After a few kilometers within UP Diliman Campus we exited on Katipunan Ave. and found ourselves running inside a very nice subdivision. From that point everything for me was unchartered territory—I’m glad that I have my GF405 with me to keep track on where we’re going. Eventually we arrived at Tumana Bridge that links Quezon City and Marikina City.
The early part of the Marikina route was uneventful until the intersections came—we were confounded by a myriad of street crossings! At this part it felt a little like a trail run—there are hardly any directional signs, but it’s a good thing that marshals were placed and were really active at work. The only problem was that directions were given by the marshals verbally so if you’re forgetful it may lead to getting lost. You also need to do a lot of judgment calls because sometimes the corner that the marshals refer to is not the next corner but the last corner along the route (yes it was confusing).
Setting aside the confusing roads, the sidewalks in Marikina were excellent. Marikina has the best bike road network in Metro Manila which also leads to excellent run-able sidewalks.
While the roads weren’t a problem, the route kind of felt “forcibly fitted” to obtain 100K as there was a couple of “ends”—long segments that eventually lead to a 180 degree turnaround.
After finding our way out of the streets of Marikina the route leads finally to the riverbanks—arguably the most interesting segment of the route. It was really long—there were no water stations and stores around, and support vehicles can’t get in making this one of the more challenging areas of the route as runners have to be self-reliant—a tradeoff for having fresh air and riverside view.
At the end of the riverbanks trail below Marcos Highway was a much needed water station which was also a turn-around point. Runners henceforth have to run back and eventually forth on the other side of the river where the takbo.ph aid station was located—roughly 78 kilometers of the race upon their return from the end of this riverside’s route.
Takbo.ph’s aid station was a huge relief for runners where there were lots of supplies including food and medicated ointments. It was an oasis at the other end of the race—runners can have their rest while volunteers cater to their needs. Even if I didn’t run the entire route leading to the station I felt relieved after seeing it, knowing that I have a place I can rest and recuperate.
Pat and I parted ways after the Marcos Highway station: I went straight to the takbo.ph station to recover, while Pat continued with the route. While waiting for Pat to arrive several runners passed (and some even stopped) by the station and I was able to see how the station volunteers worked—service from the heart! Everyone was willing to lend a hand and foot whenever needed just to provide good service to their stakeholders, the runners. Truly, these are dedicated volunteers in service for the sport we all grew to love, running.
After going forth, back, and forth again Pat was finally able to get his rest at the takbo.ph station where he got “spa treatment.” I was almost envious to be an official runner of the race at that point because of the attention given to runners that went our way.
Eventually the last group of runners (including Pat) was on their way back for the final leg of the grueling 100K route—the last 12K to UP Diliman. This time around it was Doc E, Doc Roy, and Bong Yu’s turn to pace him—time to bid last goodbyes and well wishes. If we all could we’d all probably pace Pat all the way back to the finish.
As for me and the rest of the takbo.ph volunteers it was time to pack up and call it a day—and what a wonderful day it was for all of us. We may not all run 100K but all of us saw a different side of running from different perspectives—and that made us know ourselves more.
To the dedicated marshals, thank you for your assistance to the runners and putting their safety first. Any road race would fail without your support.
To the volunteers of the race particularly to the takbo.ph aid station crew, thank you very much for your services! Just your presence on the race gives relief to the weary runners and your assistance was really well-appreciated.
To the race officials, thank you for having an effort to improving your races and to the Race Director Neville Manaois congratulations on having a great race! Thank you for pushing the race to continue and for finding new routes for us to discover.
Honestly this was one of the toughest races for me to appraise. Here are my thoughts:
- I didn’t like the fact that there were shortages of directional signs and water stations (which are to be expected on an ultramarathon), and the route was a little confusing, but
- I loved the fact that runners were well taken cared of: at times each runner had his own personal road marshal on scooters (Pat and I had one going to the riverbanks), the road marshals were really of good assistance, and there were good support at the Start/Finish area.
Yes this race had some shortcomings but for me the Race Director’s honest intention to provide runners with a good and safe race pulled it off in the end so I’d rate this race as Good. I was only able to experience a good sampler of the race but I loved that experience and was at times sorry for not being an official 100K runner. Had it not been for the “ends” all along the route and the inverted (but functional) and shortly-supplied directional signs I would’ve given this race an Excellent rating. Congratulations Botak for choosing the right people and having a good race. I hope you learned your lessons and I hope next time we see an “Excellent” Botak race. Welcome back!