Thursday, September 6, 2012

RunRio, Unilab Active Health, and BFD

Monday morning. The sky was clear. Birds singing. Squirrels playing. I was at the compound of Unilab for a short meeting. Called out by Coach Rio dela Cruz and Alex Panlilio (Head of Unilab Active Health). The agenda? Discuss other areas that will make the Run United series engaging and fun. Not that its not. We were to pitch in additional ideas on how to make Unilab's signature race help keep the enthusiasm of the running community high

As soon as I entered the building, I was led to a room where Coach Rio of RunRio, Alex of ULAH, and the rest of their team was confined. Took the first vacant seat that I saw. Coffee was offered. I politely declined. Opted for a glass of water instead. Since we don't want to waste any precious time, the meeting immediately kicked off. Ground rules was cited in order to make the brainstorming more efficient and productive. No ideas will be challenged. Only to be prioritized according to cost and its impact to the running community

Here were some of the things (in no particular order) --
1 Finisher's Towel. I saw this being given away during Ironman Kona. Somehow it does make some sense. After bringing it home you will still be able to use it and it will serve a nice memento for accomplishing a feat. I suggested a regular-sized towel for the highest distance available (32k in RU3 and 42k in RUPM) then throw in a smaller version to those who completes the half-marathon category. Runners can immediately wipe their sweat while they wait their turn in the baggage counter or while loiter around in the ULAH village
photo grabbed from

2 Baggage counter. We all hate long queues. I personally witnessed people lining up for at least an hour on an international event. Its best to have multiple baggage counters per category and having at least 20 chutes to serve the runners. Runners will also appreciate it if their belongings will be placed inside a bag that will protect it from the elements and stored on a multi-level rack, if possible. This will help the personnel to locate the runner's baggage a lot faster
photo grabbed from davesensei

3 Barefoot-friendly race route. Always hate to see Macapagal and Kalayaan/Buendia flyover. My feet hurts like hell. It is always a sight to see whenever Roxas Blvd is part of the race map. This can be a bit of a challenge to RunRio's team. But I believe in Coach Rio's group in their creative process and coming up with a new one

4 Pacers. Sub2(hours) on a half-marathon? Sub4(hours) on a full marathon? Unilab can open up a registration system that will allow volunteers to serve as pacers. In order to qualify, s/he must be at least 20~30 minutes faster than the time s/he is applying for. We are not even talking about PR/PB. Such times should be consistent or has been done with at least 5 races. In addition, the pacers will have a separate running clinic to make sure that they are in tip-top shape come race day
photo grabbed from nike

5 Assembly Pen. If assigning pacers is not feasible, it is best if Unilab and RunRio will educate the runners with regards to proper placement in the assembly area. We can place big markers that will indicate the expected finish time or pace (minutes per kilometer). Believe me when I say that most elite/competitive runners doesn't like it when slower runners are in front
photo grabbed from jasoninhollywood

6 Guaranteed singlet and shirt sizes. We can open the registration at least 3 months prior the event. Then allowing the runners to indicate their preferred singlet and finishers shirt size. This can create a win-win situation where the runners get what they want and at the same time minimize the cost of the organizer in singlet and shirt production. In addition, this will also facilitate in personalizing our race bibs. Yey!

7 10-Miler. Keep having 3 Unilab events in a year but having each leg with a different (longer) distance. RU1 keeping the half-marathon but also introducing a 10-miler category. The introduction of a 16km will serve as a springboard to those who are still afraid to make the jump from 10km to 21km. Then RU2 will no longer cater a 10-miler category but will sport a 21km and the Afroman distance (32km). RU3 can now be re-branded as RUPM since it will now have a full marathon category

8 Readily available finish/gun time. We all know that it would usually take 24-72 hours before the official race result comes out. However it would be great if there would be such a facility that will allow the participants to view their (unofficial) time. The portal will have direct access to the raw data. This is similar to what the Standard Chartered Marathon series does

9 Reflectorized wrist band and singlet. Let's make it safer for runners. Most of us burn the calories away either in the morning (read: very early) or at night. By making our singlets stitched with reflectorized strips will make it easier for motorists to spot us miles away. Giving them no reason sideswiping us. Not that they have a reason for doing so

10 Finish Line Arc. I remembered my 5km run back in 2010. It was with RunRio. That event made an impression because of its "hi-tech" finish arc. The said arc displayed your name and time. I'd really appreciate if we can have it back. This gives the runners to immediately feedback regarding their finish time. I'm not sure why it was removed from the succeeding races. I am assuming that it was a bit expensive

11 Photo booth. Lots of 'em. If we are talking about 14,000+ runners per event then we would need a lot of photo booths. This means a lot to us runners since we want a memento of accomplishing a feat that we are proud of. The longest distance runners would usually bring home a finishers shirt and a medal. At least the rest of us will have our pictures taken with the best smile we can don. Don't forget the high-speed photo printers so we can minimize the long queue

12 Medical Assistance. I find this essential because you can expect when to see the first-aid group along the route which is every 3 kms. Yep, every 3 kilometers. It gives us runners some level of assurance. No need for anyone to look for a marshal along the route if you are feeling unwell. Simply go back to the last station or keep on walking and get on to the next. We all know the importance of response time in case of an emergency and proximity is key

13 Medal around my neck. Not on my hands. This may sound childish/petty at first but would you rather have your finishers medal handed over to you? This is very simple and quick to implement with no cost involved (maybe a little if it will require additional manpower) It gives all finishers a sense of accomplishment. Nuff said
photo grabbed from pancakesandpostcards

14 Photovendo. How I missed them so much. It allowed us to simply search for our pictures by typing in our bib numbers. It was that simple. I mean who would want to swim through tons of pictures and after 3 hours you still can't find yours. Besides having a photobooth, you still want to have a "running" photo that you can post on your facebook wall. Or wait for your friends to tag you. If you got any, that is

15 Wifi. Free of course! Most runners bring their wifi-enabled devices. So as soon as you cross the finish line you can connect to your facebook, twitter, linkedin, myspace, google+, and other social networking account that you may have and brag about it. Maybe not brag but making your 10,000 friends/subscribers know that you've completed your first 3km fun run
photo grabbed from

16 E-certificate. Lets save Mother Earth. Lets minimize the use of paper. The online certificates can be made available after the official race results has been released. At least you can print your own finishers certificate with your name and finish/gu time on it. Then the rest of us can simply upload it on our virtual walls

17 Doughnuts! A tasty treat that awaits all finishers. All 200-calories of it

Discussion was getting heavy so I requested for a short break. It was granted. My phone rang. It was Meowth. I excused myself. "Good Morning!", she said. I opened my eyes. I was now staring at my ceiling. I realized that I was still on my bed. Glanced at my watch and it said 652AM. It was all a dream


DaddyCastle said...

haha! u'd got me there bro!! Nice one!!! "Discussion was getting heavy so I requested for a short break." - Impresses me and then .... BANG!! Twas just a dream! :)))))

Noel said...

Great post! Amazing!

Daves said...

wow! look at the odds! thanks noel (daddy castle)! thanks noel (purpose driven runner)!

April S. said...

great post! I love it and I agree with everything you suggested in the meeting...i mean in your dream.... haha =)

Daves said...

hi april! thanks for dropping by :)

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