KOTR: Kikay Of The Road

    

Two days before Adidas King Of The Road, I had two problems on my mind. One, I was under-trained for my 21K, having only done a maximum of 14 kilometers on my long runs. Two, I couldn’t decide what to wear! (Leave it to Kikay Runner to want to make a fashion statement at a race.)

As part of media covering the event, I had been given a free race kit and a pink Adidas singlet (I think they ran out of official singlets to give to media runners). However, I had also bought an adiNation of Runners limited edition singlet during the last adiNation session at Bonifacio High Street before the race.

KOTR: Adination of Runners singletKOTR: Adination of Runners singlet
adiNation of Runners limited edition singlet

In the end, I lent my pink singlet to my mom, who was running her maiden 10K, and wore the adiNation singlet as a sign of solidarity with my fellow adiNation runners.

KOTR: Adination of Runners
photo from Jason Masayon

The Calm Before the Storm

Race day came with a light drizzle in the wee hours of the morning, but it was as if Someone turned off the heavenly spigot just as runners began to assemble. I had decided to run light, taking only Gu energy gels in my back pocket and trusting in the race’s hydration stations. It was supposed to be an overcast day, anyway, which I reasoned would reduce the amount of hydration I would need as long as I drank something at every stop.

One would have thought the P850 registration fee would have been a barrier to entry, but 10,800 runners showed up that morning — 1,200 in the 21K category alone. Among those were some Kenyans, Rio de la Cruz, FrontRunner Magazine cover girl Marecil Maquilan, and other running mamaws in the lead pack. I would be lucky to finish within the top 20, but I resolved to aim just for a sub-2 hour finish, never mind where I would place. (As we like saying, Bahala na si Batman.)

Vlad Arcilla and son Kevin (better known as Team Never Run Alone) were also present, doing Kevin’s birthday 21K run. It was a huge pleasure to meet these two, whom I’d written an article about in Runner’s World last month.

KOTR: Never Run Alone
photo from Kat Orbista

The Pace Partners were official pacers: groups of them with balloons attached to their caps would keep steady paces from 8 min/km to 6 min/km, just as a guide for runners who had target times to complete their respective distances.

While waiting in the start corral, I thought this was shaping up to be one of the better races of the year.

Holy Cramps, Batman!

The first three kilometers of the 21K race went without incident, although we did have to sidestep some potholes along the way to British School and University Parkway. The first sign of any imminent threat to race day pleasures came when we doubled back and met a solid wall of 5,000 10K runners clad in black. It was impressive to behold — and something to get out of the way of! We 21K runners had to compress into a single file.

As we went up Kalayaan flyover and crossed EDSA to Buendia, I found myself inadvertently grabbing water instead of Powerade from the stations. Still, hydration was plentiful that early in the race, and I sped through the U-turn at University of Makati to head back to the flyover.

It was then I ran into the wall of 10K runners again, among them my mom in her distinctive pink singlet and cap. She said she wanted a drink, so I dashed to a water station and grabbed a cup for her and a bottle for myself. More like, elbowed my way to a station, since runners were swarming all over the tables like bees to honey. My mom was on her last three kilometers, while I still had 10 more to go, so I bid her goodbye and power-walked my way up the flyover.

On kilometer 15, I started feeling my toes twitching inside my shoes. And then, the cramps started pulsing up my legs; my calves and feet seized up every 800 meters or so, forcing me to pull the pace back at times and tread cautiously so I wouldn’t get a full attack of cramping, fall over, and end my race there. Around this time, the Kenyan was on his way back, with Coach Rio hot on his heels. (They wound up in first and second place, respectively.) A few minutes later, I spotted eventual 2nd placer Marecil Maquilan also on her way back.

Still wary of cramps, I knew I had to push after the final U-turn on Bayani Road if I wanted to finish within my goal time. At Trion Towers and right after another attack of cramping, I checked my Garmin and knew that if I kept that pace, I would make it to the finish line around 1:54 (my 21K PR). If I pushed… I began praying, “Lord, please could I beat my PR even by just one minute? Sana hindi mahaba ang route.”

With that prayer and no further cramping, I crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 53 minutes, 49 seconds (net)! The route was exactly 21 kilometers on my Garmin.

KOTR: Finish Sprint
photo from Katherine Montejo

Of course, after I’d collected my finisher’s medal and walked back to my car to change, that was when the cramps incapacitated me. I sat on the ground beside my car stretching my calves and feet out for five minutes because I couldn’t go anywhere else. I think undertraining and loss of electrolytes from not drinking enough Powerade were the main culprit of my cramp attacks. Ü

I got changed into my mom’s black KOTR singlet and went off to find the rest of the adiNation and Takbo.ph members, who had been given a cluster of tents to hang out in.

KOTR: with Adination OICs
with Doc Marvin and Jinoe (photo from Takbo.ph)

KOTR: Takbo.ph
I’m not the most Kikay of them all (photo from Takbo.ph)

I’d had a good race since I was able to snatch a new PR from the jaws of cramps — but how did this race fare among all the others I’d attended this year?

Race in Review

  • Route: Bonifacio Global City’s rolling terrain coupled with the Kalayaan flyover made this route challenging, but the real obstacles were human. Since the 10K shared about 8 kilometers of the 21K route and there were so many 10K runners, 21K runners had to weave through them, wasting much precious energy. And for some strange reason, a construction truck must have passed through the route the previous night and dumped loose stones and dust all over it, making footing uncertain in places.
  • Hydration: Not only the route, but also hydration stations were shared between 10K and 21K runners. So, hydration stations were very quickly depleted by the middle-pack 10K runners, leaving late-pack 21K runners to scrounge for a drink however they could from Buendia to Lawton. I’ve heard stories about how some would pick up half-drunk Powerade or scoop up melted ice water with used cups just to wet their throats. I guess I was one of the lucky earlier 21K runners.
  • Package: The registration fee was supposed to cover cost of the singlet, timing band, post-race buffet breakfast, and reflective slap strap, but of these promised items, only two fully materialized: singlet, and timing band which yielded the release of
    KOTR 2010 unofficial results on the same day. The “buffet breakfast” turned out to be a single packed meal consisting of one jumbo hotdog, two pieces of pandesal, one butter packet, one jam packet, and one banana. The slap strap was never even included in the race kit.
  • Freebies: I’m separating the “freebies” segment of this and all future race reviews to emphasize that what I’m assessing are goods and services that don’t come out of the cost of registration fees, but are given as bonuses above and beyond the package each participant pays for. These usually come as free massages, free product samples, and loot bags, which are x-deals from sponsors. In KOTR’s case there was no organized loot bag given out, but if participants took the time, they could collect coffee, bread, magazines, and grooming product samples. Unfortunately there just wasn’t enough to go around. Since these are freebies and bonuses, I’m of the opinion people shouldn’t expect a ton of them after every race anyway.

However, did people get the race they paid for? Did that P850 give them a safe route, sufficient hydration, accurate timing, and the promised contents of the race package?

While it wasn’t exactly the worst race I’d ever attended (my lowest-rated race so far being the 2010 Earth Run), KOTR 2010 didn’t deliver fully on the basic necessities runners should expect from any race. I believe that if the number of runners had been limited to about 9,000 or less, many logistical problems (insufficient hydration, route congestion, running out of freebies) could have been avoided. This is why race organizers should focus on quality of the race instead of quantity of runners. I give this race THREE KIKAY PINKIE FINGERS out of FIVE.

I must say that I love the singlet though. Very slimming!

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11 comments on “KOTR: Kikay Of The Road

  1. ewww…. i didn’t enjoy this race. maybe it’s because i only ran 5k. :P sobrang mahal ang P850 for a 5km. kala ko makakabawi ako sa freebies pero hindi rin pala. and i didn’t like the singlet too, sana iba yung style for men.

  2. The lack of hydration was really worrying, especially since my brother also ran 21k. When my sister-in-law and I were done, we stood near the last kilometer for 21k to wait for him so we could hand him water. :/

    I also noticed that there seemed to be a lack of marshalls and markers for every kilometer, but maybe I’ve been used to the other races that I expected the same thing too.

    I agree — quality of race should be prioritized over quantity of runners. It wouldn’t only help in avoiding logistical problems, but also ensure the safety of the runners.

    But yes, the singlet is pretty. And very slimming. :)

  3. Nice review Ms. Kikayrunner. You managed to point the positives and negatives of the event, given the magnitude and hype of it. I was also one of the luckiest runners who managed to sped the main pack, albeit 10K.. If I may add, you should have mentioned the starting time of the 21K event. If not for the late start, the sea of people (10K and 21K runners) at Kalayaan Flyover will be prevented.

  4. this was a strange, strange race:
    1. when we reached the 10K mark the marker said 11K
    2. when we reached 11.6 it was 13K
    3. and those stones – I actually stepped on one
    4. there was NO MORE hydration at the U-Turn for the 21K – I ran with the 8min/km pacers – did they prepare for the hydrating 1,200 runners AT LEAST? :(
    5. at the start of the race, there were already cars trying to run counter to the runners – I’ve never seen that happen before

    I wanted to bring my hydration belt but since it was branded by a competing shoe brand, I didn’t bring it OUT OF RESPECT to the organizers and I was trusting that they would have enough hydration for the 21K runners (which wasn’t the case).

  5. “I’ve heard stories about how some would pick up half-drunk Powerade or scoop up melted ice water with used cups just to wet their throats.”

    GUILTY AKO :( I may have HepC na :(

  6. i enjoyed the race not just because i did not pay, but because it was our first time to be pacers (pacepartners). the “thank you’s” from people we paced were very encouraging.

  7. hi noelle!

    a really balanced post with pros and cons of the kotr. for me, i want to focus on the positives since i flew in from cebu just for this but couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed that the last hydration station (the most crucial one) was “dry” when we got there. i was trying to catch up to the 6:00/km pacers and i think it was way too soon to have depleted the powerade & viva since 10k runners didn’t pass that station. also, it was really hard to get to the top of the flyover weaving in and out of human traffic (some even stopping all of a sudden to take pics)

    at least i finally saw you in action, so fast! galing! we crossed paths twice: 1st on buendia corner pasong tamo (6:00/km pacers shouted go kikay runner pa), and 2nd on the road back from the last u-turn near the army hq.

    anyway, i was hoping to have a pic taken with you after the run for dailymile but didn’t see you anymore…maybe @ run united 2 :)

    congrats on your new pr!

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