Sometime early August during one of my early morning workout at Ultra Pasig, Coach Rio informed me that he just signed a contract to handle the race operation for the A Run For The Pasig River 10.10.10 with respect to the 10k/5k/3k events (21k event is a Ceremonial Run for the Armed Forces and the National Police). Coach Rio was very excited about the event as it would be the first time that he is going to be involved in this magnitude of an event, an attempt to break the GUINESS WORLD RECORD for the LARGEST ECO-FOOT RACE being 110,000 runners at the "Bay to Breakers" race in San Francisco, California in 1988.
In the Philippines, I am not sure what is the record, however, I am pretty sure that it cannot even be half of the figure. Further, it is going to be a mammoth task just to handle the logistics, security, traffic, race organization and all the basic needs of a decent running event and the gargantuan task of crown control.
Starting point for the 21k was at SM Marikina, 5K at CCP Complex and 3K at MOA with all categories to finish at SM Mall of Asia (MOA).
I was entered at the 10k event and the starting line was at Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue (Manila Peninsula Hotel area). I was at the vicinity by 5:00am and traffic was already building up at the corner of EDSA and Ayala, which was already closed for traffic. Immediately I noticed that designated CLUSTER AREAS 1-7 were posted along Ayala Avenue. I was not aware what it was for nor where I was supposed to position myself. I looked at my bib number and it started with number 3 so I inched my way to Cluster No. 3. While awaiting for the gun start it was then that it came to my mind the logic of clustering in the starting line, as with the magnitude of the runners, it was for the safety purposes that runners are dispatched by batches to avoid stampede. I noticed that all efforts were made by the organizers to cope and handle for the various needs of the runners. Impressive indeed. Over and above I was greatly impressed on the safety and security handling which was very visible within the staring area.
Even before the race it was an establish fact that race of this magnitude is more of a FUN RUN in nature rather than of a competitive nature. There is no way that you will have a clear running field on our own. At 5:40am the starting gun was sounded. It was not until 5:47am or 7 minutes after the 1st cluster was released that cluster no. 3 where I was positioned was released. You could just imagine the volume of runners. It makes me wonder what time was cluster no. 7 was released.
From 0km to 5km mark it was zigzag running or jogging to be precise, as I doubt if any runner has a clear field to run. However, it was A GREAT FEELING to see and be part of a massive volume of runners like a flow of human being in the streets. Awesome is my only word for it.
From 5km to 7km or from the junction of Buendia and Roxas Blvd all the way to Macapagal Highway was a WALKING STRETCH. It was at this point that the 5km runners and 10k runners join on one route and now the volume has quadrupled.
From 7km to 9km marker the 10k runners deviated from the 5k runners and a little legroom was experienced.
Finally from 9km to the finish line it was a parade of a sea of people. Now the 3k, 5k and 10k joined on the same route to the finish line. It was around 7:28am by this time and the temperature was at about 31C and very humid with volume of people around you. I could hear then a band singing in the stage and a great number of people looking for their lost friends and relatives. After crossing the finish line, it took me a good 10 minutes to inch my way to the exit area where a number of marshals are doing a hand counts of the runners as they exit. I assume this is to verify the number of running finisher participants against the number of registered participants but may have not actually run.
After my exit (and being counted) it was another 15 minutes before I could reach my car. My daughter-in-law PAM who was also entered in the 10k actually had to walk from MOA all the way to their residence at Makati for another 7 kilometers. I was joking her that her event was more of a 17km.
Just before completing this blog, I heard from an ABS-CBN newsflash that the 10.10.10 Run for Pasig was able to have 160,000 registered participants with 101,000 counted actual runners as per SGV tally. It was a Philippine Record, but, it was short to break the GUINESS RECORD of 110,000 runners.
I am proud to have taken part on this event, I am proud of the different schools, corporations, individuals, organizations, Armed Forces and National Police who were part of the event, I am proud of race organizer (Coach Rio) and I am proud of ABS-CBN to spear head this event.
In the end I only pray that the event would awaken the people to save Pasig River and our environment.
What better way to communicate the message than via our love for RUNNING.
Post Script : Oct. 11, 2010 0940 hrs.
I have just gotten hold of the Philippine Star and on their front page they have a captioned of "116,812 join Run for Pasig River" . The figure quoted was certified by Sycip, Gorres and Velayo (SGV). At this stage I am a bit confused as to the actual recorded participants. Anyways, the official figure should be out in a few days. hereunder are scanned copies of the front page photos from the Philippine Star and The Philippine Daily Inquirer.