I woke up early Sunday morning at 3:30 am feeling good and excited about the Red Crab Run that would start 5:30am at McKinley Hills. This would be the run where I would first use my Kinvara 3. I was looking forward to its lightweight minimalist yet pillow soft feel.
More importantly, I would be running with my son Marcel. It had been more than a year since my kid got to join me in a fun run. And this time, there was the promise of a medal. Yup, a finisher medal for a 5-kilometer fun run. Only in the Philippines.
By 5am, the 2 of us were at the start area beside the Venice Piazza.The runners were already a sizeable crowd, perhaps numbering half a dozen hundreds. A couple of hosts were already exhorting the eager runners for warm up exercises to the tune of the Gangnam style. I could see familiar faces, particularly from the ultra marathon community of the Philippine Association of Utrarunners (PAU) and Ultra Snails Brotherhood (Team USB). Perhaps these grizzled ultra runners were not so much interested in the 5km finisher medal but more on the breakfast available to all the finishers. After all, the Red Crab Run billed itself as one-of-a-kind run and eat event.
|Marcel still sleepy at the start area|
|Running with my son (photo courtesy of Team USB)|
The race started at 5:20 am, 10 minutes ahead of the published start time. I guess the runners and the organizers were both raring to have a go at the beef tapa breakfast. You could sense it on the fast start of the runners, including that of my son, despite the first 500 meters being a steep uphill. Marcel practically left me behind and I only got to catch up with him at the u-turn after the first kilometer.From there we glided thru the Lawton Road and then back to the Upper McKinley Road.
The finish was another sprint for me and this time I could not catch up with the young legs of my son. He beat me to the finish line by ten meters. For beating me in the race, which is becoming a habit for him, Marcel was jubilant. He got his first finisher medal and got to make his old man feel older. Hahahaha......
|Marcel heading for the finish line|
|My son jubilant|
With the run accomplished, it was off to the eating part of the Red Crab Run which was at the Venice Piazza. The runners were all seated in round tables, the arrangement akin to a wedding reception, making the event feel more intimate. Upon being seated, we were immediately given our red loot bags and then served breakfast. Most of the waiters, if not all, ran also the 5kms as evidenced by the medals dangling from them. Wow. I am impressed. Talk about employee engagement and customer focus.
|Loot bag delivered to our table with a smile|
|Runner-waiter serving the breakfast|
But then again, I guess I should not be surprised by this dedicated service of Red Crab employees as even during the registration part, I was already exposed to this in the person of Liza Gamboa of the McKinley Hills branch of Red Crab. Despite the registration period being over, she accommodated me and made sure that I got the race bibs and singlets a couple of days before the run.
Dedicated and engaged employees are in abundance in Red Crab. And in our round table on that Sunday morning, we also got to converse with a handful of employees of Maxim Phils Operating Corp who were passionate about running: Walter Arenga and 3 of his co-workers. It was a good opportunity to exchange notes on how to grow a running club in the company one works for.
|Runners from Maxim Phils Operating Corp|
|Marcel with Val|
We also had some pictures with friendly faces in the local running community: Val aka “Greeneyes” and avid runner Lyra Rosario.
The Red Crab Run was indeed a special event. A unique combo of a refreshing run and delicious breakfast for my son and me. And after breakfast, there was the dessert of communing with kindred runners.