Warning: This is a very loooong (borderline negative) post. Big House Events Production literally removed the word fun in the term “fun run.” We participated in High Miles for the Children organized by the said event planning company, and we never thought that we were up for the biggest disappointment and stress caused by this supposed run for a good cause. If there is one good thing about this run, it is that the proceeds will be given to St. Rita Orphanage. Other than that, every single aspect of a run is purely disappointing.
When I saw this event in takbo.ph, I encouraged my friends to join since the proceeds will go to St. Rita Orphanage, and we just finished our outreach activity there early this year. Somehow, the kids there touched me personally and I still go there every now and then just to visit. We were lucky enough to catch the extended registration, and we went to Festival Mall to register. Imagine our dismay when we were already at the mall and we were informed that there was no registration during that day. He asked me if I can go to their office in Las Pinas to register personally, but realizing their miss for not posting their registration schedule for that week, they sent someone in Festival Mall so I can register.
Race Kit Claiming
During registration, we were informed that race kits will be released around the 1st week of April. Given that the race date was moved from April 11 to May 3, we tolerated the initial delay in the race kit distribution. 1 week before the race, there was no definite date yet on when the kit will be released. They guaranteed the registered runners that it will be a multi-day claiming, since some runners already expressed minor concerns on their schedule if it will only be one day. But lo and behold, they released only a May 1 release date for the race kits. It being a holiday, OK na sana. On the evening of April 30, we were notified via a FB post that the race kit claiming will be moved on May 2 due to technical issues on their race bibs. Come May 2, we read several complaints in FB that they only released the singlet without the race bib, and the race bib will be released on the day of the actual run. Right…a race kit without a race bib which is the official proof of registration and reference for all races.
We registered early since we don’t want to be super early in the venue, and we didn’t want to add to the chaos during onsite registration. Oh, correction. They said that there will be “strictly no registration on the actual day.”
Several adjustments were already made to ensure that this run will be accommodated. Personally, my training run was sort of ruined since this was supposed to be a training run for me for my half marathon in NatGeo Run on the 26th. Since I thought that glitches like this can happen, I just let it pass. Hindi naman sinabi ng High Miles na gawin kong training run ang run nila e. What actually irked me is the several reschedule (May 1 to May 2 to May 3) of the race kit claiming, only to be informed that race kits (er…race bib) would be released on the day itself. Wag ka, all these reschedules happened several days before the run, and there’s no way for us to adjust our schedules to accommodate them.
I personally called Ms. Belle Belarmino of Big House Events Production and personally told her that we demand for a refund since going to the venue way much earlier than the designated assembly time will be too much of a hassle for me. Instead of pacifying me first, she told me to “paki-explain po kung pano magiging hassle kung sa mismong araw na ng race irerelease ang race kit.” A friend also called her and she even had the guts to tell her that we were the only ones complaining. Kami lang daw ang nagrereklamo. Guess what? Fellow runners during the event shared the same sentiment.
The run’s start/finish line is located at the back of Palms Drive. Since we were not familiar with the place, we asked on their facebook page where the parking will be. They told us that there will be staff available to guide us to the parking area.
We reached the place at around 2:30 AM since we really wanted to avoid the hassle of very long lines in claiming the race kit. There were no guides situated at the area and we only saw empty roads. Since it was quite unusual to be at a very empty road 30 mins after the supposed start of the onsite registration, we decided to call the organizer. To their credit, they sent someone to where we were exactly and she guided us where we will be parking. Guess what again? By 4 AM, someone was asking everyone already parked to move our cars to the other road since it was the designated parking for the event. Magaling magaling.
We were welcomed with the following sight.
Yes, you saw it right. 30 mins after the start of the supposed onsite registration and everything was not set-up yet. Mukhang 2 AM pa lang talaga sila nagstart magset-up. Usually, for runs like this, organizers start setting up as early as 12 midnight to ensure a smooth run. Obviously this was not the case here.
Here’s the supposed start time of each distance:
Their reason for the delay? Wala pa raw yung race marshals at race director. Magaling magaling!
To be honest, I will never know if the 16K run is 16K at all, since we didn’t finish the entire route. Based from my watch, we only ran for 5 km, since all the “glitches” that happened killed the enthusiasm in us.
On the brighter side, we were able to make some new acquaintances in this run, everyone sharing the same sentiment on what happened. All of them were experienced marathoners and it’s natural for them to measure the distance in every race they join. I asked them and they recorded only 10 km. They were also not sure if they ran the correct route since there were no marshals on their final U-turn so no one was telling them where to go next.
This one was unintentionally discovered by one of my friends. Since the sun was already up and no marshal could point them to the right route for 5K, they decided to just make a U-turn and return to the finish line. Since hindi naman talaga nila tinapos, they were the “first ones to reach the finish line.” When someone saw them, a member of the organizing team asked for their finish time. To their surprise, it appeared that no one was actually keeping time. “Ano ba yan, pati time keeper wala” was what they heard among the people already flocked in the finish line.
During registration, I discovered that the daughter of my Mom’s friend used to work with them. When we reached the finish line, I was approached by one of the organizers and asked me if I was the one who knew the said girl. I said “yes, pero diba wala na sya sa inyo?” This they flatly denied and mentioned that this girl is still very much affiliated with them. Guess what? I am chatting with the said girl as I write this and she told me that “hindi na po, matagal na.” My assessment? This is damage control from their end, hoping that consideration will be given and not make a negative post about the event kasi kakilala naman.
A veteran runner (at least based on how he looks) asked them if this was the first run they organized. Her response? “Hindi po, 5th run na po ito. Ngayon lang po nangyari to.” Right. Nagkaproblema sa lahat – from suppliers to marshals to the race director. Ano yun, nagkaisa silang lahat para mawala sa ayos ang fun run? Now they are telling us that the reason why the run was this disorganized is because most of the people involved were volunteers and their first time to volunteer as a race marshal. Guess what, you are the organizer. You are accountable. You should be above all these. Please stop putting the blame to other people, and just accept that there is a lapse somewhere in the organization of this.