RUNNING in pairs, 15,000 participants took over the eastern part of the metropolis in the 2013 Nike We Run Manila on Sunday.
With the theme “You Move, I Move," runners could only register as pairs in this edition of the annual global race held in several cities all over the world by the shoe and apparel giant.
Nike We Run Manila is part of Nike’s global We Run series. Aimed at motivating and inspiring athletes around the world, more than 350,000 runners would have taken over 3 billion strides in We Run races in 26 cities by the end of 2013, motivated by Nike+ and Nike Running design innovations.
Starting from the Marikina City Sports Complex, the red-shirted runners traversed the portion of Sumulong Highway portion in the city center south to JP Rizal that led to the narrower roads in the residential neighborhoods that paralleled the Marikina River before following in a roundabout route back to the sports complex.
The 4pm gunstart was delayed for about eight minutes in order for several hundred of the participants delayed by the traffic to catch up. The runners were divided into four batches to avoid congestion and a two hour and 30 minute cut-off time was in effect.
The 10-kilometer course, set in the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines” was unfamiliar territory since fun runs are rarely held in this part of Metro Manila.
Runners said they were hyped that thousands of residents, many of them children, lined up along the route who cheered and high-fived them and provided a truly Filipino feel for the race.
Some participants, however, noted a number of irate motorists stuck in the traffic caused by the fun run and the narrow streets that made running very difficult, particularly in large groups.
Inside the brightly lit sports complex, a stage was set up where bands like ChicoSci performed to encourage the runners as they approached the finish line.
At the end of the race, medals and Nike vouchers were awarded to podium finishers in the Male/Male, Female/Female and Male/Female Buddy categories.
Alley Quisay and Rene Desuyo won the men’s buddy category with an average time of 33 minutes and 28 seconds that is the fastest overall time. In the women’s pairing, Luisa Raterta and Cinderalla Lorenzo clocked in at 40:47 while Kenyans Susan Jemutai and Benjamin Kikazi ruled the mixed category with a time of 38:01.
Prior to the start, racers were asked to give a moment of silence to honor the victims of Typhoon Yolanda that killed at least 5,200 people, mostly in the Visayas region. Nike country manager Courtney Burke-Faso also handed a check of US$50,000 for the benefit of Typhoon Yolanda survivors.
Post-race, all finishers received race freebies that included a Nike t-shirt, a tote bag, water bottle and refreshments. Many stayed a while longer to catch an ad hoc concert on the sports complex grounds.
The limited number of roads to the venue caused massive traffic and many participants complained that parking was difficult to find, forcing hundreds of participants to travel distances as far as 2.5 kilometers from the parking area to the sports complex.
In an attempt to compensate, organizers used jeepneys to ferry people but these were also caught in the traffic pile-up as the main artery of Bonifacio Avenue was re-routed away from the sports complex.