When Carmel of Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) invited me to join the Guam Ko’Ko’ Road Race a few months ago, I immediately got excited and the first thing that came to mind was it’s going to be my first international race. Little did I know that the race will only be a small part of the adventure I’ll experience in Guam, but that’s going to be another story.
First, let’s talk about the race.
Organized by the Guam Visitors Bureau, The Guam Ko’Ko’ Road Race has been running for 10 Years and is the most anticipated running event in the Country. The race aims to raise awareness on the plight of Guam’s territorial bird, the Guam Rail or commonly called as the ko’ko’ bird.
Guam is just 4 hours away from the Philippines with practically the same weather conditions as Manila, they are 2 hours ahead of us and with a total population of about 170,000, 40,000 of which are Filipino, so you’re in a US Territory but it also makes you feel a lot like home since almost everywhere you go you’ll bump into a Pinoy.
This year more than 2,100 runners participated in the half-marathon and the Ekiden relay, besides the local Guam runners, you can see a big participation from Japan (457 runners) then Korea (158 runners), Hong Kong, Australia, Philippines and Russia, making this race truly an international event.
Just like our races in Manila, the Gun Start for the Ko’Ko’ Half Marathon is at 4AM, we arrived 1 hour before the race to make sure we have enough time to settle in, do a quick warm-up and take a few photos.
The Race Route
Except for the first 2-3KM, the race course is relatively flat and simple, it’s a 10.5KM out then back, and it’s actually a good race to try and make a new PR, the route also runs along the bay area, though it’s relatively dark at around 5AM, you can also see glimpse of light on the way back.
The race is very well organized, hydration station every 2KM is stacked with Powerade and Water served by cheerful marshals, traffic was well managed and even with very long traffic queue, I didn’t hear any car honk their horn out of impatience.
It’s also a different experience running in a different country, I can hear chatter in languages I can’t comprehend (mostly Japanese), some run fast, some with a buddy or team, some will smile and greet you, and some will just concentrate on their own pace, it’s actually quite enjoyable to see that regardless of race, running is the same in any country or culture.
I was a steady race for me, finished at 2:34:45 with a big smile.
After the race, I was both happy and surprised to bump into a couple of Pinoy Fitness readers (@mylolarocks and @arlene80) wearing our 2015 membership shirt! Never knew our community has reached Guam as well!
Overall the experience was great! And I’m actually very happy that Guam Ko’Ko Road Race became my first International Marathon. Thank you Guam Visitors Bureau, especially to Ms. Carmel Carpio for this wonderful race experience in Guam!
So if you’re looking for an international half-marathon race next year, I will surely recommend this race!
Up Next: Other Adventures you can do in Guam!
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