There are two reasons why this year was a great year for me when it comes to running. First, I was able to visit and run an event in Mindanao for the first time. Second, I was able to finished 4 marathon events this year.
The recent marathon I completed was the first PryceGas International Marathon last December 2, 2012. There were several marathons being held on the same day in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. I chose the PryceGas International Marathon for the simple reason that I have not been to CDO yet.
The City of Golden Friendship
I travelled alone for this trip but it never felt lonely by how the Kagay-anons would welcome their runners. I would be staying at the PryceGas Plaza Hotel and my travel arrangements with them was worry free. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a staff and gave me a necklace with the Department of Tourism seal on it. It felt like I already got a medal and I haven’t ran yet. Maybe this is what they call a starter’s medal.
Arrival at CDO
At the airport, staff from the PryceGas Marathon were available to answer my queries about the event. How far is my hotel from the starting line? What the best way to go around the city? Where’s the best place in CDO to eat after the marathon? Where can I buy some stuffs I need for the run?
PryceGas Marathon Booth at the Airport
Upon arrival at the hotel, my room was ready and so is my race kit. There’s a swimming pool which was very tempting to take a dive but I decided to reserve my energy for tomorrow.
Big pool at Pryce Plaza as seen from my room
The Starting Line
The PryceGas Marathon starts at the Pryce Gardens. Wait! Pryce Gardens is a memorial park. I did not sign up for this marathon to be chased by a zombie. Then, we were told that no zombies will be involved in this marathon. I was relieved.
The 42K race starts at 4:00 am. It’s a bit late compared to the 3:00 gun start I was used to in Manila. But the breeze was still cold at 4:00 am at the weather looks great so far. About 500 runners lined up at the starting line. It was a simple program to get everything started. There was a band and fireworks to heat us up while waiting for the countdown.
A huge PryceGas Tank at the Starting Line
More than 500 marathoners at the starting line
The First 7K
Kenneth of the organizing team sent me the elevation profile of the race. The first 7K was all downhill. Pryce Gardens is located on top of a hill and the first part of the race takes us all the day down to the main streets and highways of CDO. It was still dark but the street lights were all turned on to provide enough illumination to see the road clearly.
If you love running downhill, this part will be easy and the gravity will propel you to a fast pace. I was tentative and stick to a 7:30 min/km pace. I can already imagine how tough the uphill will be when I get back for the last 7 km of the race.
Well lighted roads, closed to traffic and lots of marshals
Running in CDO
After the 7KM downhill, the next part of the route will be the main streets and highway of Cagayan de Oro. It’s mostly a flat route except for a few bridges. All the road are well paved and the route was littered with marshals and traffic cones. Road closure was well executed. The police were being stationed at key intersections to control the traffic. Runners were enjoying the wide roads of CDO all to ourselves during the race.
However, the marshals and cones stationed in the city were relieved from their task earlier than I expected. Since I am one of the slow runners, some areas were already open to vehicles by the time I reached them. But the marshals going back up to Pryce Gardens were still on their post at a longer time and were eventually relieved before the 8 hour cut off.
Sun is up and we own the road.
Signages are in place in all parts of the race.
Hydration and Bananas
Looking at the race map, there were water stations in almost every 1.5 kilometers. There were even areas where its just close to each other. Ice cold water were available in most of the stations. Having them ice cold even at the last 7kms of the race was perfect. There were few hydration stations with sports drink though.
Bananas were served in about 4 stations. They were the best tasting banana I ever had in a running event. It was so sweet and delicious. If they had their world famous pineapples at the support stations as well, then I would have brought a bag with me and take some of them back in Manila. 😀
Bananas in CDO are delicious
The shower station ahead is very much appreciated
Aside from the wide roads being closed to runners, I enjoyed other nice views while running in Cagayan de Oro. The starting line at Pryce Gardens provided a beautiful view of the mountain ranges of Cagayan. This part of the route was also full of trees. The route back for the finish was mostly shaded.
Runners will pass by two bridges that spans over the Cagayan River. The calm and clear waters of the river has a cooling effect once you pass by.
Cagayan De Oro River
The signboards for the restaurants we passed by were tempting. Steamed lechon manok, pastel, and the chicken ati-atihan were names that sounds delicious. I find them distracting and I can’t wait to end this ordeal and celebrate with food.
How I wished that the route also covered more interesting attractions in CDO like the Divisoria Plaza, Gaston Park and Lim Ket Kai Area. A walk around the city the following day showed me the historical side of CDO which could have been a nice part of the route.
So for next year, I would suggest to the organizers to explore a new route that shows more sights in the city rather than just the CDO highways. Maybe add a little more entertainment along the way as well.
I get distracted when I see food stalls along the route. Yummy.
Roads are secured for the runners in these busy streets
The last 7KMs and the Finish Line
My training for the PryceGas Marathon was zero mileage. My last run prior to this marathon was a 21K during the Milo Elims in Davao two weeks prior. After that was zero mileage at all. As a result, I felt pain on my shins as early as 25KM and a very painful foot at 35KMs. A group of runners offered me a liniment to ease the pain. Thank you every much for the offer. The uphill run back to Pryce Gardens was completed by 80% of walking. I run the final meters of course for a 5:59 finish based on the race clock. My official time is 5:57:46.
Final push to the finish line
PryceGas Marathon fnished in 5:57
Since it took me almost six hours to complete, running at between 9:00 to 10:00 in the morning was already hot. However, the last 7KM had lots of trees along the road that gave shade to the runners.
Lots of tress to give you shade while running
Running in CDO
Overall, the PryceGas Marathon 2012 was a well organized event. It was a simple event compared to the marathons in Manila but the needs of the runners along the route were well attended by the organizing team. Everything showed careful planning and execution from the water, bananas, showers and the marshals. The route was challenging with the 7KM uphill approach to finish.
I am very impressed with the race results. The results were released the following day for all categories. It was fast and accurate as well. We even had 2 split times for our 42K event.
Split Times are taken along the route by the timing team
Low Batt and eventually OFF after 5 hours and 45 minutes
PryceGas Marathon has set high standards for its first marathon event and merits a second serving for 2013. Should they decide to surpass what they provided this year, I am confident that a PryceGas Marathon 2013 will be once again a highly
anticipated marathon by runners all over the country.
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