TITANIUM RACE REVIEW SUMMARY: [+++++ 5 Titanium Crosses] The BROOKS HAPPY RUN 2 lived up to its name as being the happiest race event that I’ve joined for this year. It lived up to its ideal in making sure that runners had a great time by keeping a lot of things in check. They’ve made the race registration fees accessible for most runners, making them get a taste of BROOKS via the race singlet that comes along with the race registration fee. Furthermore, they addressed critical concerns of runners in their previous year where hydration stations were few and far between and race distances were not accurate at all. Overall, it is nice to see the faces of the runners reaching the finish line truly happy in finishing their run, happy in going around the different booths at the activity area and going home happy that they were able to take another step into fulfilling a state of happiness through a life of wellness and indeed figuratively running happy 2 home about it.
Last year, I was not able to join the first BROOKS RUN HAPPY event as there was another race event that took place at the Mall of Asia. But what I do recall is reading the threads online and also some races reviews on how badly organized the first BROOKS RUN HAPPY event was. So the biggest question on my mind at the time that this race was announced, can the event redeem itself again? Can it pull off getting people to register considering the negative reviews and publicity that it had the previous year? The answer to the question is — YES, it can rise above its own past and learn from it and I say this as a runner that BROOKS RUN HAPPY 2 is indeed one of the happiest race events that I’ve joined for this year, even better than my CONDURA SKYWAY MARATHON 2012 experience of which I have not even gone around to writing about because of my sheer disappointment over it. To think that I am writing this blog entry with very little sleep, traveling to my home province and trying to finish this just before going to bedtime. So yes, I am really happy for the BROOKS RUN HAPPY 2 and it was a blast that I look forward to till next year.
1. Hydration Stations [+++++ Five out of Five Titanium Crosses]. In 2011, the main gripe that many runners complained about was the lack of hydration stations. For this year, I dare say that the race organizers outdid themselves and overdid it. I never encountered a problem with the hydration during the entire course [I did the 6k]. In fact, I was very surprised that there was a generous supply of ion drinks of 100 Plus for a 6k event! Most runners don’t even need ion drinks to replenish lost electrolytes in the body for a 6 kilometer run. It is and it truly was too much! Still, thank you for redeeming yourself in this matter.
2. Race Route [+++++ Five out of Five Titanium Crosses] Coming from an injury last April, I have just started to get back into running for the last two weeks and I can only manage short distances. It’s hard to be out of running for almost a month. I feel like a total newbie. So I was reviewing the race route like someone who happens to be fresh into the running scene. And truth be told, this is indeed my first 6k race event in my entire life. For runners joining their first time road race event in Metro Manila, this is indeed a welcome change to the many race events that I have attended. It had a modest atmosphere that was made lively by the fact that the entire race event was geared to make runners feel happy. I felt happy because even for a 6k route, it had enough challenges going uphill at certain parts of the course, but not extremely difficult that would make a person want to curse the race organizers. Another reason why I love the route of the 6k was that even though there are no portalets for the shorter road courses, the route had adequate 24 joints like MacDonalds and other coffee shops that one can go to the toilet for a brief respite — just in case you need one. Admittedly, I needed one so it was one of the reasons that I had a longer time in finishing the race. Still, I actually ran faster today than I did yesterday at the Merrell Adventure Race where I clocked 47 minutes for 5 kilometers while I clocked 42 minutes for a 6k event for today at BROOKS RUN HAPPY 2.
3. Race Singlet [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses]. Need I say more? I heard and was chatting with other fellow bloggers and they told me that they knew some of their friends who actually signed up just to get the Brooks singlet. And indeed, it is made of its patented Brooks dry fit technology. I’ve given it a test run a few days prior to the race and I can say that for the race singlet alone, it is indeed worth signing up for. Furthermore, unlike most race singlets, the Brooks Run Happy events just use the Brooks logo and that’s it. The RUN HAPPY logo is sported at the upper back portion near the collar near the nape when you wear it. In short, runners can wear the Brooks singlet on most training runs and other people will not even know that it came from a particular race event. That’s a good strategy for BROOKS. Why? For the brand has just entered the Philippine market in recent years and has yet to significantly dent the running community. I have fellow bloggers who are committed and die hard fans of BROOKS. But for the majority of runners out there, I still see most are wearing other brands. So in a sense, this is a good long term branding and marketing strategy because when people wear it, they will be promoting the BROOKS brand and not the race event. And at this point in time, it is the brand awareness that is much needed right now. So kudos on the simple race singlet design.
4. Race Organizers [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses] The biggest challenge that the race organizers had to face was the fact that there were runners who remembered how bad the previous race was. It is for this matter that I salute WITHOUT LIMITS/PROACTIVE for indeed taking up the challenge in executing this event knowing that there were indeed eyebrows being raised on whether they can pull off a better race event than the one that happened before. They addressed two critical issues that were raised during the previous event. One, enough hydration stations for all runners. Two, proper race distances for all categories. Generally speaking, runners can forgive race organizers if the distance is a little longer. But if the distance is shorter and there is still no water in plain sight, then that is indeed something else.
5. Race Venue [++++ Four Titanium Crosses] I only gave it four for this category because I am beginning to tire of BGC. It seems that in a year, I would be running a dozen or more race events at the Bonifacio Global City. It’s a great race venue. There’s adequate parking for those who bring their vehicles. There’s public transportation services that runs 24 hours called The Fort bus. One just needs to know the schedule. Then when the sun is up and shining about, there are jeepneys and other garage to terminal shuttles that is located at Market! Market! which is just a stone’s throw away from the event venue of RUN HAPPY 2. Still, I would love to see this race event take place in other locations around Metro Manila. In fact, it would even be HAPPIER that this race event be brought to other major cities in the Philippines like Cebu and Baguio City. Now that’s something the brand could consider in the years to come.
6. Baggage Area [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses]. As of the last race that I’ve been to, I now created my own standard for the baggage area check and claiming. For me, one should not stay longer in line for more than 15 minutes for depositing and not longer than 5 minutes for claiming the bag again upon reaching the finish line.For this race event, it passed by golden standard and that made me very happy indeed! And yes, the baggage area was indeed divided according to race distance category. So it was not a mess of things in securing and claiming my stuff.
7. Activity Area [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses]. I felt that I was at a fair at the activity area because there were lots of things that one can do. One, you can choose to sample the different products of the event sponsors. Two, you can go and have a great time trying the different games that were in the area. What’s even cooler about the games that they placed at the activity area is that they offered people a chance at winning something. Three, there’s even an activity area for kids! They really thought about this event really hard to the point. I’ve never really lingered at activity areas in most races because it is really my first time to venture into short distance runs. It then made me realize that this is really good for those who have family members waiting for their loved ones doing the longer distances like the half marathon and for friends who are waiting for the rest of the team to arrive. I had a blast just going around, talking to the people at their booths and getting to know the new products out there. Some booths I completely ignored though because my eyes would just fire with envy at the sports gear that I could only dream of buying. Overall, this is by far the BEST ACTIVITY AREA that I’ve been to ANY RACE EVENT in Metro Manila. It even beats last year’s MILO Manila Marathon race event activity area that took place at the Mall of Asia grounds.
What Needs Improvement:
1. Overall Program. The program was not boring but the runners were not really engaged as much. Something must be done to get more participation other than the usual morning stretching and warm up exercises. I really don’t know how they plan to do it. But it would be really really interesting to do a reverse — perform the raffle or at least one of the major raffles at the start of the race event. Then the winner would come on stage, interviewed a bit just before gunstart and they could claim their prize after they have finished their run. Would it not be something new that runners look forward to? It would lessen the chances of last minute runners who oveslept in their cars and homes, and it would definitely give more people a chance to interact. For instance, the brand ambassador was not heavily utilized at the start of the event. There are so many simple things that could have made this event happier.
2. Morning Exercises and warm ups are too difficult. Being a regular at the gym and training for ultramarathons, I make it a point to perform stretching exercises and warm up exercises. And for today’s event, most of the warm up exercises were not easy to perform, too fast to follow and simply not doable in an area where people are bumping into each other. In short, this is the one thing that I think should greatly be improved the next time around.