Saturday, November 27, 2010

Running in Metro Manila!

Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about
                                                                                         -PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian



Racing in the Philippines is a challenge:  the heat, humidity and different terrain. Running in general, can be a challenge in a megalopolis like Metro Manila. The city steams with 12 million people, 18 hour long  rush hours, diesel exhaust and poor infrastructure,  but that didn't stop me!
I ran in the Haribon 5k race at Fort Bonifacio. Fort Bonifacio is now called the "Global City". The community consists of fine dining, shopping, office buildings and luxury condos. The "Fort" is a planned community so its easy to run and there is almost always a race during the weekends (sometimes there are 3 or more races in one day throughout Metro Manila).
I chose the Haribon 5k race because it is a charity with a mission on preserving 1 million hectares of rain forest for conservation in the Philippines.

Entry fees are modest in the Philippines. This race the fee was 400 PHPs ( @$10). For that you got a certified race course, a real goodie bag loaded with schwag, tech shirt, book about Philippine wildlife and other promotional treats. Most races are 350 to 600 pesos in the Philippines. A bargain compared to the states. I placed 8th in the men's division and 10th overall out of 350 people. A good race for me, but not my best time. The three H's were tough: hills, heat and humidity. Filipinos are modest, so running without a shirt was not an option. Race started at 5:35am. Early race times are the norm in Manila.


Its tough to run through most of Metro Manila due to traffic, and bad sidewalks. I did find a great place to run in the middle of Quezon City, the Amoranto Stadium. The Stadium is in the middle of Quezon City On Roces Avenue.  Early in the morning there are runners, walkers and tai chi enthusiasts exercising on the track in the stadium.

There are places to run in Metro Manila: The University of Philippines campus in Diliman, where the streets are shaded with Acacia trees. While at the University of the Philippines High School in the late 70's, I ran on this campus. The air is a bit cleaner and their is less noise.

The sidewalks in Makati are relatively safe and free of potholes. In the business district of Mandaluyong, the sidewalks are good, and traffic is a bit saner. In the Ermita/Malate/waterfront district there is Manila Baywalk. This Baywalk path is a two kilometre stretch between the US Embassy and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) just past the Manila Yacht Club. This baywalk/esplanade is right on the water, and the view at sunset is phenomenal.

Sometimes the best part of running is overcoming the challenges. Thats why I enjoy training in different enviornmnets! Gusto ko na tumakbo sa Manila!

For more info on races in Metro Manila, visit http://www.pinoyfitness.com/

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