Friendly to PRs. Prior to the start of our prayer (a pre-race tradition our 83nean runners have) at 11pm on February 4, I shared with my fellow runners of Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983 that we could expect to set personal records (PRs) in this 2012 Condura Skyway Marathon. This is attributable to the following factors:
|Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983 with Patrick Concepcion at the finish line area|
1. The time of the race. The 2012 edition of this marathon race will start at 12 midnight. This is manna for runners like me who have difficulty maintaining a steady pace in marathon races when the tropical sun comes up and heats us like steaks on a grill. I guess it is the Iriga in me that makes me a relatively stronger runner in the dark than in broad daylight.
2.The surface of the road. The 2012 marathon will exclusively be held on the skyway connecting Alabang to Makati. The surface is asphalt and not concrete. For mid-life runners like me, asphalt is a preferred surface than concrete as the former is kinder to our aging knees. Plus, given that it is a toll road managed by a leading conglomerate in the country, the Skyway is reasonably well maintained.
3. The terrain layout of the road. The Skyway is not a flat road but has some semblance of rolling small hills. For me that regularly drives thru the Skyway on the way to Makati Medical on a Saturday morning, I know that there are portions where the road goes up a little bit. Well, if it goes up then it is bound to go down. The uphill portion is where you conserve your running muscles so that you can zoom down taking advantage of gravity on the downhill portion.
Tying all these factors together to make the Condura Skyway Marathon a PR-friendly and enjoyable experience for runners of all sizes, capabilities and stripes is the fact that the hands-on driving force of this five-year old race is a pair of brothers (Ton Concepcion and Patrick Concepcion of Concepcion Industries, makers of Condura appliances) who have a genuine passion for running. It makes a lot of difference when the organizers are runners because they know what will make runners happy. Patrick, in particular, has been joining marathons here and abroad for many years already.
For the 2012 Condura Skyway Marathon, Patrick joined the 42-km marathon. And he was there at the finish line to greet many of the runners, not just in the marathon but in the 21-km, 16-km, 10-km, 5-km and 3-km races, as they cross the finish line.
|2012 Condura Skyway Marathon route|
|Entering the Expo Area|
|Booths selling like hot cakes|
|Vitamilk soya giveaways|
There were a lot of participants to the 2012 Condura Skyway Marathon, more than 15,000 runners for all the distances mentioned. The expo area had a festive feel to it. Many of the sponsors set up booths to give out freebies and have some funky photo booths. The 42-km finishers were most pampered not just with the biggest marathon finisher’s medal in the country but also with a massage tent and a recovery area.
|Ernie at the Summit Booth|
|Recovery area for 42-km finishers|
Plus, there was a wall where runners could add their support to the environmental advocacy “Save the Mangroves” of the Condura Skyway Marathon by painting/drawing messages of support.
|By the painted wall|
Now, what about the promise of a PR for the runners of Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983, the self-proclaimed runningest batch of the Jesuit institution in Bikolandia? Well, majority got our wish:
|Happy to PR|
Noel “Ghibz” Guevara is the most improved runner among the 83neans in the 2012 Condura Skyway Marathon. He finished with a time of 5 hours 25 mins. This is an improvement of 1 hour from his finish time of 6 hours 26 mins at his first marathon (2011 Camsur Marathon). Ghibz was focused to have a better marathon running experience this time around and it clearly showed in the finish time.
Ed Balcueva finished in 5 hours 55 minutes. This is a PR for him. Ed is proving to be a “suki” as far as improving finish time(s) in every marathon he has joined. He has run a total of 3 marathons and he has improved his finish time from 2011 Camsur Marathon to 2011 Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) to 2012 Condura Skyway.
Ernie Badong was the first among the 83nean runners to cross the finish line in the 2012 Condura Skyway Marathon. He clocked at 4 hours 34 mins. This time shaved off 22 minutes from his previous best which he achieved at the 2011 Camsur.
As for me, I could say that I am the happiest among the six 83neans in this 2012 Condura. I set a PR with the time of 5 hours 36 minutes, an improvement of 29 minutes from my previous best which I recorded at 2012 SCMS.Fittingly I achieved my first sub-six time on my 6th marathon. I have to wait for almost 2 years. But the wait was well worth it. It comes at a time when I get to entertain doubts as to whether I will be able to finish the 102-km BDM this coming March within the cut off time of 18 hours. This sub-six achievement gives a boost to my chances.
Both Bob Castilla and Ruben “Fards” Fajardo did not get to do a PR but the two were still faster than penguin runners like me. They had their reasons. In the case of the Bob, fresh from an extraordinary BDM 160-km experience a weekend ago, he used this year’s Condura as relaxing recovery run. On the part of Fards, he did not go full throttle as he decided to keep company the recovering Bob.
But there is no bitching from these two.
To hear Fards say in the Bikolano language “Di bale ng dai maka turog ngonian na banggi basta maka dalagan lang para maaraman kung maorag kita” brings forth the beauty of joining running events. People like us join races not to win the first prize (if this is the case then only Kenyans will be lining up at the starting area of each race). We join running events to challenge ourselves to push our limits. Running is a “mano y mano” challenge with one’s own self. And unlike Roberto Duran, runners like us don’t say “no mas” to this challenge. We don’t run away from the challenge. We run head strong at it.
|With ARC's Raul Acuna and BDM 160 ultra veterans|
Good night to everyone. I will surely have a great night sleep, dreaming of a nightingale sweetly singing of new races to conquer in the future. I am sure 2013 Condura Skyway Marathon is one of them.