Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sub-2 Pacer Duty (A Success!) at Run United Leg 1

Aaargh! Another late blog post. Thank God for a non-working holiday, I finally was able to open my blog site again and burn some backlogs. I've been looking forward to sharing my RU1 race experience for quite some time now.

March 13 - Race Kit Claiming:
Much controversy surrounded this year's leg 1 of Run United, with the introduction of prepaid cards as part of the registration process. Well as for me, I did an online registration the very first day registration opened, so I didn't have to go through queuing for the prepaid card purchase. Prepaid cards, especially of the 21km category, was sold out in record time, with a lot of speculations that scalpers hoarded them and selling them at much higher prices. There were some runners who took it against Coach Rio and the organizers of RU1 unfortunately. I think it's quite unfair though, to blame organizers when the intent was good for the prepaid card system - for runners to input their complete registration details at the comfort of their own homes, and for proper tracking of the singlet and finisher shirt demand and supply. Again, runners only have themselves to blame - if no one would support these scalpers, they wouldn't thrive anyway.

Race kit claiming was slated from March 13 to 15 at Mall of Asia. After attending a shoe launch at Glorietta, I was accompanied to MoA by Run Adobo King CJ and Speedy Titan Rolly. What greeted us was a very, very long line. With thousands of registrants, I kinda expected this. Fortunate for us though, fellow runner Syril was already in queue and he offered getting our confirmation slips so he could claim our kits together with his. Such luck!

Selfie with the snake-like lines at the background
Runner Newbie Wannabe Photo - presenting the 21k race map! Lol!
Finally getting our kits after the long wait
Race kit! I'm runner #8667!
March 16 - Race Day:
With my crazy Team Banana teammates' idea to wear a uniform on race day, I borrowed a Team Ninoy cycling shirt from Boss Raphie a couple of days before the race. I was not sure if the top will be a comfortable fit, but I borrowed it anyway. RU1 will be sort of a newbie-type race - me wearing a lot of new running gear - my new Garmin FR220, new Asics Kayano 20 shoes, new 2XU 3/4 compressions tights, and a newly-borrowed top! Haha!

I was at the venue early, so as not to get stressed with parking, and one by one, my teammates arrived. Such fun seeing us donning the yellow shirt (as yellow as a banana could be), and of course we wouldn't miss to grab some photos before heading to the race assembly area.

From L-R: Mark Runner, Beck Runner, Ikasam, Chef Lloyd, Mervin, Prof Syril, me
We were way at the back of the pack in the 21k assembly area, and found out runners will be released in two waves (obviously we were in Wave 2).

Photo courtesy of Tong Pascua. Team Yellow!
Initial discussion that we had, we will run together with a target sub-2, but will be grouped in pairs - Wyatt and Ikasam, Syril and Lloyd, me and Becky. Imagine 6 runners running as a group until finish line.

However all that changed as the race started. With the sheer number of runners, we were zigzagging our way to overtake runners left and right. It was energy-consuming and you could easily lose the person you are running with. I stuck with the plan of pacing Becky though, even when Syril and Wyatt sped off to do their normal race pace. I can sense Becky is on peak condition and will grab the sub-2 target.

Run United 1 2014 21k race route
I tried my best to be a strict pacer, watching Becky's running form, reminding him not to shout back to runners greeting him along the way, pushing him to lessen his walk breaks at hydration stations and asking him just to take sips instead of consuming entire cups of water and Gatorade. He also keeps on looking at his own GPS watch, something I don't approve, as I want to remove the pressure from him by being the one to monitor our run time. At the race mid-point, we were very much on track with our target, with some buffer to relax.
Thanks Sir Art Mendoza for this shot at one of the Gatorade hydration stations
As the final 3 kilometers approached, it became tougher as we were running with runners from all categories. There were a lot of walkers and selfie runners who just can't follow basic running etiquette. It was like the start of the race all over again as we zigzagged our way to the final stretch. At the last hydration station, I asked Becky if he wants to stop and he answered no. We sped off and reached the final U-turn point on the way to the finish line.

It was a photo finish - we clocked in with a chip time of 1 hour, 59 minutes and 52 seconds. My sub-2 pacer duty is a success! Great job to Becky for keeping up with the pace!

Almost at the finish! Photo courtesy of I Love to do this
After the race, of course it's time to hang out and meet fellow runners and finishers at the race village.

With the Runner Mamaws - Ralph, Mervin, Ikasam, Wyatt, Syril, JP, Cholo, Pat, Archie (Photo courtesy of JP)
With Syril, Rolly, Vincent, Ryan and JP (Photo courtesy of JP)
So sad we didn't have a complete group shot. Team Banana in all our yellow glory - Becky, Ikasam, Wyatt, Syril, Lloyd, Mervin. Missing Team Banana Members in RU1: Raphie, Goldi, Mark Mark
Breakfast time with Ryan, Hazielle, Rolly, Joey, Jake and Flip at Mang Inasal
A couple of days after, race results were released. I'm a bit disappointed though that they only released ranking based on gun time. I'm not really sure how difficult it is to generate another set of results based on chip time, which is only fair for a race with waves.

Well, I just generated one on my own using my MS Excel skills. Haha! So it turned out my 506th ranking in gun time is way lower than my chip time ranking which is 379th! Out of 4717 21k finishers, that's really something.

I can't wait for leg 2 this coming June 1! It's another Afroman distance to conquer! Congratulations and thanks to Unilab Active Health and Runrio for helping us runners again to exceed ourselves!

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