Unilab Run United: At the Start

Running United at the Unilab Run

Coming off our Century Superbods Run, Joel and I were both dissatisfied we weren’t able to beat 50 minutes running a 10K. So, at yesterday’s Unilab Run United for Wellness, we decided to eliminate the major factor that had slowed us down. To avoid having to overtake too many slow runners, we picked out spots at the front of the starting line.

Unilab Run United: At the Start

excited and nervous with 3 minutes to gunstart

Coach Rio, the race director for this event, was pacing behind the line of marshals. When he looked over to us, Joel waved at him while I thumped my hand on my chest to indicate how fast my heart was beating. I think he was nervous like us, too.

KIKO-ing Up the Pace

And then we were off. I told Joel to carry out his own strategy to get his PR, so after the first kilometer, he sped off ahead of me. I found myself running beside two men who seemed like veteran old-school runners. One of them said to me, “Pang-apat kang babae. Kung dikitan mo lang yung babaeng naka-blue, mauunahan mo yan.” (You’re in women’s fourth place. If you stay close to the woman in blue, you’ll be able to overtake her.) I told them my only plan was to get a sub-50.

Ms. Blue turned out to be a fearsome competitor, with a male pacer-slash-coach who had two water bottles to keep her hydrated, created an efficient path through crowds for her, and would pick up the pace whenever he noticed I was closing in.

That’s where my Garmin came in handy. I’d set Kiko to alert me whenever I was running faster than 4:40min/km or slower than 5:30min/km. I figured if I could stay within this range, I could last long enough to make a big push to the finish line in under 50 minutes instead of burning out. So I held myself back for the first few kilometers instead of bursting ahead and trying to stay in 3rd place, like Ms. Blue had done. By the time we were at MC Home Depot (kilometer 8), she was fading despite her coach’s best efforts. My goal was just to beat her step by step, ooh baby, gonna get to you girl… (Sorry, New Kids on the Block on the brain.)

Our 10K traffic converged with the 5K runners, so I made a final dash for it. I arrived at the finish line in 48 minutes 40 seconds, panting and breatless. It wasn’t a sub-Piolo, but it was sub-50, and I had beaten Ms. Blue by 30 seconds. I was happy with that already.

O. M. G.

Then a race official hung a tag around my neck and took my name and time. I suddenly realized what was happening, and started screaming like a little girl who’d just seen John Lloyd Cruz up close.

Unilab Run United: Coming in 3rd

I finished in 3rd place!

After I collected my loot bag (I love the backpack shoe bag!), Joel and I saw each other and he gave me the good news that he’d run a 47:04 10K. So, he got the sub-Piolo. Congratulations, Joel!

We walked around the grounds of the Unilab Wellness Village marveling at how organized the whole event was. Not only was the finish line free of traffic jams, but there also were no queues at the redemption tables. The Wellness Village had several different areas with their own stages and rackets, themed by the kinds of markets catered to by Unilab companies: Children, Adults, Men, Women, Seniors.

Unilab Run United: Finishers

We are the finishers, my friend, and we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end!

We ran across Bianca and Jenny, who had run their first 5K, and also met up with Lalah who seemed as if she had thoroughly enjoyed her run. My sister, her fiance, and my parents were on their way to the parking area after running 5K as well.

Bianca was wearing a custom bib on her back, courtesy of photobongbong. I’d also sported one through most of the race, with my blog URL written on it. I tore it off with 700 meters to go.

Unilab Run United: Custom Bib!

Bianca is thebianxx

The Suspense Killed Me

I still had to wait to see if my 3rd place finish was valid. There was a stipulation in the fine print of this race that Unilab employees and their family up to second degree of consanguinity or affinity were disqualified from winning prizes. (My sister and mother work for Unilab.) Instead, Unilab would hold its own awards for people like us. However, I hoped that even if they didn’t give me the prize money, I would still be able to claim my medal and place. But God gave me the grace to say to the organizers, “I will go with whatever you decide.” Even if that meant not getting the medal either. I was already happy with Coach Rio telling me, “Sa akin, third place ka pa rin.” (In my opinion, you got third place.)

It was also my first day hosting for RunnerSpeak, the TV show, so I needed to begin interviewing people with my co-host, Tony Toni. I was in the middle of interviewing Alvin Patrimonio when my name was called on stage, to my complete surprise. Ryan Agoncillo, who was hosting the awards ceremony, reacted to my flabbergasted expression by saying, “Parang namasyal ka lang tapos naisipan mo mag-10K.” (It’s like you were just out for a stroll and decided to run 10K.)

The two women in first and second place looked like professional runners with their lean physiques and tanned skin. I felt like an anomaly, but 1st placer Luisa Raterta graciously smiled at me and said, “Tanggapin mo na!” (Accept it!) Later, Jack Orendain of Unilab Employee Relations explained to me they’d realized the rule that would have disqualified me was an unfair one as far as races go, and they’d done away with it. They could have very well just not given a 3rd place award, so for this I want to say, “God is awesome!”

Unilab Run United: Today's Achievements

3rd Place, Women’s 10K; Myra Sexy Skin Runner Award

Aside from the 3rd place medal, I was also awarded the Myra Sexy Skin Runner Award (which was open to all female participants). I ended up having to lug around a bag full of Myra products while we shot our intro and extro for the episode.

Race in Review

  • Route: The routes were the same from Century, but the marshalling was better for Unilab. The route markers were more frequent, taller so you could see them above the heads of other runners, and there were marshalls with loudspeakers telling you which way to turn.
  • Hydration: Long tables stocked with rows upon rows of water and 100 Plus. My problem ended up being my concern about getting overhydrated, so I skipped the last water station on my 10K route.
  • Package & Freebies: I approve of the loot bag — backpack-type shoe bag (with zipper instead of the usual drawstring), a bottle of Summit mineral water and 100 Plus, a Nature Valley granola bar, a Bull Runner magazine, and a finisher shirt. The Wellness Village was a wonderful bonus as well, so people stayed around for a while even after they’d finished running. Provisional race results were also released today on the Finishline website.

Overall I believe this race is the best I’ve attended yet. I give this FIVE KIKAY PINKIE FINGERS out of FIVE. Ü

Congratulations to Unilab and Finishline for working hand-in-hand to ensure the best possible race experience for the runners.

About Noelle De Guzman

Noelle De Guzman is a freelance writer and recreational athlete with over 12 years of experience in fitness and endurance sport. She believes sport and an active healthy lifestyle changes lives.

35 thoughts on “Running United at the Unilab Run

  1. I'm sooo happy for my Coach Noey!! Aww nice of Coach Rio to say that πŸ˜€ Jen wants to kill me for not allowing her to have a photo op with him after the awarding. Told her to wait for your interview but she was complaining already so we went back to the car and went home. Her photo with the Coach Rio standee should do for now HAHAHAHA. We'll do better at the Bora run πŸ˜€ See yah Friday! (Told you I'd check back. My brain is not working and my boss is right beside me LOL)

  2. Hey Elmer Life Runner, thank you!thebianxx, Jenny will have her photo op with the real Rio soon. See you on Friday!Thanks Sid, Marvin Rae and Gerard! It was a great day. God is good!

  3. HI Noelle, congrats on your new PR! That's a great time. By the way, I heard that the term 'sub-pIolo' has taken on a new meaning: 42 mins. Papa P keeps on raising the bar. Anyway, that was a great race you ran. Keep on running and see you at the races.-Consiglieri

  4. nice one sis… great blog! grabe blessing.. when it rains it pours.. so happy for you… congrats ulit!!!

  5. Thanks, Ray!Consiglieri, Piolo's 10K time of 42 minutes is unofficial because he hasn't run it in a real race. His next race is a 15K.Bro Drey, naunahan mo na ako! You're a true athlete. πŸ™‚ Congrats too!

  6. congrats! πŸ™‚ yun lang πŸ™‚ wahehehehe πŸ™‚ and yeah, that relative thingy rule? i don't believe its right during races kasi never namang factor ang pagiging relative ng employee would affect the race results noh πŸ™‚ good thing they overruled that rule wahehehe wootwoot! let's go sago! pace me sa globe! hahaha

  7. hi noelle!Congratulations for finishing 3rd and winning the Myra E Special Award. Very well deserved. Thanks too for the good review on Unilab Run United for Wellness.Our organizing team is glad that runners had a pleasant experience yesterday, which was Unilab's top priority over the marketing/branding component.Again, congratulations!

  8. wow noelle! congrats! congrats on your new PR and hosting gig for runnerspeak.Will you be aiming for another PR on Globe?

  9. Hi Noelle. Congratulations on your podium finish! Cool blog, by the way! Been following your posts.Maybe I'll see you around during one of the races. Doubt I'd be able to run at your pace, though.Cheers!

  10. may kamag anak ka pala sa unilab, sana out of delicadeza hindi mo tinanggap un award kasi gusto mo lang naman ma beat un pr mo eh, but still congrats! ms blue

  11. Hello Sir Barry, thank you for reading the Unilab Run blog entries! It was a wonderfully executed race. I'm looking forward to what's next for Unilab Wellness Events!Calvin, I'm pacing with Rico for a 2 hour 20 minute finish, so I'm not aiming for a PR at Globe 21K.Leland, thanks for visiting! Yesterday's pace was breakneck and a little bit suicidal, hehe. πŸ™‚ See you at the races.Hello Ms. Blue (I doubt that really is you), I told the organizers I would be willing to let go of the award. However, it wasn't my decision that they gave it to me anyway. It would have been bad form not to come up on stage when my name was called. I am confident Unilab will handle this matter well. If it comes down to it, I am still willing to give up the medal and the prize. I've already proven my point.

  12. Hi Ms. Noelle, saw you race review link on Takbo.ph. Congratulations! In my personal opinion, the rule of 'degree of affinity' should not apply here and should have been part of the rule in the first place. Fact of the matter is, you earned your place there. Congratulations again!

  13. Wow Noelle! A sub-50!!! I've been killing myself these past few weeks to achieve that and parang wala lang sayo!Congrats on the podium place! See you at the next race!

  14. Benj, I would have volunteered to be your pacer, but I have to be doing longer distances in preparation for a marathon. People don't usually have a pacer for 5K either, but what you can do is check out the really athletic-looking people and try to keep them in sight.Hello Jan, thank you for your words of encouragement. πŸ™‚Parkie, it actually took a lot of effort. My real talent lies in ability to pretend nothing hurts. *wink*Hello Maan, nice of you to drop by! Yup I had to tear my KIKAYRUNNER bib off with 700 meters to go til the finish because it had come loose. I just didn't feel aerodynamic anymore…

  15. i agree with your reviewi like UNILAB much better than the Century tuna in which i got the slowest race from where i started(2 times wrong directed by marshalls)anyway Congratulations again. i guess i should have let my friend ask you to take a picture together, akala nya kung sino ka daw hahaha parang celeb na !

  16. Michael Angelo hahaha it would be my pleasure!Hello Mykolant, thanks πŸ™‚RunningAtom, you looked strong out there. Congratulations on your new PR and sub-Piolo. See you at the next race.Jay, Karylle?! But she's skinny! Mr. F was around last Sunday, but we ran different distances. He paced a newbie runner at the 3K then completed either a 5 or 10K.

  17. ok maybe next time, but the following races will be different me joining the GLobe run, my friends other races on that day. well good luck on your bday marathon!

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