“Kaya Mo ‘Yan!”

    

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.

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8 comments on ““Kaya Mo ‘Yan!”

  1. Hi Noelle! Not only is MILO organizing this race for a cause this year, they have also showed their support to the inclusion of persons with disabilities by allowing Never Run Alone to participate, despite an exclusion rule on “wheel-run objects.”

    See you there!

  2. with more and more people realizing the benefits of barefoot running (vibrams, vivobarefoot, the born2run book, etc.), I think later on it will be the “in” thing. but yup, for the kids, they need shoes. :)

    good luck sa marathon debut naten! :)

  3. i know what you mean about the course. i hate loops !! with loops you count and when you count and you are tired your brain screws-up. You have to be ready mentallly for this race. i do hope rudy gets the mesurment right this time most of the time his races the distance is short. for condura , the condura team did the mesurment. have fun and good luck

  4. Hi Paul, yes it makes sense. I only wish it weren’t true. Haha.

    That’s great news, Vlad! I’ll see you there — hope to help push. :)

    Roelle, it would be all right if these kids were barefoot by choice. At least now they’ll have the option to run in footwear or not. Good luck!

    Thanks, Sir PatCon. I’m concerned about the loops as well, which is why I don’t usually run laps around an oval. But if I can run around Bonifacio High Street 9 times to get 10K, I think I can do this.

  5. Hi Noelle, nice blog entry! Thanks for clarifying the changes in the route for us. I’m sure Rudy’s reasons are valid, especially the safety reasons you’ve mentioned. I’ve already mentioned in my blog that the safest direction for most runners (non-elite) is to run against the traffic, and a lot of runners disagreed with me. For that reason, I agree with Rudy’s decision.

    I also did the tracing of the course in google earth and I got an extra 1.67Km distance. I hope I’m wrong and PATAFA could certify the distance, or correct it if necessary.

    I’m quite excited with this race, with a flat course I’m expecting runners to have fast times, unless the heat of the summer remains to scorch us. As for the 3 loops, I believe they’re nothing compared with my extremely boring training.

    Good luck with you on your first 42.2K and advanced happy birthday. See you on the starting line!

  6. The route is really a downer. Suddenly, Milo Magic loses some of its sheen. The beauty of the Milo Marathon is that it traverses the cities of Manila, Pasay, Makati and Taguig. In next year’s race, I hope they opt for keeping the old route and keep the cut-off at 5 hrs to lessen hours of traffic rerouting and runner exposure on the road. There are enough marathons for the average runner that Milo might be trying to reach. I hope Milo remains a prestige event elite and average runners would aspire to run someday. The really shining light is all these development is the shoe donation cause. For that I cut Milo some slack.

  7. Hi Natz, I agree that road runners should generally be facing traffic flow. We don’t have rearview and side mirrors to check if a vehicle is coming up behind us — scary! I also traced the distance again and got the same discrepancy as you did. According to Milo, PATAFA measured the course using the Jones device and only found an excess of 50 meters (!!!), so they will adjust the route.

    (If my Garmin says the distance is far longer than 42-km you can bet I will register a complaint after the finish line! Ultramarathoning is not part of the deal, haha.)

    Rico, I will take a wait-and-see attitude to this. Hopefully next year there will be a “course correction” and Milo runners will get more scenery out of their route.

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