The Vertical Marathon was a unique race in that rather than just running on the roads, you have to run up a building as well (hence the word Vertical).
I first thought that the building was the 6-storey parking building inside McKinley Hills as 10km runners ran up the different parking levels before reaching the roof top, where they would then cross to the opposite side and run down again and out of the building. After this was the standard race route which was out McKinley Hills and towards Bayani Road via Lawton Avenue for the U Turn back to McKinley Hills for the finish line.
My Garmin measured the distance at 9.9km when I neared the clock tower but for some reason there was a marshal standing in the middle of the road. It was none other than SecondWind’s main man Hector Y. and he was directing 10km runners to turn right instead of running straight to the finish line (lucky 5km runners who are allowed to go straight).
When I turned right on the small street, I saw nothing on the road ahead. It was just a dead end with a high building on its left side. Then, I saw some runners coming out of that building to get some bottled water from the marshals. And I knew what we runners had to go through before the finish line. This was the Vertical part of the race and not the 6-level parking building. That was just a teaser for this 19-storey building!
Oh man! So I ran inside the building and down the ramp leading to the basement parking level where another marshal directed me to the fire exit stairways and I started my ascent up the building. By this time my Garmin couldn’t track the satellite signal anymore and stopped at slightly above 10km. I climbed the floors, holding onto the handrails and using it for pulling myself up and for additional support. It was a tiring workout and I felt my knees working overtime for this. But it was satisfying as well especially when I reached the 19th floor, got out from the stairways, and was immediately instructed to go down the stairway next to it.
Going down was easier but being out of breath from the hard climb, I was a little bit disoriented as I headed down the building. But pretty soon, it was over and I jogged to the final meters to the finish line.
The finisher shirt was pretty nice as was from Regatta Inc. and featured four shirt designs and colors for a runner to choose from. I got some free stuff too at the various booths near the finish line (vitamins and instant coffee sachets and deodorants). Race results came out the same day (although it was arranged by gun time and not by chip time).
All in all, this was a unique and fun race to join for those people who are used to the regular road race and are looking for new challenges and a different kind of experience.
2012 Vertical Marathon Conquered!
Gun Time: 1:23:36 (surprised that race had started some 6+ minutes ago when I got there)
Chip Time: 1:16:55
(Should have checked the race map before running the race)