As my year-ender major race, I joined the 31st Davao Finishers Marathon last December 7, 2014 in Davao City. Despite the lack of preparation, I registered for 42K just to fulfill my goal of running at least one marathon a year.
DFM 2014 was scheduled a week before Pryce Gas International Marathon in Cagayan de Oro. Though CDO is nearer to my hometown Malaybalay (Bukidnon) than Davao City, I chose to run in DFM due to the following reasons: (1) DFM is actually Mindanao’s longest running marathon event. It is now on its 31styear and is only 7 years younger than the National Milo Marathon; (2) it will be my first time to run in Davao City; and (3) Ggun start is at 12 midnight which is favorable to slow runners like me who hate running under the harsh rays of the sun.
Despite having only three weeks to prepare (with my longest single run only at 25K), I am happy to finished with my best 42K time of 5:03:50. After two years, I was able to finally improve my previous 42K PR by more than 40 minutes (I finished Cebu City Marathon 2012 at 5:45:22).
As a DFM first timer, here are my observations of the race’s 31st edition:
1. Though their Facebook ads did not specify steps for online registration for out of town participants, I was able to contact Race Director Tom Tan through the number posted. I then registered through interbranch bank deposit.
2. Finisher’s shirt is already included in the race kit. In all races I previously joined, finisher’s shirt is usually given at the finish line. I like DFM style since you’re assured of getting your preferred tshirt size.
3. Race singlet is of neon yellow color which is vibrant and very visible when running in the dark. In contrast, the finisher’s shirt looks dull in boring gray color. However, both are made of good quality dry fit material which is lightweight and felt soft and comfortable on skin.
4. The 42K category drew 280 participants. It was a good turnout, considering that DFM is not as famous and as big time compared to other major 42K races in the Philippines.
5. Race route is not straight out and back. It started and finished at Victoria Plaza Mall and looped around Davao City’s major roads.
6. If I could remember right, there are only two water stations in the first 10 kilometers then after that it is already every 2 kilometers. A few stations served Pocari Sweat, bananas and watermelons. Aid station at the 21K mark served fresh buko juice which was really thirst quenching and tasted so good.
7. The route is complete with flat, uphill and downhill portions. The last 10 kilometers or so is mostly flat.
8. The route is mostly well lighted but it is also advisable to bring a headlamp and blinker for more visibility. There are also several convenience stores (just in case you want to buy something) and a few gasoline stations (for CR breaks) along the way.
9. The route was not closed to vehicular traffic but since the roads are fairly wide, I felt generally safe running in the sidewalks.
10. Finisher’s medal has a nice design but I found its size too small.
11. Free breakfast consists of rice porridge and fresh fruits were served at Ahfat Restaurant which is only a few steps away from the finish line.
12. Several items were also raffled during the awarding ceremony.
Overall, I enjoyed my first Davao Finishers Marathon experience. Aside from finishing with my best time, I loved it for being a well-organized race with an affordable registration fee. I do hope I could go back and run again next year.