Tag Archives: Half marathon

Ford Forza Triathlon Team Readying for 2017 Cobra Ironman 70.3

The Ford Philippines-backed and Cebu-bound Ford Forza triathlon team aka Forza is ready to once again participate in one of the biggest triathlon (tri) and challenging races in Asia on August 6, Sunday. The 2017 Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Cebu is expected to gather over 2,500 athletes from 51 different countries.

We are excited to partner with the Ford Forza triathlon team who has showcased their commitment and dedication to the sport over the years.  For years not only have they gone further, but also served as an inspiration to a bigger majority because of their life stories and journeys, and their motivation to make it big with the sport.  With this, we are delighted to rally behind these athletes as they braved through tough challenges and races this year,” said Ford Philippines AVP for marketing Prudz Castillo.

Led by businessman Gianluca Guidicelli, Forza team boasts a diverse mix of members from different industries. Among the current Forza members are actors Matteo Guidicelli and Ivan Carapiet, television host and sports correspondent Dyan Castillejo, entrepreneur Giorgia Guidicelli, cancer survivor Joey Torres, long-time triathletes Elmo Clarabal, Joseph Miller, business manager Ian Solana, tri coach Noel Salvador, and businessman Jomer Lim.

“The team is especially driven this time. We have new members and everyone is just excited to race harder and tougher this year. I have great confidence in my team.  We’re strong.  We are called ‘Forza’ after all.  Having Ford, who is just as tough as we are, to back us up once again, only fuels our desire to keep racing and to keep inspiring,” shared Gianluca Guidicelli.

Gianluca Guidicelli, the man behind Ford Forza tri team.

Forza team members took a more rigorous training that started early this year to finish strong. Furthermore, the team has also expanded its roster to include 20 members with ages ranging from 10-50 years. These new members include businessmen Romeo Castro and Tyrone Tan, brothers Ralph David Du and Yves Christian Du (both had been participants in the 2013 Pinoy Biggest Loser), sports enthusiasts Patricia Espino, Donikko Fernan, and Christian Saladaga, and cyclist Ica Maximo—all of which are very active in multisport events.

The Ford Forza Triathlon Team and its Advocacy

The Forza team created an advocacy supporting talented Filipino athletes who loved the sport but lacked the means to race by giving them the opportunity to be part of the team.  To date, Forza has gone further by providing its team members with everything to race, eg, a free ride for the whole year, rigorous and tough training sessions, and the pride to represent the team in races. Christian Saladaga, one of their strongest teammates, whose background is as inspiring as his passion for the sport, has beaten some of this year’s best athletes in past competitions.

Inspiring athletes to be potential winners drive the Forza team. New members Ralph and Christian Du continue to go further in the sport when they started off as contestants in a reality TV show.  Losing more than a hundred pounds each, the brothers motivated and inspired each other to be fit through various family activities and sports. They then ventured into the world of multisport racing and never looked back.

Earlier in the year, the Forza team has competed in races such as the Xterra Danao in April and the 5150 Subic Bay Philippines in June.  The team also hosted the Giro d’Luca cycling event in Bohol that brought cyclists and bike enthusiasts together.  Almost a thousand participants joined the annual event.

As a multidiscipline sport, tri has evolved making it the ultimate endurance test for athletes in the form of swimming, cycling, and running. Through the continued partnership, the Forza team can truly showcase how Ford vehicles such as the Ranger can complement the lifestyle and personalities of triathletes—built tough, capable, and versatile. Catch the Forza team at the Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Cebu on August 6, Mt. Mayon ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup in Bicol on August 13, and 5150 Triathlon in Bohol on November 5.

With actor and humble Forza member Matteo Guidicelli.
About the Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets, and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 202,000 people worldwide.  For more information regarding Ford, its products, and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit Corporate Ford.

National Geographic Earth Day Run 2017

On 23 Apr. 2017 marks another milestone for National Geographic (NG), which celebrates eight years of holding Earth Day Run (EDR), raising consciousness on environmental issues and health including social awareness through fitness with special program features using the hash tag #8withEDR.

The event encourages and welcomes all types of Eco Warriors to take part—from fun runners of all ages to serious recreational athletes who regularly compete. The event will be held not only in Manila but also in the cities of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, and Taichung, an initiative that was adopted last year to effectively spread the vision and advocacy of EDR across Asia.  EDR in Manila will be held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds where participants can choose a 5K, 10K, 21K, or 42K distance category.

“Earth Day Run 2017 will be the biggest version of the race yet, with more expected participants from Manila and four other cities across Asia. We’re also excited to look back on our eight years of environmental advocacy and share and celebrate with our runners the positive change that they helped make possible through the years by joining Earth Day Run. We hope that Earth Day Run 2017 not only brings communities of running enthusiasts together for the common cause of saving the environment but also that it amplifies the important message of doing your own part today to help stop climate change and commit to sustainable solutions to save our beloved planet Earth,” said FOX Networks Group Philippines director and head of content and marketing Charo Espedido.

Last year, EDR participants ran to support causes such as saving the Irawaddy dolphins at the Malampaya Sound Research and Conservation Project in Palawan; giving the Earth Hour or Gift of Life Village in Monreal, Masbate sustainable solutions to reduce carbon footprint; conservation of the marine protected area and coral reef in Apo Reef in Occidental Mindoro; and, beefing up reforestation efforts at the Ipo Watershed in Bulacan, which is one of Metro Manila’s sources of water supply.

Presented by the channel and its partners Cherifer Premium and World Wildlife Fund for Nature, EDR aims to continue the tradition of being one of the biggest running events in the country, expecting scores of running enthusiasts with the hopes of mobilizing all Eco Warriors of previous EDRs to register and run for the environment.

This year’s event welcomes all previously registered participants with VIP treatment and special loyalty perks to be enjoyed on the day of the run. They will be given priority placement in front of the starting line at the beginning of the race and can claim their loot bag and finisher shirt at a special express booth. They can also make use of a special warm-up and cool down tent before and after the race to condition them and recover in comfort.

Singlets

To top it off, EDR will also be sporting new features for its runners. As a special treat, all race kits will come with LED shoelaces, serving as a badge of pride and as a safety precaution for Eco Warriors running at night or before sunrise. Prizes will also be given to costumed runners who showcase their creativity by coming in their best ensemble made from recycled materials.

Finisher’ medal and shirt

To make each Eco Warrior’s voice heard in this run for the Earth, advocacy banners will be hanging above the finish line so that each runner can grab them as they cross to make a shout-out for the environment, keep as a souvenir, and use for all their post-run selfies to amplify the message of acting now to save the environment.

New participants can also join the celebrations by visiting the EDR Gallery at the Race Village to learn what the event has accomplished over the years including its environmental and social initiatives, and how their participation will make a significant impact on certain communities in the Philippines and how their actions as individuals will affect the environment.

Runners at EDR will not only experience a fun day of outdoor fitness, but also be doing their part in contributing to NG’s environmental efforts.

Registration will start on March 1 and end on April 16.  For more information and other details on how to register, please visit National Geographic Earth Day Run website.

Active Health Launches Run United Exceed

ActiveHealth (AH) introduces NEW Run United Exceed (RUE) race brand, an exclusive twenty one-kilometer race co-presented by TAG Heuer, which will be held at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig on Sunday, 2 Apr. 2017.

Exclusive performance based 21-km race inspired by world marathon majors.

The concept is to shatter ones perception of time—to go against your greatest enemy, YOURSELF. It will give birth to the next generation of high performing 21K runners that have the relentless drive and determination to exceed the time they have set for themselves through proper training and sports nutrition. “We have been doing the progressive races for the past six years. For 2017, we believe that it is time to take it to the next level. We want to build a new generation of athletes whose objective is not to just to finish but also exceed,” says AH brand manager Lester Castillo.

The finisher’s medal design symbolizes an athlete’s journey in exceeding himself.

Some of the innovations to help breed next level 21K finishers include exclusive medal for sub-2.5 hour finishers, FREE Under Armour shoes for top 15 negative split finishers, cheer stations in key locations to help boost runners’ morale, moving cut-off banner making sure runners make it in time, discount privileges from partner merchants, and a RUE Kit inclusive of race shirt, event shirt and other items.

Breathable and quick dry performance shirt to help runners perform better.

AH is set to also revolutionize the running landscape by introducing world marathon major inspired innovations that will push runners to exceed themselves. Guaranteed slots to Angkor Wat International Full Marathon or Angkor Wat International Half Marathon await two lucky finishers. Like in any other world marathon major, TAG Heuer is the official timekeeper of RUE.

Registration opens on 30 Jan. 2017.

AH has been in the forefront in providing an incomparable race experience. It is the only race in the country that offers an integrated holistic solution for progressive athletes grounded by its four pillars: training, nutrition, gear, and events.  RUE participants are guaranteed that they are well taken care of in all areas from training, nutrition, and gear to recovery.  Connectivity to sports experts, running community, and performance tracker are just but some of the other special privileges provided to participants through the AH Community App.

Complete sports nutrition for optimum performance. Race and training packs are readily available upon registration and exclusive deals are offered.

For more information about Run United Exceed, ActiveHealth and ActiveHealth Community App, please visit ActiveHealth and stay connected through Unilab ActiveHealth Facebook and Unilab ActiveHealth Twitter.

SMDC Run, 26 Feb. 2017

SM Development Corporation (SMDC) will hold the third SMDC Run on February 26 at the Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.  This is in line with its CSR vision to build happy, healthy and thriving communities.

Participants can run for 5K, 10K and 21K, making the event perfect for first-time and seasoned runners alike.  The race will start and end at the Mall of Asia Complex open grounds.

Registration fees are P600 for the 5K, P700 for the 10K and P950 for the 21K.  Fees include singlet, race bib, timing chip, raffle entry, loot bag and finisher’s medal for 5K, 10K, and 21K runners.

Registration is available at Chris Sports in SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, SM BF Homes, Glorietta and Market! Market! from 20 Jan. 2017 to 19 Feb. 2017.

This year’s SMDC Run is organized by LeadPack, in partnership with Chris Sports, Ultimate Direction, and Takbo.ph.

For more information about the SMDC Run, please visit www.takbo.ph/smdcrun.

Why I Like 2016 Gatorade Run 11•22 (And You Should, Too!)

Gatorade Run debuted in 2015 to cap off a historic year of the brand. The event was a huge success that as a 22K finisher (2015), I couldn’t help but look forward to next edition.  You may want to read fellow blogger Macky’s aka Bicolano Penguin’s Gatorade Run 2015 blog post about his running experience in 2015.

Clark Castro on his way to the finish line (Photo by Run S.A)
Clark Castro on his way to the finish line (Photo by Run S.A.)

Fast forward, I found myself at the launch of the second edition of the Gatorade Run held three months ago.  However, after knowing that race date fell on the same day as my tri race in November 2016, I knew then that I needed someone to represent RunningDiva.ph (RD). Was I so glad that Endure Multisport teammate Clark Castro (CC) said “yes” to the invitation! To share his running experience, here’s a recap of the interview:

RD: What made you decide to run 2016 Gatorade Run 11•22 even after having finished racing a 5150 triathlon?

CC: It was part of my maintenance workout specific to running. It also served as my year-ender event. Fortunately, I’ve got a free kit from teammate and friend RD.

RD: Having run countless half marathons, what made Gatorade Run different?

CCLiterally, its additional 1-km distance makes it different and special 😀.  That really tested my capacity as a 21-km runner since I’m used to running 21km.  It’s a factor I considered on my pace. Having limited mileage for a long run and knowing my limits when going beyond 21km, I decided to take it slow and targeted a safe finish time.

RD: How was your experience during the race?

CC:  It was a blast! 😀 As expected, I got cramps due to lack of training but still enjoyed and had fun during the race. I didn’t expect it to be that cool and fulfilling race. The huge number of runners, celebrities, cheer leaders/band, that “I finished…” sash, and cheerful marshals added colors to it.

RD: What advice can you give to aspiring runners who might be interested in finishing a distance beyond a half marathon race?

CC: Training! And It must be a consistent and well-managed training. This means, having a good workout (speed, endurance, strength as well as proper running form) and mileage depending on their target finish time. And of course, they have to enjoy every moment of their journey to the finish line.

A proud 22K finisher
A proud 22K finisher!

There you go! Clark’s straightforward and no nonsense response to questions summarized why I like (look forward to) running 2016 Gatorade Run 11•22.  Too bad I missed joining it this year.

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A reunion with his “ovalista” friends at the finish line

More than just your usual run, the extra one kilometer in each distance category–11K and 22K–was a platform for Gatorade to reinforce the importance of proper hydration.

Thank you Gatorade Philippines for having RunningDiva.ph in your event.  Super thanks to Sabrina Capuz and Millet Liberato-Simeon of DDB Group Philippines for ensuring a great experience for Clark as media representative. Congratulations to all finishers and winners of said race, and kudos to Runrio for a job well done! And, you’re welcome, Clark! 😀

7-Eleven Run 2017

After the success of the 7-Eleven Run Series Run 800 (2013), Run 1000  (2014,) Run 1500 (2015), and Run 2016, once again 7-Eleven will bring next year the BIGGEST and MOST EXCITING of the Series the 7-Eleven Run to take over Skyway and Filinvest City on Sunday for a day of fitness, family, freebies, and all-out fun!

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RACE DETAILS

Venue: Skyway and Filinvest City
Date: 5 February 2017
Categories: 500-meter run for children, 3K, 5K, 10K, 10-kilometer buddy run, 16K, 21K, and 42K 

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7-Eleven Philippines’ hugely popular Run Series is an inclusive event for both serious runners and recreational walkers and joggers that has been gaining momentum since it started three years ago.

Cash Prize Chart

Three winners  in each category will be announced on Race Day and will receive cash prizes and medals.  To top it off, Top 3 Filipino (men’s and women’s division)  in both 42K and 21K categories will be sponsored by 7-Eleven Philippines to compete in an international marathon in Asia with all travel expenses paid. Top 3 organizations with the highest number of registrants will also receive a special trophy.   All finishers will receive finisher’s a medal, a finisher’s shirt, and some goodies.

Finisher's Medal
Finisher’s Medal
finisher
Finisher’s Shirt
Event Singlet
Event Singlet

42K, 21K, 16K, 10K, and 10K Buddy Run categories will see participants sweeping through Filinvest City and the Skyway while the 5K, 3K and 500-meter Kids Run will be held along Filinvest City.

Registration is NOW open! Visit www.run711.com for more information and other details such as registration fees or FAQs. Registration is until 18 January 2017. For updates, please follow 7-Eleven Run Series Facebook Page.  Participants can also join in the conversation by using the official hashtag, #711Run2017.

Promo Mechanics

Runners can also get a chance to earn free race kits through 7-Eleven’s CliQQ loyalty program. CliQQ app users and Every Day! Rewards cardholders can redeem a free race kit by earning Run e-Stamps.

Run e-Stamps are earned with every P100 purchase of any participating item from the major sponsors. Every purchase of a booster product also earns one additional e-Stamp.

To redeem a free race kit to any race category, customers must earn 50 e-Stamps (except for 10K Buddy Run where customers must earn 100 e-Stamps).

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Race Kits can be claimed on the date indicated on the receipt from the same store where payment has been made. Aside from the exciting freebies that customers can look forward to on race day, all registrants of Run 2017 will also receive an Asics 20% discount voucher.

7-Eleven Run 2017 is held in partnership with Skyway and Filinvest City as well as event partners 7-Connect, Mogu Mogu, Crimson Hotel, and exclusive sportswear partner Asics.

The event is also brought to you by Safeguard, Selecta, Pocari Sweat, Del Monte, Nature’s Spring, Dole, Powerade and Summit Water, and media partners Solar Sports, ETC, CNN Philippines, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, The Philippine Star, Summit Media, Hinge Inquirer Publishing, and ABS-CBN Publishing.

Part of the proceeds will go to Every Day! Play.

 

OMNI Light of Change Run, 18 Sep. 2016

Yatai International Corporation, maker of OMNI electrical and lighting products, celebrates its 20th anniversary with a fun run dubbed as OMNI Light of Change Run on September 18 at Liwasang Ullalim of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex in Pasay City with 3K (P550), 5K (P650), 10K (P750) and 21K (P900) as race distance categories.

OMNI Light of Change Run aims to start change by adopting an active lifestyle and create a positive change by developing quality, energy-efficient, and environment-friendly products. University of the Philippines’ Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute  is the beneficiary of the said running event.

For race details, you may visit Affinitea or call telephone number 567.0000 local 6106 or message OMNI on Facebook.

Sample finisher’s medal shown during the event launch
Sample finisher’s medal shown during the event launch
About OMNI Electrical and Lighting

Founded in 1996, OMNI is a proud Filipino brand that has built its business by providing affordable and quality electrical and lighting solutions. The company’s focus on research and development enables it to manufacture globally competitive products at locally competitive prices.

For 20 years, OMNI product lines fulfill the safety and performance requirements of the Philippine National Standards and conform to standards set by International Electro-technical Commission.   The products have not only passed the mandatory testing of the Bureau of Products Standards for PS and OCC Quality Mark Certification but also bear the stamp of approval, ie, CE, CS, TUV of other countries.

Guest Post: 5 Reasons Running Corregidor International Half Marathon A Must Try

This is a guest post by Jess as she shares her race experience in the island of Corregidor and why it became one of her favorite running events. Apart from running, she loves mountain climbing, swimming, music and traveling.  She’s into the sport of running for two years now. Here’s her story…

5 Reasons Running Corregidor International Half Marathon A Must Try  / by Jess Derramas

10k run at Corregidor was my first race when I decided to take up running more seriously for health reasons.  I was inspired by watching marathoners crossing the finish line. People of all ages, shapes and sizes, seeing the determination written on their faces inspired me to take up the sport. It helped that some of my close friends are into running as well.  They continued to motivate and inspire me to keep on running.  

The Corregidor International Half Marathon (CIHM) is one of the more popular race events in the country.  There is a certain “party” feel to the event.  Maybe because it’s held on a popular tourist spot or could it be the sub-zero beer usually served at the finish line. Whatever the reason, a lot of families and barkadas would congregate in this island every year to participate or cheer loved ones in the events.  There is something for everyone.  For the beginners, there’s the 5K  and 10K side events.  For the more competitive ones, there’s the full marathon and half marathon. For the hardcore “mamaws”, there’s the option of running a back-to-back: a full marathon and doing a “recovery run” of half that distance the next day, like what some of my friends did.

I’m sure each runner that has participated in a CIHM event has his own story to tell and I’d like to share my top five favorites.

1.) Photo-Pace Run (Scenic Route) – White sand beach, rolling hills, WWII relics, need I say more?  This is one race where taking pictures and selfies along the route isn’t discouraged.  In fact, the “photo-pace” term was coined in this event referring to the significantly slowed pace of runners due to the constant picture taking while the race is in progress.   When I first joined this event as a 10K runner in 2014, I stopped at every barracks, every cannon and even laid down in the grassy field for a photo op. There’s no cut-off time, so there was no pressure.  Even as a non-newbie to the event this year, I still gave in and sacrificed a few minutes of my time to get a picture of the breathtaking shoreline.

That's me on the left with Roselle D. and Ily.
That’s me on the left with Roselle D. aka Running Diva and Ily who finished her first 10K.

2.) Malinta Tunnel – The Malinta Tunnel served as headquarters of Douglas MacArthur and the last stronghold of Filipino and American soldiers during WWII.  A lot of Filipino, American and Japanese soldiers died within its dark walls.  The tunnel had a bloody history that echoes until the present time. It’s eerie to say the least.  Some say it’s haunted, some claim to have seen or felt a “presence” or multiple presence within its dark walls.  For those with strong otherworldly senses, passing through this tunnel is dreaded.  A lot of runners reportedly experience that same eerie feeling, getting goosebumbs (even if it was very warm) and even seeing unexplained “shadows”. Whether your third eye is open or not, people seem to naturally want to go faster and spend as little time as possible here, I know I did.  Hey, it helps make up for the time lost with all that picture taking!

3.) Killer Hill – Like most runners that want to embark on a challenging race, I did my share of training.  I thought the rolling hills in McKinley (The Fort, Taguig) would be enough. Boy, was I wrong!!! Nothing could have prepared me for the almost three or four-kilometer (it felt longer) and 45-60 degree incline of the killer hill.  Just when you thought you conquered this hill –as a shopping network host would say, “But wait, there’s more!”  I’m lucky to have two veteran runners pacing me, helping and literally pushed me up that hill, Roselle D. aka Running Diva and Soleus Team member and ultra distance runner Roselle Abajo, I am forever grateful.

That's me again in front taking our photo with the ruins in the background. Behind me are Roselle A. (in Soleus shirt), Roselle D. and Jing.
That’s me again in front taking our photo with the ruins in the background. Behind me are Roselle Abajo (wearing Soleus shirt), Roselle D. (Running Diva) and Jing.

4.) The Finish Line  – Finish lines are always festive, but I guarantee that this is one of the most festive ones you’ll experience.   I guess, it helps that participants are in an island so nobody gets to go home early, haha.    Seriously though,  the finish line is on a white sand beach, there’s a booth serving sub-zero beer, there’s buffet lunch and aside from the medal, the ladies get a long stemmed red rose at the finish—need I say more?

5.) The Historical Value –  Corregidor was the last stronghold of the Philippine Commonwealth government during WWII. Seeing the ruins, the cannons that are still standing and knowing what transpired here, I can’t help but be grateful to our soldiers and everyone who fought for our freedom.  It was bitter-sweet, but especially meaningful this year when the race was dedicated to the “fallen SAF 44”.

Those are my unforgetable CIHM moments, what’s yours?

Gatorade Run (1st : 2015 : Pasay City)

The world’s number one sports drink is making its debut in the country’s running circuit with the launch of the first Gatorade Run on 22 Nov. 2015 at the Seaside Boulevard at the SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

There are two distance categories—11 and 22 kilometers with gun start times at 5:00 and 4:00 AM respectively. Race fee is P1,100 for 11K participants and P1,500 for their 22K counterparts. The pre-race kit includes an Adidas race tee, a race bib and a timing chip.

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Another Adidas shirt, this time a finisher’s tee, awaits all finishers.   “The Gatorade Run will cap off what has been a historic year for us,” Pepsico Philippines Marketing Manager for Hydration Tony Atayde said. “We just celebrated our 50th birthday; we recently beefed up our line-up with a new variant called White Lightning and welcomed a powerhouse cast of ambassadors; and now, we’re launching the first ever run powered by Gatorade.”   Atayde added, “As a global leader in sports performance, runners can expect that Gatorade will bring its sports science expertise to the fore. More than just a run, this milestone event is a platform for us to reinforce our message of proper hydration.”

The Gatorade Run features a hydration station where participants can get pre-race hydration drinks, a post-run hydration test area where they can instantly learn about their hydration status, and a warm-up area where free sessions will be available for those who want to warmup before the run.

Online registration is until 13 Nov. 2015, Friday.

Participants can start claiming their kits on November 16 until November 19 from 12:00 NN to 8:00 PM at their chosen store and schedule upon registration.   Log on to runrio.com/gatorade-run-1122 for more updates.

Pacing UNICEF Celebrity Advocate Anne Curtis on Her Half Marathon Debut

First came the invite from Queenie of Takbo.ph requesting me to sing the national anthem, but for some reason I begged off. I didn’t feel great or feeling I was all out of my element. Thanks, Queenie for the vote of confidence, I appreciate it.

Then next came another invite from my friend Marga, who works for UNICEF, asking if I were willing to pace celebrity Anne Curtis alongside with other pacers.  The marching orders—to pace Anne on a very discreet manner and run just behind her like plainclothes security personnel.  Anne doesn’t like to have any guards and wants to run just like anyone else.   My answer was a noncommittal, “I’ll try.”  Marga was persistent (in a nice way) in her request that I laughingly told her, “Those two, Anne and Noelle, are fast!”  Finally, I did answer, “Yeah, I think I can.”  Silently I said to myself, “If within the 2:30 finish time.”  Crossing my fingers.

We had about 15 minutes before gun start.   Anne, I observed, was all smiles, excited and at the same perhaps a little nervous. Understandable.  It was her first half marathon after all.   Having a huge number of followers in her Twitter account, I couldn’t help but feel proud of her since she’s using her influence for a great cause.  Unknown to many,  Anne organized this fun run and mobilized her network of friends and sponsors in cooperation with UNICEF.  She should get some credit for  trying to make a difference in the lives of young children.  By the way, it was a sold out running event.

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Photos by Noriel of Running Photographers

With five more minutes left before gun start, Anne, accompanied by her boyfriend Erwan, posed for the cameras at the starting line.  Her back was to us; we (fellow pacers Noelle aka Kikay Runner and Gio) were standing directly across from the flashbulbs and fans at the back slowly lined up, inching one by one at the frontline, hoping to get a photo op with the TV superstar.

At first I wondered, but soon discovered that “guarding”  Anne is not as easy a job as I might have thought considering the number of people who recognized her.  But she was so nice, very friendly with them and generous to her fans especially when they asked for a photo with her.

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Photo by Noriel of Running Photographers

I asked Noelle if there was any game plan and the reply was to just follow Anne’s lead.  The countdown officially began and off we went.   We started off at a (very) fast pace and I was able to run in the pack only until Macapagal Boulevard.  I had no recourse but to pull back and stop to catch my breath.  I could feel my heart was pounding louder than all the feet pounding the pavement. I was about to puke, but thank God, it didn’t happen.  Quickly, I shouted to Noelle to go ahead without me and try to catch up. Knowing Noelle’s capability as an athlete, I knew Anne was in good company.

Rested for a few minutes and was back running again towards CCP grounds, overtaking a good number of runners until I reached Roxas Boulevard area.  It was at Roxas Boulevard where I saw coach Rio dela Cruz running head to head with Kenyan Chirchir. Coach Rio won second place.  I believe he was able to redeem himself in this event after his-not-so-good performance (his own assessment) from his last half marathon race due to cramps. Running the 21K was his tune-up race prior to running the New York Marathon next month.

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A few meters from the first turnaround point at KM00 (Luneta Park), I realized I wasn’t  too far from the pack when I saw them on their way back.  I  was happy about it.  Noelle did her job and the other pacer pretty well.  I saw the pack again after the second turnaround point near a mall in Baclaran.  Again, I was glad to know that I was not too far from them considering I had to stop along the way to tie my shoes a couple of times and greet friends who were too happy either as marshals or racers. 

I’m a moderate-pace runner.  Meaning, I run slowly until I could establish my own pace and settle with it.  I never was a positive split racer.  A positive split is when you run the second half of your race slower than the first half.

For most  of my races, I tend to even or negative split.  This is the reason why my pace and Anne’s were not in sync.  And the wisest thing to do is to pull back.  There’s nothing wrong with it.   Based from experience, it’s better to know when to start the final kick (last two or three kilometers) and reach the finish line with “dignity” intact.

Though I wasn’t in the pack, but I was there from start to finish, just a few meters away from them just tailing behind.  To have finished in 2:35.31 (in hours, unofficial) was a bonus in itself given that I made some stops along the way.  My best 21K time was only 2:10 (2009).  This is my 37th half marathon and my seventh this year (if I remember right).

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Was I disappointed as a pacer?   No, I wasn’t.  For a good number of reasons.  First, I never doubted Anne’s capability to finish the race.  She prepared and trained for it.   Second, whether Noelle and I were there or not as pacers, Anne actually didn’t need us. She’s surrounded with supportive friends and family who are also into sports.  Third, she’s a disciplined running enthusiast, very clear with her goal and focused.  Did you know that she sometimes trains incognito around Ayala Triangle?   If she was able to organize this running event, I didn’t see any reason why she couldn’t achieve her goals.

That said, congratulations Anne Curtis on your strong finish! More finisher’s medals to follow and more distances to conquer!  

Super duper thanks to Queenie for facilitating my race kit, race director Doc Lyndon of Leadpack for the cheers along the route and at the finish line, Ivan Patrick of FRD for your enthusiasm to help as volunteer marshal, Team Boring’s Rod, Vic and Jet for the cheers, and Marga and Noelle for the support.  It was good to see running friends: Coco aka Unyo, Val “the troll”, Jef, Maya, Jay among others.  Congratulations to UNICEF, Takbo.ph, volunteers, the Organizing Team, finishers and winners including the “heroes” of this running event.