In my previous post, I snuck in a teaser for what I thought would be the topic of my next post. I wrote that I have another Milo story to tell, and that it was going to be a story of heart, passion, and love of the sport.
This is not that story.
On the contrary, this is a story of cowardice, dishonesty, and utter lack of respect for the sport of running.
As I was rounding out my third and final loop around the Macapagal-CCP segment of the 42k route (I think it was at Kilometer 33 or 34 in front of Star City), a green Mitsubishi L-300 van stopped in the middle of the road. The passenger door opened and about six or seven "runners" wearing uniform orange singlets and white Milo race bibs (i.e., 42k race bibs) alighted. They were all laughing. They shouted "salamat" to the driver and resumed their "marathon."
My intial reaction was, I wanted to confront them and find out exactly what they were doing (or better yet, what they've done), but I restrained myself from doing so lest I wrongly accuse them of something. Still, as I was plugging away during the last eight kilometers along Roxas Boulevard, on the brink of collapse while being fried by the late morning sun, the scene just kept on playing over and over again in my mind. It went on and on until I finally crossed the finish line, where all of those thoughts were washed away.
I thought I had completely forgotten about that scene until today, when I learned from several running blogs (i.e., Bugobugo, Running Pinoy, Jazzrunner) that the Milo Marathon was in fact marred by the dishonesty of some "runners." Little did those dishonest bastards know that they will get caught, and that they will be exposed.
A quick glance at the race results would show that a number of marathon "finishers," although having their Finish Time, Chip Time, and 15k splits recorded, did not have data for their 26k and 37k splits. The figures are quite revealing because, if you consider the 15k splits of these "finishers" and do a bit of analysis, you will instantly realize that their Finish Times are plainly and simply bullshit.
Let's take a look at one example. Say, for instance, Runner No. 40632. This guy's Finish Time and Chip Time was a stellar 3:44:08. Strangely though, this guy registered a 15k split of 2:54:50, but did not register splits for 26k and 37k. And so, we'll have to do a bit of math here. Given this runner's Finish Time and 15k split, it would seem that he ran the remaining 27.195 kilometers in only a little under an hour. Holy crap! Ang bilis!
Let's try another one. Another finals "qualifier" with incomplete splits is Runner No. 40939. Finish Time 3:19:00, Chip Time 3:19:00, 15k split 2:45:14. No splits for 26k and 37k. If we add these figures up, it would seem that this guy ran the last 27.195k in only a little under 34 minutes! And the Philippines doesn't have an Olympic gold medal yet?!
One more. Runner No. 40368. This fella is the 34th-ranked "finisher." Finish Time 3:38:02, Chip Time 3:37:53, 15k split 2:39:14. As usual, no 26k and 37k splits. This dude is a tad slower than our two other examples - he ran his last 27.195k in a little under an hour. Siguro hindi uminom ng Milo.
Compare their figures with those of a true finisher's - Wilnar Iglesia. Wilnar is a known speedster and a notorious halimaw in running circles. Wilnar had a Finish Time of 3:30:59, Chip Time 3:30:51, and a 15k split of 1:14:09. His 15k split is over an hour faster than those of the Three Stooges', but he finished the marathon behind Moe and Larry, and just slightly ahead of Curly. Heck, even I had a faster 15k split than those guys, and I crossed the finish line almost two hours after they did! What's wrong with this picture?!
I combed through the results and compiled the names of the 42k "finishers" who had the most questionable statistics (i.e., absurd finish times relative to their respective 5k splits, incomplete splits). Here, ladies and gentlemen, is your Honor Roll for the 34th Milo Marthon (drumroll, please):
Runner No. 40939Runner No. 40632
Runner No. 40368
Runner No. 40368
Runner No. 40938
Runner No. 40661
Runner No. 40660
Runner No. 40211
Runner No. 40489
Runner No. 40221
In the spirit of fair play, I challenge these "finishers" to explain how in hell they were able to pull off their amazing marathon finishes. A simple comment on this post will suffice. I always get a kick out of having prominent running personalities visit my blog, anyway. If they don't feel like explaining anything (or, if they do not see the need to explain anything), they can instead just come out in the open and simply say they've done nothing wrong. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and believe them. I might even shake their hands if I run into them on the road one of these days. That is, if I can catch them. These guys are waaaay too fast for an average recreational marathoner like me.
If you want to have more fun and would like to know what these gods look like, go to Photovendo by clicking here and simply enter their bib numbers (you know the drill). As you will see, a number of these "finishers" were wearing the infamous orange singlet. It's best that we familiarize ourselves with these running luminaries. These are world-class marathoners. They ought to be celebrities. They're running gods! Runner No. 40661, especially, is a CLASSIC. He did a two-man relay on marathon day - as in, two different runners wore the same bib at different segments of the race! Check out the pics here and have a good time.
Now, you may be asking why I am making such a big deal out of all of this. Well, I'll tell you why.
I'm doing this because, after months of busting my knees and training for this marathon, after almost collapsing due to dehydration and heat exhaustion during the last eight kilometers, I chose to stay the course and somehow managed to finish the race with my integrity intact.
I'm doing this because of fellow runners like Jet Paiso, who got injured during the marathon yet chose to carry on and finished what he started, even if it meant taking all of SEVEN hours to complete the damn thing and crossing the finish line long after the cheering crowds have left.
I'm doing this because I personally witnessed an old, bent, and shabby-looking runner, evidently bereft of material advantages in life, almost crawling to the finish line wearing only one tattered shoe (it wasn't even a running shoe!) while carrying the other one in his hand, because it apparently lost its sole during the run.
I'm doing this because, somewhere along Kilometer 25, I and another runner attended to an old and battle-scarred marathoner who collapsed in the heat of the late morning sun, and stayed with him until help arrived.
I'm doing this because I've just learned that a 21k runner collapsed as he was only a kilometer away from finishing the race, and was then rushed to the hospital where he remained unconscious until he passed away yesterday due to multiple organ failure. May his soul rest in peace.
I'm doing this because, by their acts of dishonesty and lack of integrity, these "finishers" are making a mockery of all the ideals that the sport of running is supposed to instill in all of us.
Mahiya naman kayo sa mga sarili ninyo. Sana hindi na lang kayo tumakbo.