In 2008, I had a dream. I wished for a quality race with all the bells and whistles, I called it my FrankenRace. 2010 delivered so many FrankenRaces, it was so hard to choose which one to join.
For 2011 and beyond, I have another dream. I wish the Philippines will become a preferred running destination in Asia. Runners travel to Singapore and Hong Kong to run races, why not here?
A silly dream? No, it is not.
This post was prompted by snippets I picked up recently. At the bloggers launch for the Condura SkyWay Marathon, Ton Concepcion told us that they have big plans for 2012. Fellow blogger Rene (Jazzrunner) mentioned that friends who ran 2010 Singapore Marathon said that it was so simple and didn’t measure up to our local races. And finally, when I read about the upcoming events for 2011 from big time blogger Vimz’s post at Kulit on the Run, I realised that we could make it happen.
Ingredient No. 1 : Marquee Races. We already have them. The trimmings to our races are truly amazing and can compete if not surpass what the key races in Hong Kong and Singapore offer. Add to that the extra challenge of running in our climate should draw running enthusiasts who wants to test their limits.
I’m so thrilled that races are not just like mushrooms growing everywhere. Sponsors and race managers/directors are now planning things in advance. They are making races an event that we runners look forward to and prepare for. Scheduling races in advance will allow international runners to put us in their racing schedule.
For me, the top races to look forward to in the Philippines are :
- January – Cebu Marathon (I think Cebu and Camsur are competing for having the most number of local cheering sections)
- February – Condura Skyway Marathon
- 1st week of March – Bataan Death Marthon 102 Ultramarathon
- September – Camsur Marathon
- November/December – Milo Marathon (runners need to qualify by joining provincial elimination races)
- 3rd week of December – Corregidor International Half Marathon
Ingredient No. 2 : Cheap Airfare. The advent of budget airlines makes travel to the Philippines really affordable. Putting out race schedule early will give runners a chance to take advantage of the promos of PAL, Cebu Pacific, Jetstar, and AirAsia. The races I’ve listed above are already calendared and delivers quality races.
* * *
Lure No. 1 : A Podium Finish. Strong runners in the region have an opportunity to test their mettle against “resident” Kenyans and local runners. For the 42K, females who can run a sub3 marathon will definitely have a field day here and males who can run 2:30ish may get lucky and snatch the podium from a Kenyan.
This is of course is a challenge for us local runners. We have to up our game to give visiting runners a good race.
Lure No 2 : Race Extravaganza. The lootbags are amazing. The singlets and finisher’s shirt are improving. We have fireworkers to send off runners. We have ice cream and beer at the finish line. We have a party at the end of the race. It’s a fiesta!
Lure No 3 : The rest of the country. Arrive on Saturday. Race on Sunday. And if you have time, go visit our 7,107 (or 7,108 when it’s high tide) islands.
* * *
Bonus! Bonus! Bonus! : Takbo.ph and the rest of the runner/blogger community. We have a very active running community here in the Philippines. The active contributors in the forums and write ups in the blogs can help visitors prepare for their races here in and around the Philippines.
* * *
That’s it? That’s all we need?
We all have to pull our efforts together.
Race Directors and Sponsors : They have to continue what they have been doing right this past year and make adjustments where it’s needed. Cmon guys, keep giving us fun and safe races.
Bloggers : We need to continue promoting in our blogs the races here in the Philippines. No whitewash of course but give props when it is deserved.
Runners : We gotta keep training. We gotta deliver a competitive running field for the visitors.
* * *
Well, that’s just me dreaming. Happy new year everyone!
* * *
Ay wait, I have one more dream, wish and plea pala.
Dear Bongga and Bigtime Race Sponsors,
Can you please sponsor the winners of your marathon to an overseas marathon? Please, pretty please. Something like, giving race reg, airfare, accom and allowance to the top local finisher? Please. They are good runners and they need to test their skills against a stronger field. If I were a Sabal or a Tolentino, I’d be pleased with the purse I get at races but I will be bored. Wala na challenge if a win is almost guaranteed. An opportunity for international exposure will up the ante and improve Philippine running records. If we have a history of runners going TNT, then maybe just to the ones in Asia?
Pleaseeeeeeeeeee. Thank you. Happy new year.