TITANIUM RACE REVIEW [4.5 out of 5 Titanium Crosses]
It was raining hard throughout Saturday morning prior to race day and two other races have already been cancelled for safety reasons. So when I opened up my mobile phone and read up on RSS feeds on my social networks, I found out that Bankers Managers Association of the Philippines [BMAP] Great Bank Fun Run in Filinvest City will push through on Sunday morning. According to the race organizers there are more than 1,100 runners who signed up. I wasn’t able to ask how many runners showed up at the starting line. My estimate would be at around 800 plus. So where do I start my review for this race event?
1. Hydration [ +++++ Five Titanium Crosses]
The very first thing that I always check and something that is important for any race event is the hydration stations. Since there are only three race categories for this event, the 3k, 5k and the 10k and it looped twice for those who ran the 10k distance, all I can say is that there was enough water for everyone at the finish line. In fact, it was a welcome surprise to even see overflowing bananas throughout the hydration stations strategically located throughout the race course. I later discovered that the bananas were sponsored by Big Chill, who also had a booth at the event venue.
2. Race Route and Venue [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses]
It is only my second time to run inside Filinvest City, Alabang. The first time was during the TAKBO.PH Night Fest last year. From what I remember, it seems to me that this is the exact same race route as that of the Night Fest. I enjoyed the run at the Night Fest, but I think I enjoyed this race event much more because it happened during the daytime and that I was able to appreciate the scenery much more too. One of the things that I love about the race route is that it reminded me of running inside UP Diliman campus academic oval. One can enjoy running along rows of acasia trees and one tends to forget the hustle and bustle of modern city life running along the race route. Another thing that I enjoyed about the race route is that it was hilly. I can still feel the mild soreness in my gluteus maximus muscles aka the buttocks/butt area till now in spite of having stretched my muscles before and after the race event. To think that I did not put much effort in this run as I was gearing up for the MILO MARATHON happening this coming weekend. It is no wonder then that many runners of the Adidas Adination of Runners club are strong and fast runners. This is their usual training grounds and the hills in this area are as challenging and more beautiful than doing the Kalayaan flyovers which is the usual staple for race events at BGC. But I guess more than the two things I just mentioned, I like the fact that the runners had the entire road all to themselves. It was totally closed off, making one feel that the road is owned by the runners though it is but one moment in time.
In terms of race venue, Alabang’s Filinvest City is not a popular race venue as most of the current runners live in Metro Manila, Makati and Quezon City areas. Still, though the race venue is 35 kilometers away from where I live I didn’t mind because it’s nice to break away from the monotony of the usual race venues. The place was quiet and cool. And it was perfect for runners to breathe in the fresh air as Alabang is at the outskirts of Metro Manila and the air is fresher in these parts. I think that’s one of the reasons why I ran unusually faster though the race route was mostly hilly. Even with a modestly relaxed pace with only about three hours of sleep I still managed to pull off a 1 hour and 5 minutes race time for a 10 kilometer hills route. That’s fast for a hills training running for me. So I attribute it to the race venue being clear of air pollution in running faster.
3. Theme [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses]
As I mentioned in my earlier post about this race event, BMAP organized this race event to raise funds for their programs about savings consciousness. This event has the full backing and support of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas [BSP], in fact the BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. graced the occasion and gave a speech about the latest campaign of BMAP, one of which includes the program to get the Filipino youth to open bank accounts and teach children how to properly save. This theme for a race event is unique and the first of its kind. According to BSP Governor Tetangco’s speech yesterday, only 2 out of 10 Filipino households have any form of savings. This means that only 2 out of 10 Filipino families are prepared for any eventuality or emergency. Emergencies involve money, such as bringing a family member to the hospital, rebuilding a house due to a natural disaster and emergencies can even mean that there’s a need to travel to take new business or employment opportunities. It made me wonder then, if most of the runners that joined yesterday were part of the statistics? I know that in my case, I am still learning the ropes even at my age. Admittedly, I am part of the statistics of single people who support their families who neither has any significant savings either. Still, I am young and I am working on this one too.
4. Activity Area [++++ Four Titanium Crosses]
The activity area where the baggage area, the stage and other booths are located at the BMAP Fun Run was small and yet fun. One, it is the first time that I’ve seen several banks have different booths at a race event. I’ve seen some banks promoting their latest products and services at race events but this is the first time that I’ve seen back to back booths of banks. There’s one bank that is promoting their latest debit card. You can immediately get the debit card at the venue just buy paying for the card and it can be instantly be used at major establishments that carry it. Some booths were about sports nutrition and there’s a REEBOK booth were runners could try the latest REEBOK shoes and even purchase a pair at a discounted rate. Finally, there’s the onsite registration area and the loot bag claiming area. Oh wait! I almost forgot that there’s a VIP area where Tully’s, a new coffee shop like Starbucks was stationed. I dropped by the Tully’s booth being a coffee drinker and grabbed a cup of freshly brewed coffee for free!
I am giving the activity area only 4 out of 5 Titanium Crosses simply because the sound system had very limited reach. When I was at the far end of the activity area, I could barely hear what was being said by the host. From what I’ve seen at other race events, the sound system should be audibly heard even at the farthest part of the activity area. Then again, this is not entire the fault of the race organizers either. There are other factors like the trees that absorbed most of the sound that enveloped the activity area. That’s a major thing to consider too. In addition, it was drizzling a little before the race. This too affected the way the sound system delivered messages to the public.
5. Race Singlet and Giveaway [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses]
Although I wore my Titanium Runner shirt for this race, I was able to test run the race singlet prior to the race event. It’s not bad as it is made of dryfit material. In addition, I like the fact that most of the sponsors are written at the back instead of in front of the shirt. I like it because it is soft sell and not hard selling all the different sponsors of the event. And I also like the fact that the logos of the sponsors at the back of the shirt are not too small that it can’t be visibly read by a person who is just one or two feet away. But the highlight of this race is not the singlet though it is really great. It’s the commemorative coin issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas! All the runners who joined this race were given a 1988 EDSA Revolution commemorative coin with the face value of 10 pesos. Wow! For the limited edition coin alone, this race was worth it. I learned that the primary reason why they opted to give a coin for the fun run is because they wanted the event to be symbolic. One, the run is being organized by an association of bankers. Two, the thrust is about savings consciousness. So what better way to get the message across then by giving runners a coin to remind people to save? I really like the coin because it not only reminds me of savings, but also reminds me of a pivotal part of Philippine history. Civil liberties and democracy is what makes it possible for our nation to be competitive to the rest of the world. And I still believe that the EDSA Revolution is something that has made it possible for us to move forward into the future with hope.
6. Baggage Area [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses]
The baggage area was easy to find and well organized. It was even divided into sections too, which made it easier to find bags. Since majortiy of the runners still commute going to race events, the baggage area is one of the most sought after and utilized booth in race events. I am glad that things are starting to look up in this area.
7. Race Organizers [+++++ Five Titanium Crosses]
This race event is organized by Without Limits. They have a long list of races that they’ve managed and organized. On top of my head I remember the 500 Smile Run in Manila and the Sun Piology event last December. They also organized the St. Luke’s Eye Run last March and a lot of other race events as well. Having talked to the race organizers, I learned that one of their goals as a race organizer is to ensure that many runners continue to enjoy races in a cost effective manner. I like that! There are just races that I want to join but I find myself inhibited because I also think of the cost of each race event. As an utlrarunner, I tend to wear out a pair of running shoes in just two or three months and as such, my priority is to get a new pair of shoes. To join races has become a secondary priority now. So for a fun run event that is less than 1,000 pesos and one goes home with a historic coin produced no less by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, I believe this race event is worth much more than what one paid for!
Still, if there’s one wish list that I would want to see in their upcoming race events based in Alabang, it would be that there would be provision for shuttle services. This can be looked into for future race events of BMAP should they retain Filinvest City as a race venue and when they start targeting larger number of runners.