In my quest to do all three Runrio Trilogy events this year, I asked my mom to register me for the 10K at Run United 2 last August 21. I knew I wasn’t in the best condition to run fast, coming off my weekend in Camsur and with no training whatsoever. I figured why not just enjoy a nice one-hour aerobic run workout with no pressure whatsoever?
Try running “with no pressure whatsoever” in race conditions, and you’ll see it’s quite impossible, especially for people with a competitive streak.
Run United 2, the second leg of the Runrio Trilogy, was set to be one of the banner events of the year, and it was a blockbuster by all accounts. The Unilab Active Health Village took up two large fields near Bonifacio High Street, there were separate start and finish lines, and there were a little less than fourteen thousand runners on the road!
I’ve grown so used to the much smaller participant numbers at triathlons that the sheer mass of people just in the first wave of 10K runners threw me into a foul mood. It didn’t help that the wave groupings were determined on a first-come, first-served basis. I found myself jostling for space in the front among 10K newbie runners. I wonder how many will burn out after a fast start, I thought to myself as the gun fired and people surged forward…
Of course, after the first 800 meters, most of those who had led the pack started walking. I saw the eventual winners vanish off ahead, while I wove around the walkers trying to keep my legs churning at the rate I was used to for a 10K.
As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get myself to go any faster without feeling like I’d keel over, and once I overtook one group I’d immediately run up against the tail end of another group.
It got to the point where I just tried to get myself from one hydration station to the next, walking as I gulped down water (sports drinks were served every other station, it seemed). I just felt so, so tired and a bit annoyed at a group of runners who threw some catcalls my way as I overtook them. Excuse me; I dressed in shorts for my benefit, not yours!
I finally crossed the finish line, lined up for my Unilab loot bag (nice new design for the bag, by the way!), and after a long walk around a construction site finally got to the counter for my checked-in bag. (In the end, BazuSports ranked me 9th out of 1,321 female runners. I wish they’d reckon pace in Kilometers instead of Miles though.)
I think if I’d been in a better mood and physical condition, I might have enjoyed myself more at the post-race activities. There were food samples, free massages, freshen-up stations, and a lot of fun activities at the Active Health Village — but I just wanted to get home and lie down. I vowed to train harder for my next 10K.
Race in Review
- Route: That was the most convoluted 10K route I’d ever had to do since my Greenfield Run in May — so many turns, which made it hard to pick up speed. What I liked was the finish line, which passed through the middle road in Bonifacio High Street like the Condura Skyway Marathon did in February. I love the feeling of turning onto that wide road with cobblestone; it’s as if I were carrying the torch into an Olympic host city.
- Traffic Management: This was not one of the highlights of that day. With so many 10K runners and only a certain number of marshals, some hard-headed runners were determined to move to the starting line even thouggh the marshals were trying to hold them back. The mutineers stopped moving forward only when I bellowed from within that mass of runners, “Sabi na nga huwag munang gumalaw eh!” (They said don’t move!) Wave starts should also be determined not by first-come, first-served, but by estimated finish time or PR. 10K first-timers would probably benefit from starting in the last wave. And I have to reiterate that there should be a cap on the number of runners in races in BGC. Nine thousand is already a lot; what more fourteen thousand?!
- Hydration: The hydration tables were long and well-stocked, no complaints there. Except, I couldn’t find a cup of Powerade when I wanted a boost.
- Package: The reg fee included a spiffy New Balance singlet (which I can’t wear) and a reusable Runrio timing card to lace to the shoes. That reusable card will be priced at an additional P300 in future Runrio races, so for the reg fee this race had great value.
- Freebies: Unilab is always really generous with its freebie bags, which contained a plethora of medicines and food supplements. My 10K bag included a Kaspersky visor, since the 10K was sponsored also by this antivirus company.
As Unilab and Runrio work hand-in-hand for the completion of the run trilogy, I hope they will continue to stage these events with an eye toward a quality running experience. I give this race FOUR KIKAY PINKIE FINGERS out of FIVE.