Last Tuesday, I was invited to be part of the media pre-event conference for the RUN UNITED PILIPINAS MARATHON. There were a lot of people, mostly bloggers from different fields of interests. I was seated to some lifestyle bloggers, met a few food bloggers though the bulk are still running bloggers seated at the front of the stage area who were all eagerly excited about what this marathon has in store. In terms of a media launch even for a run by UNILAB, this is the best and most organized I’ve seen to date. The program was short and sweet and highly interactive. In addition, the choice of venue ANNABEL’s in Tomas Morato in Quezon City is also a welcome change since in previous events it is always in Makati, particularly in Greenbelt area. I am not here to bore you the details of the press launch though, but just to share that it is really tough to come up with an original blog post about the event when every other running blogger will be saying or sharing the same things. One blogger focused on the safety of the runners. Another one shared about the medal. Me? I will share with you seven great things to look forward to the RUPM.
FIRST, finishers of the full marathon will be given a red carpet treatment! And this is a literal red carpet at the finish line! While one race even claims that every runner is indeed the king or queen of the road — I have yet to see that kind of royal treatment to runners at the end of the finish line for their races. UNILAB in association with RUNRIO is bringing it a step further and giving runners, particularly the 42k runners the full royal treatment. With all your efforts you get to reach the finish line walking or running towards a red carpet. Here’s your chance to finally feel like a celebrity! So strike your favorite pose at the finish line! Cry, laugh or do whatever you want on that red carpet and express yourself fully. I encourage this to all first timers, the ones who will be doing their first full marathon at the RUPM.
SECOND, an overkill of kilometer markers for the entire race route! The entire race will have kilometers markers for EVERY KILOMETER of the entire race distance for the full marathon! In short, you can start counting down the number of kilometers left at the very start of the race. This already assures runners that they no longer need to even study the race route because it means that if you miss a kilometer marker, it automatically means that you have missed a turn somewhere or you blinked too long that you missed it when you zoomed passed it. Those are the only two explanations that could warrant missing a kilometer marker and also assures the runners that there are enough marshalls to the race event as the organizers have added more than the usual number of marshalls required for a full marathon event.
THIRD, RUPM has a challenging race course. So you think that MILO is difficult? Think again. The RUPM race route utilizes the race route of the hardcore marathon events of yesterday’s BOTAK marathon and mixes it with the intensity of the latest race events of RUNRIO. All the runners will face a series of uphill challenges during the first 32 kilometers as it goes around the Bonifacio Global City area in Taguig. This will then lead runners to exit BGC and enter C-5 area where the route is going uphill towards entering BGC again and then heading towards Kalayaan Flyover towards Buendia Avenue and then looping around the Roxas Boulevard area before it circles in towards the Mall of Asia area towards the finish line. You think that’s easy? Try to factor in that most marathoners, especially the first timers would hardly have enough sleep being excited about the race event. On top of it all, there’s also the fact that runners tend to run either too fast or too conservative since it is still dark and the only lights will be the street lights and additional lights provided by the organizers in certain areas that are really dark. According to the weather forecast, humidity levels will be high too which will only add to the challenge as runners feel that they are already sweating buckets even though they are just into the first five kilometers of their race.
FOURTH, a bigger and BETTER Active Health Village. Based on the media launch, they’ve made changes to the activity area. For instance, all marathoners reaching the finish line zooming past the red carpet will indeed be given the royal treatment as they will be given a cup of cold Enervon HP recovery drink. This is great news indeed since most marathon events only have sports drinks that only help replenish lost electrolytes. This is the second full marathon event that boasts of having a “recovery drink” for its finishers as an added incentive. Not only will the electrolytes be refreshed but it will also help the muscles recover faster with the protein and vitamin B-Complex and amino acids that comes with the said drink. On a personal note though, I love the taste of ENERVON HP … sadly I would need to locate the nearest portalet or bathroom as I am lactose intolerant and would need to flush it out of my system in less than two hours after drinking just one cup of it. Yes, that’s my life. Ha ha ha indeed. But wait, there’s more to look forward to at the event village. There’s free wireless internet for people who would want to update their social media network courtesy of Globe Telecom. In addition, there’s a physical therapy recovery area courtesy of the University of Santo Tomas — a regular feature in UNILAB race events. But most of all, get ready for the awarding ceremony as this is the first time there’s a local and foreign category to give chance for local elite runners to outdo themselves without thinking about the international competition.
FIFTH, an extremely large and nice finisher’s medal! So you missed out in completing the other race events to piece the medals of the Run United 2012 series. No worries! The finishers’ medal for the 21k and 42k distance is one HUGE medal! Need I say more?!??! I think the photo says it all here.
SIXTH, it’s a RUNRIO event. Admittedly, I haven’t been doing a lot of RUNRIO events this year. Yet when it comes to race events, RUNRIO continue to sets the bar in terms of race organizing in the Philippines and I dare say for the rest of the world. In case you haven’t read other running bloggers who have done races abroad, you will not realize that Filipino runners are among the most pampered runners there is. For one thing, it is not common that water at hydration stations is ice cold when you do a similar race event in nearby countries like Singapore and Thailand. In addition, RUNRIO is the ONLY race organizer in the Philippines who can pull off closing race registration slots a few weeks before the race event. For the RUPM, the 21k distance is already closed with only the 10k and 42k distances open. So for those of you who have trained properly and still want to challenge yourself, now’s the best time to still sign up for the full marathon. Going back to RUNRIO, this race event is the second full marathon event that they are organizing this year. They’ve managed bigger numbers in their last marathon event last July so it is not going to be an issue to manage 12 to 16,000 runners for this event if you can manage more than 30,000 runners.
SEVENTH, the greatest thing about the RUPM? It’s the FIRST UNILAB MARATHON! Ever notice that the race medal design, the colors that UNILAB chose reflects the colors of the Philippine flag? UNILAB desires to put the Philippines in the global map of marathon race events. In that sense, it also means that this will not be the first and last RUPM event. It’s just going to be the first of its kind that would lead to bigger and better marathon events and other Active Health initiatives.