8:50AM: 30km runners start walking toward the starting point. Emcee talks in Cantonese then in English. Mentions that 30km runners are about 700+ this year and wishes everyone a strong finish. I position myself few meters ahead of starting line right before a TV camera to get some photo shots.
9:00AM: 30km race starts and runners are off !!!
9:15AM: Deposited my bag at check in counter. Did some stretches and 2 minute short jog near the area. There is a toilet building nearby but smell was horrifying!
9:20AM: Emcee starts talking again giving special mention to Thomas Kiprotich, a Kenyan I think, who is looking to not only winning the 10km race again but looking at beating his own record. Only Kenyan I saw so far in the entire race.
9:30AM: 10km race starts and we are off! Since this had timer chip, I start at back of pack so won't be stuck in the crowded front part. Weather was chilly (Temperature at 19 - 22 Celcius, Humidity 80 - 90%). Felt good while running. No pain.
I can't remember the last time I ran in a race where there are no cars to be seen anywhere! It's just you, the other runners and the road! This is how running should be like! The sights were also very nice: lots of trees, bird's eye view of the city below, and we even ran on a water dam.
But I was craving for water! Luckily the weather was cold so that helped me keep on going. What I didn't account for was how steep the hills were! It was worse than the ones at ULTRA! Very very steep and at that point, I had to stop running and walked instead. Figured not much to gain from running as my speed as really slow anyway. The good thing about a steep uphill climb was a very fast downhill decent so it was there I sped up again heading to the 5km point.
Soooo glad I didn't do the 30km race as having a hard time BEFORE even reaching the 5km mark !!!!
There were km markers all throughout the race so that was nice. Upon reaching the 5km turn around, I ran on the two chip timer mats to make sure that it went through the computer systems and sped going back.
I was hoping to breach under an hour though knew that was an impossibility given that I had a lot of walk breaks here. Focused instead on finishing the race as fast as possible to get the water I crave for!
At 1km away from finish line, there were 100 meters countdown markers starting from 900 meters all the way till the last 100 meters. Finally, I saw the finish line and ran as fast as I could to cross it where upon reaching it, I was given a bottle of water and a snack bag made up of a pear, a banana, a big bread and a small chocolate bar. I also gave out my shirt size to which they gave me a Kappa blue shirt with Italia logo (which had price tag attached to it saying its HK$200, so at least shirt made up for the huge fee I paid for this race). For the shirt, there were other designs and other colors but I liked the one I got the most (and wore it that same day). Returned the chip timer and got my HK$100 deposit back.
Thomas DID win the 10km race again, finishing it at a time of 32:28 (Chip timer registered at 32:26). No idea what his record was for last year. The fastest women finished her 10km at 43:48 (Chip timer at 43:46).
As for me, I finished 156th place out of a total of 216 runners. My finish time was at 1:02:06 with Chip timer at 1:01:48 (Garmin registered at 1:01:49 so quite accurate). Based on my record, I was a little bit faster on the first 5km than that of the last 5km. No PR, No under one hour finish, but still quite happy as big improvement from my UP ICTUS 2008 Run of 1:08:36. Given this race was held on December 28th, this will supercede UP ICTUS Run and will be my YEAR-ENDER 2008 RACE with a finish time of 1:01:48. Yehey!!! So, not a bad ending to 2008! As shown, results for this race came out almost immediately after race so that was nice too!
10:30AM: Back at bus where it would drop off all runners at nearest MTR Station, a 15-minute drive from Shek Kong.
10:50AM: At MTR Station. No idea where it is and only when I saw the MTR map did I realize how far I was from Causeway Bay. It took me more than an hour to get back and had to go through three MTR interchanges but this race was worth it. Maybe next time, I can try the 30km course as well....
Good points for this race:
1. km markers, 100meter markers
2. transportation services. A big plus ! Philippines should have this for out of town races and even for in town races for foreingn participants.
3. Snack bag at finish line. Yum!
4. Chip timer even for 10km runners
5. Lots of marshals, lots of photographers too
6. Started on time
7. Baggage security
8. Very nice shirt
9. Nice cool weather, nice scenery and no polluting cars
10. Quick results
Bad points for this race:
1. Need more water stations although that might be the norm for international races and only
Philippines are spoiled to have water stations at every 2km mark.
2. finisher medal for 30km runners. After all, organizers brag that this race is as hard as a full marathon given the steep uphill climbs.
3. Expensive although once again, that could be norm for international races.
The 800 meter walk from bus drop off point to starting line
Map of area
My Year-Ender Race for 2008 !!!!
Way to go back here next time...