Running in Big Races and Fun Runs

Run United. Photo Courtesy of Unilab Active Health

Run United. Photo Courtesy of Unilab Active Health

Just want to share some tips having been involved in big races as event host, director, marshal, support, or runner since 2005.  By big races Id like to categorically define this as fun runs with attendance of at least 5,000 runners reaching to 35,000 in one event (Pasig Run is known to have brought in 6 digits attendance). Yes thats how big our running community (here in manila) is if the race boasts of a good track record of satisfying its runners with an organized race satisfying its runners. It will be a brand, a race to be marked in an annual calendar to be prepared and trained for, and race kits will sell like hot cakes upon opening of registrations. The most popular ones is Milo, ULAH / RunRio Trilogy Run United, Condura Skyway Marathon, Adidas King of the Road, Nike,  New Balance Power Run, QCIM, Outbreak Manila,Yakult, Rexona Run and some other annual big races I may have fail to mention. As for fun runs with big attendance but not consistently held every year is the Hyundai run(I mean who doesnt go to a free race?), Globe Run for Home, 711 run800  (Theses are Big races with 5,000 or more in attendance, there are numerous annual races that are a must for runners to place in their Annual Running Calendar. Thats for another blog)

You may have done your training for months, and you may have purchased your kit, probably bought a new pair of shoes months ahead, or new gears and gadgets just for this race; you have posted your race bib and race kit in facebook, booked your car pool, celebrated carboloading and all you have to do is be present on race day.

DAY BEFORE THE RACE

1) Make a checklist on the things you will wear and bring on race day. Specially on longer distances 10k or more, you should have at least worn whatever you will be wearing on race day. Avoid surprises, that singlet youre wearing might chaffe and give you hell for the last 4km. That hydration belt you just got is bouncing the wrong way, its only been 2km and its just annoying. That compression sock is way way to tight. And that foot taping video you just tried this morning is now creeping up to injure you, TG (tiis ganda) ka nalang para di mapahiya

2) Know the activity area lay out, and parking layout. PRINT it out! Specially if its a new running venue, PRINT out the map. Ive known some running friends going to Nuvali for a race and ended up in tagaytay (not saying who).

3) Plan your ride and carpool. If youre a team, stick to your schedule and leave whoever is late (always have your race bib with you already, so youre not dependent on someone else having your race bib )

4) Check and recheck the organizers website or facebook page for recent and even more recent updates. For some unknown reason, events like these are organic and dynamic. As much youd want it to be constant, something new cooks up.

5) Make sure youve adjusted your biological clock. This day is not the day to be out on gimmick or be invited on a whim by a friend. For the love of God. Please say NO. Sleep early.

ON RACE DAY : PRE RACE START

1) No.2 at home. Seriously? you want to No.2 in a dark damp portalet with at least 5,000 people outside and around 30 people lined up your portalet, mentally thinking about you and wondering why youre taking so long. “Geez, malamang tumatae ito” is usually the conversation outside the portalet. Good Luck cleaning up as well.

2)ARRIVE EARLIER than usual.  Big races have big activity areas, and may require you to move / walk further. Ive hosted a race in Aseana city and how I wish I had my own bike/longboard to get around. Baggage counter on one end, portalets on the other. If you arrive earlier than usual you can acclimatize and not rush to the starting line without a warm up if you arrive late. Go to the portalet for a mandatory whiz and pee, you wouldnt want to feel like peeing just before gun start. Make sure you bring money and tissue as well.

3) Kalimutan mo na lahat wag lang race bib. This is your passport to the race. Check and recheck your checklist if you have brought everything you need.

4) Be prompt. Time is of the essence. Be considerate specially if you are riding with friends or team members. Plan where to meet up after the race. For the love of God dont plan to meet up AT THE FINISH LINE. Thats the worse meet up area. You and your team mates will be a nuisance to the race. The Finish line is a place where participants should be constantly moving, not meeting. I know your done and its time to celebrate, but be courteous for the runners behind you.

5) If you brought your bag for checkin. You can use a string not necessarily a lock to secure your bag. But staff in checkin  counters are trustworthy and doesnt have the time nor the care in the world to check whatever is inside ones bag, they are instructed not to in the first place. I know you love bringing that Unilab Active health giveaway shoe bag in 2012 and I use it to this day, well, so does 5,000 other runners with the same bag as you. Try bringing a bright colored unique bag so its easy to pull out during claiming. Its gonna help if you have your own bag tag. In case the event organizer bag tag peels off.

6) If you can bring a phone, bring a one and jot down the emergency numbers the organizers gave in case of emergency. You can save a life.

7) Take pre event photos if you have time. Its all about fun. If you see a photographer just be nice and you can always be friendly and ask that he/she take a photo. “Hi pwede ho ba picturan niyo kami”….. pero ikaw na astig o haba ng hair pag ikaw mag isa tapos hilain mo photographer.. “Hi pwede ho ba picturan mo ako”. Technique dyan, manghila ka ng kasama kahit di mo kakilala, tapos pa picture ka. Pag nakita mo picture mo sa internet. Crop mo nalang yung katabi mo.

8) LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN to announcements. Voice over announcements we do contain important information on gun start, run routes, and other vital information about the race. It has a purpose di naman ako kwentong barbero sa mic.

9) Warm up on your own in a spacious area. Minutes leading up to the race, make sure you limber up and do dynamic warm ups (moving exercises rather than static stretching). When youre inside the  starting line area its difficult to move to the sheer volume runners. Be courteous to give a bit of space with the next runner. And I know its early in the morning make sure you FUCKING BRUSHED YOUR TEETH and gargled MOUTHWASH!!!! Biktima na rin ako ng nakamamatay na hininga at ng burp na amoy langoniza sa umaga.

10)Position yourself accordingly at the starting line. Faster runners in front, Recreational Runners at the back. Kung showbiz ka at mahilig sa picture, the front is where you want to be. But please have the courtesy to run with a pace at least 4 minutes per km during the 1st Km then veer to the right to slow down. If you want to PR in a race I suggest you go to the front or at least in that area. The pace, athleticism, and adrenalin is just infectious its sure to rub off on you. If you have a negative split strategy (start slow, finish faster than usual), stay mid position. Its okay if some over take you, youll be able to catch up later. If its your first time to run this distance category, dont be humble or shy, stay mid at the very least. Youll be surprise youre faster than others coz youve trained for this race more than the rest. If you youre a recreational runner and dont want to stress on the race too much stay at the back and enjoy the race. If you start in the back and youre a faster runner, youll spend the first 2km and 10 minutes overtaking and stressing out, weaving. You may even injure yourself with the side to side movement.

11) Make sure your bib number is in front, dont be pa cool dude na nakalagay sa may hita ng shorts. You look stupid. Thats uncool. Dont place it at the back. There is a purpose. Marshals along the route use it to identify you as well. Some pull out bandits or runners without race bibs who are not registered to run in the race. Make sure you place timing chips properly. The newer ones are embedded at the race bib. Some need to be placed on your shoe. Make sure it is secure. Make sure your shoe laces are TIED PROPERLY and TIED SECURELY.  Ive seen runners tie their shoe laces 20 meters after the starting line. Hay Naku!

DURING YOUR RACE

1) Run according to your race plan. With your own pace.

2) Be courteous. If you slow down, veer to the right. If you overtake, overtake on the left. If you want to stop, do not immediately stop.

3) Check your form in during your run. Your body lean, your stride length, arm swing, high knee, push-off, cadence.

4) If you see a friend Say hi if you want. But engaging in lengthy conversation may not be a good idea. Sumastarbucks ka kuya? Kwento mo sa pagong! People are there to run, they may be trying to PR and youre the reason why they didnt achieve it. Ofcourse theyll be courteous to talk to you. If you see a cute runner you fancy(talaga kuya? talaga teh? dito ka pa talaga lalandi?), and you can resist, take a mental note on the race bib and search later on for his/her name sa race result.  You can actually say hi,  after the race.

5) Running in groups. Unless kulang talaga kayo sa pansin, limit the volume of conversation to your group. Ive been to runs na grabe, ginawang comedy bar yung 7min/km ang pace group.

6) Snort / Spit on a tissue / towel you brought (told you to bring one). Dont snort or spit to the left or right. May runner. Spit pataas para bumagsak sa ulo mo.

7) Dont forget to hydrate. If you havent practiced running and drinking. Walk while hydrating. Its a good time to run walk as well to disperse the fatigue in different muscle groups. Dont walk for longer than 1 to 2 minutes. Your body is gonna get cold and heart rate decreases to the point that tatamarin ka na, coz you just signaled your body that the race is over. Dispose of cups in designated bins.

8) Be careful running in hydration areas, it gets slippery. If there are mobile showers, it looks fun but think again. If you have more Km to run, and your feet gets wet, it may lead to blisters.

9)  Smile along the race route and most specially at the finishline where most photographers are. Who doesnt want their photo taken. Please be courteous to photographers.

10) Run strong and finish strong if you must. But if you see a brother or sister runner just about to cross the finish line 5 meters ahead of you. Unless your vying for top 50, paunahin mo na. Dont steal their thunder. Be the bigger runner and let him/her enjoy his/her own finish. At the finishline, celebrate, but bear in mind there are runners behind you finishing as well.. Move forward and keep the queue moving.

POST RACE

1) Make sure you Cool down. Most races dont have a cool down, so cool down on your own or with your friends/team. Stretch, and flex, slow down your heart rate before you sit down. You dont want to jolt your heart.

2) Make sure youre in the right line. Lines can be lengthy. Be patient. Queue properly. Be nice. Being nice is a choice.

3) Try to visit the different booths in the activity areas.

4) Have fun with other running friends. This is the time for fellowship to get to know other running friends as well.

5) Support the event, stay and cheer at the awarding ceremony. Have fun if the event have presentation and concerts.

6) If they are raffling off something. Stay if you can. Ive raffled off a house and lot, a car, ipads, phones, 5 digits cash prizes, and tour /travel vacations to runners Ive called with no responses. Too bad. So during raffle draws, check your numbers, listen and FOCUS!

7) If you enjoy the race, share your good experience. If you had a bad experience share it constructively.

8) Check for your photos online.

Hope this helps! Enjoy, have a safe race and Ill see you at the starting line! If you find this useful please like my facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/hostboyramos

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5 thoughts on “Running in Big Races and Fun Runs

  1. Very good tips . Its nice that you keep us reminded on what we should do before and after a race

  2. speaking of photos, i remember last ru1 there was this girl midpack on 21k. mga 1minute after gunstart she went about -face para magselfie at para picturan mga friends nya. sarap ng hinto nila sa gitna ng kalsada at naka-counterflow si ate. que horror! you can just imagine the hundreds or even thousands of runners going towards her. inisip ko na lang baka first time mag 21k at super excited.

    btw i like your tips, spot-on.=) natawa naman ako sa pag no. 2 sa portalet. no. 1 nga lang hassle at uncomfortable na.

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