I have been waiting for this race for long. I started my training program a couple of months ago because I wanted to qualify for the milo finals in Manila in Dec. My plan was to do the Singapore marathon. I never knew the opening date for applications and so by the time I went online it was to late. Sayang... I then decided to go all out for the milo qualifier and run it under 1h35m for my age category. After a short visit to Manila I met with Rio and he asked me after listening to my bad luck with the Singapore, why don't I apply for the Hong Kong marathon. Upon my arrival back in Palawan I immediately went online. I continued to go back to the site until the entries opened and so I registered... I AM GOING TO HONG KONG IN FEBRUARY 2011 - who are joining me?
I had to do this introduction for you to understand why I did not go full out with my training. You see after I registered I decided not to put so much pressure on my training to qualify for the milo but to use it as early training for the Hong Kong. I also started again struggling with knee injuries and pains. I think it is mostly due to a lot f trail running (although it helped my training to fitness a lot). Being out of running for about a year was difficult to get back to fitness again and slowly but surely I am getting there again!!!
The night before the race we had a huge storm and I woke up at midnight thinking we wont be running. I woke up ate 3:30 am and after preparing all my race equipment and leaving the house I noticed the beautiful weather, ideal for running. I arrived at the venue at Mendoza Park in Rizal Ave at 4:00am and everything was already set up. The vibe was great, the organizers, helpers and marshals were plenty.
I did feel again like a sore thumb as I AGAIN was the only white runner. It does draw unwanted attention but something I slowly but surely are getting use to with our three years being in the Philippines already. We were called to the start area at 5:00 and the race started at 5:30. We were not a lot of 21km runners and most raced of so fast and before I knew it I was caught up in the excitement and had to hold myself back again. The first 10km until turn around point went well. I felt good and refreshed after the turn. It started getting hot towards the end.
I finished unofficial time of 1:38 and I was aiming for a 1:45 so I am satisfied with my performance as I felt I could have gone faster. At the finish line, I was awaited by very capable staff. There were no queues, no 10km runners we caught up with and well organized race.
The water stations were sufficient and well manned. We received a couple of times gatorade (or so I was told) in little plastic bags. I at first thought maybe low budget but it was all sufficient and just enough until the next water station.
Medical ambulances were noticed at all times as well as marshals that were plenty on the road. I even at one stage had my own escort for almost 2km - thanks to the marshal, it did help me a lot.
The chip system on the bib worked well. At the turn point I could clearly hear it register even though they made for a person to write the numbers down at the turn.
The only bad point I can mention is that there was a water station at the worst hill of the route. They must know that especially close to the end it is hard already running an uphill and then have to drink water as well - mission impossible. I used the water to wet my head instead.
Overall well done to the organizers and everyone involved in making this a great day for the people. I do have a confession to make though. At the end we received nice goody bags. I handed my banana to a little girl at the finnish line and she was happy. I then saw a little boy and immediately took of the one stub as I noticed a day before you can get a free milo with the stub and I gave the stub to the boy. Upon my arrival back home, I noticed I accidentally gave him the wrong stub, it was the baggage claim stub. I am so sorry and if I see him again in town I will make up for that. If someone know him please let me know....
I am glad to be back into running. I will be in Manila during December and part of January and would like to meet up with you all. I am also interested in buying a treadmill so any advice will be helpful.
Until then KEEP RUNNING!!!!