Saturday, May 23, 2009

BOTAK 42: "Where Are Those Water Cups"?

Race Report on the BOTAK 42K Paa-bilisan @ The Fort/10 May 2009

By looking at the map route of the Marathon Race, I already predicted that the marathon race will have some problems. And my predictions were right. There was a lack of road marshals, many runners were lost and most of them registered fast finish times for the marathon distance, the race started late, there was a lack of water cups (again!), and you need to really have your personal support team in order to finish a marathon race with better results.

I am sorry, Franco but you need to improve your support system for the runners if you want more runners to join your races. Please don’t give me the reason that you “sub-contracted” the guys who delivered the water supply and water cups for your race. Do I have to do the mathematics again on how much a race organizer would spend for the water cups in all the water stations? Okey, we will do the math again. Assuming you have 600 runners for the marathon distance and there are 20 water stations for the marathon distance, you will have a total requirement for 12,000 water cups. If you buy water cups in Divisoria, it will cost you P 37.00 per 100 pieces. So, that is 120 X P 37.00 = P 4,440. The cost for the water cups is equivalent to the registration fee of 11 runners. The cost might be lesser because not all the 600 runners are running the full marathon distance.

I was happy at the first 10K to see Gatorade drinks in Gatorade cups but it ended there. I never saw and tasted Gatorade drinks in the succeeding water stations. It is also a very pitiful sight to see runners using the covers of those 5-gallon containers as water cups!!! From my support team, I would share my bottled water, Gatorade drinks and even food to the runner on my side. Armand Abalos from Lucban, Quezon and my running “buddy” from Km # 75 to 90 in the BDM 102K was my running “buddy” again for this marathon race and he is really a strong runner.

The race lacks the much-needed race marshals as there are more turns (right & left) than the number of kilometers in the race. By following the runners infront of me and the other runners, I admit that I missed the Pasong Tamo (after coming from the Kalayaan Flyover) turn-around as runners should proceed directly to the said turn-around before proceeding the the Powerplant Loop. Due to the absence of road marshal, we turned right towards the direction of Powerplant. In my estimate, we missed at least one kilometer distance. However, at the Finish Line, I heard comments from those GF 305 users that they registered a distance of 43, 44, and 45 kms. Afterall, the distance was longer than a full marathon distance and the turn-around that we missed had compensated for the additional distance. Ha!Ha!Ha! Unfortunately, my GF 305 did not work efficiently as the digital readings kept on “flashing” from the very start of the race. Instead of being “pissed off” with the condition of my GF 305, I just maintained my pace and treated the run as my long run.

I did not have any problem about the late start of the race. The marathon race was supposed to start at 4:30AM but it started almost 5:00AM. After the grueling experience with the heat of the sun during the BDM 102K last month, the early heat of the sun for this marathon was never an “issue”. At least, the shaded streets at the Powerplant loop gave comfort to the runners but there were no water stations on sight. However, running along Gil Puyat Avenue, Kalayaan Flyover and at The Fort area before reaching the Finish Line gave problems to the other runners.

With my GF 305 not working, I don’t have any numbers and location points to speak of or write on this post except for those observations I’ve noted during the race.

The race route is very challenging. The terrain of the route was very hard as it was concentrated in Taguig and Makati. In the history of the US occupation of the country before start of the 20th century, the US Army selected the area called Fort Bonifacio, formerly called as Fort McKinley as their Artillery Camp (where the US Army deployed their artillery guns) because it was the highest point in Manila where they can observe the movements of our “revolutionaries” passing along the Pasig River and easily can pinpoint targets within the populated area of the Old Manila and Manila Bay. So, running in Makati & Taguig entails a lot of challenging rolling terrain. Such race route would never attract a world-record pace for the marathon race.

Despite constructive criticisms from runner-bloggers about how we “race organize” our road races, it seems that we are not improving, instead, we are going back to the “stone-age” where we have to bring our own water & provisions after paying somebody to support us in our road adventures.

Guys, I don’t blame you why you prefer to go abroad to run a “perfect” marathon race but you must also think that you are paying an equivalent average amount of Five Thousand Pesos or more for the Registration Fee as compared to a measly P 400 to P 500 for a marathon race in our country. Having said that, at least, our race organizers must be able to buy enough water cups for all the runners. We don’t need fresh fruits, gels, power bars, pain relievers and other “gimmicks” (loudspeakers with music) along the race route, just give us potable water and water cups and responsible road marshals. I was laughing when one of the road marshals along C-5 asked me if I am a 42K runner. The road marshals did not know what distance the runners are running even by looking at the color-coded race bibs!

If there is a positive comment I’ve heard from most of the finishers, it is the fact that this marathon race was a “redemption” race for those runners who participated in last December’s SC Singapore Marathon. They told me that they improved a lot from their finish times and proud that they got new PRs on their marathon finish time in this race.

Before I passed the Finish Line, I slowed down to see the digital clock and I registered a Finish Time of 4:35:10 hours. I am not proud of my time as I ran too slow without an operational GF 305. Based from the Race Chart of Running Times Magazine, I had an average pace of 6:30 minutes per kilometer/10:30 minutes per mile. It is my ultramarathon pace! Ha!Ha!Ha!

By the way, next Saturday will be TNF 100 Australia. There are 250+ solo runners for the 100-Km distance. Dean “Karno” Karnazes, the Ultramarathon Man, will be competing in the said race. The next Saturday after TNF 100 Australia, it will be TNF 100 Sacobia, Clark, Philippines. There are 100 solo runners for the 100-Km distance. Dean “Karno” Karnazes will be in the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon Expo for his book signing. Good luck to all TNF 100 Sacobia Solo Runners!!!

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