Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Springboard Run: Merely a Pure Concept

Probably the biggest disappointment of 2012 race events, Springboard Run had a promising plan, but never delivered.

A pilot race event by organizer Pure Concept, Springboard Run had the following selling factors:
- A new race location at C5 extension / SM Sucat Paranaque, with a (supposed) route stretching all the way to Shopwise Sucat Road
- A team competition for 16k, which attracted our running team, Team Alpha1, to once again unite and run as a team

A Rare Moment - 10 in Red!
The morning of July 15th, the guys in red assembled. We had a mix of competitive runners and runners who were there just for fun (me included in the latter). Again, I told Daves that I'll just pace with him as he does his heart rate training.

I had some sort of bad premonitions for the race, and I was telling these to Daves as the race progressed - hydration issues and inaccurate race route distance. I was correct, and more...
-  Water was being transferred to cups using a "tabo". Unhygienic as it was, I just shrugged it off. Later during the race, cups ran out, and runners who needed to hydrate due to the heat were forced to drink in these "tabo's". They had no choice! Good thing I brought a water bottle.
- I was excited to run in Sucat road, as this was home turf. To our dismay, the supposed race route never materialized. The route was modified to be just loops in C5 extension.
- There were no marshals in U-turns, no loop cords whatsoever - which meant it was cheaters' territory. :p
- And then the last straw - 16k turned 14.2k! In any race, this is the most unforgivable error for me.

Deemen and Barefootdaves and my savior water bottle
Announcement was made later by the hyper race host that the organizers were having difficulties tallying the time for the team competition. Hence, no winners for the 16k team competition will be announced that day. Surprise, surprise!

Post-race breakfast with the team
July 17: A Change in the Name
From Pure Concept to Running Events, I was annoyed by the organizer name change two days after the race. Official website URL changed from www.pureconcept.ws to www.runningevents.ws. Facebook page changed as well. It was as if they were disowning the name like it was some sort of disease or jinx. Pure Concept or Running Events, or whatever name you decide to change it on in the future, runners are not that stupid! You did not even issue a public apology for your lack of organization. Two weeks have passed and you have not released any official race results. If you think changing your name will give you a clean slate, THINK AGAIN.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

711 Run 800: Running Cavitex

In celebration of 711's 800th store, our favorite convenience store is bringing runners to a different race location: Cavitex! With 5 different categories to choose from, everyone gets to traverse a route not normally open for running.

WHAT: 711 Run 800: Takbo Para sa Kalusugan
WHEN: August 26, 2012 (Sunday) - NEW DATE: October 14, 2012 (Sunday) - NEW DATE: January 20, 2013 (Sunday)
WHERE: ASEANA, Paranaque (Race route at Cavitex)
CATEGORIES: 3k, 5k, 10k, 16k and 21k

REGISTRATION PERIOD: July 6 to September 28
REGISTRATION METHOD: ONLINE at http://www.run711.com/registration/start/

Three Steps:
1. Register online.
2. Pay at your chosen 711 store within 24 hours of registration.
3. Claim race kit at the date indicated on your registration receipt.
Registration fees
With a targeted 50,000 runners, gun start will be organized in waves, with assembly time and gun start times indicated on the table below. (WAVE DEFINITIONS: COMPETITIVE – you are going for speed, ADVANCED – you've done races before, BEGINNER/CASUAL – its your first or second time to race)
Assembly and Gun Start Times
Each race category has an assigned color. It would be fun to see runners donning different colored singlets on race day.
Singlet design and color assignments (subject to singlet size and availability)
All race finishers get a free shirt and drinks.
Finisher shirt design
A new and exciting race route for all runners!
With high prizes at stake, I'm sure a lot of elite runners and Kenyans will be running this event. And with the mostly flat course, I smell new PRs brewing! The winners of the 21k category get to run in Macau International Marathon on December 2012 for free!

Cash prizes for top 3 winners of each race category
"Takbo para sa Kalusugan", wherein cities within Luzon (where 7-Eleven stores are located) have a chance of receiving support for its feeding programs and medical missions. During race registration, registrants are required to input the location they would want to help. The top three cities will receive support - P400,000, P300,000 and P100,000, respectively. 

This will be the first time different hydration partners have sponsored one running event. Pocari Sweat, Powerade and Gatorade sports drinks will be on various parts of the race route. Good luck to our tummies! Haha!

UPDATE (August 9, 2012)

7-Eleven Run 800 has been postponed to October 14, 2012. Heavy rains brought about by the recent typhoon have delayed ongoing maintenance works on the CAVITEX. 

We ask for your understanding as the safety of our participants is our foremost priority. In addition, it we intend to stay true to our promise to give our runners the best possible race experience  they deserve. 

Rest assured that those who cannot join the race on the new date will be refunded their Registration Fee. To apply for a refund, please visit www.run711.com/refund

Participants who have already paid for registration will remain registered unless a refund is requested. However, if you can no longer join the race because of the new schedule, you may opt to get a refund on your Registration Fee. 

Please note that Race Kits will be distributed as planned. The schedule for claiming is as follows: 

July 31 August 13
August 1 to 10 August 20
August 11 to 31 September 10
September 1 to 28 October 8 

UPDATE (September 23, 2012)

Run 800 Postponed to January 20, 2013

With the recent rains that brought about floods and road damages in many parts of Manila, 7-Eleven Run 800, set on the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX), is postponed to Sunday, January 20, 2013. This is to ensure that all roads to be used are safe for all participants.

Registered runners (paid) are Invited to join the run on this new date. If the new date is not favorable, please see Refunds page for procedures.

Thank you for your understanding.

HyperSports Get Fit Run: A Great Race Debut

I normally lower my expectations for races handled by new race organizers. HyperSports Get Fit Run was an event which exceeded most of my expectations. And I podium'ed - most number of photos in an event. Haha!

I had zero mileage for two weeks (not even a recovery run) post-KL full marathon. My teammate Daves informed me a few days before that he was going to register, so I asked him to sign me up too. This was going to be another LSD and I'll just pace with him on this one.

July 8, 2012 - After receiving some instructions from Daves on where to park my car, I was there at Quirino Grandstand, with a good number of fellow runners. The gunstart was delayed a bit, preempted by an otherwise long, aerobic exercises. And then the 21k runners were off.

2 hours and 25 minutes later, we arrived at the finish line and because of the scorching heat, we opted not to do an extended run anymore.

- Route was distance-accurate and challenging, and a bit modified from the normal 21k route in Roxas Boulevard. I love the part when we passed by MoA Arena. I just wish photographers were there to take pictures of runners with the Arena in the background (should have been a picture-perfect moment).
- Hydration was overflowing, with sports drinks as an option
- Pleasant surprise: I like the 21k finisher medal! It's one of my favorites from my collection.
- The finisher shirt design's cool as well, with a pseudo-pinned-bib print.

Now that's how to organize a debut running event! Kudos to HyperSports Philippines, Inc.!

Thanks Yongsky for this great snap!
Thanks PF for this shot! Almost at the finish line!
With my running idol Patrick "Runningshield" Concepcion, and Ms Mars of PF.
Our post-race breakfast at Jollibee. Laugh trip session with Team Alpha1!
LSD performance graph

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon: Conquered!

I survived my third full marathon! I was not in the condition I would have wanted to be in, but I ran and finished before the cut-off time, which I'm still thankful for. I had a worse time than my second full marathon; I was initially planning to at least beat my HK full marathon record by at least a few minutes. But I nursed a bad case of colds for three weeks prior the trip which impacted my training and of course, race day itself.

There's no doubt that Kuala Lumpur will be my choice for the next marathon destination. It's one of the remaining places in South East Asia I planned on visiting. For me, Malaysia's a country closest to home, at least to the Metro Manila feel. The only thing that made their city better is their transportation. They have a number of train lines - LRT, KTM and monorail. It was so easy to navigate the city and fares are so cheap!

I recommend SCKLM as a great international marathon location. It's way better than Singapore; less crowd and nicer race route. And for those planning to run this race in the future, here are 42 pictures I'd like to share, to give you a glimpse of what's in store for you when you travel to Kuala Lumpur:

June 21 (Thursday) - straight from our flight, Daves and I went to Dataran Merdeka to claim our race kits. Some runner friends asked us a favor to claim theirs, so we were carrying a lot of stuff before we even got to check-in at our hotel.
The race kit claiming was fast! There were a lot of volunteers (I would have wanted to have the volunteer shirt, it was so nice!) manning the claiming booths. The only bad thing I could say regarding the expo is that there was no electricity at the partner booths. People looking for merchandise were using their mobile phones as flashlight to see items on sale. Weird, right?
Dataran Merdeka, with its changing light colors!
KL Tower - We weren't able to go nearer the tower. It was better to take a picture of it from afar. Initially, we planned on dining at the 360 degree restaurant (for carbo-loading) on top of the tower but that did not push thru.
Our first glimpse of Petronas! It was magnificent seeing this famous KL structure, even from a distance. We were so tired though so we just postponed our supposed visit  to the next day. 
Tune Hotel - where we stayed. It was around 1.4 kilometers away from Dataran Merdeka, the starting area of the race. Quite strategic, there are two train stations nearby. I love the Subway store at the ground floor! 
The SCKLM race kit contents. I got a small-size singlet, which is still too big for me. Aaargh! Oh well.
June 22 (Friday) - 9am, we already purchased bus tickets going to Genting Highlands but it wouldn't be leaving until 11:30am so we still had time to go to Petronas. Upon climbing the stairs from the train station, we saw the entrance to Suria, one of the biggest shopping malls in KL.
Seeing Petronas Twin Towers is probably one of the highlights of this trip. You really have to see this in person to be awed by this architectural masterpiece.
Inside Suria - the shop that had me bankrupt - UNIQLO! Haha! I think I purchased ten tops.
After an hour bus ride from KL Central, we reached the cable car base. It was a 15-minute cable car ride going to Genting Highlands.
Going up! The pressure change hurt my ears.
We arrived at Genting Highlands, walked a bit and reached the outdoor theme park. Initial reaction: "THIS IS IT? WE PAID 58 RINGGIT FOR THIS?" Haha! There was no wow factor whatsoever. Daves even said our Star City is better. 
To kill time (since we had no interest whatsover in trying out the park rides), we queued in the Go Kart  ride. It was more than an hour wait. When we were near the front of the line, it rained hard. Tough luck! We had to wait another 30 minutes before the rain stopped (most of the people ahead of us in the line already left), and then it was our turn. Nothing special in the karting course.
Boring rides. I guess since I have already been to Six Flags theme park in the US, everything else will already bore me.
The only pic of me in the outdoor theme park. Haha! A double-decker bus near the roller coaster. Spot the Starbucks paper bag. I had my Kuala Lumpur tumbler inside. Wee!
Famished, we ate at Marrybrown, one of their local fastfood restaurants. I ordered Nasi Lemak and it was so good! After eating, we rode the cable car back to the bus station and another hour of travel to KL Central. I slept during the entire bus ride.
Back to KL Central, we tried out one of the local milk tea shops  - Tea Tarik Place. The place was crowded which roused our interest. The drink was just plain black tea with milk, nothing fancy like the milk tea choices in Manila. I still enjoyed it though.
Back to Petronas. Day shot done, night shot done. The towers were even more magnificent during nighttime. 
June 23 (Saturday) - Traveled to Bukit Bintang, KL's shopper's paradise. Pavilion is one of the must-visit shopping malls. The Food Republic food court is located here, with a lot of cuisine choices. Food Republic is love.
Another must-see location is Beryl's Chocolate Kingdom, the famous local Malaysian chocolate brand. We were surprised to see a number of tourist buses parked outside, which only meant big business coming in for this chocolate shop.
Here's me and Daves checking-out their best-seller - Tiramisu chocolates. They had dark, milk chocolate and white varieties. Free samples as well for their different chocolate items on sale. One can never resist buying a lot of pasalubongs from this place!
We had lunch at Nando's, and I tried out their peri-peri chicken. They had different levels of spiciness,  and I just tried the moderate spice. Don't miss dining at Nando's!
They had a DC Comics Shop in the Pavilion Shopping Mall. I purchased my most expensive shirt in this place (a Batman shirt)!  Haha! 
June 24 (Sunday) - Race Day! Team Alpha1 Deemen in KL Marathon! You can do it!
There were around 3000 full marathon runners. It  was a lot less crowded than SG and HK, which I liked a lot.  Less human congestion.
Mark and I at the gunstart. Daves planned to arrive just in time for the race start so we weren't able to meet him in the assembly area.
Pacers were there with different color-coded balloons. 
One of my most anticipated areas of the race, as I have read from Scientist Runner's blog  - the Cool Zone! It was located at around KM26.
The irony is, it was not cool at all! Haha! There's just this mist that didn't even have any cooling effect on me.
One of my favorite shots - me running with the Petronas Towers in the background at sunrise.
After five and a half hours of running, we finished the race. I wore my finisher medal around my neck and the finisher shirt at my hand. 
Just had to have a shot at the Dataran Merdeka finish line before heading back to our hotel.
The finisher shirt fit was just right. I'll proudly wear this some time in the office. Haha! Upon returning to the hotel room, I had a quick shower and dozed-off immediately. 
We tried out the local coffee - Old Town.
I had their best-seller - ice blended white coffee. Delish!
June 25 (Monday) - One more side trip before heading back to Manila. I just had to visit at least one cultural place. What better place than Batu Caves, a usual shooting location for The Amazing Race? 
The 272 steps going up the caves were more than enough active recovery for our tired legs. It was torture going up!
This is the cave entrance.
Inside the caves, there were mini-temples. And a lot of aggressive monkeys. You have to be careful with your stuff since they could snatch anything real quick.
And then it was back to Manila, back to reality. Official marathon photos were available 3 days after the race. I created this collage to post at the Team Alpha1 page. Romp, Daves and I conquereed KL Marathon!
My three most precious full marathon finisher medals - SG Marathon 2010, HK Marathon 2012 and KL Marathon 2012.
Now where to next? :)