July 6, 2009

The Angel of 407: Racing the Milo Eliminations

The early morning was humid, I felt the heat as soon as I stepped out of my place. It was 3:00am. Rain had visited our roofs on the past days of the week and mostly occurred from midnight to early morning but it seems no rain will be falling on this day. I am hoping for a drizzle as I get myself to the famous luneta for the 33rd Milo Elimination Race, I guess this will be a different way to run this premiere running event of the country.

I arrived at the site an hour before race start and kept myself busy with friends chatting and reminiscing the previous milo races that we've had. A video of the previous milo marathon race was shown on a big screen to entertain runners and boost their confidence for this race. At 4:00am the organizers announced the call time and the participants entered the corral. With a few minutes before race time we were sent off.

I started with a relaxed pace and tucked behind Sir Jovie and the hardcore group, I find his start pace good enough from the last marathons that we ran together. Approaching the u.s. embassy I slowly crawled ahead and feel the increase in my pace. In just a few minutes my pace mate Rod appeared from behind and we started cruising along with our projected pace.

Some 30mins before the race I saw Jay, the Greek Prometheus Cometh arrived with a lady. I called him but he didn't hear me due to the sound from the loud speakers as he checked-in to the race. After about 30mins of getting jogs and stretches, I rested for a while, relaxed and once more reviewed my race strategies. Later inside the corral I managed to locate him and we talked regarding the race. His plan is to maintain his pace allthroughout and increase some if he could feel the urge. Given that, I told him that I'll stay behind since I usually start easy and off he went as the gun was fired.

Jay is ahead.

Rod and I continued our relaxed pace together with other runners left and right of us. Stories were told once again since the last time we met was during the 32nd milo finals. We kept on chatting as we go along, this strategy brought us farther during the last two editions and we expect that this time will be the same.

At one stretch of roxas boulevard a lady appeared from the median island with somewhat of a hydration supply in hand. I recognized her as the lady who came along with Jay before the race started and without hesitation, I shouted "Jay is ahead" twice. After hearing me the lady and his companion immediately rushed back to the other side of the road to maybe reach Jay in no time.

Before reaching the first turn around point at airport road I saw Jay on his way back, he's a few hundred meters ahead of me and is running well. Rod and I caught him up before the edsa flyover and went ahead of him. This was the first time I knew my pace was at 5:15 mpk, thanks Jay for the info. Maintaining a slightly above pace I continued cruising along buendia avenue until the makati cental business district. It's difficult for me to leave Jay behind but his race is different from mine.

Jay is behind.

Upon reaching malugay I saw again the lady who emerged from the median island somewhere at roxas boulevard. I said "Jay is behind", and saw the comfort in her eyes. Maybe there will be no more dilly dally on her part. I was still strong at this point as Rod and I soldiered the remaining stretch of buendia avenue. Upon reaching the kalayaan flyover I consumed my first gel, it was a good 01h30m had passed at this point in time. Jay is not far away behind us as I climbed the road leading to fort bonifacio, he'll catch up on us in a little while.

Hi Mrs. Jay.

At the corner of 5th avenue and 26th street, the lady now with a camera on hand, is shooting on us straight forward. Maybe Jay is inches away from us. As I drew closer to her I politely said "hi mrs. jay nacino", and she beamed a smile. I felt the appreciation and the fatigue somewhat went away. I felt a decrease in our pace at this point since this was mainly an uphill ride until mckinley road. Upon reaching bayani road Jay caught us up and went ahead after the second turning point, he was running strong. Time check: 02h00m, second gel down.

Rod fell behind and I maintained my position with the man possessed. Jay and I ran along through the third turn around point at c5 road and back. Suddenly the rain poured after we reached lawton avenue on our way back, this scenario brought us back to the last elims and finals editions. This is the reality in racing the milo way. At 02h30m we were at essensa but the man with me seems unperturbed. Jay continued to strut his butt without fading away. I am not surprised because I am a witness in his preparations. We reached again the lady at the fort, took a little breather and continued the chase of time, at this moment we were at the 5:07 mpk pace. I can't believe why I am running this fast as Jay and I reached km30, it's because of a dream I know. Because of the man I'm running with, he's on a mission. As we exited fort bonifacio we saw the t2 running support (thanks harry for the pics) and not farther away is the takbo.ph group. The cheers from them lifted our spirit and the bottled water was the coldest I have had, many thanks guys.

05m07s pace at km 30
Goodbye Jay.

We continued until the kalayaan flyover on our way back until Jay eventually broke ahead. I stayed behind him and ran my pace until he went way ahead. I wasn't prepared to match his energy and toughness because I'm not in his level. I could still see him cruising along until he disappeared from my sight, that was at the buendia avenue and osmena highway junction, maybe after 03h10m of running. My story of Jay halted there as we went on our own. I soldiered the rest of buendia avenue in solitude, marked those ahead of me and took them one by one, I'm still good enough. The billboard with the huge message was still there, I continued to talk to Him. I felt more stronger because I am getting closer to the other takbo.ph group support. The place was lively and I am overwhelmed as I passed by them. Thank you Gene for the personalized stuff and to all the other volunteers. You're all heroes.

I collected my reserves for the dreaded roxas boulevard take over, the last stretch where most of the runners fear. Same with the previous milo races I had, the rajah sulayman park was again a witness of my walk-run-walk-run ordeal. Here's the place wherein the toughest buckles, but after this place lies the prize. After this 3km stretch lies the gold, and if you're brave enough, it is yours. I hope Jay survived this experience. I exited buendia avenue at 03h18m and with an average pace of 8:00mpk at this stretch I finished the race.

finishing the race
Where's Jay.

After crossing the finish line xty told me that Jay went ahead. She got his pic and told me that she only heard "whooah" from him. I supposed he just changed and collected himself. This was a grueling run, considering the pacing we've had. After my 20mins of finishing, a grinning Jay finally showed up with the lady in him. After 42km of running, 5 precious times of seeing her on the race, I finally knew the angel of 407, she was Mrs. Angel Nacino.

The story never ends here.

with jay at the finish line

everybody got an angel

More photos here.
Related stories here.


  1. Sino ba yang Jay na yan? Masyadong serious! Thanks for telling my story from your eyes. Idol ka na mabait ka pa. Kaya siguro na-in love si Cristy sa yo. Hopefully I can be as kind and generous as you if not as fast in races!

  2. lovely story! ang galing nyo ni jay! while i was at the aid station jay approached us with a delirious look on his face... when art announced the time (3:38) we all screamed -- ang galing! then i saw you not long after so i assumed you sub-4d. :D great job you guys! i felt like i was living vicariously through you with your account. :) kitakits soon!

  3. congrats Vener and Jay. Pati na rin sa mga milo marathoners.

  4. Congrats Vener! We are so proud of you, friend! Take care and regards to Xty.

  5. congratulations vener! hanep talaga kayo ni jay... ;) pagpayat ko, gagayahin ko kayo. lol!

  6. Hi Vener. Another chapter of the Milo Marathon has been filled and thank you for sharing your story and congratulations again on another Milo.

    I think it's great that the video of the previous race is shown because the confidence level normally picks up. I usually see that at an expo when I'm picking up my bib package the day before.

    Great idea regarding the marathon pace that you and Rod decided on. Also, running with Jay was nice.

    I've seen the flyovers from the trip last year and they're not easy, especially in a 42K. Take care my friend. It's only a few weeks until the finals.

  7. Congratulations ! great job. You are a leader in the running scene in the Phil. I also like how your blog looks like now. great! - runningshield / patrick concepcion

  8. That was a great race report Vener. I enjoyed reading it immensely. It was very detailed and you didn't miss sharing with your readers all the interesting and exciting stuff. Congratulations once again for another strong finish.

  9. Hello Vener!
    It was a pleasure meeting you and Xty! It was a wonderful account of your "Milo kwento" (ako wala pang kwento sa blog).

    Congratulations for getting your ticket to the Finals!!!

    Your stories will continue to serve as our inspiration to improve in our race. And that challenge left a mark on our minds.

    Eric and Emilee

  10. Congrats Vener! You doing a marathon is like us doing a 5km run. Wala na hirap. Hahaha!

  11. idol! congrats! it was nice talking to you after the race. i didn't hit my target pace but i made sure that i hit my target goal. thanks for sharing words of wisdom! =)

  12. Hi Vener congrats Idol! galing ng blow by blow account, regards to Christy too.

  13. congratulations on you great finish time! :)

    it was nice meeting you after the race. ang galing, galing. see you soon. :)

  14. Congratulations! Looks like you both had fun out there.

  15. vener, congrats for an impressive finish (again!) at the MILO Marathon. you really inspire the runners with your nice post. see you on the next races. good luck!

  16. VEner - Congratulations! Great run!!!

    Regards Mark & Tiffin

  17. That was a nice way of telling your recent Milo experience. It only showed why you are a runner worthy of emulation - because you are humble, generous and self-less. Congratulation, Idol!

  18. nice recap vener, it was really inspiring to see you & jay along buendia. mga idol talaga kayo, pag liit ko gagayahin ko kayo! hahaha...again, congrats!


  19. Jay - Thanks, but this was the way I saw the race. My congratulations and best regards to you both. Whooah!

    Marga - Thanks, everything seemed right for us all through the race until knowing that something wrong happened with you. I hope you're doing fine now, see you again.

    Wilbert -Thanks, we almost did our runs virtually again. Nevertheless, I'm happy that you did well with yours too. Enjoy the rest.

    Anna - Thank you for the encouragement along the way. That was the killer stretch of the route and I'm glad you were there to cheer me on. Congrats too to the whole family.

    Vimz - Thanks, but we missed you at the race. Art was there to share the news, I'm glad you're okay. Take care of your mataas na high blood ha. LOL

  20. Congrats Vener! Idol ka talaga! Your generous and humble spirit shines through. Very inspiring post. Makes me want to do a Milo someday. :) - Mariel

  21. Wayne - Thanks, I have run with Rod during marathon races and we've had a pretty the same pace while Jay and I have attended running clinics together and shared long runs for sometime before this race. I won't hesitate to doing this again with them and other friends. Good luck on your training.

    Patrick - Thank you, I'll be happy to be just a follower, but thanks for looking to me that way. I have still so many things to do after all, you're still amongst those whom I looked up to. We're missing your posts.

    Bong - Thanks a lot. Mahirap para sa akin ang magsulat sa ingles kaya pinipilit kong andun ang buod ng kuwento. I envy those who writes with free flowing thoughts, I hope I could be someday. Regards and I hope your calves are doing well.

    Eric & Ems - Thank you, its good to see you at the race. I didn't realized you were the one I was running and walking with at the rajah sulayman park. But I remember you after the meet-up. Congrats too on your milo21km. Cheers!

    Dennis - Thanks, the hardest thing in doing the marathon is the training and the time that you devote in it. The race itself is just the bonus. You'll be there soon.

  22. Rod - Thanks and congratulations too. Welcome to the marathoning world, don't feel bad regarding your lapses, you still championed your goal. Bawi sa susunod.

    Chito - Thanks, we missed you at the race, did you run the milo or on to another place again? See you again.

    Let - Thank you, its good to meet you and the hubby at the race. I hope he did well too, congratulations to you both.

    Jon - Thank you bro. Milo is not just a favorite drink but a favorite race nowadays, try some, have some. What's next for you? Regards.

    Sir Jovie - Thank you Chief, I thought you'll break your milo pr but from your account something happened along the way. Although that was not your ultimate goal, you still did a good job, I'm glad that once more I ran with you again. Cheers!

  23. Hi Vener. Someday I would like to run a marathon with you... kahit sa first two kilometers lang :) On the meantime, more sacks of rice to eat for me. Congrats man! I saw Christy running strong in the 21K, congrats din to her.

  24. Congratulations Vener! That was a good story. You and Jay are really amazing! Just being able to run with runners like you is already an honor to a newbie runner like myself. God bless :)

  25. Mark & Tiffin - Thank you so much. See you again.

    Rico - Thanks for the kind words, man. Congratulations once more and savor the experience. Rest easy, I'll see you around.

    Bobby - Thanks, I haven't had a second thought when I saw you from afar at buendia (haha), si Bob nga. Siguro, malapit na yung pagliit mo'ng sinasabi. Aabangan!

  26. Congratulations on the finish Idol Vener! Wonderfully written piece. And I agree with Macky, I also want to run a marathon with you someday, if only for the first 2km :P Congrats! You the man! Galing talaga.


  27. Mariel - Thanks a lot. I hope someday, somewhere, we will be doing this marathon thing. I was inspired by Jun's message a day before the race and at the same time, na-pressure din (haha), thanks for the thoughts. My regards to him.

  28. Congratulations idol ng mga runner! No.1 ka pa in helping and encouraging other runners! God bless you pre!

  29. mabuhay ka vener!

    i think i am destined just to run and run without speed.pahabaan.hahaha.

  30. Macky - Thanks, someday we will be, I believe you're near on it. Xty missed her pr by a minute, but she did well too (at least without me by her side). We missed you at the post race affair, see you again.

    Dennis - Thank you, I hope the experience of running the marathon will reveal more of your desire to continue running in the future. Celebrate, cheers!

    Luis - Thanks, but don't hurry yourself, it will come in the right place, at the right time. Love running more and set a goal. See you again.

  31. Bro.J - Thank you and congrats on your milo21. Wohoo, you're races are getting further, I won't be surprised if you'll be running the milo42 next year. Regards to swthrt.

    Roy(?) - Thanks. Running needs speed, I don't believe you can't have it, kaya mo 'yan. Congrats again for another finish.

  32. vener. ang saya ng kwento mo. ang saya rin ng finish time mo. you make it seem so effortless. congrats! onwards to the finals!!! - bards

  33. Vener, nasabi na yata lahat ang dapat sabihin. I agree to all of them. Sorry nahuli ako ng bati. Congratulations to you and your darling Christy! If ever I get married again, I'll oblige him to run para pareho kaming runner... kasi kakainggit kayong dalawa!

    See you both at the Run For Home!

  34. Hard core runner ka rin kaya! =)

  35. Bards - Thanks, nahirapan din naman tayo because of the time limit. Honestly, I enjoy running the finals than this elimination thing. Congrats for the PR too.

    Nora - Thank you. We missed you at the race. I hope we could see you at the run for home. 21km?

    Janine - Thanks, do I look like? Di naman siguro, matiyaga lang tayo tumakbo. See you at the races, regards.

  36. Congrats bro! As usual, ang galing. You and Jay, rock! Hope to run/pace with you on QC marathon, kahit na first 5k lang :-)

  37. Gene - Thank you Bro. Nakatsamba ulit (hehe). I hope come october you'll be doing yours too, I'll be looking forward to that. Again, my personal appreciation to you for your support during the milo race.