Finally, I have an excuse to visit Taipei. When it was announced that Filipinos can enter Taiwan without applying for a VISA, I instantly look for races to join. Luckily, the Taipei Standard Chartered Marathon 2018 was within the trial period for the VISA-free entry. Here’s my Taipei Standard Chartered Marathon race review and recap.
REGISTRATION AND RACE PACK CLAIMING
Registration was pretty simple. The official website has an English version and can accept credit card for payments. There’s a category for a full marathon but I opted to join the half marathon instead.
The race kits are to be claimed in Taiwan. The location is quite easy to find since it is near a train station. I thought it will be inside a mall or a covered area. Instead, there were tents in the middle of the building complex. It was a simple setup compared to other big races I have attended.
I expected a very crowded venue since the event will be attended by close to 15,000 runners but I think I was early and was able to get my race kits very quickly. It was fast and straightforward. No entertainment. No fanfare. Which was fine with me since I don’t often linger after claiming my race kits.
In contrast, the starting line was very busy. There are about 10,000 runners in the 21K alone. What caught my attention was the baggage area. Since the finish line is different from the starting line, the baggage will be haul by huge trucks.
Runners can’t just leave any bags or items. We need to use a special bag that we need to buy for 100 TWD. Thus, the bags in the baggage are uniform. Pretty neat but for a price.
The weather was cold. We started at around 14 deg Celsius. It rained a little. Some parts of the route had a strong head wind which makes running a little difficult.
It was crowded for the first 5KMs. The roads were really jumped packed with runners. If you are vying for a PR, you should really position yourself at the front of the pack. Otherwise, you will have a hard time overtaking the runners in front. There is just not enough space to overtake sometimes.
The first water station is at 5KM. After that, it is spaced every 2.5 kms apart. The water stations have plenty of supplies. There is enough for every one, There are even bananas, biscuits and wafers in about 4 stations.
The course is not flat. There are several flyovers that we run through. The highest ascent starts after 10KMs and peaks at around 13KMs.
I am not chasing PRs for now so I just maintained a pace for a 2:30 half marathon finish.
It was hard to keep that pace at the start of the run since it was crowded. But I was able to catch up towards the middle of the race.
I had to make a stop at a portalet along the route. The line was quite long. I think was the 7th in line. I should have continued running to another portalet which had a shorter queue. Lesson learned.
My official time was 2:38:12 which included the portalet stop. However, my GPS watch only recorded 2:25:33. The big difference was due to the time I was in line at the portalet. Tsk tsk…
The finish area was a huge park. There’s not much to look around except taking photos with the Audi sports car at the venue. My son loves fast cars and he was babbling about the Audi R8 V10 Plus that was displayed.
The Taipei Standard Chartered Marathon was a great race. I love the cold weather during the run. The support on the route was really great. It was well executed. Running the race was smooth from start to finish.
There’s not much scenery though compared to what I experienced at the Bali Marathon and Angkor Wat Marathon. The 101-story Taipei 101 can be seen but the cloudy skies covered almost half of it.
The finisher medal was nice. However, there is no finisher shirt once you cross the finish line. The loot bag was pretty basic with bread, water and… a facial wash! 😀
There are plenty of races in Taiwan aside from the Taipei Standard Chartered Marathon. Hope to be back for another race. And hopefully, the Visa-free entry to Taiwan gets extended.
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