this event, I probably would’ve stayed in the pools) and 40 to 60 minutes of waiting in line for each slide. Tausug Trails is the first slide we took and after that, we lined up for Big Bamboo. Unfortunately, I don’t have an action cam with me to record the experience and I don’t want to hold my smartphone during slides. I was able to take some photos of the slides before I took my turn. Check out some of the photos I took before taking the splash.
BEAT THE HEAT AND SPLASH YOUR WAY AT GUERILLA RACE SPLASH – THE WATER EDITION
Summer is all about having fun and creating extraordinary memories. This year, Guerilla Race, the first, premier and only obstacle race in the Philippines, will turn your summer moments into something offbeat as it takes an exciting yet audacious route, daring to infuse water adventure into the race.
Aptly titled as “Guerilla Race Splash –The Water Edition”, the race is a fusion of land and water obstacles. Aldenver Marketing, Inc., the organizer of Guerilla Race, in partnership with Splash Island will hold a never before seen event, enticing both pro and neophyte runners and fitness buffs in the country.
This unconventional race will happen on May 28, 2017 in Binan, Laguna. It will not only provide extraordinary challenges but also exceptional enjoyment, as racers are expected to plunge into the water and get drenched in several water activities to test one’s versatility, strength and stamina. Fun is an understatement.
The Sprint Category will have the 5km run and 12 obstacles. It will be a combination of water and land obstacles. You can enter as an individual or as a team which has a minimum of four members to ten members. The cut off time is 1.5 hours.
The racekit costs Php 1,250 which includes a singlet, finisher shirt, finisher medal and giveaways from sponsors.
Like any of the Guerilla Race series, part of the proceeds of this upcoming race will go to Armed Forces of the Philippines Educational Benefit System Office (AFPEBSO), an organization that supports education of the soldiers’ orphans. Therefore, your summer will be filled with precious memory because you have helped less privileged people through this race.
The race will not be possible without our generous sponsors : Dermplus, Regroe, Lifesaber, Atmost Fit Elite, 100 Plus, Black Mamba, Mega Fiber, Cranuti, Blackwater, Deuter, Grand Encore International, Iolytes, Curves, Anytime Fitness Fairview, Sta Rosa, Iron den Crossfit, Crossfit Mad Minute, Fitness Unlimited and support from our Media partners – Manila Bulletin, Business Mirror, Malaya Business Insight, ANC News Channel, Philippine Graphic, Pilipino Mirror, Health and Fitness Magazine, Travel Life, Food Health and Scined Magazine, Vanity Life, Pinoy Fitness.com, wheninmanila.com, V81 Radio and ABS CBN Sports and Action.
Haven’t joined a Guerilla Race before? why? I can tell you as one of the pioneer participants of the very first Guerilla Race in Nuvali, it’s a challenging, but fun race. It tests you physically and mentally. And to preview the awesomeness of the Guerilla Race events, read my race report of GUERILLA RACE PANTHER in Filinvest City. So, if you have the guts to get off the couch and take on the challenge, see you on May 28.
The Run United series (also known as Run United Runrio Trilogy) is one of the most popular running events in the country. It is an epitome of competitive race series that urges runners to move up to the next level by running a half-marathon (21k) in the 1st leg, the Afroman distance (32k) in the 2nd leg, and finally culminating in the 3rd leg, the Marathon distance (42k). Medals are only given to those who run the trilogy distance and the medals interconnect with each other to form one big medal with unique and appealing designs. For most runners, joining and completing the Run United trilogy is like graduating a runners’ university. It is validation and achievement, proving that you have gone from someone who joins a fun run to a competitive runner who pushed all the way to the limit and even exceeded it a little (living up to their slogan, “Exceed Yourself”). I have never joined a Run United event. I always wanted to complete the trilogy, but the recurring issue with the 1st leg always sold out in just a few days has prevented me to join it.
This year Run United and Runrio Trilogy has split into two different running events. The former became Run United Exceed, a half-marathon race (sponsored by Tag Heuer) with an exclusive medal earned only by finishing the race under 2.5 hours. The latter is still the old trilogy (now sponsored by Adidas and Gatorade) scheduled on June, August, and October this year. With a bit of hesitation (due to the steep registration price of 1,350php for early bird and 1,550php for late registratrants) I decided to join Run United Exceed for several reasons. First is the medal, it looks very good, I want it for my collection. Another reason is that it has been quite a while since the last time I ran a half-marathon race, and I really wanna go for a new PR. And according to the Active Health site, they are “aspiring to bring a race experience comparable to a world marathon major in a half marathon distance.” So, did the event live up to the hype? was the registration price justified? Read on to find out.
For this race, I was able to convince Ryan, a college mate and a runner who entered the running scene earlier than I did. He was also hesitant to join because of the 2.5-hour cutoff time for the medal, but I encouraged him to try and trained with him. The event location is in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and since I’m going for public transportation on this one, I left home early and asked Ryan if I could hang out in their loft in Mandaluyong to kill time. I was able to take almost an hour of sleep before we left Mandaluyong and took an Uber ride with another runner to BGC. I’m very excited to run, so excited that I feel like I have to poop, but I can hold it as long as I fart discreetly (which I did several times… apologies for that).
GPS devices like my GPS watch and Nike+ Run Club app on my smartphone are having a hard time connecting to satellites because of the surrounding buildings. I was able to connect before the start of the run, but the signal is unstable. The race started on time at 5 am and with wave 2 to be released 5 minutes later.
I ran the first kilometer at a relaxed pace around 5-6 minutes per kilometer (my GPS watch shows a sub-5 minute pace, confirming unstable connection) and finishing the first 5 kilometers at a sub-30 minute time. The weather seemed fine, it wasn’t too hot, but I was sweating profusely. Noticing the kilometer markers along the race route, the discrepancy from my tracking devices is varying between 200-800 meters.
There are a lot of turns and it’s a dizzying experience, but I’m still doing fine going to the 10.5 kilometer mark (crossing the 10k mark at a sub-1 hour pace based on my tracking apps). It was around the 12 kilometer mark that I start slowing down, knowing that I’m running the same loop again. I really don’t like dual loop race route because it’s repetitive and uninspiring, it affects me mentally. This is the reason why my 2015 PinoyFitness 21k Challenge performance was poor compared to my other half-marathon runs. Had I known that this race is a dual loop route before I registered, I probably would have 2nd thoughts or likely joined other events. So, I just pushed through the 2nd half, trying to do my best.
Other than unleashing flatulence several times randomly (still the effect of not taking a dump earlier before the race. Just thankful for the absence of foul smell and the footsteps minimizing the fart noise) like a misfiring system of a turbo-charged engine, passing by the park where a zumba session was happening at the time and seeing the same buildings over and over again, nothing much happened from kilometer 15 onward. I’m just getting slower, exhausted, and I saw, heard, or felt nothing that can boost my performance. I saw Coach Rio along the race route in the last few kilometers and got a high five (also got one from a lady marshal) for a small boost.
Then something interesting happened, a runner passed by at a very fast pace, but he was running in an unusual way, like speed wobbling. I thought he was running that way because he has some sort of disability and another runner thought he was trying to be funny. He was very fast and out of sight after a few seconds, then he passed out. I saw him off the race route, on the other side of the street, already on the ground. I thought he collapsed there to avoid hitting other runners or maybe he didn’t have a sense of direction anymore because he was about to lose consciousness. I also thought he got hit by a Toyota Innova because I saw the vehicle coming out of the turn. It was likely a case of ‘hitting the wall,’ and luckily, there are marshals nearby who saw the runner and took action quickly. Never knew what happened to the guy or why he ran that fast (it was likely that he could’ve finish the race under the cutoff time by running at a steady pace), I hope he’s okay.
Looking at my GPS watch, I should’ve crossed 21k at a 1 hour and 58 minutes, but the kilometer markers indicate that I still have more than 2 kilometers left. Nike+ Run Club app on my smartphone has a 600-800 meter difference compared to my GPS watch and 21k should’ve ended in 2 hours and 3 minutes. There was still a kilometer or more and with no motivation to exceed myself, I walked a lot in that last kilometer.
When I finally crossed the finish line, I stopped my GPS watch as soon as my foot hit the line and it recorded 23.45 kilometers at 02:13:35. Nike+ app was stopped almost a minute later, yielding 22.57 kilometers at 02:14:02. In the end, none of my tracking devices mattered, regardless of the distance accuracy of the race route, my official time is 02:13:26 seconds.
Though it wasn’t a bad time and it is my current BGC record, I was disappointed for not exceeding myself. I tried to make a new half-marathon PR, I thought I can, and I trained and prepared for it. But, I just didn’t have the motivation and inspiration to do it. In the end, it is what it is, I didn’t fail to get a medal, and I’ll just take this as an experience and to challenge myself to do better next time.
As for the event itself, did it deliver the “race experience comparable to a world marathon major in a half marathon distance” as advertised? Well, IMHO, if a world marathon major is simple and doesn’t have enough pop or flair to make it special, maybe it did. But, I don’t know which or what marathon major can be compared to this event. My only international running event experience was last year’s Laguna Phuket International Marathon and in comparison, LPIM is more fun and with better presentation. To elaborate, LPIM announcers give updates on who’s leading the race (they even talked to our cheering team to ask about our runner who was leading the 21k race) and announce the runners name or number and country of origin as they approach or cross the finish line. The event also have a buffet for the runners who need to eat and rest. And you can hear music playing near the finish line to make the area feel more lively and energetic for the runners. Run United Exceed is an average event to me, there are cheering stations to help boost the runners, but it looks inferior to the cheering squad in the Gatorade Run series (which is also handled by Runrio Inc). The activity area is also a bit dull compared to other events, but it’s the event location at fault here. I’m also not a fan of looping race routes, I avoid it. It would’ve been better if the event had the same route as Financial Fitness Run which added the Kalayaan Flyover, some part of Makati, and Bayani Road to avoid a dual loop race route. It was an on okay run, just glad to run another half-marathon and I love medal design, it’s the best-looking one I’ve got this year.
– According to the official results, there are 2,937 finishers (MyRuntime results show 2,932). If we go by the cutoff time (including 02:35 for wave 2), the results show 2,072 runners got a medal. You can view the results in PDF format here RUE results PDF or at MyRunTime.
– It’s understandable that GPS devices are inaccurate in an area with tall buildings. Some GPS watches even showed less than 21 kilometers because their devices only got a signal after several kilometers. But, the majority of GPS tracking results from runners based on what I’ve seen while browsing instagram and facebook had it at 22+ kilometers. My Nike+ Run Club showed 22.5 kilometers.
– I saw a woman driving a Suzuki Swift who was stopped in one of the intersections of BGC because the runners are passing through. She seemed irritated as if she was going to be late in the office or something. I saw her passed through once the road was cleared. And then I saw here again in another part of the route, arguing with one of the marshals. Seemed like she made a turn on a closed road, had enough, and started shouting at the marshals. So, who’s right and wrong in this scenario. IMO, she should be aware of the event especially if she works in the BGC area, preparation and awareness of the closed and open road is important. Runners and marshals should be respected, part of the payment for the event covers the use of some parts of the road in the area for the runners safety. I don’t know the lady’s side of the story, but motorists should always keep calm and understand the situation, the world does not revolve to one person and don’t blame others for things that you’re not prepared for or aware of. I mean, if I’m late to the office, I don’t blame the bus or van driver or the unexpected traffic, I blame myself for my failure to anticipate and some things just happen that are beyond our control and we just have to accept it rather than be angry and lash out on someone or something.
When I heard that the Yakult Run series is the 2nd oldest running event in the Philippines (after Milo Marathon), I just have to run in this event at least once because it’s part of running history in our country. This is the 28th Yakult 10-miler and from what I found out, there are 2 new firsts in this year’s event. The first new addition is the 21k (half-marathon category) and second addition are finisher’s medals (the past events only have finisher shirts, no medals). An added bonus is the Yakult Pillow for 16k and 21k finishers. You can all thank Proactive, the organizer of the popular Color Manila Run series, for these nice bonuses.
Since this is my first Yakult 10-miler, I decided to join the titular 10-mile distance (or 16 kilometers) because it feels like the right distance. The event starts at 3 am and the 16k gunstart is at 4:50 am and since I’m going with public transportation instead of using a car for a cost-efficient way of travel (because I’m frugal AF), I had to leave home as early as 10 pm to be sure that I can catch a bus or van to Alabang. From Alabang, I rode another bus to Ayala and from Ayala, another bus to SM Mall of Asia where I plan to start my 3-kilometer walk to CCP Complex. I arrived at SM Mall of Asia around 12 am and since I have a lot of time to kill, I walked as slow as I can while staying alert of my surroundings (you never know what suprises may lurk around the corner whilst walking alone at midnight). The streets from Mall of Asia to World Trade Center to CCP Complex is well-lit, there are some vehicles on the road, and it is safe to walk at that time. I arrived before 1 am and hang out at Harbour Square to rest and let time annoy me with boredom. Time feels slow and the back of my neck started to feel itchy because of impatience. So, I got up and walked around CCP Complex, passing by Tanghalang Pambansa (where surprisingly numerous people hangout in the middle of the night), Star City, PICC, Folk Arts Theater, Liwasang Ulalim (the event venue) and back to Harbour Square where I stopped to rest again.
I got up again at around 2 am and went to a 7-Eleven store beside Star City to eat and rest before the race.
Finally went to the rave venue at around 3 am. It’s still too early, but I’m very excited and nervous (usual me before running the race).
I think the race categories started a few minutes early (at least based on the time on my watch) which is better than starting late. I planned to just run this at fun run pace, somewhere between 6-7 minutes per kilometer with a finishing time between 01:40 – 01:50. I didn’t like the fact that I was carrying my wallet and Nokia E52 feature phone because they don’t allow money and mobile phones at the baggage counter. I attached it to my fitletic running belt which only added weight (sometimes it bounces to my annoyance) and totally ruined an aerodynamic setup while running. First 5 kilometers ran smoothly with some slow down at the flyover. Little did I know that I was already doing a Sub-30 minute 5k as I was pacing with a couple runner who would sometimes overtake me as I keep a stable pace. I was also surprised that I reached 10k at around 57 minutes, way faster than my intended pace and I already left the couple runners behind at the that time. Since the weather is good, I feel okay and seem to be holding my pace well, I kept at it en route to Mall of Asia seaside. My pace slowed down at the 12th kilometer, it was at this time that I did longer walks. From kilometer 13 to 15, my pace became inconsistent, sometimes I speed up and sometimes slow down, exhaustion finally caught up with me.
The last kilometer was a relaxing pace, I didn’t push it anymore, just enjoy the run and beautiful Sunday morning. I finally crossed the finish line with the official time of 1 hour, 33 minutes, 55 seconds. It’s my first 16-kilometer or 10 mile PR.
I really enjoyed my first Yakult 10-miler. It’s a fun run and I had lots of the fun. Proactive did an very good job in organizing the race, even the last runners I saw as I walk back to Mall of Asia were still guided by an ambulance and the marshals. I’m looking forward to next year’s event and I hope there’s a change of venue because it’s a hassle to commute via public transportation to CCP Complex coming from Laguna. Now, I finally added another historical running event in my list of races.
When I join marathons, there are thousands of participants, and it’s the usual do your best for a PR, cross the finish line, and you’re done. A marathon is not a fun run, it’s painful, exhausting, and will test your mental and physical limits. It’s all about finishing strong. Or is it? maybe I just forgot that a marathon isn’t always about running fast or being competitive, it can also be a relaxing, laid back run just to have fun. That is exactly what I realized as a spectator at this year’s TBR Sunlife Dream Marathon.
Unlike other marathon events, TBR Dream Marathon focuses on the development of runners who want to run a marathon for the first time. It’s about helping people achieve their dreams of running a marathon in ways that don’t involve the torture of excessive and unguided training. Running 42 kilometers is an intimidating thought, but the TBR program seemed to be effective in encouraging and motivating the runners that finishing a marathon is achievable with little or nothing to worry about.
The event is only limited to 800 participants. The reason for this is to make it easier to prepare the runners and focus on their progress. And because the event does not have a large volume of marathoners, every one can have their near-the-finish-line moments like running with family, friends, pets, and finally, their own finish line victory pose. Runners like me, those who join competitive marathons with thousands of participants are usually deprived of moments like that. We can’t have our loved ones waiting for us near the finish line to run with us to glory because of restrictions and there’s just too many runners around you. And it’s very rare that we get excellent race photos because there’s a big chance that the photographers will miss you (it’s hard to shoot when there’s thousands of people running and approaching even if you have a fast camera). And this is why TBR Dream Marathon is a special event, it gives the runners the moment and fun. Most of the runners who run towards then finish line with their kids, loved ones, friends, or even pets have bigger smiles and off-the-roof runner’s high than most of us who just made a new PR. There’s just too much good vibes, feel good and happy moments in the event, that I enjoyed taking photos and witnessing the joy of these new marathoners. Congratulations to the marathon graduates of TBR Batch 2017.
Here are some heart-warming photos I took at the event. (Apologies for the quality of the photos. They’re taken with my camera phone and cropped because I couldn’t get near enough to take better up-close photos.)
Running events these days can be classified into two categories, a fun run and a competitive race. For those who just want a good and fun time with friends without the need to worry about being athletic or fast, a fun run is the most popular choice. For fast and elite runners who want to test themselves and compete for prizes, competitive races is the serious choice. A lot of organizers made a good effort to combine both, a running event that can be fun and competitive at the same time. But, none has reached the level of achievement that 7-Eleven Philippines and their partners has done. By creating a race that can still be fun even after you crossed the finish line and entered the activity area. It is the absolute definition of a ‘fun’ run for everyone.
Before I share my opinion about this year’s 7-Eleven Run, I wanna tell the competitive side of the event, the experience of running my 3rd marathon. This is the third time I joined the 7-Eleven Run series and for the first time, I joined the 42k category (I ran the half-marathon categories of the previous events, Run 1500 and Run 2016) to celebrate my first anniversary of running a marathon. My first marathon experience was joining last year’s Condura Skyway Marathon and since CSM is not available this year, 7-Eleven Run got their traditional first weekend of February date. And I’m very thankful for their presence so I can run a marathon handled by a different organizer for a different and better experience (because to be honest, last year’s Condura Marathon was just average at best).
Hours before the event, I was very excited. I have 3 objectives that day, make a new PR, break the Sub-5 hour PR, and come close to Anne Curtis’ New York Marathon PR (which has been an inspiration and motivation for this PR quest). I tried to sleep, but I can’t because my mind kept thinking about the race, what I’ll do, and what could happen. My only focus was the run and I’m so focused that I made a mistake of entering the RFID lane of the toll booth in Filinvest City. The guard/enforcer was about to give me a ticket, but he probably sensed that I’m in a hurry and just let me off with a warning.
I arrived at the event site before 10 pm and had some spare time to walk around and check out the sights and sounds of the activity area.
The race started on time at 11 pm with the Elite Wave leading the pack. There was no warm-up and most runners are ready to rip the road anyway. I’m on Wave B and set for release 5 minutes later. As planned, I initiated the run at a manageable pace, not too fast and not too slow whilst setting up the the music player of my smartphone.
I ran the first 5 kilometers in 29 minutes. It wasn’t slow enough as planned because I was trying to imitate Anne Curtis’ pace at the NYC Marathon which should be 33 minutes, 52 seconds for the first 5k. I probably got carried away and tried to slow down a bit more to conserve my stamina and as a result, I reached the 10k mark in an hour. I didn’t hit Sub-1 for the 10k and that means I’m on the right pace as planned, but still not slow enough to match Anne’s 1 hour, 6 minutes. I slowed down at kilometer 12 to walk a bit more and re-hydrate. At kilometer 13 to 20, I kept the pace within 6-7 minutes per kilometer which is still not slow enough and could affect my running efficiency in the 2nd half of the race. But, I feel fine, I can even run the uphill segments of the Skyway continuously, and just kept going. And that is why I had the opportunity to break my 21k (half-marathon) record. Looking at my GPS watch, there was a possibility to cross 21 kilometers at 2 hours, 10 minutes or lower to break my 2 hour, 13 minutes 21k PR (from 7-Eleven Run 1500) if I speed up. But, I hesitated because I know that I have to be patient and follow the game plan if I want to be successful in breaking the Sub-5 barrier. I decided to keep moving at a manageable pace and enjoy running with the beat of my music player (which helped a lot by distracting me from exhaustion). It’s worth noting that in this year’s race route, the uphill road going to NAIA Terminal 3 was not used because it was under renovation, so the U-turn going back to Makati was extended. Some time between kilometer 25-28, my body started heating up. A bit dizzy and starting to feel like I’m about to have a headache and fever, I slowed down and walked, using the time to eat, re-hydrate, and let my body cool down. Then speed up a bit at kilometer 29, taking advantage of downhills, only to slow down again at kilometer 30 because of exhaustion and the stress of running uphill. From kilometer 30 to 36, my pace dropped to 7-8 minutes per kilometer, with the slowest time close to 9 minutes per kilometer. My body finally started to break down, I managed to avoid calf cramps and blisters, but I feel pain on my thighs, just above the knee when I run uphill and slow down to walk. This prevented me from regaining momentum and the pace I ran earlier, so I had to walk and re-hydrate a lot (though I wasted a lot of Pocari Sweat because I had to take a sip only and not a whole cup to avoid the heavy, bloated feeling). Seeing the ‘Last 2 Kilometers’ sign, I had a renewed vigor (especially after taking a leak for the third time and drinking a cup of cool Del Monte Pineapple juice) and gave little bit of push to cover the distance faster. But, I was so exhausted that the thigh pain comes back and I can only do short bursts. The last 2 kilometers doesn’t feel that short at all, I feel dizzy again, feeling weak, and had to walk.
With less than 800 meters left, I managed to run 300 meters down the Skyway, but slowed down to walk again because the pain on my legs and foot are preventing me to keep up the pace. I want to assure myself that I can cross the finish line safely and knowing that I will accomplish the objectives, I accepted the slow ascend to victory.
With the Finish Line seen just a hundred meters away, I shifted to a slow jogging speed for one final charge to glory. The timer for the 42k doesn’t seem to be displaying properly, I can’t see the time, so I just kept going until my foot hits the finish line. I hit the stop button on my GPS watch and see that my unofficial time is 04 hours, 50 minutes, 46 seconds (42.34 kilometers). And that’s it, not only were the 3 objectives met, the 3rd objective of coming close to Anne Curtis’ PR (4 hours, 56 minutes, 58 seconds) was even better, I actually bested it.
Running a marathon is hard, it’s not fun, it’s painful. But, completing your objectives made it a painful good feeling, crossing the finish line is like having fun with pain without being a masochist. And that is why I have a paradoxical love with running a marathon.
I returned to the activity area (walking another 100+ meters) where a Pocari Sweat booth greeted the finishers with their first taste of re-hydration. I went to the claiming booth to get my medal, finisher shirt, and loot bag (which is heavy and full of nice freebies). I decided to go to the car to rest, relax, and savor the moment. My whole body is in pain, I was having thoughts of just going home and forget about grabbing free stuff at the activity area. But, it won’t be a complete experience if I skipped the ‘grocery run’ part of the 7-Eleven Run series. After 30+ minutes of rest, I got up and prepared myself for the next fun part of the event. Then I realized I made one big mistake, I forgot to bring a grocery bag or any container to use for the free stuff. I went back to the activity area hoping that I can find something I can use to store my groceries. Luckily, the ATC Healthcare Corp. still have enough carton bags and I was able to get one. Roaming around the area, I saw what other people use for their loot, some would use empty stock boxes laying around the booths, others use a garbage bag, and I even saw a baby stroller used as a shopping cart. It’s how people become creative in times of ‘free stuff’ needs.
It was another great event from 7-Eleven Philippines, it’s bigger and better than last year. It’s also the most competitive event as seen in the marathon and half-marathon results, there are new winners with faster finishing times. I think this is the result of some elite runners, regular participants of Condura Marathon, joining the event (the total number of participation in the 42k category doubled).
I once asked my office mates why they don’t join running events and they all have the same reason and that is because they would have to pay just to get tired. I can explain in a lengthy conversation why they should even if they have to pay. But now, all I have to say is two words, “7-Eleven Run.” The 7-Eleven Run series brings both the fun factor and competitiveness of a running event in the highest level. No other run series has come close to what they have achieved. The spirit of competition is felt during the race where runners can do their best to go for the cash prize and the chance to race in an international event (fully sponsored by 7-Eleven Philippines). And even if you don’t win the race, you will still be rewarded in the form of grabbing all the stuff you can at the activity area. Not only do you get more than your money’s worth, you will feel great after knowing that you did your best in the race for a PR and got something extra for your efforts. Whoever said that you can’t have the best of both worlds (fun and competition) in a running event probably never joined a 7-Eleven Run.
In preparation for the event, my training consists of 3 to 4 minute planks (which includes different variations), burpees, push-ups, 24-27 minutes 5k speed runs once a week (Wednesday or Friday morning), a slow 5-7 kilometer run once a week (Wednesday or Friday), and a long run on Sunday mornings. I also joined training run sessions by AHC Mentor Carly (who joined the 16k category of 7-Eleven Run) and participated in a flip the bottle challenge game at the office with punishments for the loser include clap push-ups, 300 jumping jacks, and push-up burpees. For a tune-up run, I joined Resolution Run 2017‘s 34k category.
In a strange easter egg-like setting, there are tables along the race route that have a bottle of Booster C (my favorite energy shot) in the middle. I thought it was an advertising gimmick that goes along with the product’s tag line “One Shot Energy” hence the single bottle on the table. No one was grabbing it, so I did while running (I actually dropped it instead of a perfect grab) and found it empty. It was one of my ‘sucker’ moments in recent times.
Like last year, Bacchus is not the sponsor of the 42k category (had to mention this because the cold Bacchus drink gave me a boost in Run 1500). The honor of the 42k sponsorship still goes to Summit Drinking Water. Also absent this year is Gatorade, last year’s 16k sponsor. This is probably because they have their own running series now and probably don’t like the presence of competitor Powerade (it’s like having DC comics and Marvel Comics in one event). Dole took over the 16k sponsorship this year.
The race route was measured and certified by Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA). No wonder both my GPS watch and Nike Run Club app measured it at 42 kilometers with only little discrepancy.
While going home, I was still having a hang over from the success of making a new PR and the fun of grabbing free stuff, I accidentally entered the wrong lane and ended up taking the Manila bound road. I took a U-turn at the Sucat Exit. So, like drinking and driving, extended runner’s high will mess with your focus on the road.