Apr 3, 2011

Daily thoughts - If its free it must be GOOD.. nope, this one was GREAT! - The Hyundai Fun Run experience

To date, I have joined only 5 races from November 2010. I only started running consistently as of November 11 last year and I have even decided to run a marathon by June of this year. I love running and joining races but before I register, I have some factors to consider. I have some budget constraint. I live way out from the city and I have to stay over at my friend's house prior to the race. Even if the prospect of running every other weekend sounds enticing, I cannot afford it so I have to plan it ahead of time before I sign up.

When I won my first free race, I was beyond excited. Unfortunately, I failed to show up on race day due to a busted ankle. As for all the other races, I had to pay a fee but I chose those with acceptable rates. I  have a ceiling or limit on my budget. Anything above 500PHP I consider highway robbery. I made this pact with my wallet that if a run is not for a good cause and it exceeds my limit, Id rather not join. My priority is to ensure that I have enough funds to live off and that my pets needs arent compromised.

I think my friends are aware of my sentiment because I was told by at least 5 people about an upcoming race that is FREE! When I heard about it, I immediately checked the websiteand registered. I also sent an sms to my other friends to let them know about this event. I can tell that there are indeed a lot of running afficionados in this country because a few days after I registered, the website of Hyundai said it has reached its limit. Not just that, later on when they did reopen their registration, they  moved the venue to Quirino Grandstand (originally it was Global City) because of a whooping rumored 30k participants!

Since the event was free, I had minimum expectations with regards to the quality of the singlet, if there will be any rfid race tags provided and if the actual race will even have marshalls or water stations. I was just happy that it was free and Im going to officially be part of it because I have received the email confirmation of my registration.

Sample of the registration form:

the distribution site is indicated at the bottom of the form

The Hyundai Website was updated daily with regards to any announcement on collection of race kits including the operating hours of the distribution site. They also emphasized the important documents to bring when collecting the race packs. Ive read several complaints from some runners and vented my own but realized later I had to retract what Ive said and also defend the organizers because they have actually indicated the requirements on their announcement.

very clear instructions

The collection of the race kits was scheduled on March 29 -31. They implemented a strict collect-only-at- the venue-you-have indicated- on-your-registration- form policy. It did make sense because when I did show up at the race kit booth they had a list of those who have registered for the event with matching registration numbers. The collection process was fast and efficient.

I collected my kit at around 12pm at Second wind Home Depot at Ortigas last March 30th. I was able to get my kit without any hassle and in just a few minutes. There were a few hiccups though like confusion on printing the old registration form and attaching it to the new waiver form, but it was a good thing that there was an internet cafe nearby. I gave my feedback and the staff were very pleasant and apologetic about it. Other than that, everything else went smoothly.
It was a very hot afternoon but the staff manning the booth were exceptionally cheerful and courteous. Take note that their booth was set up in front of Second wind Runers store and they had no AC. They only had a tent to protect themselves from the scorching heat of the sun. Hats off to these guys for keeping their cool!Too bad I had no camera with me that day.

As another bonus to runners, Hyundai even extended their claim periods and made sure to let us know via their website and also personally through email!

singlet and bib (sorry i wasnt able to take a photo of my own singlet)

email reminder
I was really very excited upon getting my race pack. It had a singlet, bib number and an RFID tag! Unexpected but truly impressive that the organizers gave the basic yet essential items needed for this race. I happily went to have lunch at Megamall and also finally bought myself a pair of running shoes. This is already way long overdue and its about time for my 2 year old Asics to  retire. Ill be writing a separate post on my review about my Mizuno Wave Precision 11. All I can say right now about it is that its awesome=)

my new running buddy
As mentioned , the original venue of the race was at Global City. All my previous runs (except Animo run which was held in Mall of Asia) were at BGC. I honestly have no qualms about it. The place is really nice and Ive gotten quite accustomed to the path. Although I hate running the flyover, the familiarity of the place is what makes it appealing to me. Plus, my friends house is like 15 minutes away only. We usually get up less than an hour before the assembly time for the previous races we have joined and we even have time to wolf down a light breakfast.

I was a little upset to find out that they have changed the race venue to Quirino Grandstand. I havent been there for ages. Its near the Luneta Park where me and my family used to go when I was a kid.

me and my family @ Luneta Park circa 1980s,.nostalgia mode
But since the race was free, we didnt have the right to complain. Although a lot of runners showed their disappointment on Hyundai's facebook wall, we just had to accept the decision by the organizers.

The change of race venue was a good idea I realized after the race.

race map

There was an overwhelming number of people who registered for the run hence the need for "waves" or batches on gunstart.
I stayed over at my friend's house the night before the race. Before going to my friend's place I had dinner at my favorite restaurant Sushiya.

My friend and her family (husband and 2 kids) were supposed to run with me. In fact she was the one who told me about this event. I ran 2 races with her and her husband, namely the Bull Run last January 9 and the Greentennial Run last January 23. This time around however, her kids and husband slept late the night before and decided not to run the next day. My friend was kind enough however to drop me off at the Quirino Grandstand. I had only 3 hours of sleep but this is a minor improvement. On my other races I slept for 1-2 hours only. I dont know if the pet snake in the house is the reason why I was unable to sleep hehehe.

 its actually an eel not a snake i was later told

My friends are great and very accommodating. I was a little sad they werent able to join me on this historic run. Just the same Im grateful for their hospitality.My friend even dropped me off at the race venue. 
I arrived at the Quirino Grandstand around 445 AM. I had enough time to warm up and also even use the portalet (portable toilet). I met up with my college friend Pam and we got ready to join the rest of the mob around 520am. The race started a little late and I understand that this maybe due to the very huge number of runners who turned up. Gun went off around 536AM on my watch. 

If the distance covered is accurately logged as 10km then Im happy to say that this is my first sub 60minute run for a 10km.

Of all the races Ive joined, this stands out as the one which had the most number of people. It was fascinating and great to see so many filipinos get up butt early in the morning to take part on this historical event. Its not just the idea that it is free but seeing a bunch of families, friends, lovers, officemates running and having fun is what makes this event lively and worth going to. 

However, I cannot avoid the fact in every race, i see some flaw/s. In this case it was not how the race was organized but rather the behavior of some people that I find unsettling. I wish to also emphasize that the the following observations are not only on this particular race. Ive witnessed these also in the other races Ive joined.

1) this is a run not a walk event. I have nothing against walking because sometimes its a way to recover before running again and eventually finishing the race. But walking as a group and making sure that all 6 or 7 of you are lined up side by side to the point of even walking arm hooked to another arm is just downright stupid and inconsiderate. This is a fun run not a fun walk. And there is nothing fun when other people cannot even run past through the crowd because of people who do this.

2) People who drink and just chuck their bottles/cups without bothering to check if there is another runner behind him. In a previous run, one guy splashed power drink on my shirt and shoes because he decided to discard his cup in the middle of the road and not on the side. On this run, I noticed caps from the bottled water strewn everywhere. I just hope noone accidentally stepped and slipped on those caps.

3) People who try to take over and abruptly stops in front of you. I mean WTF?

4) People pushing on the start line. If you want to get ahead, then do it during the run itself. If you come late to the run event then dont act brusquely like its everyone's fault you didnt get up on time. Politely say excuse me.

Well thats just about it. Other than that id also like to say that some runners should have the courtesy to say excuse me also and not just push people who happen to be running/walking ahead of them. 

There was also funny thing that I heard while I was at that part of Roxas boulevard where the stench of the Manila Bay was seriously offensive that I thought I would vomit. One guy shouted WOW ANG SARAP and one said PANSIT! and everyone was chuckling. I thought it was funny too.
I finished this 10k run almost out of breath but very relieved and happy.

From the registration to the completion of the event, Hyundai has done a marvelous job. I found a comment on the Pinoy fitness website that echoes everything I wanted to touch on.

My own feedback :

1) Baggage area was organized and madami. Also there was plenty of staff to assist everyone who had to leave their things. bib number was jotted down, bags securely put away

2) numerous portalets. it was clean, fragrant and had tissue paper pa! winner! nakasegregate din ang portalets for men and women

3) celebrity emcees and dj. Regine Tolentino, Richard Gomez and Lucy Torres were there to wish everyone a good run. Meron pang warm up session before the race.

4) Ambulance, Firetruck and Police were strategically assigned to their posts in case of emergency

5) Marshalls everwhere. Some of them were even cheering us on while we ran.

6) Overflowing water (bottled mineral water pa!)

7) Assigned people on the side of the road to collect used mineral water bottles. They had huge black trashbags to ensure that the clean up was quick and tidy

8) Lots of photographers. The cameraman near the stage also made sure everyone had fun while he was turning the camera crane around. it was so much fun to see ourselves on the wide screen by the stage.

9)  Fun photo booths.

10) The turning point for 5k and 10k were very prominent. 

My only negative feedback was the congestion of the number of people on the 5k turning point. 5k and 10k runners on this part converged and created a bottleneck for majority of the runners.

I hope I didnt miss anything in the list above. In conclusion I want to say that this is probably one of the best runs Ive ever joined. Not that I have joined a lot but I would say the generosity shown by Hyundai is what makes it remarkable. What they did should be emulated by other organizers. The mere fact that it was free would put other run events to shame. Especially those demanding a 4 figure fee because they claim that their race is prestigious or world class. It is understandable that there are overhead costs to organize race but sometimes some people take advantage of the current running boom and enthusiasm of the people. What Hyundai has done is considered a milestone. Not that I expect more free races but hopefully affordable ones.

Charging exorbitant fees does NOT automatically make a race classy or prestigious. Its the positive rave and feedback that the participants give that do. And with that I say NO TO HIGH REGISTRATION FEES.

After this experience I wont be surprised if people keep clamoring for another race handled by Hyundai organizers. Free or not. This event had quality despite being free and i wonder if anyone can surpass that. Honestly, I would have gladly paid since it was really worth it. But the fact that Hyundai did not charge anything is what made the event from good to great.

Cheers Hyundai you really did a superb job! Bravo!


Photos during the event :(grainy shots using my jurassic phone)

Other shots by fellow runners : (kindly check the Hyundai Facebook Album for more photos and credits)


  1. It sounds like you had a really great time! I wish I'd been able to run with you!

  2. dont worry we will run again together soon!


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