With two weeks to go before my next full marathon at RUPM, I did something crazy - I joined the half-marathon category of the Men's Health Urbanathlon, risking potential injury as this is no ordinary road race. The race organizers promised more challenging obstacles along the route this year and woah, they did deliver! I'm a proud survivor (yes, I'm wearing my Survivor buff) and now a certified urbanathlete!
Some race observations:
- Race started on time and there were just enough runners per category (which is a good thing since the organizers had to control the number of participants or there'd be disaster queues on obstacles)
- Hydration was ok. I like certain hydration stations wherein marshals were arranging used cups in piles. Runners passing by were then just putting their used cups on top of these piles - a simple idea which triggered a bit of discipline on runners.
- Early in the race, there was one hydration station which had no water to offer already. Later in the race, I passed by a hydration station where runners had to drink on the container lids since they ran out of cups.
- There were directional signs but no kilometer markers (I don't remember seeing one).
- There were lots of turns and u-turns along the route, but hey I'm not complaining! This is MHU!
- Tires obstacle was initially planned but never materialized on the actual race. I was looking forward to that; it seems fun!
- 21k route seems short by 200 to 300 meters.
- Distribution of finishers' items was organized.
- Medals were the same for all categories. I would have preferred the distance inked or engraved on the finisher medals. Surviving 21k with obstacles is no joke. But there were dog tags exclusively for 21k finishers so I'm happy!
- The best part: photographers everywhere! Thanks to the Running Photographers group!
And with that, I can now share my MHU experience through these photos:
|1. STAIRS - after a kilometer warm-up run, our quads were given the stairs treatment.|
|2. 12-FT CONTAINER VAN - I had some bruises on my knees climbing this part.|
|3. PARALLEL BARS + MODIFIED MONKEY BARS - It's the test to carry your own body weight.|
|4. STEEPLE CHASE - Midway through the race, it's time to jump on a number of bars. Took it easy here as forced impact might injure me.|
|5. MILITARY HURDLES - This was located 2 kilometers away from the finish line. Quite a long queue. I witnessed a number of runners cheating on this part, passing below the hurdles. Oh well.|
|6. SCAFFOLDING MAZE - Up and under, up and under, on these metal bars.|
|7. Lastly, the dreaded WALL CLIMB - Loooooong queue here! I waited for about 20 minutes before my turn. And then it was a few meters of running to the finish!|
|Almost at the finish - with the MOA Eye in the background|
|Urbanathlete approaching the finish line!|
|Me and Arvin - I paced him in the first half of the race|
|Me and Team Alpha1 teammates Bryan and Romp|
|MHU Performance - Finished in 2:29! Negative split! Long queue at wall climb affected KM21 time.|
|The Men's Health Urbanathlon dog tag|