In the past three years, a number of race events have earned the respect and patronage of the local running community so much so that their “brand name” in the running event that they do sponsor is now part of only a handful of race events that gives glamour and prestige in the sport of road running. Of these glamorous and prestigious races, there is no denying that on top of the list is none other than the “MILO MARATHON”. With the 34 years it has held the event it has become an institution by itself.
Today the 34th edition for the MANILA ELIMS of the MILO MARATHON was held. I would say that it has again surpassed the standard and goal it has set for the event. And was only the first of a series of elimination races all over the country that will eventually culminate on December 12, 2010 for the FINALS that will also be held in MANILA.
I do not have the exact figure of the overall participation for each individual category, 42k, 21k, 10k, 5k and 3k. However, I would be brave enough to say that today’s race should have established the biggest number for the year.
When I arrived the Luneta area at about 4:15am (I was entered for the 21k) the 42k runners have been gunned off to their start of their event. Parking was only all the way to Taft avenue. I was lucky enough to find above curb on a pedestrian walkway at Padre Burgos Street and Maria Orosa Street. It was on a stop light at that. But, the policeman in the area signaled to me that it was ok to park on the said place. It was about a more than half a kilometer walk to the starting line at kilometer zero. It was great to see all types of transport carrying in them runners and these runners are mostly family members, friends, or just plain running enthusiast. Unlike on other races that you will have busloads of “hakots” or government employees committed or entered by their offices for the race. However, for this event, participants came on their own to fulfill their personal needs either for performance, health, fitness, or just plain for fun.
Participants for 21k were allowed to enter the starting area at 5:00am. The organizers took the opportunity to provide the background information of the Milo Marathon and its history throughout the years. The race route was shown at the video wall and a warm-up was conducted. At about 5:27am or 3 minutes ahead of schedule the gun start was sounded.
For the first 5km it was basically the same route used for the Roxas Boulevard races. At 7km there route turned right at Airport Road leading to Diosdado Macapagal Highway. From hereon it was hot and you could see participants both for the 21k and 42k who have to take three loops bathing in their own sweats. From the starting line all the way to the Junction of Diosdado Macapagal the Marshall, traffic aides and policemen were in clear control of the vehicles. However, a typical only in the Philippine situation, buses at EDSA extension and Diosdado Macapagal Highway were sounding their horns loudly and insisting on crossing the junction even if there were runners. This is the only negative part of the race and I would rather blame the situation to undisciplined drivers.
Distance markers were very accurate, water and sport drink stations were more than ample and supply sufficient, there was even a banana station at Macapagal Highway. Maybe some runners for the 42k are not pleased to run on loops due to the monotony, but, I think it was basically designed so for the safety of the runners and control of the traffic by the organizers which in the past has been a nightmare when conducted to a wide area. Further, the loop has a better control for cheaters. Anyways, it is all about distance, if it is correctly done on 42.2km then it should be good. The factor that could have affected all runners today is the HEAT. I think if the race were done in USA there would be quite a number who would have suffered from heat stroke.
I crossed the finish line for 21k at 2h55m32s it was 7 minutes slower than my last 21k at the San Diego Marathon. From the finish line to where my car was parked it took me three stopovers to take a rest and it was a good 20 minutes. God was I really wasted. But, happy and content for having participated in the event. To the Milo executives (who normally do want to be named and prefer credits be for the whole team and corporation) Thank you for the effort and dedication you have made to keep the runners happy. Now let me get my hot OVALTINE …Joke only MILO DRINK is what I mean.