Monday, October 5, 2009

The Tale of the Tape: Subic International Marathon vs. Adidas King of the Road

On the weekend of 24-25 October, two of the country's most highly-anticipated running events will be going head-to-head: It's the 2009 Subic International Marathon versus Adidas King of the Road 2009. Here's the Tale of the Tape - from the point of view of an average recreational runner who isn’t physically capable of running the SIM full mary on the 24th and then doing a recovery run at KOTR on the 25th, and who therefore will have to choose just one race to run:

1. Accessibility of Registration Sites

Those who want to sign up for SIM may go to the offices of E-ventologists Co. in Makati, Chris Sports at Festival Mall and SM Marikina, Second Wind in Quezon City, and Runnr in BHS. Additionally, Smart and Talk N' Text subscribers may register via SMS.

On the other hand, those who intend to do KOTR can visit any of the Adidas outlets in Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, Megamall, Podium, Rockwell, Mall of Asia, and Katipunan, RUNNR in Bonifacio High Street, and Planet Sports in Rockwell, Greenhills, Glorietta, and Trinoma.

KOTR has registration outlets in practically all the major malls in Metro Manila. The SIM registration outlets are quite few and do not appear to be “spread out.” Hence, accessibility could be an issue for some.

Advantage: KOTR

2. Over-all Cost/Value for Money

The registration fees for SIM are as follows:
From what I know, the SIM registration fee will get you the race packet (i.e., race bib, singlet) and, most likely, freebies after the race.

Additionally, SIM participants will inevitably have to spend on transportation, and perhaps even board and lodging in Subic.

In contrast, the registration fee for KOTR amounts to Php500 for all distances. In addition to the ├╝ber cool singlet, the registration fee will also allow you to visit the Adidas running expo and pig out at the carboloading party.

Advantage: KOTR

3. Singlet Design

No explanation needed here. The KOTR singlet absolutely takes the cake.

Advantage: Duh. KOTR, of course.

4. Race Distances / Events

SIM will feature a full marathon, a half-marathon, and 10K, 5K, and 3K runs. In short, whether you’re a newbie, an intermediate, or an elite runner, SIM has something for you.

KOTR, on the other hand, will feature only a half-marathon, a 10k run, and a 5k run. If you intend to run only a full mary and nothing but, KOTR is so not for you.

Advantage: SIM

5. Route / Time of Race

The course for the SIM full mary will be the very scenic and spanking-new Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway – better known as the SCTEx. The course will start at Floridablanca, Pampanga and will run though Remy Field in Subic Bay, Olongapo. Gun start is at 4:30 in the afternoon. As if the route was not enough, it’s also going to be a sunset marathon. How neat is that?

The half-marathon and all the other events will be held at dawn the following day inside the vast expanse of the Subic Bay Freeport - an excellent consolation prize for runners who could not hack a full mary just yet.

In contrast, KOTR will start in BHS. The 21k route will take runners all the way to Cash & Carry in Makati, and then to Bayani Road, and finally back to BHS. 10k runners will get to run all the way to Mapua in Buendia before heading back to BHS. 5k runners will not be leaving the confines of BGC.

Advantage: Duh. SIM, of course.

6. Logistics

Being an out-of-town race, SIM participants will inevitably have to make arrangements for transportation, and perhaps even board and lodging in Subic. This could be an absolute treat for some, but a major hassle for others.

KOTR will start and end in BHS. ‘Nuff said.

Advantage: KOTR

7. Prestige Factor

The SIM website boldly proclaims that “this race aims to outnumber and outperform all marathons in the country with a targeted number of 10,000 runners who will vie for over Php 1.60M in prizes.” The champion of the 2008 staging of SIM was Kenyan runner Nelson Kirwa Rotich. SIM HAS KENYAN RUNNERS. Our very own Eduardo Buenavista, the Philippines’ top long-distance runner, came in second.

KOTR will most likely feature the regular crop of Sunday marathoners, minus a good number of the notorious regulars who instead will be running SIM.

Advantage: Duh. SIM, of course.

The Verdict

If it were simply a numbers game, KOTR would be THE race to run on the weekend of 24-25 October. Of the seven criteria, KOTR proved to be tops in four – Accessibility of Registration Sites, Over-All Cost/Value for Money, Singlet Design, and Logistics. Unfortunately for KOTR, although SIM came out on top in only three of the seven criteria, the latter bagged what I personally consider to be the “cherry” categories – Route and Prestige Factor. Hence, if you don’t mind the logistical demands of SIM and the hole that it will most likely burn in your wallet, you would be better off running SIM. I mean, come on, how often would you get to run a race in Subic? And, if you’re running a full mary, how many chances would you get at doing one along SCTEx, at sunset?

* * *
And there you have it. Hopefully, this post will help you decide which race to run on the fateful weekend of 24-25 October.

From the Shoulder: I had previously signed up for KOTR 21K, but I’ve changed my mind and will instead be doing SIM 21K. I’ve already registered and made arrangements for board and lodging. No turning back now. Sorry, Adidas. If it’s any consolation, I will be running SIM in a KOTR singlet!


  1. I am also thinking of wearing the yellow KOTR singlet either for my Subic sunset marathon, or the morning after while supporting a host of 21K runner-friends. Enjoy Subic!

    Adidas, we love the singlet, but we really wished you moved the race to December. But I like the brand just the same.

  2. Thanks, Rico! I will soak in every minute of Subic - my very first official half-mary.

    It is really a shame that most of us will have to choose between these two great events.

  3. running the subic 21K course will be a memorable experience. as per my experience last year, there is no race route here in metro manila that could equal the scenery, the quality of air, and the challenge of the route. i suggest you still have time to do some hill runs/repeats from now on. good luck & nice post!

  4. Thank you for dropping by, the tips, and the well wishes, Sir Jovie! It's actually the route that clinched it for me. I'm really excited about the challenges that the 21k route will present. Hope to meet you personally in Subic, sir.

  5. hi :) i just saw your post from rico's (sheerwill) blog, and saw that you're a fellow atenean :)

    im sure that if you included claiming the race kits in your categories, Smart SIM would definitely be the winner (most specially in the eyes of those who underwent the mayhem yesterday). Fortunately enough, the claiming this morning was heavenly :)

    see you in subic bro!

  6. Hi, Timmy. Thanks for dropping by. It's always good to hear from a fellow Katipunero. Yup, the claiming of race packs for KOTR was such a disaster. Poor Mr. Rudy Biscocho -- a lot of angry runners vented their ire on him.

    Subic, bud!