Running Manila: Run United Trilogy Leg 1

When In Manila, the first leg of the Unilab Active Health (ULAH) Run United Trilogy concluded on a resounding note as thousands upon thousands of blue-and-orange-clad runners filled the roads from Bonifacio Global City to the Mall of Asia grounds. As the first among three runs that make up the Run United Trilogy, it was a great start and an exciting precedent of things to come. When in Manila, races that mix up having fun and challenges are experiences any fitness fanatic should try out.

The Run United Trilogy is organized by RunRio Events, the events-management arm of the running empire built from scratch by acclaimed athlete and running coach Rio dela Cruz. RunRio events are fast gaining a reputation for being some of the best, most enjoyable, and most well-organized running events not just when in Manila, but when held in far-flung locations too. I was fortunate enough to be part of this event as a warm-up coach, following my first time as one in February’s Condura Skyway Marathon, preparing the 10k and 3k runners before they set off on their respective race distances.


The author and Coach Villarin sharing a lighter moment with the 10k runners.

When in Manila, one would notice that many running events under a marathon distance (42k) will be more often than not centralized in one specific location. For example, most road races held in Manila are held in three main locations: Bonifacio Global City (features flat, even ground and scenic modern urban landscape), McKinley Hill (known for challenging hills and winding routes), and Roxas Boulevard (long, straight stretches help runners post good personal times). However, Run United Leg 1 set itself apart by having the 21k half-marathon (or ‘half-mary’ in run-speak) athletes begin their race in Bonifacio Global City and end in Mall of Asia, crossing Makati in the process. Positive feedback from many runners on this concept bodes well for future Run United races.


Run United Leg 1 also had 3D maps flashed for runners of all distances, a far cry from the 2-dimensional paper maps that are usually given to runners along with their respective race kits before the race. The 3D maps showed the routes for the runners, as well as highlighting all-important hydration stations and landmarks, ensuring the peace of mind of many a runner. Another wow-factor to the event were the very unique Finisher’s Medals for the half-mary finishers; the medals were shaped like one-third of a pie, and gold-plated, giving the 21k runners a ‘bling look’ after their respective runs. It was unfortunate though that the late finishers did not manage to claim their Finisher’s Kits, with the kits running out unexpectedly. RunRio, to its great credit, quickly responded to this dilemma by promising to deliver kits to the finishers’ home addresses.


The very unique 21k Finisher’s Medal.

Run United Trilogy Leg 1 definitely set yet another high standard when it comes to running events in the Philippines, especially those that occur in Manila. The definitive dates for Leg 2 and Leg 3 of the Run United Trilogy will be posted on the website.


Run United Leg 1 warm-up team.

For more information on Coach Rio dela Cruz, the Run United Trilogy, the Run United Series, and RunRio, visit


The quintessential RunRio afro logo.


Running  Manila: Run United Trilogy Leg 1




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