I have never run a Milo race in Manila. I missed it several times. Many times I am not able to wake up early or the rain was so hard I thought it will be cancelled. But this year, I decided to join the Milo Marathon Eliminations in Bacolod. Not that I want to qualify. I just wanted to run in my hometown.
Finisher’s Area at the Bacolod Provincial Lagoon
Months before the race, I invited Jerry aka High Altitude if he was interested to join the Milo-Bacolod race. He agreed and we took the same plane going to Bacolod. Jerry is an Indonesian but knows how to speak Tagalog and even Ilonggo. Getting back to Bacolod was special to him since he was once a missionary in the town of Bago. Bago is a town about 21K south of Bacolod.
Bacolod is in Negros Occidental. I was told that about 70% of the National Atheletes in Athletics comes from this province. Tinikal naman kami ay… 😀
I asked my friend in Bacolod to register for us. So when we arrived, I just picked up the race packet. Jerry and I excitedly opened the envelope containing the race bib and the singlet. But something was missing. The race packet did not contain information on where and what time the race will start. There was no race map as well.
I texted Lester of Milo who was also in Bacolod to assist the race and he provided us with the info for the start time and starting area. Jerry tried to trace the route by following the Milo banners. We learned that the route was to start from the Bacolod Provincial Lagoon, then going north to Robinson’s Bacolod and turning right to Bata. From Bata, we would follow the Circumferential Road until Lopue’s East for the turnaround point.
My first Bacolod Race
I set my alarm clock at 4:30am. I didn’t woke up. Good thing, mama and papa woke me up by 4:45. They came all the way from Pontevedra to watch the race and to serve as my support crew. I hurriedly dress up and prepared my things for the race.
When we arrived at the Provincial Lagoon, the race was about to start. The 21K runners are already in front waiting for the gun start. Jerry was already there. I was approached by Nonoy from Iloilo. He is one of the member of the forum and I was glad to meet him at last. He also run the Milo Manila last July. Doc Gigi of Happy Feet was also there. We use to join races in Manila and now she is back in her hometown in Victorias.
A few more minutes until gun start. I checked my things. Shoelaces intact, check. Race bib checked-in, check. Running cap, check, Eye wear, check. Timer watch, check. GPS… Searching Satellites… Searching Satellites… Searching Satellites… BANG!!! The race just started. Please Check GPS sensor… Oh no.
Weather is just as strange in Bacolod as it is in Manila. It was hot when we arrived last Friday. Then it rained on Saturday. We were unsure what the weather will be on Sunday morning so we prepared for both sun and rain. But it was cloudy for the duration of the race. Maybe that’s the reason why my GPS had a hard time looking for a signal. The rain the previous night made some parts of the route muddy.
I expected very few 21K runners. But I think there were about 100 runners who joined the 21K. Very few women. Later I learned that about 4,000 runners joined the event and mostly coming from schools.
21K in Bacolod
The route was not attractive. I don’t expect something scenic within the city except for the Lagoon which was the starting point of the race. The begining of the route was the busy street of Lacson while going to the turnaround point in Lopue’s East was the view of sugarcanes.
Without a GPS to check my pace and distance, I relied on perceived effort for my pace. This was not reliable. Thus, I think I started the race too fast than my target pace as I tried to catch up with a pack of runners ahead of me. I started to slow down again when we approached Bata. By this time, I overtook about 10 runners and I am trying to chase another runner who overtook me.
Trucks, wet roads and cracked concrete in Circumferential Road
The Circumferential Road was not a good route. This is the road being used by heavy trucks carrying tons of sugarcane. Thus the road had several patches and cracks on it. This may not a busy road but there were several trucks that passed by the road making it a bit risky for runners.
The route was almost flat. I was happy to reached the turnaround point after 1 hour. If I just maintain my pace, I can arrive at the finish line close to 2 hours beating my previous 21K time of 2:08. Will fatigue kick in and slow me down?
Yes it did. I made several walk breaks. I even had to walk for more than two minutes which was not a good idea if I want to improve my time. I only picked up my pace upon reaching Robinson’s Bacolod which was about 2.5K away from the finish.
Standing in front of the Provincial Capitol which is
near the Finish Line.
Papa has been following me behind in the last 5K and kept taking a video of my runs. I reached the finish line after 2:09. Not a good time for me. I thought I was more prepared. To the next 21K then.
So this is how they do it
I was also curious how races in the provinces are held. I had my expectations set quite low. Do they have enough water? Marshals? Freebies?
The Milo Race I had in Bacolod is very very simple compared to the races in Manila. If this was held in Manila, I’m sure they’d receive a poor rating among runners.
To start with, all roads are not closed to runners. We were free to run anywhere on the road and the cars are free to pass behind us. There were no traffic cones whatsoever. I didn’t see an roving ambulance. Not all intersections have policemen to guide the runners. But the major intersections in Lacson and Bata was well attended.
Water for the 21K runners started at around KM7. I think there were water stations at the earlier parts but they were not set up yet and probably reserved for the 10K and 5K runners.
Freebies at the finishline was almost same as that of Milo Manila. We got a Milo Bag with the goodies and Milo booth for the drinks. But I didn’t see a water station at the finish line.
Milo was very strict in implementing cut off time. Cut off for 21K runners is 2:30. Doc Gigi came in 8th among the women. But she arrived around 2:31 and did not receive her finisher’s certificate. We also noticed that the finish line was already being removed even before 3:00 hours passed. So runners arriving at 3:00 did not see any finish area. What a sad fate after running for such a long time and taking the effort to really reach the finish line. There was no consolation at all.
So this is how they do it in Bacolod. Too many points needs to be improved. But despite that, I didn’t hear a lot of clamour from the runners. Maybe because people from Bacolod are malambing and it was hard to determine if they are mad or not by the tone of their voice. Hehehe…
But I hope the races in the provinces by Milo will be conducted with the same care and focus on the runner’s safety as it is being done in Manila. One possible reason that running is such a boom in Manila is because, runners know that their safety and well being are attended to by the organizers. If we give the same assurance to the runners in the provinces, more people might be interested to run.
Jerry, aka High Altitude, at the Finish Area. Finished 21K at 1:45.
Meeting Familiar and New Faces
With Malot, who is one of the organizers for Milo Bacolod, Doc Gigi of Happy Feet,
Dino who finished the New York Marathon twice, and Jerry aka High Altitude of the HardCore Runners.
A pose at the finish line with runners from Iloilo
With young champions. Kid in white cap is 18yo and won the 10K in 37mins.
Jerry literally took his hats off to the kid and gave it to him.
With Coach Franklin. He has about 60 students including the
1st place in 10K male and 4th place 21K female.
I was able to meet Coach Franklin. He is the only personal running coach in Bacolod. Currently, he has about 60 students and I was able to meet some of them during the breakfast at Bob’s. Coach Franklin was eager to share how this group grow and is hoping to build a strong running community in Bacolod. We exchanged our ideas and stories. I also learned that he and Coach Rio knows each other.
I was happy to meet this group of runners. They share the same passion for running as we do here in Manila. Francis, another runner in Bacolod, was even able to organize a small group to Run for Cory in Bacolod. They don’t have an official nae yet. But they are planning to run races here in Manila like the New Balance Power Run and the Condura Run.
Now, I have a new group to run with whenever I stay in Bacolod. It was a pleasure to meet all of you. I really hope you will start to make a big influence to the running scene in Bacolod.NOW AVAILABLE. TAKBO.PH COTTON TEES AND HOODIES. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ORDER.
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