Sunday, August 30, 2009

Smash and Run - A Good Race

Today August 30, 2009 is a day of road races all over metro Manila and even on the provinces. You have races at Fort Bonifacio, UP Diliman, MOA, and Greenhills Shopping Center. In the province, you have it Bacolod City and another place I just cannot recall at this time.

For reasons that it is nearest to my place and that the race route is new, I have selected the SMASH & RUN sponsored by Greenhills Shopping Center and Sun Cellular. There were three categories in the race the 10K, 5K and the 3K.
I arrived at Greenhills Shopping Center at 5am. Parking was not a problem as GSC has so many parking spaces available. To my great surprise, the parking fee was waived for all runners who were to park from 5-9am.

As announced during the opening ceremony, the sponsors mentioned that there were 1000 registered participants. I think half of the number would be for the 10K and the 5K and 3K splitting the other half. It was a modest running event considering there were three other running event close by and on the same time and day. The starting gun was sounded at 5:55am or 5 minutes earlier than what was published. Another good surprise was that the race was well supported by the security staff of GSC they being a sponsor and so with the numerous MMD traffic personnel. Honestly, I have not seen so many MMDA and local traffic personnel of San Juan on other races that I have joined in the past.

There were sufficient water stations along the way. Due to the limited number of participants and the great number of traffic enforcers, keeping the vehicular traffic along the route was good. Of course, as in any venue you will have one or two motorist with “wang wang” trying to move ahead of the traffic and some jeepney drivers along Ortigas Avenue whose faces awere not so happy to see that there was a road race ongoing.

On the 7th km distance, a female runner suffered cramps. She was assisted instantly by two MMDA traffic enforcer who immediately radioed for the ambulance. On my way back, or about 5 minutes after, I met the ambulance and hopefully the down runner has been assisted. I pray that it is nothing serious.

Overall, SMASH & RUN was handled properly. My CONGRATULATIONS to the sponsors and the race organizers. Participation to the race did suffer because of the other races being held at Fort Bonifacio, MOA, and UP DIliman. Maybe one of these days somebody from PATAFA should limit the number of races to be held simultaneously to maybe two events at a time maximum.

Lastly, I wish to congratulate members of the Bald Runners Elite Team, who placed prominently in the different categories. Gerard Sabal won the 1st place for Men's 10K and Crifrankreadel Indapan for 2nd place Men's 10K. The Women 10K was won by Marecil Maquilan. Other members placed as well on the top 10 for both the Men and Women category.

Another great Sunday morning!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SingaporeMarathon 2009 - 50,000 Runners - Registration Closed

The Standard Chartered “Singapore Marathon 2009” which is schedule for December 6, 2009 opened its online registration last July 16, 2009. As of today August 27, 2009 all 50,000 slots have been taken up.

For a very small country like Singapore with a total population of only 4.6M which is only about a third of Metro Manila’s population of 11.5M it was able to fill-up 50,000 slots of registered runners in a period of 42 days is a record. Definitely a record in the region. How could they have done such a feat?

The only explanation I could think of is "Track Record" of its past performance. The event has attained credibility and standard in the manner the race has been conducted in the past. The race event reached the world class stature for a marathon. Mind you, a good number of these 50,000 runners are coming from the different parts of the world. This will not only boost the tourism in Singapore, but, will be a good source of revenue for their economy to jumpstart the coming of year 2010. If you visitthe Singapore Marathons' at website, although the main sponsors of the event are Standard Chartered Bank, the Singapore Government and different civic groups are as well involve not to mention individual volunteers to ensure success of the event and pride for the country. As the saying goes, if all will help there is no task that cannot be attained!

I hope and pray that in the Philippines we shall in the near future have an International Marathon of this stature and magnitude. I know it takes time, but, with the different marathons dubbed as international this coming October, I hope that even just one (why not all) would someday, hopefully in five years time will attain such stature. Let us all help and give our support.

Meantime, for those who have not yet registered and intend to participate in the Singapore Marathon, sorry guys as REGISTRATION IS CLOSED - 50,000 RUNNERS REGISTERED.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Iloilo Sports Complex

Last August 25, 2009, finding myself on a business trip at Iloilo City I took the opportunity to do my scheduled daily exercise at the Iloilo Sports Complex (ISC)

As I have been to the place a number of times in the past, finding my way was not a problem. The place is not on the main road itself so finding it for first timers might be a problem. The best transport means is just take a taxi which will not cost much considering it is within the nearby hotels. At 5:30am I was moving slowly and taking my time not wanting to arrive the place so early and desolated. Being an ordinary working day, I was expecting only a small crowd, however, to my surprise as early as it was there was no less than two hundred people in the complex!

Joggers/runners were using the oval, two tennis courts have double matches going on, two basketball games on both side ends of the field was on-going and a solitude swimmer was doing his lap practise at the swimming pool. To top it, there was great, loud music blaring at the sports complex sound system. The sound was of high quality and well defined bass giving much impact to the music being played. There was no need for an ipod here, the sound system more than compensate for the purpose.

Entry fee and usage of the oval field is P10.00 a very reasonable fee to cover for maintenance of the facility. The complex in itself is already old, however, the condition the facility is still good are well kept and in good order. The best that can be said of the place is its CLEANLINESS. How I wish the public users in Ultra Oval were the same as those in ISC.

Overall the place was GREAT. Room for improvement would probably be on the toilet facilities which as in any public places locally, lacks the necessary water supply for hygiene and cleanliness purposes.

To the Provincial Government of Iloilo, Congratulations for providing your community with a accessible and clean sports complex!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

4 Marathons In 28 days

From October 11, 2009 to November 8, 2009 on a span of exactly 28 days, there will be four full marathon to be held in Metro Manila and a nearby province. Two of the marathons are billed as “international marathon”, one a long standing "national marathon" and one an "environmental marathon". This is something for the record books locally or maybe even in the world.

Will holding these events close to each others’ schedule be beneficial and good for the country, the athletes and the sports in general? Is this not another typical Filipino reactionary attitude associated with “hot pandesal”, “shawarma”, “pearl drink” and of lately “badminton” fevers or fad? Let us answer these questions together later.

What are these marathons? What is their individual purpose or advocacy? For elite runners in the local scene they never had it this good that now they have a difficult choice to make. Which one or even two should I enter myself into? Selecting all is like committing suicide, you spread yourself very thinly that performance will definitely suffer. Let us assume that we are one of the blessed elite runners or even just upcoming elite runner what would be a selection criteria for a wise and intelligent elite runner? Let us check the different marathons.

The 33rd MILO Marathon by Nestle to be held on October 11, 2009. This is an “institution” by itself with long history. Getting to be included in the finals is only after passing a qualifying round. The qualifications in itself alone cover the whole of the Philippines. Those that entered themselves for the qualifying process were not taken from a tiny multitude of runners but by tens and thousand s of aspiring running athletes all over the country. Many are called but few are chosen, in short this is for PRESTIGE. Winning this event is winning the title of the Top Filipino marathoner for the year. If I am an elite runner and have already qualified then this marathon is definitely a must.

The Quezon City International Marathon by the City of Government of Quezon City to be held on October 18, 2009. This will be the very 1st marathon for the City Government of Quezon City whose vision and mission hopes that the event will be one of Asia’s top marathon events. A very tall order but with the City Government as its backer this is attainable. The marathon offers the RICHES purse of all the four. A whooping P300,000.00 each for the top male and female divisions, P200,000.00 and P100,000.00 for the 1st and 2nd runner-up also for each division. If I am an elite runner and is looking a big payday then this marathon is definitely a must.

The Subic International Marathon by Smart to be held on October 24, 2009. Dubbed as the country’s one and only night marathon. The marathon shall start at the SCTEx Floridablanca in Pampanga, and into the Remy Field in Subic Bay in Olongapo offering a rolling, flat and long stretch of well paved road. This marathon will be beautiful, scenic and cleanest in air of all the four marathons. Runners from Kenya will be there and other international runners. The purse is quite substantial as well with the winner getting US$5000 each for both the men and women division. That translates to about P240,000.00 at an exchange rate of P48 to a dollar. If I am an elite runner looking for a big payday and needing to run the Milo Marathon then this marathon is definitely a must.

The Run For Pasig River by ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. To be held on November 8, 2009. This marathon will start and end at the Quirino Grandstand passing to eight major bridges in Metro Manila. This run is for a very worthy cause to save the Pasig River as spear headed by the chairman of AFI Gina Lopez. The marathon is not only to generate funds but most importantly to get social awareness from the citizenry to save the Psig River. If I am an elite runner and have the heart and love for the environment this marathon is a must as my contribution to the God given talent given me in running.

Yes, Yes, Yes, even if the marathons are spread closely it will be good for the country, the athlete, the sport and even the environment. All 4 marathons have each their own distinctive vision and missions. We definitely cannot run all four of them, but, supporting all four is definitely a must.

Now which two should I select (that is if I am an elite runner)?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Motorist vs. Runners - Road Sharing

Running in the Philippines has reached its popularity never experienced in the past. We now have road races practically on every weekend and even at times two or three different races on weekends with two races conducted on the same day on different venue. With the popularity and the number of road races comes the heightening problem on road sharing. A concerning issue on road sharing is becoming a reality between motorist versus runners which if left unresolved might just reach a boiling point level resulting to a road rage.

As runners have been clamouring for varied and challenging race routes within the metropolis, race organizers have conducted road races at Fort Bonifacio, Bayan, Lawton Avenue, Bayani Road, Kalayaan flyover, Buendia Avenue, Ayala Avenue, Paseo De Roxas, Makati Avenue, Skyway, MOA grounds, Roxas Boulevard, Luneta, UP Diliman, Commonwealth Avenue, Marikina only to name but a few. Bear in mind that most of the roads mentioned are busy streets. Further, of lately, road races have been innovative to attract more interest to runners. Races have been conducted to cover early morning to late mornings, late afternoons and night time races as well.Runners have taken over the streets to the joy of the runners and to the disgust and anger of the public motorist.

I have witnessed on past races that I have participated in wherein motorists, particularly jeepney drivers, taxi drivers, bus drivers and to some extent private car owners showing their clear disgust and anger by continuously blowing their horns, intentional stepping on their gas pedal to emit fumes and worst even shouting offensive foul language to runners to stay home. There have even some incidents of near hits or miss hits recorded that motorist insist on crossing intersections even with runners crossing and marshals preventing them. All these offensive reactions from the mororists have to certain extent earned disgust and anger from the runners and race organizers.

As a coin has always two sides, a motorists who is practically a non-runners do not appreciate health, physical fitness and love for the sport. To these motorists, they feel that the roads are as they are now clogged and narrow that they have to compete with so many vehicles on the road. Worst now that they have to compete with runners. They feel that roads are meant for vehicles only or any transport equipment with wheels. Their only concern is to travel from point A to point B at the shortest possible time with no traffic and delay to prolong their travel time.

On the other side of the coin, runners argue that they do take the road for health, fitness and clean living. That such road races are not a daily occurance and are only on weekends and are not more than 3 hours in duratuion, unless the event is a full marathon that it covers up to 6 hours. Runners feel they have the right to street usage particulary as these races do get the necessary permit from local city or complex authorities. All the runners ask for is a little understanding and an attitude of road sharing on these race days.

In this country, road rage resultant to people losing their tempers causing injury and even death is not that unusual. Before the problem becomes bigger that such a road rage becomes a reality between a runner and a motorist , a “winwin” solution needs to be arrived at to satisfy both the motorists and runners.

I pray that somebody out there has a workable solution.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Urbanite '09 - A New Meaning to "Saturday Family Night-Out"

Kenny’s Open09 Urbanite Run last Saturday 15Aug09 gave a new meaning to a Family Saturday Night Out.

While in the past a typical family Saturday night out will be more of “mall visits or shopping” or probably a night to watch a long awaited movie on one of the cinemas in Metro Manila, a much different concept of quality family time was established by the Urbanite ’09.

On this blog I will not be dealing on the manner how the race was conducted and faired as I leave these things to others to comment on the specifics. However, what has gotten much of my attention was the atmosphere of family and friends bonding prior and after the race. There was a festive mood in the night typical of carnival atmosphere. The crowd consisted of varied sectors of the community, a good mixture from A to D sectors of the community. Runners were from the elite, intermediate, beginners and just curious and accidental runners.

Prior and after the race proper you could see crowd seated in clusters on the dark open field south of the starting area and all over the different parking areas adjacent to BHS. The grounds were turned into an instant Luneta Park with each crowd cluster busy and excited of the things about the race. There were even entrepreneurs who took the advantage to set up their mobile running apparel stores. This scenario was further induced by a very cooperative weather condition although it was unusually humid and hot. Unlike on morning races that each runner participant comes practically on his own, on this occasion, the gallery crowd has tripled to that of normal as most runners had brought along with them either a family member(s) or a friend(s) as a support or just in their own simple way of sharing their passion for running with a wish/hope that these “alalays” will someday pick-up the running bug themselves.

Congratulations to Kenny Rogers and to Finishline for initiating this innovative concept of running in the local scene which has given a new meaning to a Saturday Night Out for the family. It was a well attended race event. My hope and wishes is that such a concept would be adopted/copied by other race sponsors and organizers to continuously open an alternative to a healthy way to spend a Saturday Night with the Family.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Milo Marathon Winners - Historical Data 1974-2008

Milo Marathon is now on its 33rd year so much so that the marathon in itself is an institution in local sports. The following matrix was provided by Mr.ANDREW NERI of MILO Sports Events & PR which is a compilation of winners for both men and women through the years with their corresponding winning times.

Whose nme will it be for the year 2009?