THE LOCAL running scene seemed to slow down and hit a few roadblocks in 2014. Fewer big ticket races were organized with some franchises taking a respite while several events experienced a little controversy.
As the most popular running event in the Philippines that set new season attendance records, the 38th MILO Marathon National Finals ruffled a lot of participants after organizers made the tough decision to reset the date due to threat of a coming typhoon. The original date of December 7 passed with perfect racing weather but actual attendance suffered come the new race day of December 13, a Saturday.
Reigning MILO Queen Mary Joy Tabal of Cebu City stamped her class by retaining her throne while a new MILO King was crowned in Rafael Poliquit of Tagum City. On a personal note, this writer ran away with a second consecutive championship in the special five-kilometer race for the event’s media partners and friends to end the roller coaster year on a positive note.
The year also started on a high with an unexpected Seventh Place finish in the inaugural Corregidor Marathon on January 11, 2014. Anthony Nerza of Davao and the ageless Lorna Orno-Vejano entered the history books as the event’s first ever champions.
Two weeks later, we joined the Subic International Marathon and ended with a new personal best that held until the MILO Metro Manila qualifiers in July. Running in the mountains for the first time was an awesome experience capped by an Olympic-style finish with a lap around the Remy Field track oval.
We got another chance to open a new marathon franchise with the first National Geographic Earth Day Run Marathon in Bonifacio Global City last April 27. Already an annual staple, organizers raised the bar by holding the 42.195-kilometer category for the first time by doing two laps around their usual 21-kilometer course.
Training buddy and PE teacher Aver Sister easily romped off with the top prize. A knee injury that manifested in the second lap slowed us down a bit but we still managed to eke out a decent ranking.
The Quezon City International Marathon aimed for a return after missing out on its regular schedule of December, 2013 with a February date under the management of The Greentennial Run. However, a lot were saddened after the QCIM was suddenly cancelled owing to a disagreement between TGR and the Quezon City government.
Still, an effort was made to revive the run this time with Proactiv which rebooted the event as the QCIM Night Race, a half-marathon through Commonwealth and Quezon Avenues as part of the city’s Diamond Jubilee last November 29. Runners are now looking forward to a return of the full marathon in 2015.
In the multisport scene, we got to enter three of the four legs of the popular Philippine Duathlon series of the Adrenaline Multisport Group. The third leg allowed us to race for the first time in picturesque Clark Field in Pampanga while the final leg gave us the opportunity to race again in Nuvali for the first time since 2011 and vying in the ITU or standard distance.
Overall we participated or got invited to five marathons, 14 fun runs and three multisport races in 2014. Compare that to the three marathons, 26 fun runs and one multisport race from the previous season.
The economic crunch really tolled heavily on the running community as runners became more selective in the races they joined, their woes compounded by rising costs of registration fees and running equipment. On the part of the organizers, it meant lesser events to handle with only the solid franchises like the MILO Marathon continuing.
Some of the events we joined have already announced their return for 2015. The Corregidor Marathon, PSE Bull Run, Financial Fitness Run and 7-Eleven Run will fire off in the first quarter while the Subic Marathon has been moved to November.
There is no cause for alarm though as Filipinos continue to embrace the active lifestyle. Running will still remain a viable fitness option in the years to come.
Again, we would like to express our gratitude to those who have continued to support our advocacy of promoting sports by encouraging both spectators and actual participants to join in the fun. With your continued collaboration, we will see a healthier and fitter Philippines in 2015 and beyond.