Saturday, June 14, 2014

RACE REPORT: RU2 Exceeds Expectations

Each year, experienced runners and newbies alike are anticipating the Run United Trilogy. Last June 1, Unilab Active Health held the second leg and surprised everyone with lots of exciting changes to the race. As we runners exceeded ourselves, the organizers exceeded our expectations as well.

Listening to the clamor brought about by the registration issues from leg 1, the organizers simplified leg 2's registration, removing the race kit claiming event, and returning the option for online registration and race kit delivery, much to runners' delight. I was one of the early bird registrants, doing it online, and recommending that option to all my fellow runner friends as well. I got my race kit delivered to my doorstep, hassle-free.

Another surprise announcement (and a welcome one at that) was the release of the race maps for leg 2. First time the race start will be at Kilometer Zero at Luneta! Gone is the point A to point B race from the past years (starting at BGC and ending at SM Mall of Asia). Now, the race starts at KM0 and ends at KM0, with a route traversing Roxas Boulevard to Coastal Road all the way to Cavitex! Now that's one straight route with just one turn at the Cavitex entrance and one U-turn at Cavitex. It was such a fresh and exciting route!

The Run United 2 2014 32k Race Map
In order to relax and prevent the stress of looking for a parking space at Luneta on race day, I booked a hotel room at the nearby H2O Hotel at Ocean Park, walking distance away from KM0. I loved the view from my hotel room!
Great view from my H2O Hotel room
Race day came, and our meet-up area is near the Tamaraw statue at KM0. Gun start is at 3am so we were there an hour before.

From L-R: Cholo, Wyatt, me, JP, Ryan, Rolly
Some of my Team Banana teammates were late, so we failed to have a group photo donning our Nike tops. When the announcement was made that we could go to the assembly area, we went ahead as we didn't want to be placed too far back from the starting line.

The usual pre-race program commenced, which started with the national anthem, an opening prayer, a warm-up led by Chris Everingham, and the visuals for the race route and countdown. We had the entire four lanes of Roxas Boulevard the first few kilometers, which is a great strategy for runners to spread out and lessen runner congestion.

At the start of Coastal Road, I met Becky Runner, Ikasam and Kyle who were pacing each other. I mentioned my strategy of doing a constant 6 minute per kilometer pace, with a sub-3:20 target. They joined me for a few kilometers but then I lost them at one of the hydration stations as I was practicing doing quick stops only - pick a water cup, sip, walk a few seconds, then run again. As I ran and looked back, I couldn't see them following me, so I was back alone on my steady pace.

I was able to sustain my target pace, and on my way back, I had to walk it out on the two flyovers to reserve my energy. My strategy on being patient all throughout the course worked, as I had enough energy left to run even on the final kilometers (but I had a cramps attack at KM31 haha!). I finished with a chip time of 3 hours, 18 minutes and 49 seconds. Target achieved! (By the way, my time from 2013 RU2 32k is a miserable 4:16 so almost an hour improvement was a welcome one.)

Thanks to Lem of Pinoyfitness for this shot! Almost at the finish line!
Some race notes:
- Run United races never fail at hydration. As usual overflowing ice-cold water and Gatorade at evenly-spaced hydration stations.
- Lots of marshals and medics and visible ambulances along the route.
- I love the 32k race route and hope something similar will be in store for us this coming RUPM
- Medal quality consistency is way better than 2013's trilogy medals
- The finisher shirt rocks!
- I couldn't help but laugh when some runners blame the organizers for smoke belching vehicles or the foul stench at Coastal Road. I hope people understand that there are things beyond the organizer's control.

Of course, no RU2 race will be complete without the photo ops at the finish line area, as we waited for friends who are about to finish the race.

From L-R: Cholo, JP, Wyatt, me, JC
From L-R: Goldi, Becky, Bernie, Lurvin, me, Wyatt, Reyman, Archie, sleeping Sy and JP. Ikasam sitting down. 
From L-R: Paul, Jireh, Hazielle, me, Sy and Rolly
With officemate and triathlete Jhino and his girlfriend Giselle
From L-R: Syril, me, Ryan, Loyce, Rolly
Another plus? As soon as the race results were officially released two days after the race, it was in two batches - one according to gun time, and another according to chip time! Yay! It's one of the items I was looking for in RU1 and they have it now in RU2. Great job!

Top 7.7% - 217th out of 2794 32k finishers. Nice.
One more leg to cap-off this year's trilogy. I'm excited for RUPM! Thanks Unilab, Runrio and Unilab Active Health!


  1. Hi!

    Love reading all your race recaps. Maybe one day I can run there too. Your races sure sound interesting. :)

    p.s. I came over from Standard Chartered KL Marathon FB page.

    1. Hello Lina! Thanks for the visit! You'll be very much welcome to visit the Philippines. Running is a popular sport here. :)