Color Manila Blacklight Run last May 27 in Alabang was one of the unique fun runs that I have ever been into. The event was glowing from the participant’s face paints and headlamps under a drizzly night matched with loud pre-race shenanigans. Despite the upbeat, I feel that the race was lacking in some aspects- not in the run’s concept, but in its execution.
I am sure by now that you have read the mixed comments about the run (if not, you can quickly check online) and how the participants felt at the end of the race. This race recap is not meant to blame the people behind the event. Rather, it aims to capture some lessons for the organizers and runners alike, so that everyone can get the best experience in any running event.
Color Manila Blacklight Run Race Recap
Several days before the race day, Metro Manila had several minor rain showers, especially during the evening. The day before the race (Saturday), weather predictions indicate that the metro will experience thunderstorms and rain. And even before the supposed 8:00 p.m. gun start for the 10K event, it was already raining (or drizzling) in Alabang at late afternoon.
I arrived at the event grounds 7:00 p.m. after commuting from Bacoor, Cavite. The ground was wet but not yet muddy during this time as fewer people were on the event ground. As more people came in to deposit their belongings and wander around, the ground became murkier as the rain went on, stopping only a few minutes before resuming again.
I stayed in Skechers booth because they asked me to review their new shoe offering- the Skechers Go Run 400 and test it out in the race. At this point, I already have a blurry picture of what is to happen- it will be a wet night run and a muddy event ground.
More than an hour after, at around 8:30 p.m.-ish the program started with the usual prayer and national anthem. There were several performers to keep the crowd upbeat and entertained. The hosts then proceeded with the program with several games and contest. I expected this to last for just about half an hour, but it lasted longer.
Color Manila's Black Light Run was one unforgettable night run with loud music, pouring rain, muddy event ground, and the most energetic people. #colormanila #cmblacklightrun
Posted by TAKBO.PH on Saturday, May 27, 2017
Several minutes more and I decided to grab a light snack at a nearby convenience store. I also left my camera and phone in my backpack because they may get wet during the race (hence the few pics I had on the event). I went outside the event area, tracing in the dark the tiniest patches of ground that ain’t too muddy. As I walked, I saw many of the participants huddled in nearby restaurants and pastry shops sheltering themselves from the rain as they patiently wait for the race.
When I reached the starting line, there were already hundreds of people lined up (most together with their peers) and just waiting for the race to start. There was a period of almost about an hour where the sky was not sending out free hydration (a.k.a. rain).
After a quick bite, I went back to the starting line again and had a few chat with some acquaintances as I snaked around looking for a good spot. When I checked my clock it was already 10:00 p.m. The people around me were already asking- “When will they start the run, it’s already past the gun start?” To which some even commented that they even have jobs waiting in the morning or that it was way past their children’s bedtime ( as some parents brought their children with them).
Start of the Race
Several minutes after 10:00 p.m., the organizers finally started the run and I was around 80 to 100 meters (about a block) from the starting line. Far from the intended 10K, 6K/5K and 3K wave release (in that order), the starting line became a hodge-podge of all the distance put together.
I waited for about 20 minutes before fully coming forward to the starting line arch. The reason? They are releasing only a few scores of runners because the road ahead wasn’t fully closed to traffic. It was a stop and go situation for both runners (who has to take a right turn) and vehicles in the intersection just ahead.
About a few hundred meters, there were firetrucks stationed to splash water into the runners. I find this weird because aren’t we already wet from the rain?
The 10K Race Route
The first color station was less than half a kilometer from the starting line. It’s here that they throw colored powder into the participants. I did not have a full count how many I passed during the whole course, but I put about 6 to 8 at the very least.
When I passed the first hydration station, there was a lot of traffic and you have to squeeze in just to get your drink. Luckily, there was a race staff who hands over bottled waters right after the hydration tables.
(Photo Credit: Kim Ochoa)
The first 2.5 kilometers was flat and well-lighted. However, the next quarter of the 10K course was a rolling route with little to no lighting at all. I have a couple of occasions that I almost bumped into a runner going the opposite direction, if not for noticing their headlights. Because the route was a loop (u-turn at 5K) that gives you around 4 to 5 kilometers of low visibility route segment. Not to mention, there were several potholes along the way.
Running with wet clothing can be very uncomfortable, especially during the late hours of the night. During the run, the only thing that was running through my mind was I need to finish fast and get a change of clothes. About an hour after, I was back at the start/finish line but no medal was hung around my neck.
After the Race
Instead of having the medal presented in the finish line (like some runs do), you have to claim it to the finisher’s tent. Because the whole event ground was fenced with metal sheets, the only way to claim your medal was to make your way through a few inches deep of mud, which did not bode well with many of the participants.
I did not take my medal immediately because I have to prioritize getting a change of dry clothes. After a quick trip to a portalet, some stretching and hydration, I proceeded to claim my medal.
They held an after race party which would last at around 1:00 a.m., but I opted not to stay to watch the festivities. At around 12:00 a.m., I called it a night (an unforgettable one to say the least) and proceeded to go back home.
Key Takeaways from the Color Manila Black Light Run
It was my first black light run with Color Manila as the race organizer. I know that they have done the same race format, and I don’t have any idea how those race in the past proceeded. However, here are some of my observations on how this run could be improved.
- Prepare contingency plans especially on rainy weather
- Better system for race kit claiming
- Honor the pre-announced gun start
- Test out the race route and spot problems that may arise during the race
I have read many of the attendees’ comments and they, too, have similar sentiments.
(Phot Credit: Platinum Tickets)
I also think that it was the right call for some people to just cut their distances. For example, some runners in the 10K opted to run the shorter distance of 5K/6K. The most important thing is to be as comfortable (or less stressed) during such situation.
Again, I am not here to complain about the event and what has transpired. I did enjoy some parts of the race. The suggestions I made are simply the things I am looking for in a running event.
DISCLAIMER: My opinion does not reflect TAKBO.PH’s opinion on the subject of this article. It is for the sole purpose of sharing my story (and perhaps similar stories of other participants) in the hopes that it can impart lessons that runners and organizers can learn from.
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