Friday, August 7, 2015

39th Milo Marathon gathered 34,000+ runners at SM Mall of Asia

Last July 26, 2015, approximately 34,000+ runners swarmed the grounds of SM Mall of Asia to be a part of this years’ most coveted running event, the Milo Marathon. On its 39th year, the Milo Marathon holds the longest and oldest annual marathon event in the Philippines being participated by thousands of runners not just across the regions but also by runners all over the world. 

 A deserving reward for the champions

Speaking of milestones, it was also my 12th barefoot marathon, which I finished in 4 hours 58 minutes. It was not my best time but, at least, I was able to finish strong and with no injuries. The event was also special because it was my wife’s first time to join Milo where she ran in the 10-kilometer distance category. She finished it ahead of the cut of time! In just over a year of running, she shows significant improvements in her distances. Just two years ago, she can barely run 3 kilometers.

A strong 10k finish...

Certified 42.195k finisher...

Another special feature of our Milo experience was our stay at Microtel by Wyndham beside SMX, which my wife booked through agoda. For the longest time I’ve been running races at SM Mall of Asia, this is the first time I got to stay in a hotel before and after a long run. I found it the most ideal way for prep and recovery since our home is quite far from the race venue. Usually, we need to wake up super early in the morning or, sometimes, don’t sleep at all, just to get to the venue on time. Another downside is the travel time going home right after the race.

Microtel, conveniently located at SM Mall of Asia complex

At the roof top of Microtel...

A hotel near the race venue would help setting your preparations much easier and more comfortable too. And after the race, you can just go back at the hotel to eat a hearty breakfast, rest your aching body, and have a warm shower to freshen up a bit. Microtel is such an ideal place for runners as well as your support crew who can cheer you on without having to wait in the car while you do your thing on the road. Our son even got to take pictures of runners from our hotel room on the 11th floor because part of the route passed directly in front of Microtel.

A comfortable ledge by the window...

A spectacular view of Manila Bay at the 11th floor...

So my wife, my two kids, and I checked in at Microtel the day before and ate dinner inside Mall of Asia. After which, my son and I went to watch the last full show of Ant Man. When we get back to the hotel, I still have plenty of time to sleep (around three hours) for the run. I woke up at around 2am just in time to go to the assembly area, just a few meters from the hotel. Since I run barefoot, I didn’t bother bringing an extra bag, just my race bib.

Finished strong after the race...

The gun start of 42k runners was at 3am and more than 2,000 marathoners (including me) ran the roads of Roxas Boulevard. Prior to the race I made a quick check on the running routes of 42k and I noticed that it was quite different from the previous Milo marathons. I knew the changes of the routes but I didn’t realize it would be that difficult.

With friends from the blogging community...
photo credit: Peter Sumile

I thought, having the 3rd U-turn shortened and skipping Kalayaan Bridge would make the route a little easier. Then I realized that I’d need to cross two fly-overs (Buendia and Edsa) four times! So, this was one tough route.

Coach Rio de la Cruz, Eric Panique and Luisa Raterta

When I passed by the last fly-over heading to the finish line, I knew I would not beat my PR (personal record). So I just made a down-gear pace and cruised myself all the way to the finish line with the time of 4 hours 58 minutes.

last 25 meter stretch before finish line...

The last 250 meters was agonizing but manageable. The fatigue on my legs was something I did not expect to happen, at least for a long time. I guess the route was really tough this time because of the U-turns and several fly-overs. My only consolation was seeing my wife waiting for me at the finish line. 



Soon after we got runners’ loot bags, my wife and I attended the post-race media conference where the new Milo King and Queen were announced and introduced to the press. For this year, Eric Panique bagged the first position for the men and Luisa Raterta for the women’s division with a chip-time of 2:37:43 and 3:10:35 respectively. These two champions will compete again in the Milo Finals to be held at the Clark Field, Pampanga on December.



After the event, we went immediately back to Microtel to freshen up and get some sleep before we checked out around noon. When it was time to go home, I felt better.   

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