Monday, May 28, 2012

Disappointing C5 Half Marathon Event

Having joined the AXN Runs Philippines last year, I only had high expectations from Finishline's C5 Half Marathon event. This year's event got me sold with the nice finisher shirt and cool-looking finisher medal (which are the only positive things I could say about the event, honestly). Sad to say though, the organizers did not focus on the more important race event aspects.

RACE KIT DELIVERY DISASTER. Whenever registering for a race wherein I don't get the race kit instantly, I feel there's always a risk of something going wrong. The registration form clearly stated race kit deliveries will be made from May 21-25 (Monday to Friday). My race kit arrived May 26. A lot of registered participants were anxiously waiting for their kits to arrive. I read forums with a lot of irate runners who have not received theirs. There were even threats of reporting Finishline to DTI (which is already too much, I think). My Team Alpha1 running teammate Daves never got his kit delivered. There's a lot of finger-pointing happening - with Finishline blaming courier IRIS for not being able to handle the deliveries and IRIS saying kits were sent in late by Finishline, hence the delays. Now who's saying the truth?

RACE DAY, BAD DAY. While waiting for our gun start, there was an announcement from the host that there would be a race briefing from the race director Vince Mendoza. It turned out that the race route has been changed last minute. And it's not just any minor modification, mind you. Instead of the promised published race route (same as AXN's last year which covered a long stretch of the C5 road), 21k runners will only be running a shortened path of the C5 road, and will have to do two loops! WHAT THE HELL! I did not sign-up for this! This event should have been called "Half C5, Half Marathon!" I'm not sure if it's cost-cutting on the organizer's part, not being able to meet the quota runners. But then again, it even made me question more if the 1000-peso registration fee I shelled out was worth it. [SPECIAL MENTION: Dead rat at km3. 21k runners had to bear passing this big dead rat 4 times due to the race loops. I wish I had my camera with me so that I could post a pic of that rat here. Haha! Off-topic.]

At the km17 water station, cups ran out. I had to use the water container lid just to hydrate. I even heard plastic cups were just being recycled by the marshals.

Action shot - Deemen and Sprintingswine
I'm still hoping Finishline will be able to release an official statement regarding the events that transpired. A public apology perhaps? Now's the perfect time to do damage control, else they'll lose runners on their succeeding events. It's just so disappointing that they're falling way back as far as race organizing is concerned. Expensive yes, but so not worth it.

post-race. waiting for Daves. holding the "memorable" finisher medal.
post-race breakfast at Shakey's. (from L-R: barefootdaves, deemen, romp, [alpha-in-the-making] redcapguy, sprintingswine)
By the way, I'd like to thank my teammate Jesy for pushing me to finish the race. He paced me during the 2nd loop. I came all the way from Laguna for a company outing, drove straight to Ortigas at the wee hours of Sunday morning without any sleep whatsoever. He was literally pushing me during the uphills. Sorry Sprintingswine for ruining your fast race records. 

The graph below shows my abysmal race performance. 

C5 marathon race performance stats
Next race: Brooks Run Happy on June 3. Hoping for a better race experience there.



Dear Runners,

First of all, I like to apologize for the inconvenience last weekends race may have caused.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you the stories behind the several issues. The intention is not to justify any of them.

Registration Fee is too high –
We’ve always wanted runners to experience challenging course like running at C5. Unlike last year, this year’s C5 Half Marathon was funded by us runners. All the expenses from staging of the race, producing the technical tees, timing chip are all paid for by the participants and us organizers. In many big races, these costs are taken cared of by the sponsors. We set the registration fee at the current level for us to cover your requirements including staging, delivery cost, manpower, cost of sports drinks, water, imported medals, imported singlet and finisher shirt fabrics. There is not a single cash sponsor. We are grateful for those sponsors who donated their products as prizes and freebies. We are very thankful for them.

Early deadline for regular registration
The reason why set the registration deadline early is for us to produce the size you prefer and only the quantity that is needed. This is again related to us not having any corporate sponsors who normally pay in advance the production of singlet, medal, finish shirts, and operating expenses.

Delivery of race kits
For the runner’s convenience, we decided to have the kits delivered to all metro manila residing runners. It was however unfortunate that we tapped a courier whose operation was not designed to handle our requirements.

Last Saturday, I had to personally visit our courier’s office at 1:00AM to check how many kits are still pending for delivery. At this point, I had to make the decision to pull out the remaining kits and have it picked up instead.

Missing Race Kits
RUNNR has always been a very supportive partner. We are responsible for all the runners who paid for this event regardless whether we received your payment from our registration site or not. This is the reason why we decided to give out race kits despite not having received payments and entry forms.

Change in race route
The changes in race route were decided only last May 25 after our last coordination meeting with different government agencies. Unlike last year, our gun start for half marathon this year is earlier. The uneven road condition along Eastwood combines with unrepaired lamp post pose a danger to many runners.

We were supposed to announce it last Saturday (May 26) but we were consumed with addressing the race kit delivery concerns.

Late gun start
I have to make sure that the roads are all clear before starting the race. I made a decision to delay the gun start until all vehicles passing through C5 are re-routed. I hope you understand that C5 is such a major road and closing it sometimes takes more effort.

Lining up at the finisher shirt tent
We allotted two tents for the finisher shirt tents, one for regular and one for late registration. All regular registered participants were supposed to get their preferred size (bib with R) in one tent while late registrants (bib with L) sizes are on a first come first serve basis at the other tent. Because we released new race number to those who were not able to claim their kits, this caused confusion to many. Runners who originally assigned a different race number is now wearing a new one which may not match the race number in the finisher shirt. Nevertheless, we were prepared for this and had extra tees unlike last year.

15km short by 3km
After investigating, I personally found out that it was indeed our marshal who directed the 15km runners to take the u-turn during the first loop.

Race Results
Please give us time until tomorrow to release the results. We are in the process of consolidating the changed in race numbers, especially to those who were given new race numbers during the race.

We hope that you will continue to support us as we strive to be better in all aspects of our race.

Vincent Mendoza



  1. hi there Noel. what a straightforward review! not sure if i can blog abt it the same way u did. I guess u wud not feel this way had it not been becoz of a root cause.

    how i pity the big dead rat! reminded me of the dead frogs along the way sa ricefields of CAMSUR Marathon. remember that too?

    gud thing ang ganda ng finisher's medal! pampalubag-loob, ika nga.


    1. haha onga sobrang daming dead frogs sa camsur! at least walang dead rats. baka omen ung dead rat na un sa race.

      and yes, i still find the medal one of the best looking finisher medals. pero the medal serves as a reminder that not all expensive races are of high quality.

  2. had a good laugh when I read about the dead rat comment. Hehe

    1. haha! you'll laugh even more if you witnessed how runners swerved since the dead rat was right at the center of the road. dami pang "kadiri" at "ewww" reactions.

  3. two years in a row of epic failure. tsk tsk tsk. they claim pa naman to be at par with the best organizer in town!

    1. well in fairness to them, I did enjoy last year's AXN run mainly because of the nice 21k race route, which they butchered this time around. haay, i'm still hoping they'd release an official statement.

  4. hahaha! yeah, i was expecting to be running the long stretch of C5 but ended up running a loop to see that dead rat 3 times, i dont think i saw it the first time i passed that mark :P

    i just like the medal and the shirt, aside from that, this race wasn't really as good as the other races I joined. I think im being pampered by RunRio too much.. haha! nasanay ako sa organized races nila

    1. hi Martin! thanks for the visit! yeah, that's the effect of joining Runrio races, the bar is raised so high you tend to expect it from other organizers. oh well, time to move on. haha!

    2. oh well, yea.. haha! looking forward to the next runrio then... as for finishline, they might be finished

  5. buti nalang di ako nagregister. hehe. sakto kasi sa company affair. lol XXX deadrat

    1. hahaha! arvin! may blog ka pala! anyway, malamang naman nasa greenfield ka kung available ka rin to race e. hehe!

  6. My 2 main disappointments for this run were the changed route and the distance that I ran. I was there when the organizer was announcing something about the route - having studied the map early on, I didn't pay that much attention to it. Heard the words J. Vargas, Bagong Ilog, etc. But on the route itself, I asked the marshal if I was supposed to take the u-turn already or go straight (1st loop, 15k), and he said U-turn na agad. Kainis, ayan I ended up running just a whopping (almost) 12k. My medal just doesn't feel right. Kung pwede lang tumakbo pa ng 3 more kms para maisip ko na I deserve that medal... :-|

    1. hi Karen! thanks for visiting my site!

      you should have! i remember i had a race before in UP Diliman wherein marshals directed runners on a wrong turn so we were short of the distance. after I crossed the finish line, i just ran another round of the acad oval. it made me feel better that I ran the right distance.

      hopefully, the shortened distance for the 15k category did not lead to wrong runners being awarded. :(

  7. benta yung dead rat hahaha. yung eksenang bukang-buka yung baga mo tapos at one point ng paghinga mo puro baho ng daga papasok sa baga mo bwahahaha... sana nagwelga kayo sa mismong event para nawindang yung nag-announce. :))


    1. haha di ako humihinga habang dumadaan sa part na un! di pa naman ata sya nangangamoy though. haha! talagang ung dead rat ang naging focus ng blog entry eh.

  8. I like how u renamed the event as "Half C5, Half Marathon!". LOL! Di ka naman nasisi ni Daves? Naconvince mo daw sya to register? hahaha!!

    1. haha baka sinisisi nya ko nang patago. lol! nakangiti naman sya nung race day. pero basahin mo race review nya. galit na galit pa rin. haha!