12,000 runners. 36,000 trees. This year's edition of the NatGeo Earth Day Run is its biggest yet. I was amazed at runners' clamor to participate on the race, with kits selling out even before the registration deadline. The promise of planting three trees for every registered runner was probably the event's biggest selling point. And how cool are the singlets with the yellow portrait frame?
Fresh from last week's Sole Racing, with my body feeling great after doing that sub-2 half mary, I felt confident that I can attempt a sub-2 again. The last time I did a back-to-back sub-2 was way back December 2011, and it would sure give me a boost if I could do a repeat.
I'll also try something new on this race - I won't take GU Roctane and I won't apply Bodivance - two of the things I always do on a 21k, and see how it affects my performance.
Early again at the assembly area, I met runner friends (my running buddy Ryan, who'll take it easy and just do an LSD, Rom and Joshua, who were about to pace with me, and officemates PB and Fez who are doing their first 21k, to be paced by Marte). In just a matter of minutes, the area was filled with 21k runners.
Strategy is to do what worked in Sole Racing - start slow, build up speed and run fast midway, and do a slower but steady pace at the end. It paid off, and I finished in 1:57:48, a minute faster than last week's! Woot, woot! Lesson learned: I don't need Roctane nor Bodivance. Just kidding!
|Action shot courtesy of Manghusi
+/- I love the race route - it was the classic 21k route utilizing Bayani Road and its killer rolling terrain. However, the 21k distance seemed lacking by 200-300 meters. I got the same feedback from fellow 21k runners who had GPS watches.
+ It was announced earlier that the race would not use plastic cups due to its Go Green advocacy. However during race day, there were plastic cups on hydration stations. Had they not changed their hydration strategy, it would have been a disaster especially with the volume of runners and the heat that day. So good thinking on the organizer's part! It was nice to see a number of runners who brought their own hydration bottles (I did too!) so it sort of minimized waste on the road.
+/- The organizer tried their best to keep the race village in organized sections as possible - separate section for claiming of sports drink, another section for finisher shirt, a separate one for the loot bags and one for the race certificate claiming. I'm lucky enough to finish the race early and claim everything without queuing, but the situation changed with the influx of runners. Long lines for everything. And with the sweltering heat, runners became agitated. Most disastrous place is the baggage area, wherein runners were already allowed to enter the restricted area and get their bags themselves, which was already prone to theft.
+ I love the Illest finisher shirt, just the design I wanted.
Overall, organizer Event King did the best that they could given the expanded scale of this year's Earth Day Run. Yes, there are quite a few improvement areas here and there, but the race advocacy outweighs them all, in my opinion. I was glad I participated and able to help in my own little way. Bring on EDR 2014!
|With Fritz and Rolly
|With Alpha1 teammates Barefootdaves and Coyote Marts
|With Rom, Ryan and Coach Mherlz
|119 out of 2540 21k runners - Top 4.7%