Kinderdorf Leben

A Runner’s Life

33rd Milo Marathon – 21K San Fernando, La Union leg

It all started last year when I read the post of Jonel aka Bugobugo85 and Hardcore Runner about the San Fernando, La Union leg of the Milo Marathon.  I was full of envy then and yearned to run a race in my birthplace (San Fernando) and hometown (Bauang).

San Fernando is the capital of the province of La Union and is the place where most of Region I (Ilocos Region) offices are located.  It is around 51/2 hours away from Manila.  My hometown – Bauang – is 10kms away.  Both places are famous for the beach resorts, Poro Point Freeport, cultural places to name a few.

The San Fernando leg of the Milo Marathon was organized by Engr. Joseph Dumuk, a distant relative (kabagis) and the veritable Rudy Biscocho.  The 21k race starts from the City Plaza going through the Diversion Road, then the National Highway all the way to Bauang and back.  The organizers left no stone unturned on the preparations and logistical support.  They had the full support of the PNP, Red Cross, local governments of San Fernando and Bauang as well as schools and civic organizations.

I was worried that the race will not push through as it was Signal No. 1 in La Union.  No thanks to typhoon “Jolina”.  I texted Manong Joseph to inquire if it will push through or not.  But the prospect of running in my birthplace and hometown was too much to ignore.  So, I left Alabang at around 7:00 am after writing in Facebook that I will run the race rain or shine.  “In my religion there is no Signal No. 1 or Signal No. 2!”.

I got a sigh of relief when Manong Joseph replied “Its all systems go”.

I arrived at San Fernando around 3:00pm of August 1, 2009 and immediately went to the Sangguniang Panglungsod offices to register.  No problem during the registration.  Much to my surprise there were only 79 who registered for the 21k event and only 72 for the 10k event.  But the 5k and 3k events had more than 3,000 registered participants.

With this number, I surmised that those who registered for the 21k event were the elite runners of Region I and Baguio.  I was resigned to the prospect of finishing dead last.  But what the heck, I was there to enjoy the run with a 2:30 goal.

There was a slight drizzle on race day.  When I arrived at the race area, I was guided to the starting line and saw Team Logan (Craig, Michelle and Justin) in one of the tents.  After bidding each other the best, I went on to see Manong Joseph (Dumuk) to thank and greet him personally before the race starts.

A quick glance of the 21k runners made me nervous.  Most of them were indeed elite and varsity track and field athletes.  Only a few non-elite but young grizzled veterans.  To my mind, I was the oldest participant. 

The starting gun was fired at 5:29 am.  The runners in front literally made a mad dash towards the diversion road.  I was literally left behind together with 2 other runners. 

I was tugged along by the field and was forced to run at an average pace of 5:43/km for the first kilometer.  I was not able to maintain this pace so I slowed down to 6:12/km in the second kilometer until settling down at 6:39/km at the third and fourth kilometer.

Being the last has its perks!   A PNP vehicle and a support crew closely followed me.  This was to me a blessing as it made the trucks, buses, jeepneys, cars and tricycles careful to pass.  I was literally far from harms way.  Imprtantly I can concentrate on my pace and reminisce.

At the fifth kilometer, I slightly picked up my pace to 6:10  up to 6:32/km and able to maintain it up to the twelveth kilometer.  It was at this point that I was able to pass a runner.  He tried to pass me in return by walking and running.  I knew he would’nt last and left him before entering my hometown, Bauang. 

As we left the town proper and the turn around point, I spotted another runner in the horizon.  But nostalgia and happy memories took over as I passed on familiar houses and places.  I was simply savoring the pleasant memories as I left the town proper.

I did not notice passing the other runner as I slightly slowed down to 6:41 at the thirteenth kilometer up to the time that I entered San Fernando. 

By this time I knew that a PR was on hand.  However, I began to slow down to a 7:00/km pace after the sixteenth kilometer.  It was coasting along time at this point until the twentieth kilometer where I picked up speed to 6:57/km and finished the race with an unofficial time of 2:21:02.

The San Fernando leg was a well-organized race.  It started on time, there were adequate water stations, more than enough marshals, adequate support crews, a good number of finish chutes, great side-events, etc. 

I was very happy with the results of my race.   The great finish by the Logans made my day complete.  Michelle finished third in the women’s 10k event.  Craig was able to run a sub-60 minute 10k.  Congratulations!  Their hill training is definitely paying handsome dividends.

While I am saddened by the fact that the running boom has not yet picked up in Northern Luzon, I am confident that with more short races in the area it will pick up.  There should be more races in Northern Luzon!

To all those who made the San Fernando leg possible, Diyos ti agngina kadakayo apo!  See you next year.

As an Epilogue, the race again showed me that I have to improve on my endurance, stamina and speed.  Its time for hardcore training. 

August 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments