Tiktakbo was the kick-off for the training in the Standard Chartered SG Marathon this December 4 and now I tried AXN Runs Philippines just awhile ago. It was last minute that most of the Barneys backed out and decided to have their LSD alongside the race.
John and I and the rest of the runners tried and braved the new route offered by AXN from Emerald Avenue, down to Julia Vargas Ave, right to C5 Kalayaan, u-turn after flyover, C5 Kalayaan stretch, going to Libis flyover, then Libis underpass then Katipunan. U-turn halfway Katipunan flyover then back to Libis underpass then Libis flyover then right to Julia Vargas and back to Emerald.
Even just putting into words, the new route of the 21k was so challenging that all terrain will make you encounter rolling hills, steep uphills and the summer-like heat! I was thinking that SG will be worse than this.
Running alongside the Barneys (Gen, Lester, Igy, Hendy, Doc Art, Tina, Drew, Imee) down Julia Vargas was refreshing and I was all smile until we turned right to C5 Kalayaan; John and I have to struggle the first challenge: the Kalayaan flyover. I really admire the runners who came out strong running the uphill stretch of a flyover. I didn’t stop there because it was merely 4k. As we turn around and imagining the stretch of C5 Kalayaan was seemingly forever and there I realized there are small uphills along the road and the Libis flyover may have a normal slope (remember y=mx +b, where m is the slope, hehe kidding!) but the distance, it’s so long! I tried cutting my time by speeding up downslope and to my surpirse there are small hills along Wilcon And McDonalds! Talk about drag!
By the time I get into the Libis flyover, I tried pushing myself seeing some friends in aNR Pearl and seeing John about 200 meters away consoled me that I’m still in the game. I tried running but I can’t find no mercy from the rolling hills of Ortigas. Like Mich (from aNR Pearl) said in her FB status: “…just made me eat a huge slice of humble pie….” the rolling hills can really pull out the real runner in us BUT looking at the Kenyans (who for sure won this race again) the course felt simple and they were neck and neck!
As I U-turned Katipunan, I catched up with John and from there we ran again and he was complaining on his hamstring and the lazy one I am, I felt energized that I’ll be running beside a fellow Barney the whole stretch.
I realized the Libis flyover going to Tiendesitas is lower than the other way around so we managed to run the whole uphill and when we returned to Julia Vargas, you will literally see runners walking like a death march! It was supposed to be an easy one since it’s part of the aNR Pearl training grounds but I guess we gave in to the crowd as all of the runners are just dragging their feet until they cross Meralco Avenue. As we reach the last 500 meters, I tried running to finish strong and to my surprise, the finish line seems to be more organized than those in RunRio races or maybe I’m just so used to seeing BGC that the Emerald Avenue was a refreshing place for a race.
Some posted in FB that they didn’t like the race, I actually did. The drag of the rolling hills might have killed most of us but it was a humbling experience especially to runners who are looking for a good race or a decent training. Hydration stations were distributed for every 2.5km and good thing that the Summit people are ready to give out water to everyone. I’m so sorry 100Plus but I’m not really a fan but I do suggest to other organizers, put 100Plus in the last 5km because they are instant adrenalin rush though for runners who are already dehydrated under the sun, it could give them an upset stomach. The sponges were quite disappointing because as we reach the hydration stations, they were still setting them up and the sponges have not seeped the cold water so some rummaged the cold water with ice making some stations chaotic. The police and medics were exceptional, they were all over the place and every now and then you’ll hear an ambulance going back and forth; I guess they have learned from the recent races on emergencies. For some used to RunRio events, they will for sure complain of the stretch as being bare, not much marshalls were in place but for every U-turn, there are marshalls cheering for you saying good morning. The activity center is well placed on the other side post race. My only complain I guess is the claiming of the kits as there were a lot of 21k runners who finished looking around where to get the medal and finisher’s kit as no one was ushering unless you ask around. You will find there’s a long line after that tiring stretch. Well, again if we’re after the race this shouldn’t be a big case. Overall, AXN did a good job in conducting its first race in the country!
And to finish it off, we had our brunch in Marina’s Metrowalk. Talk about really spending in these races huh? Haha. I have to remember that I need to save as well for that SG marathon other than training for it.