I didn’t do a follow-up on how my marathon went yet. Mainly because I consider that it went terribly wrong. But here we go!

Some backstory: I was in Taipei, Taïwan for an exchange semester and had around 4 months there. I wanted to run a marathon. No real previous experience running, nor a “sport” kind of guy, but I thought it would be a nice goal to have, and worst-case-scenario I would be healthier at the end! I wanted to register to the Taipei Marathon with a friend, but of course the registration was already closed at the time, so we looked up on Google Maps where in South-East Asia would we be able to do it after our exams, to travel to another country before going back home and achieve something fun! The answer? Cebu, Philippines. January 14th.

It’s a lot easier to think of a plan than execute on one.

Training: The plan was easy to come up with, just follow a program on the internet. If you do it religiously, there should be no problem on the D-day. I picked up this one:


which seemed a good way to train. But I only had 3 months left, so I needed to adapt it to 12 weeks: easy, I will just skip the first 6 weeks. It started really good. For my first half-marathon (ever), I was able to run it under 2 hours in the first month (1:59:27). I was quite happy about it. Student life being what it is, I wasn’t able to commit to training as religiously as I should have, and it involved a lot of alcohol. Mid-November, after a 23kms (14.3 miles) run, I had a pain in my feet and had to go to the doctor, and I stopped training for 3 weeks. It’s around that time that I stopped posting my weekly runs on Pubski (I thought posting it every week would help me commit). Better safe than sorry. Not being able to train on long runs, I wasn’t ready.

Now the fun part

Between January 8th and January 12th, I had some exams. On January 13th (Saturday), we took a plane from Taipei (2 hours delay, yaay), and arrived in Cebu early afternoon. After a very long taxi ride, we were able to let our bags in our hotel. Went straight away to get our race bibs, to eat something and to sleep.

The fan in our hotel was making a crazy noise. We couldn’t sleep well, nor long. The marathon started at 3 am (otherwise it’s way too hot in the Philippines). We woke up around 2 am, dressed up and went there.

Phone is in my belt, Eminem is in my ears. I realize it’s fucking hot outside (around 24°C, 75.2°F), and the humidity is quite insane, but well, I’m here now. Endomodo app and Cebu’s marathon countdown “10…9…8…[…]...3…2…1…Go!”.

0KM --- [There is no pace group]

2KM --- It starts raining. Are you fucking kidding me?

5KM --- Slow realization that the road is only half-closed, and that cars and scooters are around us. Nice to have to look behind us when we want to pass someone! And free pollution.

7KM --- My earphones aren’t working properly. The sound keeps getting on and off and I hate that. Must fix it.

8KM --- “energy drinks and food along the run” they said on the website. WHERE IS IT?

13KM --- First stop where they have energy drinks, yaay! It was only water previously.

15KM --- Where in the seven hell is the food?

21KM --- Done half! The road is shitty to run on. Potholes, steep incline in some parts. At least it stopped raining, even though my shoes are fully wet and it’s a bit too late.

22KM --- What is that pain in my feet? I never had that. Some kind of pain under the feet that is really hard to describe but feels really bad. Must walk a bit.

22KM --- FOOD! Why wait till after half a marathon to provide food? I still don’t have the answer.

23-42KM --- Slow run/walk around 7km/h. My feet was hurt and I didn’t want to worsen the case.

Ended up finishing in 5 hours and 25 mins. I will beat myself easily in the next one. 483 out of 1093 finishers. Best time is 2:42:54, only one other person under 3 hours.

My friend finished in 4h13, he's a machine. I'm on the left.


Great report, thanks!

I didn’t write up my last marathon because it started at a normal time, the train got me there in an hour, it didn’t rain, was only a little warm, aid stations were as expected, and I was slow because I’m slow.

I see a big can of Pocari Sweat right there at the start. How did you miss it?

posted by Creativity: 533 days ago