Over the weekend, I joined my first RUNMANIA race event. I was invited by my friend Enrico Caramay to give a RUNMANIA event a try. So I said, why not? But I also told him that I do not know if I could say YES given my current schedule. So when I found my schedule freeing up over the weekend, I finally told Enrico that I was free to join him and so we inquired if there were still slots available for the said race event.
Firs things first, I like the fact that RUNMANIA responds to inquiries. Since I do not have any Facebook account, I only communicated with them via e-mail and SMS. And they replied within the day. Kudos to a great turnaround time in responding to inquiries. Second, the race route itself was nice and challenging. It was mostly downhill running most of the time so it was relatively easier than most ultraruns that I have joined. Though mind you, the muscles involved in running downhill differs greatly from uphill running. But I like the fact that most of the race route had cool breezy weather, large roads for runners to run safely. It was only somewhere downtown near the finish line, about less than 10 kilometers left I believe, that things started to become more interesting as the roads were smaller and that there are hardly any sidewalks to walk or run on either. I could have finished a much better finish time but I was erring towards the side of safety. The main road was a little higher than the sidewalk and so I had to be careful as the chance of slipping was very very high. Hence, it was not a surprise that I a runner who slipped and had to be assisted towards the last three kilometers.
But what I like most about this race event is the fact that there was a hydration and aid station every 10 kilometers. I could also opt to leave my bags for a fee as well and get my stuff at the finish line. This is really good because it diminishes the cost of spending for a support vehicle. This has always been the challenge with race organizers when the ultrarunning bug hit runners in the Philippines. Ultrarunning events started popping all over the Philippines during the last five years. And now it is good to see that race organizers like RUNMANIA has taken it upon themselves to elevate the race experience. In other words, they are making ultrarunning more affordable and cost effective because more runners can opt to just take public transportation to join their race events. A support vehicle could easily cost 5,000 to 10,000 pesos in total logistics to support one runner doing a 50-70 kilometer distance. Bring that distance up to a 100-k and the logistics involved could go higher to include staying at a nearby motel/hotel. With adequate support stations throughout the race route, more runners are encouraged to try entry level ultrarunning distances such as 50 kilometers. So again, congratulations to RUNMANIA for making this possible.
Another thing worth noting is the degree of personalization that RUNMANIA puts into their event. For instance, I was not expecting that my finisher shirt would have my name on it at the back. I rarely keep souvenirs of race events these days. I only keep a few and most of them I just give away since they just eat up space in my small cabinet. Furthermore, the quality of the medals and the souvenir trophy is just amazing as well. Finishing a RUNMANIA event would make you proud of what you have accomplished because the trophy you get is worth sharing to family and friends. I also don’t like collecting trophies as I do not have enough space but now I am beginning to consider that I might have to have a window cabinet to house all the trophies that I currently have.
Overalll, I would like to try another RUNMANIA event soon. It is not enough to merely say that one event is good. The true measure is being able to replicate the same race experience again and again. So far, it seems that they are able to do so. That remains to be seen from my perspective. My second to fifth race experience would tell me if RUNMANIA lives up to its hype.