Ensure Run: The Mind and Body Challenge

Photo Credits: Red Knight (left photo) and Kit Elma Photography (right photo)

Photo Credits: Red Knight (left photo) and Kit Elma Photography (right photo)

For runners, Sundays have come to be known as a race day, LSD day or training day. Most often, a Sunday does not pass without a race being held.

On September 7, 2014, Ensure held its second running event – Ensure Acti M2 Mind and Body Challenge. It’s a three – distance event to cater to the elites, the seasoned runners, and all running enthusiasts. Ensure Run isn’t your ordinary Sunday’s race. Because whether you running a 3k, a 5k or a 10k distance, there’s something special about your race route.

Not having joined that many races since January, the race, which gathered elites, seasoned runners and running enthusiasts, seemed like a comeback race for me. The late gun start was compensated by a great Zumba warm up routine which everyone, including myself, enjoyed. And it was a blessing in disguise because roughly a kilometer from the start line, the first of the obstacle challenges was put up – the inflated obstacle course. Had the gun start been a little earlier which would still be dark, it would have been difficult climbing and crawling through entire three set course with other runners. It looked like a park on an early morning filled with grown up kids. And I could even hear Coach Mherlz giving other runners a push. I could already hear my breath and my heart was pounding the hardest as I suck in every bit of oxygen molecule to get going. It was really tough and I felt that I used up a lot of energy, but it was fun!

I slowed down in the next couple of hundred meters for recovery, hydrated and splashed a cold water down my face for an added boost. Just when I have recovered a bit, the second challenge came into view – the Kalayaan Flyover. It required strong legs and hamstrings, and powerful lungs, too! Once done making a U-turn by Paseo de Roxas, the route led back to Kalayaan Flyover. This time, however, it was tougher as the inclination was sharper and extended to about two hundred meters. More huffing and puffing here. The water station would have been a great welcome along the flyover! But less pampering made it more challenging.

The race course turned into a flat road, which was a relief. But wait, there’s more! A bunch of those road blocks turned hurdles were neatly placed along the route. While others deliberately avoided them, I once more took the challenge even though I could feel my legs were begging to just run by them. I don’t want to kill the fun. It slowed me down alright because I had to be careful not to trip over. Otherwise, the game’s over.

Early on, about an hour before the race started, my Ayala Triads team mates and I took the effort of spotting the number of differences in Picture A from Picture B, and concluded that there were at least 9. Nearing the finish line, guessing the right answer takes you to the next challenge without getting physically battered, while picking the wrong one puts you through another physical challenge – the monkey bar! I apparently picked the wrong answer! I may not be the strongest, but I have proven to myself that I am tough enough for the challenges of the race.

Just before sprinting towards the finish line, the maze was a bit mind boggling. Well,that’s why it’s called a maze. While trying to get past some runners, you have to figure out on how to get to the end of the maze. And of course, the climax is the sprint to the finish line when you can barely feel your feet touching the ground, with the adrenaline rushing to every single vein in your body and the loud cheers from the crowd.

Photo Credits: Ayala Triads by Kit Elma Photography; Batangueña Runner (bottom photo)

Photo Credits: Ayala Triads by Kit Elma Photography; Bottom Photo: With Coach Mherlz and Coach Bob by Batangueña Runner.

Ensure Run was a well-thought concept for a race without getting soaked and dirty. Short distance it may have been but it offered so much fun and thrill to the participants and the spectators. More than the physical challenges of the race, one has to have a sound mind as well to make a happy finish.

Remarkably, the race marshals did a very good job by making the route a lot safer for the runners as the traffic, especially in intersections were well regulated.

One recommendation I have for the organiser, though, is to put a signage for the hydration station at the finish line and make it more visible. Personally, I didn’t know that there was one not until I was told. It was rather a bit inconspicuous. I apologise for being blunt, but for someone who trains to run half marathon without a hydration, crossing the 10k finish line somehow had me crave for water. This was the only downside that I had seen of the race. Otherwise, it was a very good race. I enjoyed it. And I had fun running with my friends.

I can say that I’m looking forward to another Ensure Run in 2015.



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