Racing with the Best at the Laguna Phuket International Marathon
It was totally un-expected when Michelle Saludes from 7-Eleven called me up and ask me is I want to join them together with the 7-Eleven Run 2016 winners to race in the Laguna Phuket International Marathon, without hesitation, I immediately said YES!
As a reward, every year, 7-Eleven sends out their top finishers at the 7-Eleven Run Manila to compete in an international race, and since last year the Philippines got the top spot at the 2015 Laguna Phuket International Marathon, the company decided to return to the same race to try and defend the title.
More than the travel, what got me excited was the opportunity to travel and race along side some of the fastest runners in the country. I often see them running in local races, most of them podium finishers, but rarely do I get a chance to really chat and get to know them.
This year, 7-Eleven Philippines sponsored 11 athletes (from left to right), Argel Joseph Mendoza (42K), Eugene Postrado (42K), Richard Salaño (21K), Mario Maglinao (42K), April Rose Diaz (42K), Lany Cardona (42K), Christabel Martes (21K), Jhoan Banayag (21K), Mark Anthony Oximar (21K), Gregg Vincent Osorio (21K), Nhea Ann Barcena (21K).
Totally excited to spend some time with these great athletes.
The Laguna Phuket International Marathon
Unlike races here in Manila, The Laguna Phuket International Marathon was a 2 day event, the 3K, 5K and 10K distances was on Saturday afternoon (June 4), while the 21K and 42K distances was scheduled on Sunday Morning (June 5).
This year the race attracted over 6,000 participants from 54 countries, making it truly an international race.
Some of our 7-Eleven companions are racing the 5K and 10K so we decided to stay and watch. The race starts and go around Laguna Phuket area with an awesome view of Laguna Lake. Here’s a short Live video I took of the starting line.
After the 5K and 10K race, it was a quick dinner at the hotel, then rest to prepare for the big race the next day. Last year Mario Maglinao was the overall Male winner for the 42KM category, so this year we’re back to defend that title.
I decided to race the 21K category, and this would be my 2nd International Half-Marathon after running the Guam Ko’Ko’ Road Race last November 2015.
Everyone was up early Sunday morning, we’re at the venue at 3AM preparing for the 4:30AM marathon gun start.
The weather in Phuket is very similar to Manila, hot and humid, and the 21KM race course runs around the Laguna Phuket area, it passes through several lakes and scenic spots and the course was relatively flat.
Bumped into fellow Pinoy Runner Eva Marie Soquena along the race route as well!
I was already scorching hot when I reached the 18KM mark, but overall, the race was well organized and there was overflowing ice-cold hydration, bananas, sponges to help battle the heat.
After crossing the finish-line, I learned Koji Nishizawa from Japan won the overall 42KM Male title, while our very own ‘Super’ Mario Maglinao finished 3rd place overall with an official time of 2:49:54. The good news is, we got 2 Top titles in return, both the 42K Female and 21K Male category was won by our team. Read the full news article here
Summary of our Awards:
Lany Cardona (42K – 1st place overall)
Richard Salaño (21k – 1st place overall)
Mario Maglinao (42k – 3rd place overall)
Argel Joseph Mendoza (42k – 1st place age group)
April Rose Diaz (42k – 1st place age group)
Eugene Postrado (42k – 3rd place age group)
Christabel Martes (21K – 2nd place overall)
Gregg Vincent Osorio (21K – 3rd place overall)
Jhoan Banayag (21k – 3rd place overall)
Mark Anthony Oximar (21k – 3rd place age group)
Nhea Ann Barcena (21k – 4th place age group)
Group Photo with Philippine Athletes and the 7-Eleven Philippines Team.
The Bonding Moment
After the race, 7-Eleven Philippines made sure that all the runners are fully rewarded and the side trips further enhanced the bonding experience.
The athletes spend most of their time training, and I often see them as super humans when it comes to running, so being able to see the normal human side of them, laughing, teasing, joking and just simply having a good time was a rare treat I secretly enjoyed.
After the trip, I want to thank 7-Eleven Philippines for…
1. The Awesome Race Experience – I felt truly well taken care of, more so the athletes, the team was well organized and really made sure each runner got all the support that they need on the entire trip.
2. The Bonding Moment – To new friends, tips and tricks from the Pro’s, and an unforgettable road trip.
Here’s a short video of our trip:
Thank you Team 7-Eleven Philippines!!
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