Sunday, November 8, 2009

PIM - Abridge Run on Memory Lane

Given on my last blog of my intentions for an “Abridge Version of the PIM” I asked Coach Saturnino Salazar to accompany me on my run today. As planned, we left Paragon Plaza at EDSA corner Reliance Street in Mandaluyong at about 3:30am boarding a taxi with only our racing attire as we cannot bring any items with us as our finish line will be at Pioneer Street Mandaluyong. The taxi driver as with my usual experiences in the past was another talkative and opinionated person on all subject. So much so that Coach Salazar had himself occupied in a semi-debate with the taxi driver. I noticed that if the driver was losing ground he steps on the gas pedal with gusto so much so that before we reached Sen.Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati, Coach Salazar put on his seat belt fearing maybe he has antagonized the driver.

Anyways, we safely arrived Km. 0 at Luneta Park at about 4am just about when the announcer opened the check-in for the 42km. There were side shows ongoing then, like the Army Band performance, but, as ever I find the time when you are corralled before the start of the race as "hello" "how are you" and getting to know fellow runners, greeting good mornings and wishes of good lucks. The best is even unspoken words and only a smile on their faces even to those that are not known to you. Maybe this is what they say the runners bonding time.

Very first person I saw was Rochelle aka Running Diva who feeling all pump up for her first ever full marathon distance. Then there was Que aka chicks in manok trying to check on her race pack. Then a very unique experience happened to me, I saw the Kenyan runners about six of them with lots of fellow runners seeking photo opportunity. As I passed beside them somebody asked me to hold her camera and take a picture of her with the Kenyans. With due respect and with no malice intended, I smelled something that I cannot take and have to rush on the curb to relieve of myself. The smell was really bad, something I just cannot take. Is it because of the food they take or hygiene? It no exaggeration, somebody needs to tell them this.

At about 4:28am the gun start was sounded and the 42km runners were on their way. As I am only doing the an “Abridge Version” with eight bridges covered I shall divide my experience by bridges;

From the starting line the route headed first southward of Roxas Boulevard before making a U-turn at Pedro Gil headed to Del Pan Bridge. Things were smooth until a few hundred meters before Anda Circle when the road started to be very uneven and unlit that you could easily fall down so runners were shouting cautions. There was a “dragon dance” at Del Pan Bridge and another U-turn was made prior reaching the opposite end of the bridge for another back track to Luneta.

The junction between Roxas Blvd and Katigbak Drive was experiencing a heavy built up of truck, buses and what have you and the usual “horn blowing” of the irate drivers. Approaching Manila City Hall a beautiful view of the clock tower was very imposing and hard to resist not to marvel the this historical landmark. Just about on this sector after logging 5km, I now shifted to my race walking mode and shall continue to be on race walking mode for the rest of the route. Jones Bridge was well lighted and is the main bridge leading to Escolta, the main business and commercial district during my student days.

Traversing Escolta was a nostalgia for me as I have not been to the place for ages and memories just flashed back. The distance to McArthur Bridge was not much but another great view welcomes you when you reach the Santa Cruz side of Escolta as the daybreak view of the Santa Cruz Church was very imposing. At the middle of Mc Arthur Bridge was a water station.

Going to Ayala Bridge you pass by the “Lagusnilad”. In my youth, it was a big thing when they opened the “Lagusnilad”, a marvel of engineering then. When I saw it today it was like a dwarf to so many road infrastructures we have now a days. Worst, the road was dirty and with so many pot holes. You could just imagine this usually gets underwater after a heavy rain. A welcome sight was the Ayala Bridge still with its old bridge girdles and frames. There were a lot of people at the middle of the bridge as it was I think being used for the staging of the relay run.

Just after Ayala Bridge, we cross an "estero bridge". My heart is sadden to see litters in the canal and a primary cause of flood in the city. Not a Pasig Bridge but a very historical bridge along the way was the “Mendiola Bridge” the bridge that those in power and those protesting have been fighting for in ages. Again, passing through “Mendiola Bridge” was a historical feat. Approaching Nagtahan Bridge welcomes you to a bridge that has been very prone to accidents and police actions due to criminality. But today it was different, clean, serene and the sun was already casting its shadows on the river banks.

First the route takes you to “Plaza Dilaw” just opposite the very old and dilapidated PNR Paco Station. This place also speaks of a long history and should be remembered. The route also takes you to Santa Ana another old district in Manila before it finally lands you to Lambingan Bridge, the boundery line between Manila and Mandaluyong. Lambingan Bridge has been renewed from the old structure it was once was and is now three lanes on both sides which use to be a single lane in my high school days.

The route takes you to Hulo district in Mandaluyong which traverses the Pasig River bank from the north another old part of metro Manila and is where the Aglipay Church was born. As we did the run along Hulo there were still traces of mud clearings because of the recent flooding brought about by “Ondoy”. Mandaluyong-Makati Bridge is the youngest of all the bridges as it was constructed mainly to ease traffic from EDSA and allow an alternative route to Makati Central Business District.

The route takes you to the modern area of “Power Plant’ which houses one of the upscale shopping malls in Manila. One of my biggest surprise for the day was upon reaching the Colgate Philippines factory at J.P. Rizal. To my great surprise it was no longer there and I use to pass this street when I go home coming from “Power Plant”. Just to tell you how running opens up your eyes. Then I finally saw my last bridge on this “abridge version” the Guadalupe Bridge. Locally this bridge was known before by the simple name “TULAY” or translated to English language as the “bridge”. It is still a very beautiful bridge and is the most crossed bridge in metro Manila.

This is where I ended my run the distance covered was 23.35km for a time of 03h15m43s. This was a very good educational, a run on memory lane that I could not have experience without the PIM. This LSD run is part of my Singapore Marathon (2nd for the year) schedule for 06Dec09.

Coach Salazar Thank you for being my escort and photograper today.


  1. Nice post Sir Amado. It really is amazing how long distance running gives us time to notice, look, and ponder on the things that we often overlook doing our normal daily business. I decided at the last minute to copy your Abridge version idea and ran half the course as bandit - i brought my own supplies so as not to use the aid stations of the registered runners, i simply needed the road. what was planned as an LSD ended up with me running at race pace. turned to rockwell before reaching edsa for a good 21K run.

  2. Very nice themed run. Hope to bump to you sir at Singapore Marathon. Cheers!

  3. Dear Paul - I am sure you also had a nice run ending near your door step. The route is not possible on any ordinary day.

    Dear Macky - Thanks for the visit and hope to see you at Singapore. Cheers!

  4. A very nice account of your run, Sir Amado! Good luck on your upcoming Singapore race!