Last October 21, I together with my wife Malou and our couple friends James and Blessie joined the 2nd Gov. JJ Lanzones Festival Run 2012 in the Island Province of Camiguin. Though I have been to Camiguin a few times before, it was my first time to run in the the Island Born of Fire and I could say that the experience was truly unforgettable.
We checked in at GV Hotel a day before the race, a very convenient stay since it is only a few steps away from the Provincial Plaza of Mambajao, the assembly area and finish line of the race. At about 4 AM on the race day, 33K and 21K runners assembled at the plaza and then boarded the bus which took us to our respective starting areas. James and I joined the 21K category and we were dropped off in Guinsiliban while the 33K participants were taken farther to the town of Sagay. Both categories then promptly started simlutaneously at 5 AM.
The route started easy with a long stretch of downhill road of more than 2 kilometers. It was a good warm up for me while the elite ones already zoomed ahead. As I've been running only 5-10 kilometers prior to this race, my game plan was to run-walk the whole route. But since the start was an easy downhill, I started my 4:1 (4 minutes walk: 1 minute run) interval in the flatter grounds of Benoni.
Passing by Benoni was a delight to my eyes as it wasn't always a regular thing for me to run along coastal areas. We passed by the Benoni Port then caught a good view the beautiful Mantigue Island which we explored the day before. After more than 5 kilometers, I let James went ahead as I started to feel a bit tired already. Probably because of the island atmosphere which I am not used to, I felt sluggish even though I am still far from the halfway mark. It did helped a lot that the weather was gloomy that day.
After Benoni, we then passed along the other barangays of Mahinog where a good number of locals lined up along the streets to watch the run. I exchanged high five with some kids who were delighted with what I did (hahaha!). I also love the feeling of running on the highway where only very few vehicles passed by. It was just like the runners owned the road.
The whole route has only a few uphills. It was mostly flat with long stretches of downhill on some parts. It would have been the best route to make a PR but then I know I am running very slow. Lack of proper training coupled with not being used to the island atmosphere simply tired me down.
Reaching the last 7K in Tupsan, Mahinog, the lead pack 33K runners passed me by. I only have a few minutes before reaching 2 hours and it was at that point where I abandoned my thoughts of finishing below my previous 21K best of 2:13. My calves also started to feel tight so I decided to even take it easier. Since it was another coastal view, I just focused on the sights to let my tired body (and mind) relax.
The Pulaguy Blogger finally reaches the finish line!
I reached the finish line at 2 hours and 30 minutes, my second slowest 21K ever. Despite the slow finish, I didn't feel bad at all as I did have fun running and seeing more of Camiguin. I finished the run injury-free and was able to overtake 5 runners on my way to the finish. Malou finished 6th in Female 7K and a good number of runners from Malaybalay, including elite runner Juniel Languido who bagged the 33K crown, were also among the top finishers in various categories.
My running wife place 6th in the Female 7K!
I commend the organizers of the 2nd Gov. JJ Lanzones Festival Run for a fairly well-organized race. The singlet and medals were of good design and quality. There were ample water stations in the whole route and there are also mobile marshals on motorbike who monitored the runners from start to finish. Probably one area that needs improvement is the awarding ceremony which was a bit delayed and disorganized. But overall it was a great run and I would love to go back again next year.