RUNew = McKinley Hill + 2(Heritage Park)

The title pretty much sums up how my run was yesterday. The moment I saw the race route I already knew that I’m in for a tough run — I already knew it would be a ‘Hilly’ run. I had no wishful thinking of setting a PR — running uphills is a weakness of mine. Instead, I ran today to enjoy the gruesome uphills, the rolling downhills and the beautiful scenery.

How My Race Went

I almost thought that I’d be late as I only got to park around 5:35 am as there was a long queue towards the the multi-level parking. As soon as I got out of the car, I ran towards the start-finish area. Fortunately, the race started at 5:45 am, instead of the planned start time of 5:30 am. Come to think of it, the run from the parking lot was a very good warm-up.

It was still dark when the run started. I started slowly as it was quite difficult to weave around the traffic. I was able to increase when I got to Upper McKinley Road. Initially, the roads leading to Accenture were mostly flat and downhill so it was easy to run at a faster pace. But, traversing  the entire Upper McKinley Road leading to the U-turn near the British Embassy was very challenging. My pace fluctuated like the ones you see on ECG readings — 6:20 on uphills, 5:30 on flats and 4:45 on downhills. Then, the long ascend from McDonald’s to the corner of Lawton Ave. was the ‘killer’ of all the uphills as my pace went down to as  much as 7:10.

I took advantage of the flat roads at Lawton Ave. I ran at a sustained pace of 5:30 and felt very comfortable with it (plugging lang: I think the Nike Running Clinic is really helping me). Then, running along Bayani Road was another challenge. Lots of uphills and downhills with the same story — fluctuating pace. It was pretty straightforward and I ran along Bayani Road without any hassle.

Now comes the first of the Heritage Parks. Coming from Bayani Road, runners turned right to enter gate 1 (I think?) of the Heritage Park. I think this is also the first time that Coach Rio included this side of the park as part of the route. Upon entering, you would be greeted by a long stretch of uphill. It was manageable but my pace still dropped as I did not know how many more uphills there will be. True enough, there were some more uphills to tackle. The rest of the way was a combination of uphills, downhills and a few flat roads.

After that, comes the next Heritage Park — the usual route from previous RunRio races. That means more uphills, more uphills and more uphills! The good thing though is that this side of the park has more flat roads and I took advantage of it by increasing my pace. It was around this time as well that the sun was shining brightly and it was very hot. I was beginning to feel tired and felt the need to drink water every 10 minutes. As I passed the 10-km. marker, I found out that I am way off pace for a possible PR with a time of 59m 35s. My estimate was that a time of 55 to 57 minutes would be enough to set a time below 1h 23m.

From then on, I ran most of the way at a sustained pace of 5:30 — and about 6:00 on uphills and 4:30 on downhills. I increased my pace some more after passing the 1-km. mark especially in Lawton Ave. where the road was flat. I finally made it back to McKinley Hill and finished the run with an official time of 1h 24m 48s.

Good Reviews

When runners say that it was a ‘classic Coach Rio’ race then it must be really good. And indeed it was!

  • There were enough marshalls guiding the runners and, at the same time, directing cars to stop or to take another route
  • There were plenty of water stations. At the same time, runners need not to wait as the people manning the stations made sure that the cups are ready and filled with water.
  • The kilometer markers were very helpful. Those markers aid runners in pacing themselves. At the same time, I refer to the markers to check if the reading in my Nike+ Sportsband is accurate and synchronized with the distance covered. Fortunately, there was not much difference after each marker and with the total distance covered. The reading in my Sportsband says 15.01 Km. (There were cases when it was off by as much as 1 km, especially if I compare it with my friend’s Garmin)
  • There were lot of freebies being given away after the race — Hidden Spring water, Rush, Men’s Health Nov. 2008 back-issue (with lots of running articles), loot bags courtesy of Asian Hospital and GC for a free haircut from Gruppo Barbero. I was not able to have my photo taken at the PhotoVendo booth due to the long line. I hope I didn’t miss mentioning any other freebies being given away. Special thanks to all the sponsors who treated us runners to a lot of freebies.
  • While the start time for the 15K runners was delayed for 15 minutes, I think it was necessary. For sure, it benefitted me and the other 15K runners who got tied to the long lines at the parking. But I think it was because there were still a lot of cars along Upper McKinley Road. It would be safer for everybody to have the road be cleared of cars instead of starting at 5:30 and be met with cars traversing along Upper McKinley road.
  • Having said that, I also hope that there would be a better way to get into the multi-level parking. Perhaps, once all the construction around the parking is finished, there would be an alternative route to enter the parking. In a way, it seems that this is the only downside at McKinley. While a lot parking space is available, the road leading to the entrance is limited.

Ending Credits

For me, what makes it a ‘classic Coach Rio’ race is the synergy between the event organizer (Asian Hospital & RunRio), sponsors and local government. The marshalls are stationed at every major turn. The local government knows how to enforce the lanes for runners. And the sp0nsors were equipped to provide the freebies to all runners.

Congratulations to all the runners who participated! Cheers! Happy Running!

(NOTE: You may download the complete race results here)

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One Response

  1. Wow sayang di tayo nagkita pare. 2minutes lang diperensya natin. Your sportsband seems quite accurate. Maybe it depends on some batches made. My first sportsband was OK, the second one was way off in its readings. I hope the new version would come out soon.

    I am hoping of the same thing too…a better and improved Spostsband. Congratulations on your 15k PR. Next time around I woulod regularly check the takbo.ph forums to see if there’s a meeting place. I totally missed it.

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