It was a poignant moment as I watched on TV the arrival of flagdraped caskets of the slained members of Philippine National Police Special Action Force (also known as SAF 44) carried over by their comrades’ shoulders. This scene lingered in my mind, which triggered the desire to join last Sunday’s Condura Skyway Marathon ‘Run for a Hero’ in support with the fallen heroes. What better way to honor these gentlemen than by running in solidarity with them in strength and sacrifice even at the wee hours of the morning.
Prior to the marathon right up to Friday night, I spent a great deal of time thinking how I can possibly join the race considering registration had closed many months ago (as in last year). It was like a ‘suntok sa buwan’ (punch to the moon) or an impossible idea or thought. I knew I had an extremely slim chance of getting any available kit. Still, I tried to inquire from a good friend and fellow runner. I think the stars must have connived with me that night. I was overloaded with elation and jubilation when that friend of mine told me that he still had an extra FREE 21K race kit for me. ln my mind, it was a resounding ‘YES!’ Indeed a success for securing a kit. I was blown away!
Woke up at 2 AM. Enough time for me to take a trip to Alabang where the Start is, deposit my stuff at the baggage area, and proceed to Skyway Alabang Tunnel along Alabang-Zapote Road where the half marathon runners converged at their designated Wave. Truly, l was surprised to see such a huge crowd in a race. l had to go through it to reach the ‘C’ Wave. There’s nothing like a good run on a nice, cold, windy early morning. When the weather is perfect–not too hot, not too cold. Yeah, it has been four years since the last time l have run the long stretch of the Skyway. To start running from Filinvest and back was a pretty novel experience for me.
Lost in thought, somewhere in those moments, I felt a hand gently tapped my right shoulder and snapped me out. It was Patrick ‘PatCon’ Concepcion aka Running Shield, fellow Happy Feet and runner, who happened to be one of the key players of Condura Marathon. We exchanged pleasantries and shook hands as he wished me well.
Half marathon runners started in groups and released at approximately two-minute intervals. When it was our turn to leave, maintaining a jog pace, l watched from afar soldiers, 44 of them, were lined up on the left side of the road, each holding a photo of the slained SAF 44 member while runners saluted as they passed by, a moving gesture of mutual respect. This simple act gave almost everyone that warm feeling. I was glad to have witnessed it.
Skyway is relatively flat, with gradual ascent, and free of cars. Turnaround point was at Bicutan (10.5K). A short fireworks display came into view while l was still running the last few kilometers. Finally, with less than a kilometer to go, there was a gradual ascent before hitting the finish line. Again, PatCon, was there to congratulate the finishers. Overall, l felt great and happy of my running performance and with how the race went.
It’s an honor to have run via the Running Shield. Thank you so much for the complimentary kit, the welcoming smile and hug before the race started and as l crossed the finish line. Congratulations to you and your brother Ton, and the rest of the members of the Condura Skyway Marathon Organizing Committee. Kudos to Runrio Team! What an awesome way to run the Skyway after four years. I salute!
The beneficiary of the race event is the HERO Foundation, which provides educational assistance to children and siblings of Filipino soldiers killed in action or disabled while in line of duty.
Hey, fellow runners! Want to complete the Trilogy this year?Have you registered yet for the 2015 Run United 1? Registration is now open. Make sure you book before March 1.
The 2015 Run United 1 will be held on 8 March 2015 with 5k, 10k, and 21k race categories. All categories will have a start and finish at the SM Mall of Asia grounds. Here’s a gentle reminder on payment schemes:
For online (credit card) registrants: complete race kit will be delivered. Singlet/Finishers’ shirt sizes will be available online on a first come, first served basis. Delivery of race kit will be on or before 1 March 2015.
For in-store registrants: complete race kit will be given upon registration for actual runners. Singlet sizes will be on a first come, first served basis. Please refer to 2015 RU1 Registration Details and 2015 RU BUNDLE PROMO for more information. Below are the designs of the finisher’s medal and shirt.
For online and in-store registration inquiries, you may call any of the following:
It was not only after four years after that l had the chance to run the Corregidor lnternational Half Marathon (CIHM) event since its inception in 2010. Proud to be invited by a high performance Corregidor International Half Marathon team to test run the route a few years back. Note: Both the Corregidor Marathon (CM) and CIHM events, however, were rescheduled to January 11 and 12 respectively instead of December last year to give way to relief operations in areas affected by typhoon Yolanda.
Yes, running races back to back, a full marathon on a Saturday and a half marathon on a Sunday of the same weekend in January 2015, is slightly nutty and a new challenge which l haven’t tried before. To prepare myself on this, last Sunday, l joined the last batch of participants who went to Corregidor Island to train with them and run portion of the race route. Training started with a three-part warm up exercises led by the CIHM founder, Edward Kho. For our main training, we did seven repeats up a hill, increasing effort each time until we were confident enough to continuously run the hill. So glad to have come and learned new ways to tackle it. Training ended with cool-down stretch exercises. This is it! No more backing out!
Super duper thanks to El Lobo Energy Drink through Sir Willy and Sun Cruises for the warm support. Also, kudos to one of the lady Philippine Masters athletes who assisted Edward and took beautiful photos during the training session. It was also nice to meet newfound friends. See you at the starting line!
Yours truly has been an urbanathlete since. I started out with a 10K distance sometime in 2010. [Related: Urbanathlete Diva 2010, please click here] Well, I did miss joining this race for two years in a row as I was into ultra distance then and had a hiatus from racing. In 2013, instead of signing up for the 21K race, I opted to do a 5K only courtesy of Men’s Health Philippines, and skipped the following obstacles: climbing a net over a bus, climbing a rope, monkey bars, and the dreaded eight-foot wall. [Related: Urbanathlete Diva, second edition or 2/e, please click here]
I wasn’t able to attend the Men’s Health Urbanathlon (MH URB) media event two months ago being out of town at the time of its launch yet so lucky still to have been invited to be part of the MH URB race this year in Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna. Many thanks to fellow bloggers, Queenie of Lifeofque.com and Jinoe of Takbo.ph for the complimentary kit that they gave not only to me but also to a fellow ultramarathon runner, Norvs.
I think I’ve messed up in the last few weeks before the big race that it became a race week summed up as a stressful stretch days. I had to strike a balance between work life and social life. A bit sleep-deprived getting into the groove of consistent nighttime workouts (running and swimming), weekend racing, attending media events, and updating this blog. Not that I’m complaining on all of these. In those moments where I am so challenged by these activities, I am thankful for the love, opportunity, and support of my family and friends.
I found the route a new experience for a 21k for MH URB being used to running this event on the roads of Metro Manila. The first 15 kilometers included gradual uphills and the latter part, which to my surprise, included a route of two or three kilometers of the trail reminiscent of the last few kilometers of the Soleus Valley 30-kilometer Trail Challenge in June this year. There was one obstacle to tackle before the turnaround point at approximately KM10 or 11. Water and energy drink stations were set up in just the right areas to keep us hydrated, and with very friendly and courteous staff. Both the road and trail route marshals cheered on urbanathletes as they passed them on their way to the next obstacle challenge, and they are just as courteous as the water station staff. Medic Rescue is on standby the day of the race.
It was also nice to see long-time friends Michelle and Craig Logan, and had the chance to pace with them albeit a short one before they ran past me. Good to also see familiar faces among the gathering crowd at the finishline. Thank you Bave DC and fab Vicente Blue for the cheer as l crossed the finish line. Pretty much appreciated. Thanks also to Norvs for the support. A shout-out to Running Photographers, especially, to Reggie Cruz and RJ Knight Runner for the nice photos.
To sum it up, yeah, I enjoyed the MH URB so much! Out of nine obstacles, I only skipped the monkey bars. That I had to climb over the van with the net twice and the dreaded eight-foot wall, I successfully redeemed myself. Super thanks to the attending marshals including Coach Joar who assisted me to complete the obstacle challenge.
Congratulations to Men’s Health Philippines, Doc Lyndon of Leadpack Race Organizer, their media partners, sponsors, and to all finishers and winners for a job well done. By far the best Urbanathlon race l have had experienced! Looking forward to the next one!
|OUR RACE. OUR TIME.|
|(Photo courtesy of I Love To Do This)|
|Impromptu pacing with Tagumpay Bros/Triabetics Reggie S.
(Photo courtesy of Flat Ironman)