Earlier this month I was invited by Guam Visitors Bureau Philippines (@visitguamph) to join their “Dive and Run Guam” – an activity filled weekend in Guam celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the SMS Cormoran sinking. Our itinerary includes diving the SMS Cormoran and running at the annual United Airlines Guam Marathon 2017. Everyone knows I love diving and was the main reason I got invited to this project. As for running, well… but in the spirit of the occassion, I signed up for 5K.
United Airlines Guam Marathon 2017
The United Airlines Guam Marathon (UAGM) is Guam’s premier annual running event scheduled on the 2nd Sundays of April. This year, it was April 9, 2017. The event includes 5K, 10K, 21K (half), and 42K (full) marathon distances. The running event starts and end at the Gov. Joseph Flores Park, and concluded with the a beach party where runners basked in the beauty of Ypao Beach and scenic Tumon bay.
Our travel party includes Carmel, the nurturing host of GVB (Guam Visitors’ Bureau); Angel, blogger behind the successful Lakwatsero.com; March, writer for Philippines’ #1 travel magazine, TRAVELIFE; and of course, me!
March and I signed up for 5K while Angel who is clearly more fit, signed up for 10K. The gun time for 5K is at 6 am, while 10k is at 5 am. I considered signing up the 10k, because I know I can do it without dying, but truth is I didn’t want to get up so early (4 am assembly time)! I survived the 10K at Condura run in 2010.
Back to Guam, we were staying at Pacific Star along Tumon beach. This is only 1km from the marathon starting line. I woke up at 4 am and can hear the festivities down the road. I heard the gun start of the 21K (at 4 am).
The sky was still dark when we got out of the hotel. If anyone of us was still sleepy is now fully awake with the blasting music from the DJ booth fueling the whole area. How amazing too we got to witness the first marathoner to finish, clocking his run at insane 2:30:37 and 6 minutes later, the 2nd marathoner arrived.
So finally 6 am and the gun went off for us 5 K runners. The sky just began to brighten and light rain started falling, but only briefly. March and I started together but we soon run at our own pace. It’s better that way because 5K is easy run anyway. I was excited to use my Apple watch’s workout feature Outdoor Run. This gave me some sort of motivation to run (instead of walk) at a steady pace. I don’t know why running is boring for me. I can walk for miles and miles; and hours and hours but as soon I started running, my brain wants to me to stop, even if I’m not tired. I actually finished the 5K without problem and even went around the beach party area walking and walking some more. And more walking while shopping the famous Guam Outlet shops from afternoon until night.
Guam is so beautiful that I thought it would be motivating to run along Tumon beach, but 5K is so short that we did not even get to the beach, turning back at McDonalds.
There were water station at almost every 2KM. I obviously don’t know what it’s like beyond 2.5K where we had to turn back, but I saw a map that says there are 15 aid stations for water, food, and other goodies offered by the locals. The event is really well organized and it’s quite touching for it seems like everyone is participating. It’s the cool thing with small communities.
I clocked my 5K at 42:46 with average pace of 8:33/km. This placed me in 549th of the 1029 runners and 251st of the 543 female runners. Middle of the Pack. Click this United Airlines Guam Marathon 2017 result link, in case you know someone and want to check how they did. You can search by name, bib number, or see the full result of a particular distance, and also by age and gender of that event.
Finishers After Party at the Beach
More goodies await the finishers at the after party on Ypao beach. Everyone gets a shinny medal, a finisher towel, and a foldable beach mat to use at the beach. I went around to check it out after the run.
There’s a band and a huge setup for sponsors giving away fruits, water, juices, various food items as well as souvenir items. GVB has their own booth and I got a Love Guam t-shirt.
I award the Best Booth to the Free Massage staion by Hyatt Regency Spa and another company which I forget the name. They setup 6 massage tables and gave runners about 15 minutes back massage. I lined up for this and it was really nice (but too short)!
It was around 8:30 am when I started to walk back to the hotel, and realized runners are still arriving. The party is almost finished. They’ve awarded the medals in every category, I forgot that some people are still running. By that time, 5:30 hours later, only 42K runners remaining. So I stood by the sidewalk for a little bit to cheer on the arriving runners, giving them hi-5s.
It’s inspiring for me to see people take on the full marathon, especially older people. I checked the result list and saw there are 7 people (6 male, 1 female) 70 years and older, who did the full marathon! The fastest is one Koichi Taniguchi who finished at 4:10:47. Wow, right?