A good friend told me recently, "The MILO Baguio leg is the toughest course in the MILO running series. Not many who join this race qualify for the MILO finals." Last Sunday's Milo Race was no exception made even tougher by Typhoon Egay looming over the Benguet Province as forecasted. Runners can be obsessive weather watchers, planning our runs and races around the conditions. There are times, however, when you just have to get out the door and run despite the forecast. So when I was advised at 4am that the race is still a GO, that's exactly what I did.
As expected, the race course was extremely hilly especially heading out to Mines View, the Mansion and Outlook Drive and lets not forget the winding Loakan Road. The combination of cold and wet, mud, floods, and killer hills made it tough to run. With each step, my shoes made a loud slurping sound feeling like weights on my feet. Clothes clung to my body totally drenched as the rain poured unrelentingly. But when I saw the 18th km mark with just 3 kms to go, I picked up the pace and just went for it smiling all the way to the finish line. Call me crazy but I totally enjoyed the race. I guess its because I love Baguio and I love to run so that combination always gets me on a high no matter what the circumstances.
After the race, I heard a lot of chatter and complaints questioning whether or not MILO should have postponed the event due to inclement weather conditions. I was asked several times on the spot to give my opinion on this but deemed it prudent to make no comment at the time.
The hardest decision any Race Director/Organizer has to make is whether or not to cancel a race event. It is not a decision taken lightly or made so easily. There are numerous factors to consider, situations and scenarios that need to be evaluated, manpower and safety concerns that need to be assessed among others. Depending on the alert level, race organizers may rather opt to delay the start time or alter the race course in lieu of total cancellation. Either way, it is no easy task and no matter what decision he makes, he will still get flak from all directions. After all, in situations like these, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone. At the end of the day, a Race Director's decision is FINAL and we have to respect that.
In my running-paradise, every race would be 15 degrees and sunny. But this is real life, and sometimes that means we have to run in pretty inclement weather. I've had my share of runs and races in some nasty weather including torrential rains and freezing cold. While running in bad weather is less comfortable than we’d probably like, it can be manageable. At the same time, the knowledge that I have run through worse gives me a great sense of accomplishment and also makes for great running adventures.