I grinned in anticipation. I jogged from where I was standing. And did my stretching exercise before a run. I mused that just 30 minutes before I thought I was going to run from Ayala Avenue all the way to MOA with my knapsack on my back, having missed by a minute or two the cutoff time for the baggage deposit.
To make matters worse, I was offended by the lady who was manning the way to the baggage deposit counter. She was impolite when telling us the baggage deposit was closed, grabbing her co-workers’ hands and instructing them to make a human picket fence as if I was going to barge in on her. I got pissed. I was on the verge of giving her a piece of my mind but my friend stirred me away, knowing I was ready to snap at the woman.
The good thing was my office was just a short cab ride away. I decided to leave it there and come back for it after the run. We managed to quickly grab a cab and made it back with a few minutes to spare before cheers from literally thousands of runners clustered along Ayala Avenue rang out.
The first 6 km was fun. We paced our run, ran alongside AFP runners, walked when we were tired, and grabbed free cups of Gatorade. I was in the zone but got dismayed when we turned the corner from Buendia Avenue to Roxas Boulevard. The 5 km participants were still in the area. And they were not running but doing their own version of alay-lakad.
It was borderline terrible. It was no longer a run to save Pasig River. It became a walk to save Pasig River. There wasn’t enough space to jog.
It worsened when we reached the last kilometer stretch. There were 2 finish lines which was baffling. After we passed the first finish line, our personal time clocking at 90 minutes, a woman holding a megaphone told all 5k/10k runners to continue walking. Yes, walking. The whole stretch was teeming with people. It was like an MRT ride during rush hour but no train.
When we were halfway between the 2 finish lines, another guy was calling out that the exit was where he was standing. We ignored him and forged on. When we reached the 2nd finish line, that the finish line for 10k/5k was the first one.
It was chaotic. There were no signs where each category should exit and where we could get our finisher’s band. We had to ask those who were already wearing their bands where they got theirs. When I got mine I was again disappointed. I thought the bands were unique for each category. It wasn’t the case. You just give your stub and grab any band you fancy
I wasn’t at all too happy on how the run ended. It was in total disarray. Things did not go as smoothly as I expected it would. I could have finished faster than the 90 minutes it took me to run 10 km if it were not for the walkers.
The good thing was I completed my 10km run without hobbling to the finish line. And contributed a little bit to save the river which figured prominently in Jose Rizal’s novels.