The Spirit of the 39th Milo Marathon (as I raced it!)

Blogging about past Milo marathons a day before today was tempting fate to happen.  It rained so hard the night before, and I woke up with the vulnerability of a newbie runner trying to figure out if a change in gear or strategy might be in order. As usual, I drove in an hour earlier, secured my race gear while repeating the the Milo mantra to calm my nerves. It’s funny how each marathon can make you feel like a speck of dust amidst thousands of runners corralled before gunstart – but it also can make you stand tall, as if to say, “Hey, I came here to be counted.”

pre-race banter with Phen Avanzado
pre-race banter with Phen Avanzado

Based on my experience in racing the Milo Manila elims for the 4th straight year, the year’s edition can be considered among the BEST, because logistics where almost flawlessly executed. For one, I have never seen so many marshals in one place, and they were all bustling like busy bees. In many road intersections that require controlling vehicular traffic as well as runner traffic, there were now four to five marshals making sure runners stay put as needed. In some roads which needed to be closed, there were human barricades greeting runners good morning in unison.

Runrio has set the new standard in hydration intervals. At 1.5km consistently-dedicated intervals, one can work around a strategy of run/walk by using the hydration stations as the “walk phase.” Cold water and Gatorade were a spring of wellness and relief, and all station attendants were ready with supply when the runners came by. Incidentally, I have to take note that there was less deliberate littering among runners today, or maybe some marshals were also tasked to whisk away the litter as soon as they came. Personally, I feel many marathoners have heard about a petition against marathons in the city and putting a lot of emphasis on ecological waste thru littering. This must have brought on a sense of responsibility which we all hope will become habitual in the events to come.

Now the marathon route, I wouldn’t consider a killer, and I felt many marathoners easily accepted the idea of going back to the Buendia-Aseana Avenue/Paranaque in Round 2. I even think many runners were keen on trying to qualify or reach their distance cut-offs, as this is always a popular theory whenever a runner collapses after crossing the finish line. More ambulance sirens were also heard this time, and we would look to each other, as if to say we were lucky not to be among those who needed to be rescued.

Another trendsetting factor for this year’s Milo in Manila was the launch of the live results. Having your unofficial results right after you cross the finish line clearly and positively extends your high and excitement. If you haven’t viewed yours, now is the time to get a taste of running technology at its peak. Click here for 39th Milo Marathon Live Results.

celebrating my 55th birthday by clocking in a sub-5 for my 4th milo marathon
celebrating my 55th birthday by clocking in a sub-5 for my 4th milo marathon

This battle was an excruciating one, and I didn’t want to give up that easily because, even if I did start out too fast, I broke my 32K PR at 3hours and 30minutes.  Somehow, the fact that I did my last 10K in one hour and 24 minutes is still a bitter pill to swallow.  I feel pretty much the same as my tattered bib after almost 43 kilometers of tribulations. But these never take me away from the focus of wanting to try it all over again next year.

Congratulations to all finishers for your gallantry is unprecedented.  Hats off to RunRio as organizer for being so hands-on in logistics and Milo for breathing new life into this year’s edition.


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