Last Sunday, I just did my 2nd full marathon for 2015 and this was during the Clark Animo 6 Marathon held in Clark, Pampanga. This is the second time that a full 42K distance was included in this running event organized by the La Salle Alumni Association of Pampanga. It was also the 6th year of the Clark Animo run. According to the “brief” race briefing of the organizers, there were more or less 4 runners who registered for the event last Sunday. For the 42K category, we were only 160 registered runners.
The gun start for the 42K category was at 3:30 am. I arrived in the assembly area around 3:00 am. Around 3:15, the organizers called the 42K runners for a “brief” race briefing. After which, we were all hurriedly asked to walk to the starting line. Yup, there was no group warm-up exercise. Hopefully, the other runners who arrived early already did their warm-up like I did.
And so the race started. The first leg of the run will have the runners running the CDC Parade Grounds out to the Main road going to SM Clark (Main Gate). Thankfully, that main highway was well lighted all through out the main gate. The weather was cold and this helps the runners run strong during this leg. Upon reaching the U-turn at SM Clark area, runners are given a white band signifying that they have reached the first U-Turn. After that, it’s the same way going back to the main Clark area. The second stage of the run is along the Fontana area. It’s a long stretch of slightly downhill, flat road that will lead the runners to the Nayong Pilipino/Clark Speedway area. By the time we reach this area, the faster 21K runners were also running in the area.
Then off to the next stage of the run which is one of the two most difficult route of this race. This is a long stretch going towards the SCTEX Toll gate in Mabalacat Pampanga. By this time, the faster runners are already way ahead of me, while there are still several who are behind me. Since, this is already my second time to do this marathon, I did not push myself to reach the U-turn at the toll gate right away. I took my time and pace myself slowly since I know what’s in store after this leg. Upon reaching the U-Turn, we were given a second band. Then it’s a painful and long run going back to to the same area where we started again. Thankfully, my pacing worked for me. My body was already feeling the exhaustion of running 25KMs and how I wish I could run towards the next leg of the race. But then, upon reaching the Sacobia bridge, runners must take a right turn towards the other end of the bridge to get the third band at the third U-Turn.
Upon reaching the end of the bridge, it’s a long and tiring run (or jog or walk) going back. A few hundred meters more and the last most difficult part of the race awaits runners. This is towards the area they call, “The Wall” or “Pader.” It’s a long stretch of gradually ascending road with a barren wall on your right. By this time, the sun is starting to get hotter. Thankfully, the organizers were more generous with the runners this time. There were two or three hydration stations on this route with one of the stations handing out —- Chippy!
During this time, I have used up all the energy that I’ve stored in my body. My legs were screaming of fatigue and pain. So, I did my run-walk strategy using the lamp post as a measurement of distance. Thankfully, this strategy worked and I survived “the Wall” again! After this route it’s a 4KM downhill run going towards the main highway and 3KMs more before the finish line.
I reached the finish line with a time of 5 hours and 38 minutes of the race clock. By that time, all the other runners in the other categories have already left. There were a few more runners behind me. A race crew, handed over my finishers’ medal and I went straight to the table where they are handing out the finisher’s shirt. There were some race officials and race organizers in the table and no one congratulated me for finishing the 42K run. I went to see my family and we celebrated another feat in my running career. This is my second marathon for the year with the other one being the Condura Skyway marathon. I may have not established a new PR or run faster than last year’s Clark Animo Run, but I’m more than thankful for conquering this marathon route again.
And now some feedback for the race organizers of the Clark Animo Marathon.
Thank you for the improved number of hydration stations and also stations with bananas. The gummy bears and chippy in two stations were life-savers! I could not imagine how difficult it would have been to tackle the route going to the SCTEX Mabalacat if not for the gummy bears. 🙂
The singlet and finisher shirts were very nice and of good quality. I could not say so for the 42K medal. There is certainly some more room for improvement to make it more “special.”
Were there loot bags and freebies? I was only handed with a finisher shirt. I was hoping for at least a nice, cold bottle of Gatorade or any other cold drink, but there was none.
Please be considerate to your 42K runners. We’ve gone through the most tiring running experience and the least you can do is wait for us at the finish line and not hurry up in packing up.
Where are the race marshalls in bike? I didn’t see them all through out the race?
Please consider these points in next year’s Clark Animo 7.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE FINISHERS’ of CLARK ANIMO 6! Rest well, recover and hope to see you in future marathons in Clark.