Last March 17, 2013, thousands of runners converged at the SM Mall of Asia grounds for the biggest running event of the year, the Unilab Active Health and RunRio’s Run United 2013 series. Jeff and I started preparing for this race since January with weekly runs at the UP Diliman grounds. Jeff is the one with the most preparation because he ran his first 21 km, while I only registered for 5 km.
The problem with having different gun start times is that one will be forced to be at the venue earlier. Race for 21 km runners started at 4 am, so I have no choice but to roam around the venue until my 5 km gun start st 5:45 am.
5 km. Before I went to the assembly area, I went to the portalets to empty my bladder, ang hirap kaya tumakbo pag di nakawiwi. Good thing that there were plenty of clean portalets for the runners, and there were designated loo for male and female too. One last check if my D-tag was properly secured and off I went to the assembly area. Seconds after, runners were zooming their way to the 5 km course. I tried not to be distracted by other runners who stop in front of me (minsan kasi napapahinto rin ako) and snaked my way through some HHWW or HHWR (holding hands while running?) and some big groups that run side by side occupying the whole area. Anyway, at around 2 km, I slowed down until I reached the hydration station and grabbed a cup of Gatorade. I was alternately running and walking after that. The second hydration station is near SMX, I like the Gatorade here because it’s cold. I finished the race at 37:03.
21 km. The Philippine running community is so ready for longer races, the 21 km is proof with close to 5,ooo runners. The organizers had to split them into two waves. I’m so proud because Jeff finished his first 21 km strong at around 2:05. He’s one of the first 500 finishers too so he was able to get a Tupperware Ecobottle in addition to the finishers kit. He said that the road at the Coastal Mall and Buendia area is not good though. He’s satisfied with the hydration stations, sponge and banana stations throughout the course.
For the 5 km finishers, the kit includes a pouch, towel, sun visor, mineral water and gatorade (not in photo) and samples of Unilab medicines. For the 21 km finishers, kit has the pouch, finishers shirt, towel, sun visor, mineral water and gatorade (not in photo), small can of Century Tuna and medicine samples from Unilab. 21 km runners also got the first piece of the Run United puzzle medal. I’ve seen last year’s finishers kit, and I noticed that the contents were minimized.
Post-race event at the Unilab Active Health Village:
This year’s Unilab Active Health Village covered more grounds that’s why it’s more spacious and brought new booths and exciting activities to the runners. There’s a wall for picture-taking, a photobooth, food station, therapy session that provides stretching and ice packs especially for 10 km and 21 km runners, and my fave part is the Active Health Daycare, I don’t know any race that has a daycare for kids. Aside from the invited band playing at the stage, the raffle is a big come-on for the runners to stay throughout the program. Jeff wanted to win that mountain bike.
- Bigger parking space was provided but wasn’t opened early. We arrived at the venue a little past 3 am and we noticed the queue of vehicles, turns out that all of us were waiting for that big parking space to be opened.
- Plenty of portalets and I appreciate the male and female separation. But there were no proper markings where the male and female portalet starts and ends though, next year, I hope they are properly marked to avoid confusion.
- The best development of RU 2013 is that the start and finish line for all race categories is the same, SM MOA grounds. Unlike last year where the starting line of 21 km runners is at BGC and ends at SM Mall of Asia. This is great for those group of friends or partners running in different categories so that they can go to the venue together.
- Claiming of finishers kit is fast. Lots of booths for each category.
- Contents of finishers kit is not that exciting.
- The sizing of the 21 km finishers shirt is bigger than the singlet’s size.
- Lots of activities at the Unilab Active Health village.
- Plenty of cups filled with water and Gatorade already lined up for the runners. And trash were properly contained in a huge trash collector.
- Photographers are all over the area which is great to capture you in action.
Overall, Run United 1 is very organized and runners were well taken cared of even post-race. Run United series is a must if you plan on joining road races. See you on Run United 2 on June 2, 2013!