Ten days to Milo. Whoa. Plenty of new developments have happened in the past few days, most notably the change in the route for 42K.
Whereas in past years the route wound through the cities of Manila, Pasay, Paranaque, Makati, and Taguig, this year the organizers confined the route to the precincts of Roxas Boulevard, sending marathoners on three loops in the Roxas-Macapagal area to complete the required distance of 42.195 kilometers. (View the race map from the Milo website.)
For those of us who had been preparing for a there-and-back route — myself included — it was a real shock and disappointment. One of the reasons I had opted to do my first marathon at Milo (not at the Dream Marathon earlier this year as most marathon virgins had done) was the adventure of running through several locations I’d already encountered in separate races, instead of doing two 21-kilometer loops within Nuvali, Laguna.
This change of route had plenty of us asking, “Why?” Today I got the opportunity to have that question answered when I hosted the 34th Milo Marathon National Eliminations press conference at Bayview Park Hotel on Roxas Boulevard. From my conversations with key people from Milo, I came to understand their considerations for choosing that route.
- Safety for Runners: In previous years, they had noticed that the most unsafe parts of the marathon were when people passed through Buendia-Taft heading towards the Makati area. Many buses and other vehicles ply that part of the thoroughfare, and these do not often respect runners’ right-of-way after the roads are partially opened.
- Avoiding Heavy Traffic: Because this year’s marathon has a cut-off time of six hours rather than previous years’ five, the roads would have to be partially closed for a longer period of time, causing unwanted traffic congestion.
- No Choice: The organizers requested use of the Mall of Asia area to expand the size of the loop, but in return SM Land wanted the start and finish area to be relocated to MOA. Being aware of the size of their event (estimated 20,000 runners on July 4), the organizers chose not to use the MOA area anymore. They would have wanted to take the 42K up onto the Skyway, but apparently there’s an exclusivity agreement with Condura regarding use of the Skyway for races.
Now that I understand the reasons for the new route, I can run it with a lighter heart and without being frustrated that things didn’t go the way I thought they would. Besides, this still is a once-in-a-lifetime race for me. When will they ever hold the national eliminations on July 4 again? Besides, there will only be one 34th Milo Marathon. I don’t want to wait 10 years for the 44th Milo. (Can you tell the number 4 is my favorite?)
By the way, if tracing the route on a map gives you a distance in excess of 42 kilometers, Mr. Rudy Biscocho said that they would have the route measured and certified by PATAFA to be sure that its distance is accurate.
Also, this is the first year Milo is holding its races for a cause. If in previous years all they were doing was providing venues for developing Philippine running, this year they’re donating 4,000 new pairs of running shoes to children who are in need of footwear. Milo organizers realized, as more people joined their races every year, that there were participants (particularly children) who competed barefoot because they had no shoes.
Some beneficiaries will be racing 3K on July 4 sporting their new shoes. Have you seen the commercial yet? If not, it’s high time you did.
It really tugs at the heartstrings, yes? So, on July 4, expect me to be at the starting line of the 34th Milo Marathon national eliminations.