Monday, August 29, 2011

Race Review: Earth Run 2011

Here's my experience - Earth Run 2011

Good Points
- Registration (there were 4 onsite registration centers and an online facility was made available)
- Registration fee (the 21k fee was pegged at PHP650)
- Beneficiary (proceeds of this race goes to Greenpeace)
- Singlet (not a singlet but a nice shirt that came with the race kit)
- Timing (used Itemhound for recording of race result better than barcode)
- Assembly Area (there was an easy-access point to the coral near the starting arc)
- Distance (the half marathon category was fairly accurate; it was roughly 21.15kms)
- Hydration (ice-cold Pocari Sweat was served)
- Cups (they used paper cups; +1 for being environment friendly)
- Route (it was nice that the 10k runners also utilized Buendia flyover)
- Ambulance (there were at least 1 ambulance roving along the route)
- Finisher's Medal (simple and nice)
- Finisher's Distribution (tents were separated by distances)
- Banana (was provided at the finish line)
- Race results (partial and unofficial race result is now available)

Areas for Improvement
- Baggage Counter (there was a long queue)
- Portalet (there were 10 portable toilets but not-so near the assembly area) 
- Gun Start (515am gun start for the 21km runners was not implemented)
- Race Route (the half marathon route was changed without prior notice)
- Hydration (water was not cold; good thing the weather was nice)
- Hydration (inconsistent distances between water stations)
- Hydration (no personnel assigned in the 8th Ave/Mercato; it was more like a self-service)
- Hydration (no paper cups in Chino Roces St/Buendia; we were drinking water on the gallon lid)
- Kilometer markers (none was to be found along the route)
- Directional sign (ample signs was available but not sufficient; 21k lead pack got lost)
- Marshal (the one stationed in 32nd St was not knowledgeable about the race route)
- Loop cord (no cords were given at Triangle Dr and 8th Ave; easy to cheat for any runner)
- Safety Cones (there was none and if there was any, too few to notice)
- Gun Start (the host said "Ready!" then immediately after the gun was fired; catching everyone off guard)
- Finisher's Medal (was not distributed at the finish line area)
- Pocari (a distribution table was at the far end of 28th St which wasn't noticeable)

Couldn't Comment/Other Observations
- Sponge (no sponge station along the race route)
- Banana (no banana station along the race route)
- Timing mat (something that can be considered by Itemhound)
- Route (somewhat all to familiar especially when we've hit 38th St)
- Fire Trucks (none was seen on this one though I personally don't like a shower or get my shoes drenched)
- Activity Area (did not roamed around to check what's going on)
- Race Photo (several albums was made available by a volunteer photographer)
- Photo Booth/Wall (didn't notice if there was a photo booth in the activity area)

My Thoughts
Crazy Weather.Two days before the race, public storm signals remain hoisted over several areas in north Luzon as typhoon “Mina” continues to intensify as told by weather bureau PAGASA.  This prompted a handful of participants to run about and inquire if the event will push through or not.  Good thing, the weather somewhat eased up a few hours before the race though short bursts of rain showers was being experienced every now and then

Big Day. After 18 long days of self-imposed rest, I will be able to run again.  I've (KT) taped my knee for support and to limit unnecessary movement of my kneecap.  I was both excited and nervous.  Nervous with the fact that I didn't had any training at all and here I was going to cover 21 kilometers.  I was even entertaining the thought of downgrading my distance to 10 kilometers.  But then again, I wouldn't know if my right knee has fully healed or not.  I was just going to take it easy and will immediately stop if the pain appears and become unbearable

Bull Runner.  Jaymie caught up with a lot of runners including me.  I was able to tag along for a kilometer or two.  But her pace was too fast for my knees to handle.  Also, her water breaks are quite short and doesn't suit my racing strategy.  Finally gave up with the thought of running alongside with her and just went back with my usual pace.  It would've been nice running with the Bull Runner.  Running fast wasn't part of my agenda.  Crossing the finish line is

Happy Faces.  Since I was out for awhile, It was a nice sight to see friends and familiar faces along the route. Even with the threat of Storm "Mina" looming over Metro Manila, the spirits of the runners did not wane a bit and one can definitely feel the festive mood.  All the smiles and boost of moral was the one that kept me going throughout the race especially when I got bored running the whole stretch of Buendia.  As it really felt very long at that time

ATC Love.   There was a bunch a guys that I believe the participants want to say thanks to.  They initially stationed themselves at 3rd Ave, where we were about to hit the long flyover.  And they stayed in the same area (Rizal Dr) and continued on cheering everyone and even giving a nice cool spray of water on our faces.  I thought they were part of AdEvents crew but later found out that they were ATC runners.  Thanks for providing the much needed support!

Summary.  It was only such a letdown that AdEvents (race organizer) made some amateurish mistakes which essentially the runners wasn't happy about.  Given with the fact that they've been organizing fun runs for some time and it is their 2nd year as well in handling the organization of Earth Run.  It might've been forgivable but with runner's expectations getting really high, one cannot simply afford such petty shortcomings

Overall, it was a no-frills event with a few kinks here and there. The important thing is that no one got hurt (safety is important!) during the race and a good amount goes to Greenpeace.  I look forward to next year's Earth Run.  If time (and money) permits, Cebu and Davao legs can be considered as well.


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