37th MILO Marathon 2013: 7 Reminders and Tips

So you’ve signed up for the MILO Marathon Manila elims. Chances are if you are reading this you are most likely either doing the 21-k distance or the full marathon. So whether it is your first time or your NTH time in joining this race event, there are a few reminders so that your race would be utterly enjoyable.

File photo of the 36th Milo Marathon 2012. Photo courtesy of Nestle Philippines media archives

#1 — Go to the race venue early. The full marathon starts at 3:00 in the morning this Sunday and believe me when I tell you that you really need to be there by 2:30 am so that you have enough time to park [in case you are bringing a car], enough time to go to the toilet [in case you have pre-race jitters and that you suddenly have lose bowel syndrome… believe me… it happens a lot among first timers of ANY full marathon and even to some extent to first timers of the half-marathon distance], plus you also get a chance to connect with new runners on the road and learn more about their own adventures about how they came to love running as part of their lives.

#2 — Take note of the cutoff times. There are two cutoff times. One is the cutoff time at the finish line for those who wish to just finish their race. It’s 6:00 hours for the full marathon and it is 2:30 hours for the 21-k edition. The other cutoff time is due to the roads opening again to vehicular traffic. For the 21-k runners you need to be at the 10-k distace by 1hour and 30 minutes otherwise you will be asked to stop from racing and be brought back to the finish line courtesy of a roaming vehicle by MILO. For the 42-k runners the 21-k cutoff is 3:30 and you need to make it to the 32-k by 5:00 hours flat.


#3 — Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more! Just because the first few hours of the race there is no sunshine doesn’t mean that your body won’t be needing to replenish its lost fluids. Remember the general rule here is that if you already feel thirsty then it usually means that you are dehydrated. Don’t let the heat and the lack of fluids slow you down. The MILO Marathon is an institutional and a premiere race event in the Philippines so you won’t have to worry about the lack of hydration for this event. In my past three years of running this event, I’ve never really experienced any issues with the MILO MARATHON.


#4 — Start slow at the start of your race. Unless you are gunning to be the top contender of this marathon, you don’t need to be at the lead pack. You’re body also takes time to warm up too. Another runner told me that your body takes about 20 minutes to get used to a particular rhythm and speed. If you have a race pace and target time, starting slow is still important to consider. You will be surprised to see that many of the runners who went ahead early will slow down at the halfway point as they burned out easily by being fast and furious at the onset of the race. For the half-marathoners out there, I would suggest that if you want to gun for a fast time then be at the middle of the pack so that you don’t have to walk the first few minutes of the race. This event attracts thousands of runners and it seems that the half-marathon distance will have an equally strong number of contenders.


#5 — Study the race map. By studying the race route you can psyche yourself properly for the race event and also assure yourself of where you will be at a given time. Another reason to study the race map is that you can also check the nearest aid station since there are hydration stations/aid stations for every 1.5 to 2 kilometers which is a standard for most RUNRIO race events [this is what I experienced in the recent World Vision 2013 Fun Run so chances are it will have the same scenario]. Plus, studying the race map also lessens the chances that you will get lost..


#6 — Stick to your nutrition plan. For the half-marathoners this might not be a need since you can go without any additional nutritional requirements running 21 kilometers. However, for most marathoners chances are you will either get hungry somewhere along the route and that your body will be fighting against you making the experience feel even more challenging than it should be. So when I say stick to your nutrition plan, don’t try anything that you aren’t accustomed to. According to the website, the hydration partner for sports drinks this year is Gatorade. If Gatorade doesn’t work for you stick to whatever it is you are used to and bring it on race day.

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#7 — Don’t forget to enjoy the race. Running is meant more than just to exercise the body and keep it healthy. You joined this race because face it, how many times in a year do you get to run around Metro Manila with the roads closed for the runners? How many times a year do you get to see the roads light up in color of lush green making the roads look lighter and feel warmer to the eyes? How many months have you trained hard for this race event? And for those who lacked the training, how many times have you fought your way in registering for this race event? Whatever your reasons for joining don’t forget that you need to enjoy the moment. Joy is far deeper than happiness. And that’s what I love about running. It reminds me the simple joys of life and forever etches memories that I can pass on to the next generation. All it takes is lacing up those shoes and bringing yourself to the starting line!


See you on Sunday!


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