I’m writing this because I care about the Running community and the safety of all runners who looked forward to an epic race and spent their weekend in Taal with us. After hearing from and talking to a lot of people earlier I couldn’t help but express our sentiments and concerns about this race.
- The idea of running around Taal Volcano was exciting enough.
- Participants were very civilized, patient with and polite to the ‘event coordinator’ despite being so disorganized.
- It was nice to ride a boat from Club Balai Isabel to Talisay Batangas (Taal volcano) while breathing fresh air and enjoying the nature.
- There was a fiesta in one of the towns we passed by during the race, so some people were offering free food and water.
- Time management: The race started an hour late because of the waiver signing and singlet distribution on site. Also, the host did not delegate responsibilities to his assistants properly that’s why there were so many miscommunications and delays.
- Zero marshals on the forks, intersections and other confusing trail paths that cross each other. Huge number of people seriously got lost.
- Markers were too few and cannot be seen properly because it was color green (camouflaging with the leaves).
- There’s only one first aid kit located in one of the hydrating stations and it only contained Betadine. (Seriously?)
- There were not enough water stations (the event is in Taal and it’s a common knowledge that it is extremely hot in this place) most of the participants got dizzy, disoriented and demotivated.
- It’s quite obvious that the organizer didn’t perform any risk assessment prior to the race. There were so many stray dogs, plants with spines (some people ended up with scratches on their forearms, face and legs) and other hazards that were not taken into consideration and controlled by the organizer. We had to stop running (pretend we’re not scared to get bitten by dogs) for several times because the dogs were chasing us for running in their territory.
- Many people were disappointed because we/they could have finished in top 3, we had a huge lead but we got lost along the way due to lack of visible markers and marshals. In connection with this, people who made it to top 3 didn’t get any trophies or extra token other than a finisher medal. This was expressed by a guy who rode the same van as me on our way home.
- The organizer did not respond to our feedback in a professional manner. When we told him we got lost and not enough hydration/markers along the trail, he simply said “that’s the challenge of trail running, you get lost.” Didn’t even apologize, didn’t even say “thanks for your feedback, we learned from it and we will do our best to make it better next year.” Instead, he got too defensive with other concerns we raised.
- The rented vans/transport services were not able to leave at the earliest time (that’s 1pm) the organizer had promised because it wasn’t fully paid by the time we were ready to leave. Waiting game continued.. until 4.30 pm. All private vehicles had left already and it was only us 3 vans were left in club balai isabel (he could have delegated paying off the van drivers to one of his staff, instead we had to wait for him until 4.30pm to leave).
- Why did the organizer have to post deposit slips and screenshots of online banking transaction on the event page? One of the foreigners I was talking to also asked this question. He also said, it’s a bit strange to post people’s bank account details in public and I couldn’t agree with him more.
- The photo of finisher’s medal posted in facebook and the actual medal we’ve received didn’t look the same.
The participants weren’t needy at all. We just wanted a safer race, enough trail markers/marshals and enough hydrating stations to avoid life threatening situations such as heatstroke, dehydration etc. The event organizer could’ve employed more staff to help him out during the event instead of doing almost everything on his own. WILL I RECOMMEND THIS RUNNING EVENT ORGANIZER TO OTHER RUNNERS? You do the Math!