Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2018 has gathered thousands of runners once again in celebration of Earth Day. More than the run, it was the reminder to care for mother Earth that took center stage at this event. It was a feel-good run with a good cause.
Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2018
Running on road especially on a big event hasn’t been a common playground for me lately. I’ve been used to the scenic trails and the intimate runs that Nat Geo Earth Day run felt like a totally different experience. I also came from a trail recon the day before so there’s a little bit of fatigue coming in but that’s just me. I make the most of the weekends as I’ve been too occupied with the gazillion things I do on weekdays. So, I really don’t mind doing back to backs.
I’ve been supporting Nat Geo Run for years now because of the cause. It’s not your usual PR course with the volume of runners but I don’t mind the traffic and the slower finisher times since it just mean, a lot of people are also supporting the cause.
The most exciting part of the race for me was practically making the race. With 10,000 plus runners, it’s either you go early or you end up missing up on the parking slots. With a gun start at 5 am, I woke up at 4 am. I ended up taking a grab ride past 4:30 and missing the gun start a few minutes. I rushed my way from the Grab Car to the starting line. I joined the second wave of 10K runners, which is about 5-10 minutes from the first gun start.
There were no disposable cups for the whole race, which is good move by the race organizers. I was planning to just go-lite with just a water bottle but since I was running late, I opted to stuff all my things in my Amihan Hauler and just bring it along the race. Amihan Hauler had less drag so I didn’t mind the additional weight. There were about 5,000 runners in the 10K category so the race route was packed.
While it was a packed race, there was still a lot of leg room for a good run. Since I was about 10 minutes late, I tried to start faster than normal to try to catch up with the runners. Starting fast without warm up equals shin splints for me. After a kilometer of running, I shifted to a run-walk sets. I would go for a minute or two of running and walk for 30 seconds. I didn’t want to spoil myself with too much walking. I also didn’t need to stop at the water station since I had a water bottle in my Amihan Hauler.
There were endless runners on the route so I just went on with my pace and try to run in the edges where there were fewer runners. The route took us to Seaside Drive Diokno Boulevard, Macapagal Boulevard, CCP and Roxas Boulevard. As we were heading to Roxas, most of the 21K runners were heading back. I tried to come up with a run-walk routine by feel. I would run when I felt fresh, walk to recover and run again. The Roxas part was a bit crowded as we made our way to the u-turn at 6 kilometers into the race.
On the way back, there were still a lot of runners heading to the u-turn slot. I felt fatigue on the second part of the race but still made effort with some runs. It was good that I was slowly on my way back. With several effort, I was back at Seaside Boulevard for the last kilometer so I made a fun run walk sets heading to a crowded finish line.
The finish line was crowded as the runners had to queue for their medals. I didn’t queue since I’m on the to-follow list on the medals. No issues with me. While I get that the organizer wanted to give the runners the medal at the finish line, the queue was not a good sight. It might have been better to have the medals at the loot bag area because of the volume. Another area for improvement would have been to do away with those banners at the finish line. They just ended up scattered everywhere though after doing another round at the event area after breakfast, it was all clean. Hindsight is 20/20 so this are more areas of improvement than criticisms.
The no cups at the hydration station was a really big step for road races. Overall, it was a great experience at Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2018 and I hope the large turn out also lead to the resurgence of running especially to the new set of runners at the event.