Official Result: 1st Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra Marathon Race

9 02 2015

1st Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra Marathon Race

1:00 AM February 6, 2015 To 3:00 AM February 8, 2015

Cut-Off Time: 50 Hours

Number Of Starters: 20

Number Of Finishers: 16

Percentage Of Finish: 80%

20 Runners @ The Starting Line In Luneta Park

20 Runners @ The Starting Line In Luneta Park

RANK                  NAME                                                                 TIME

1.  Lao Ogerio (Overall Champion, Course Record)– 42:35:36

2.  Elmar Bob Tolete (1st Runner-Up, Overall) ——- 42:51:36

3.  Marcelo Bautista (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) —–  44:20:02

4.  Alfred Delos Reyes ————————————–  45:51:52

5.  Simon Pavel Miranda ———————————–  47:36:55

6.  Carlo Gonzales ——————————————-  47:46:52

7.  Rhodz Cordura ——————————————-  47:51:44

8.  Raffy Gabotero  ——————————————  48:06:30

9.  Allan Sabado   ——————————————–  48:12:42

10. Marlon Santos  ——————————————  48:17:16

11. Myk Dauz  ————————————————  48:26:57

12. Romhel Biscara —————————————— 48:47:28

13. Nelson Val Caro  —————————————– 48:49:29

14. Elmer Caballes  —————————————— 49:03:21

15. Albert Salazar  ——————————————- 49:03:34

16. Amor Gabriel  ——————————————- 49:10:01

Overall Champion Lao Ogerio

Overall Champion Lao Ogerio

1st Runner-Up Elmar Bob Tolete

1st Runner-Up Elmar Bob Tolete

2nd Runner-Up Marcelo Bautista

2nd Runner-Up Marcelo Bautista

Congratulations To All The Finishers.





Race Report: 2015 Condura Skyway Marathon (Run For A Hero)

3 02 2015

Background

I was expecting that the 2014 edition of this race was to be conducted for the benefit of the victims of Typhoon Yolanda but instead, it was cancelled and the Race Organizer opted to donate a part of their budget for the recovery and rehabilitation of the people of Samar and Leyte.

Many of the runners were frustrated to hear this news and I was one of them.

And my ultra running friends were not also happy about the news. For the past editions/years, the Condura Skyway Marathon had been always and became the post-recovery run for all the participants of my Bataan Death March 160K Ultra Marathon Race as both races are one week apart.

Official Logo Of The Marathon Race

Official Logo Of The Marathon Race

But runners would not have to wait any longer for the good news about the next edition of the Marathon Race. In a few weeks after the actual schedule of the event, the Race Organizer had announced that the 2015 event will be for the benefit of the HERO Foundation. Being a part and former soldier, I was happy to know that this event will benefit the families who were left behind by our fallen heroes who died fighting against the enemies of the State and threats to our peaceful way of life.

Exactly one week before Race Day, elements of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police encountered in a firefight agains the separatist groups in Mindanao, MILF and BIFF, resulting in the death of forty-four (44) and the wounding of others. This incident became a national issue where the public called for an immediate action for the arrest, apprehension or killing of those who are involved in this dastardly act against our troops.

Thus, in the minds of all the runners, this Marathon Race had become an instant “platform” for them to sympathize with the “Fallen SAF 44 Heroes” and for a united call for the government to give justice where it is due.

Training and Preparation

I did not have any specific training program leading to this race except for the my training program which is in preparation for me for the Trans Lantau 100K Trail Run which will be held in the middle of March of this year. Such training program was so specific that my mileages should be done in the mountains. But with my trips to the different provinces since the start of the New Year, in order to coordinate with my Ultra Races for this year where I am the Organizer and Race Director, my training runs were solely on paved and flat dirt roads.

Instead of having more vertical climbs/gains in my training, I opted to improve on my speed by doing tempo runs on the road and flat dirt roads. I had also the chance to have my rest and recovery in-between runs for a more extended period. And trips outside Metro Manila to Aurora and Albay Provinces became my tapering period a few days before Race Day.

I have also prepared my mind on this race and think of it as a Long Steady Distance (LSD) weekend run with a faster speed while my HR monitor will not breach more than 162 beats per minute.

Since all my runs for the past two years were devoted to trails and with a hoard of new trail shoes in my “trail running arsenal”, I have to choose the lightest shoes for this race and had to try them for a couple of times in my tempo runs. The choices were between the INOV-8 Roclite; SALOMON’s LAB Sense 3; or ALTRA’s Superior 2.0. I selected the Salomon LAB Sense 3 as it is the lightest among the three!

Salomon Ultra Trail Running Shoes

Salomon Ultra Trail Running Shoes

In order to arrest my sweat from reaching my feet and shoes, I prepared my Headsweat (for my head), Buff (for my neck), Long-sleeved PAU Shirt for my body), and Compresport Calf Sleeves, and Drymax Socks.

Race and Nutrition Strategy

Being an “old-school” marathon runner, I consider Marathon Running as a Speed Endurance Event where walking is integrated while drinking my two cups of water as I leave in every Water Station. In-between those Water Stations, one has to run and jog as fast as possible!

Knowing what my body is capable of as an “experienced and old” marathon runner, I opted to use the “negative split” way of racing this event. If I had prepared properly for this race, I had opted to use the “even pace” strategy where my race pace at the beginning is maintained throughout the race. My experience in ultra running and consistent advise from my Coach dictate that my pace at the beginning should be slow and progressing to a faster pace towards the last half of the race up to the Finish Line.

On nutrition, I had a full meal rich in fats and carbohydrates one a half hours before the start of the race; snacks of carbohydrates 30 minutes before the race; one Gel every hour; drink water every Aid Station; last Gel to ingest was a GU Roctane; and a reserve of Stinger Waffle as my “reserve solid” food just in case of emergency.

Race Proper

I’ve been away from the road running crowd for the past two years and it was the members ultra running community and my readers in this blog who approached and greeted me as I joined my co-runners in Wave I. It took us 30 minutes to wait from the time the Wave A runners were released from the Starting Line. Those 30 minutes were devoted to talk to some of the ultra runners within my Wave Group and review in my mind my race & nutrition strategy. As we got nearer to the Starting Line, I had my simple prayer to myself and thought of my Officers and Men who died under my Command during my stint and tour as a Military Officer and lastly, to those of the PNP SAF 44 soldiers.

My slow jog on the first 400 meters was the most memorable part of this race as I saluted every time I would approach a SAF member holding a framed picture of the Fallen SAF 44 who was standing in attention on the left side of the road. Yes, it was a slow jog but saluting 44 times is the best that I could do to honor these men who unselfishly offered their lives in the name of peace and safety for the citizenry and our country.

First 400 Meters Of The Course

First 400 Meters Of The Course (Photo By Spin.PH)

Salute To Our Fallen Heroes

Salute To Our Fallen Heroes (Photo By Spin.PH)

I started at the back of the Wave I and waited to make a move on the first uphill climb on the Skyway. I passed a lot of the slow and walking participants on this part. Knowing the whole course’ profile, the first 8-10K is a slightly uphill climb and it worked well with my slow pace as it served as my warm-up. On this first 10K of the course, I would maintain my slow speed of 4.6 miles per hour being aware of my running form; hydrating myself as I would reach the Water Station; and most of all talking to some of the runners and acknowledging their greetings as I passed them.

For about a minutes or two, I was able to talk to a couple, Miguel and Cachelle, and kept my pace with theirs. I was happy to see them running together. As with Miguel, I did not see any signs of limping from his gait and strides as he fully recovered from an unfortunate accident while participating in one of my BDM “test runs” two years ago in the Pampanga area. Looking at them together, I knew they would be able to enjoy and finish the race. I will not be surprised to see this couple to be back running in my ultra races soon! I had to beg off from them as I wanted to continue with my own pace as knowing that they are enjoying and having fun with the race.

Smiling On The Early Part Of The Race

Smiling On The Early Part Of The Race

When I reached the 10-Km mark, I was already enjoying the windy and cool atmosphere of the early morning. I have increased my speed to 5 miles per hour and I was surprised that I was too comfortable with such pace. I ingested my first Gel once I reached my first 40 minutes while I was approaching a Water Station. Two cups of water were enough to bring the gel to my stomach and let it provide the much-needed energy to my machine!

At the 13-mile point, my speed had reached at 5.6 miles per hour and I never let that speed to decrease all the way to the Finish Line. At times, I would reach up to 6.0+ miles per hour on the downhill portions of the course. In my tempo run workouts, I could still run a 10K race with a time of 55+ minutes but forcing myself to this kind of speed in a marathon race without the necessary speed training will be courting for an injury that might jeopardize my training for and participation at the Trans Lantau 100K. There is no point to take a risk on this race.

Getting Serious During The Race

Getting Serious During The Race (Photo By Running Photographers)

I kept reminding myself that this race was part of my training for an ultra trail run in the middle of March.

Getting Faster On The Lat Half Of The Course

Getting Faster On The Lat Half Of The Course; From Wave I To Wave F (Photo By Pinoy Fitness.Com)

And my rituals were repeated as I reached nearer to the Finish Line——ingested my Gels every hour after my first Gel at 40-minute mark from the start of the race; reached for two cups of water (only, No Gatorade for the whole race) in every Water Station; would pass other runners at the Water Stations by running up to farthest end of the table and walk quickly & briefly while drinking the water; making sure that my empty cups would land in those garbage bins provided by the Race Organizer; by just waving my hand or simply greeting back to those runners who call my attention or greet me; no unnecessary “chit-chat” to other runners on the last half of the course; by allowing other runners to pace with me or run along with me (without any conversation); and try to pick-up and increase my pace through some quick “surges” on the uphill portions and on the last 10K of the course (all downhill to the Finish Line).

It was still dark when I reached the Finish Line. I finished the race with an Official Time of 4:40:19 hours and ranked #569 out of 5,022 Finishers.

I did not realize that I could still run this fast considering my age of going to 63 years old in 3 months. Maybe with a more focused training in the Marathon distance, I still could run this fast and hopefully, could still have a shot to a Boston Marathon Qualifying Race, the proper and traditional way!

But on second thought, I will remain as a Trail Ultra Runner and consider the Condura Skyway Marathon as my ONLY yearly Road Marathon where I could be in touch with the marathon/road running community in the country.

Breathing Hard Through My Mouth

Breathing Hard Through My Mouth (With The Wave F Runners)

Lesson/s Learned

1. Marathon Running is an Art and a Skill. Racing is about You and the Distance. Every runner needs Endurance and Speed to have a very successful finish. One has to compete with oneself and not with any other runner.

2. Marathon Racing is NOT a time to socialize. “Socializing” is done after the race. As compared to Ultra Running, Ultras are races where one has to “socialize” from the start up to the finish and beyond the race itself. Sometimes, Ultras’ “socializing” starts during training and preparation.

"Socializing" Before The Race

“Socializing” Before The Race With An Ultra Friend

3. Proper Nutrition Strategy is the Key to a successful Marathon Finish coupled with proper Hydration technique. Gels are the best immediate source of nutrition in a Marathon Race. Eating a full meal few hours before the race and later, a light snacks few minutes before the race always worked positively in my races.

4. Racing Strategy is dependent on one’s training and preparation. If you are NOT fully-prepared and trained for the event, be contented to aim for a Finish without any injury, and not for any PR or best time for a Marathon Race.

5. No complaints and “whining” in a Marathon Race. Before Gels and Sports Drinks were invented, Marathon Races have ONLY Water as support for all the runners! Try to strive and train for the simplest and most basic way of running a marathon race.

6. Be LIGHT. Wear the lightest running kit and try also to run light with your body. It is not yet late to learn how to run light by using your forefoot or mid foot as you run by feel.

7. Taper Properly. Since the race is done from Midnight to the early morning, runners are practically sleepless on Friday night, considering that the trip to the event area is outside the Metro Manila. It is advisable to have a complete rest and sleep for at least 7-8 hours every night on the last week prior to Race Day.

8. Marathon Race should be a part of an Ultra Race training and preparation in order to improve one’s speed and endurance. I really did not have a focused and dedicated training for this race. This marathon race was part of my weekly ultra training program where it was to be a “back-to-back” long runs where each day would be a 12-mile run. Instead of two days of 12-mile a day run, I did it for one day/one workout with an excess of 2.2 miles. My average total weekly mileage for the past three weeks leading to this race was from 47-50 miles.

Very Rare Picture With Ultra Runners In A Marathon Race

Very Rare Picture With Ultra Runners In A Marathon Race

Running Kit & Accessories

Running Shoes: Salomon S-LAB Sense 3 Ultra Trail Shoes

Sweat Absorbers: Headsweat and Buff

Shirt: PAU Long-Sleeved Shirt By A Perfect White Shirt

Shorts: Salomon Trail Running Shorts (Bermuda)

Calf Sleeves: Compressport

Socks: Drymax (Trail Running Socks)

Cycling Gloves: Specialized

Headlight: Fenix

Nutrition: 2 pcs of VFuel Gels (Fudge Brownie); one GU Gel (Salted Caramel); one GU Gel (Roctane); and 2 pcs of Stinger Waffle (Reserve)

Race Belt: Ultimate Direction SJ Signature Series

Watches/GPS: Garmin 310XT with HR Monitor and TIMEX Watch

Congratulations to Tonton and Raul Patrick Concepcion (Race Organizers); Rio Dela Cruz (Race Director); and to the rest of the Condura Skyway Marathon Team for this well-organized and international-standard marathon race which honors our “present day” heroes in the military and armed services and supports their dependents through the HERO Foundation.

Last Half Of The Course

Last Half Of The Course

Approaching The Finish Line

Approaching The Finish Line

Congratulations also to all the Finishers!

See you next year!





Official Result: 2015 Bataan Death March 160K Ultra Marathon Race (BDM 160)

26 01 2015

5th/2015 Bataan Death March 160K Ultra Marathon Race (BDM 160)

Bataan Death March Shrine, Mariveles, Bataan To Capas National Shrine, Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac

5:00 AM January 24 To 1:00 PM January 25, 2015

Cut-Off Time: 32 Hours

Number Of Starters: 76

Number Of Finishers: 71

Percentage Of Finish: 93.4%

Group Picture @ The BDM Km Post #00

Group Picture @ The BDM Km Post #00 (Photo By Marlon Galindo)

Class #2015 Of The BDM 160K Ultra Marathon Race

Class 2015 Of The BDM 160K Ultra Marathon Race (Photo By Marlon Galindo)

RANK

NAME

TIME (HRS)

1

Lao Ogerio (Champion, Overall) 22:48:59

2

Ador Sietereales (1st Runner-Up, Overall) 23:43:22

3

Percival Dictado (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) 23:43:51

4

Roman Mabborang 24:21:52

5

Bong Alindada 25:00:43

6

Joji Salvador 25:44:04

7

Dennis Villanueva 25:47:14

8

Enstein Calaoa Jr 26:16:41

9

Werner Cruz 26:26:11

10

Melojane Amit (Champion, Female) 26:30:53

11

Myk Dauz 26:48:59

12

Chae Youngsuk 26:49:25

13

Edrick Nicdao 26:50:37

14

Elmer Caballes 26:55:58

15

Tess Leono (1st Runner-Up, Female) 27:04:21

16

Joel Simsiman 27:20:23

17

Rodel Mendoza Jr 27:27:48

18

Fernando Balane 27:38:51

19

JC Sta. Teresa 27:47:23

20

Dennis Uy 27:47:54

21

Arthur Ryan Dolina 27:48:29

22

Rodney Cabahug 27:48:59

23

Aaron Laron 27:50:14

24

Henry Laron 27:50:24

25

Regie Lazerna 27:53:28

26

Randy Miranda 27:53:59

27

Edwin Cruz 27:58:02

28

Bong Anastacio 28:02:37

29

Joseph Pineda 28:04:31

30

Dennis Chavez 28:10:07

31

Randy Ong 28:22:40

32

Archie Gascon 28:27:04

33

Milbert Cabral 28:29:53

34

Dindo Diaz 28:30:11

35

Bong Dizon 28:30:43

36

Richard Allan Mangalip 28:42:43

37

Rodelio Mendoza 28:43:50

38

William Marino 28:44:00

39

Kathleen Pinero (2nd Runner-Up, Female) 28:44:48

40

Harry Duruin 28:52:08

41

Richelle Perez (Female) 29:01:05

42

Meljohn Tezon 29:01:26

43

Alen Alban 29:14:19

44

Eden Pagsolingan 29:18:58

45

Doodsie Mallari (Female) 29:20:12

46

Eddie Vega 29:36:17

47

Bong Capiton 29:41:27

48

Ronnel Go 29:50:37

49

Thea Sangrador (Female) 29:51:14

50

Inocencio Rosario Jr 29:55:09

51

Evan Lu 29:59:59

52

Ricky Sangalang 30:06:48

53

Obeth Malana 30:21:06

54

Allan De Lima 30:21:26

55

Christian Pabatao 30:22:05

56

Lito Mallari 30:28:12

57

Jerry Briones 30:30:12

58

Almar Danguilan 30:37:05

59

Roberto Vocal Jr 30:43:38

60

Addison Sayoc 30:57:12

61

Katherine Villaflor (Female) 31:09:10

62

Wilson John Barbon 31:11:35

63

Edwin Hernandez 31:17:40

64

Mary Joanne Sapalasan (Female) 31:17:53

65

John Israel Ocampo 31:18:11

66

Ronaldo Robles 31:19:12

67

Ian Christian Torres 31:20:50

68

Reese Rogel (Female) 31:22:03

69

Gerson Yuson 31:25:57

70

Loradel Hanopol (Female) 31:58:53

71

Lady Dianne Palongan (Female) 31:59:28
Overall Champion Lao Ogerio

Overall Champion Lao Ogerio

Female Champion Melojane Amit

Female Champion Melojane Amit

Congratulations To All The Finishers! See you next year!





Picture Of The Week

22 01 2015

@ Santa Cruz Island (Big), Zamboanga City

@ Santa Cruz Island (Big), Zamboanga City





Road Constructions @ BDM Ultra Route

19 01 2015

There had been some new construction and repair jobs being done along the course route of the BDM 102 & 160 Ultra Races. The first construction site is located after passing the BDM Kilometer Post #86 which is located in Lubao, Pampanga. It is a repair job of a small bridge.

BDM Km Post #86 @ Lubao, Pampanga

BDM Km Post #86 @ Lubao, Pampanga

Bridge Repair/Construction After BDM Km Post #86

Bridge Repair/Construction After BDM Km Post #86

The runners can proceed to the construction area and they can cross the bridge by running or walking along a pedestrian bridge located at the right side of the construction site. It is shown on the picture below. However, the Support Vehicle are advised not to push through towards the construction site as the detour is located on an intersection before the bridge. One has to turn left and follow the road that goes back to the San Fernando-Olongapo Highway. On the first intersection along the said Highway, turn right and follow the road that goes to Guagua, Pampanga.

Pedestrian Bridge At The Right Side Of The Bridge

The second construction site located in the Poblacion of Guagua, Pampanga before reaching the BDM Kilometer Post #91. Once you pass the Poblacion of Guagua, Pampanga and the elevated bridge, the first road that turns right is now under construction. The runners can still walk through and pass this construction site in order to reach the BDM Km Post #91 but the Support Vehicles should be able to follow the Detour Route that would bring them back to the BDM Route.

Replacement Of Culvert @ Vicinity BDM Km Post #101

Replacement Of Culvert @ Vicinity BDM Km Post #101

The last construction site is a replacement of a culvert near the vicinity of BDM Km Post #101. There is a pedestrian wooden bridge located at the right side where the runners could cross the canal or construction site. Support Vehicles can take the detour route which the last crossing before reaching this construction site. Vehicles should turn left and follow the road that would bring them to the San Fernando-Olongapo Highway. Instead of going to the overpass, vehicles should stay at the rightmost lane for them to turn right on a road that would lead them to the BDM Km Post #101 and to the Provincial Capitol of Pampanga.

Pedestrian Wooden Bridge @ The Right Side Of The Construction Area

Pedestrian Wooden Bridge @ The Right Side Of The Construction Area

Runners should take extra precaution on these construction sites as most of the average ultra runners will be reaching these areas or locations on nighttime.

Good Luck To All The Runners!





“Read 100 Running Books A Year Challenge”

11 01 2015

The art and long tradition of reading books among the youth and among most of us is already lost and forgotten. We tend to be industrious in reading books during our academic and schooling days as they are requirement in our daily lessons as required by the Subjects being taught by our Professors/Teachers. We were also made to submit “Book Reports” as part of a literary exercise for us to be able to write and make some critical analysis on the message or concept or lessons learned taken from the book that we have read.

With the advent of the Internet; Social Media; and Laptops/Cellphones/Ipads, seldom that I would see persons in planes, buses, trains, cafes, and public parks reading a book or a magazine or a newspaper. What is worse than not seeing people around us not reading any book in such traditional places is that our public libraries are almost forgotten to have existed.

Let me ask these questions to those who have finished their college studies and now working as professionals?

1. When was the last time that you visited our Public Library or your Workplace Library, if there is any?

2. Can you mention to me the title of the latest book and the author that you have read and tell me how long did it take you to finish reading the said book?

When I was a Member of the Promotion Board of the Philippine Army and later, as the Chairman of the Promotion Board to the Rank of Colonel in the Philippine Army, I had only ONE question for each of the candidates during the Interview (Final Part of the Process)——“What is the latest book that you have read and tell the Promotion Board the Synopsis and Lessons Learned you gathered in it in 5 Minutes?” If the candidate can not answer the question, he is told to leave the room and has to wait for another Promotion Cycle which equivalent to One Year!

This is not to say that I am going to do this with the other runners that if you have not read any running-related book, you are not meant to be accepted as one of my “friends” on Facebook or would allow you to join in any of my ultra races. This is a Challenge where one has to be motivated to re-start the good habit of reading any book for that matter. I could not over emphasize the importance of reading a book as it has a lot of advantages and reasons for us to improve as a human being.

Last week, I started to create a Facebook Page Group which has the same name as the title of this post. Each member of the group has to post the picture of the book that they are presently reading with the tag as to what number of such book. Once they finished the book, the member can make a brief synopsis of the book and post it on the Page. Some members would post the picture of books which they highly recommend for the other members to read. To make the effort more challenging, the books that should be submitted or posted on the Page are running-related books or books that has some running in it or if the character or characters of the story are runners or had adopted running as one of their sports or hobbies. I also encourage hiking books and other inspirational stories that has running in it.

On my part, I have two books that I would finish within the week. I have just finished the book “Anatomy For Runners” and about to start the book, “The Running Revolution”.

Books #1 & #2: The Anatomy For Runner & The Running Revolution

Books #1 & #2: The Anatomy For Runner & The Running Revolution

If you have access to the Internet and be able to buy books through Amazon, you can buy them in Kindle format. If you have access to bookstores, you can also buy them on hardbound or paperback edition and you can establish your personal running library. In your visits to another country, try to visit their bookstores in their shopping malls as such books can be purchased with the same price printed on the cover jacket of such book. In the United States, most of the books offer some discounts.

My next post will be a brief book summary of the books that I have to finish reading within this week.

Happy reading!





Jag Lanante: The FIRST Pinoy Finisher Of The Hongkong Four Trail Ultra Challenge (HK4TUC)

8 01 2015

When everybody was still sleeping on the early morning of the First Day of the Year 2015, a “low-key” ultra marathon race event was about to start in Hongkong. The ultra event is called the “Hongkong Four (4) Trail Ultra Challenge” (HK4TUC) which had been founded and organized by Andre Blumberg, a German executive based in Hongkong who is a “par excellence” ultra trail runner who lately had finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in the USA and the Lake Tahoe 200-Mile Endurance Run, the first 200-mile trail run done in the United States.

Andre Blumberg, five years ago, had to run the four famous Trail routes in Hongkong for four days, running each trail course each day. The following are the trails: MacLehose Trail with a distance of 100 Kilometers; Hongkong Trail with a distance of 50 Kilometers; Wilson Trail with a distance of 78 Kilometers; and the Lantau Trail with a distance of 70 Kilometers. The total course distance is 298 Kilometers. The total elevation gain is 14,500 meters!

Andre’s feat in running these trails gave him the idea for the other ultra runners to experience the challenge, thus, the birth of the HK4TUC. To make the event more challenging and exciting, he imposed a cut-off time of 60 hours and runners have to run through the trail courses on a reverse direction. If the books or publications about the Hongkong Trails are presented on chronological Stages, from 1-10 or from Start to Finish, as the case maybe, the race event starts from the FINISH area and ends at the START area or from Stage 10 to Stage 1. The clock does not stop when the runners had to be transported from one trail course to another, by land or by the sea ferry.

Starters With The RD (Jeri Chua, Janelle Sleet, Andre Blumberg, Paul Wong, & Jag Lanante)

Starters With The RD (Jeri Chua, Janelle Seet, Andre Blumberg (RD), Paul Wong, & Jag Lanante)

The event’s rules and regulations are very simple. There is NO Registration Fee, No Medals, No Finisher’s Shirt, No Aid Stations, No UTMB Points, No Competition or Rankings, and No Checkpoints. However, runners can take advantage of the convenience eateries/stores and vending machines along the route for their food and drinks. This is simply a “self-support” event. Bragging Rights is the only Prize for Finishing this Event.

After four years of its existence and with an average of 4-5 participants each year, there are only four (4) finishers in this event since January 2011.

Jag Lanante is the FIRST Filipino to make an attempt on this most dreaded ultra running event and he is one of the four ultra runners who were brave enough to toe the line at the Starting Area in MacLehose Trail. I happen to know him by his name only through Facebook and had never seen him in person. But I have so much respect in him as I found out about his running accomplishments which I gathered from his Facebook Wall from the time we became as FB “friends” since the middle part of last year.

Start Of The MacLehose Trail 100K Leg

Start Of The MacLehose Trail 100K Leg

I was sick with Flu (cough and colds) and I was bed-ridden for the duration of this event from Start to Finish but I would be able to glance and peep through my Laptop if my Internet connection is strong from time to time, most specially during midnight and early morning. It was through the HK4TUC Facebook Page that I was able to monitor the progress of the event. Four ultra runners——Two Lady runners from Singapore (Jeri Chua, the favorite one to finish due his previous finishes in the Tor Des Geants and UTMB and Janelle Seet who would take numerous trips from Singapore to Hongkong to train and recon the trails for the past two years; One local runner from Hongkong (Paul Wong); and One Pinoy who is based in Bangkok, Thailand who happens to be Jag Lanante.

Jag was considered as the “underdog” and the “weakest” among the four runners as he comes from a “flat and plain” Bangkok elevation whose training consisted of 500-meter loop course in a Parking Area in a Private Hospital in Bangkok where he works as a Nurse and he does his running in between his 9-hour work shifts, most of his running workouts are done in the early morning. He would also sneak in and secretly pass through their Security Guards if he needs to use the building’s emergency stairs for his “stair climbing and hill repeats” just to put in some elevation gains in his routine. On his “off days” and weekends, he would go to a nearby Public Park which has a 2.5K loop (flat again!) and do his runs in loops where he would only take note of the number of hours he would run, however, his longest running time would be at least 6 hours. Worst information about him is that this trip for the event is Jag’s FIRST trip to Hongkong! He is not accustomed to the cold weather environment of Hongkong and the hilly terrain of the course. He was equipped with his Salomon Hydration Backpack where he stored his food (all bread), water and extra clothing/jacket; a $7.50 worth of Casio Watch which he was using for the past 8 years; and a borrowed HOKA One One Tarmac Shoes! Initially, Jag did not have with him a trekking pole! He would later borrow the trekking pole from one of the runners who DNF’d midway at the MacLehose Trail (1st trail course of the event). Right from the start of the course, he was already a complete picture/description of a “failure” of an ultra runner who would attempt to finish this dreadful and brutal event, a simple example of a DNF runner!

Jag @ The Wilson Trail (2nd Leg)

Jag @ The Wilson Trail (2nd Leg)

And for this reason, my attention would be focused on the progress of Jag Lanante as to where he was during the event. I would make a bet to my “inner self” that Jag would “throw the towel” once he finished the Wilson Trail course (2nd Trail). So, I decided to close my laptop, took my meal, ingest my medications, and went back to bed. I said to myself, “there will be No Finisher” in this year’s event.

I guess, I have to eat my words and committed a mistake of an early misjudgment on the capabilities of Jag!

I found out that while I was sleeping on the first day of the year (due to the effect of my medications), the four runners started the event with a perfect Hongkong weather, blue skies and the sun shining hot providing a perfect running weather for the participants. Jeri Chua from Singapore took an early lead from the other three runners and she was ahead of the expected time of arrival in every stage of the MacLehose Trail (in reverse, of course!) but surprisingly had to deal with her recurring knee injury which became very painful on her part and could hardly maintain her targeted pace. She declared herself as DNF after running and hiking on the course for about 14 hours. She was not able to complete the 100K MacLehose Trail course. Jag Lanante and Paul Wong finished the MacLehose Trail together with a time of 21:30+ hours. The last runner, Janelle Seet finished the 1st trail leg in less than 27 hours but she was already complaining of blisters which made her to register a slow finish time to complete the first trail course.

Jag Lanante In Action

Jag Lanante In Action @ Lantau

Jag and Paul were together in their land transport (Taxi Ride) to the next staging area for the 2nd trail course which is the Wilson Trail, a distance of 78 kilometers. They were able to take a nap while being transported to the starting area of Wilson Trail and that was equivalent to a 45-minute power nap! After being served with Hot Soup and some foods at Nam Chung, Jag and Paul started together for the 2nd trail leg, Wilson Trail. However, being a local runner of Hongkong and thorough knowledge of the trails, Paul Wong started to run faster than Jag Lanante that resulted him to pull away for the lead starting at Pat Sin Leng and finally finishing the Wilson Trail in less than 50 hours. He was already on the third day and barely 10 hours more to go before the cut-off time.

What happened to Jag Lanante after Paul Wong left him on the early start along the Wilson Trail? Jag would tell me that he got at least, two “lost moments” at the Wilson Trail——the first lost moment was when he was left alone by Paul when it was so cold and was sleepy to be more focused on looking for the trail markers. He missed the trail marker in going to the 8 Immortals of Hongkong as he was “sleep walking” for 2 hours going down along the trail only to realize that he could no longer see any trail marker. He would go back up again to finally locate the trail marker; the second lost moment was when he reached Taipo (village) as he could not determine from the map provided by Andre as to where the Wilson Trail would re-start again after hitting the village. Jag’s problem was exacerbated when he impulsively asked a Chinese lady who can speak and understand a little English as to where the Wilson Trailhead is located. Jag was instructed by the Chinese lady to go to the end of a river but Jag was frustrated to find out that the lady gave him a false/wrong instructions. Jag started to panic as he went going around the village trying to find out where the Wilson Trail Marker is located. He tried to compose himself, prayed, and relaxed at the same point/location where he entered Taipo. He decided to wait for the arrival of the last runner, Janelle Seet, knowing that the lady has a lot of friends cheering her along the route who are familiar with the route. Finally, Jag joined Janelle for the final push to finish the Wilson Trail leg. Jag’s total “lost moments” time would add up to almost 7 hours! Jag and Janelle finished the Wilson Trail in 54 hours or 2:00 PM actual time on the third day!

Janelle & Jag After Those Lost Moments In Taipo

Janelle & Jag After Those Lost Moments In Taipo

The transition or travel time from the “finish line” of Wilson Trail to the “start of the Hongkong Trail (3rd leg) is very brief/short as both locations are very near to each other. Paul Wong was already ahead despite of the 10-hour remaining time before cut-off time and Jag and Janelle were barely on a 6-hour time before the cut-off time. All the remaining three runners decided to still push through with the event but it was already a “Survivor Challenge” as to who would last to finish the event and be able to kiss the green Mail Post in Mui Wo, Lantau Island.

Obviously, Paul Wong was the first runner to start the Hongkong Trail and he was leading for some hours. Jag Lanante and Janelle Seet started later for the 3rd leg of the event. From the very start of the Hongkong Trail, Janelle had to beg off and allowed Jag Lanante to get ahead of her. Jag regained some energy despite numerous and countless “low moments” after finishing 178 kilometers with a very small amount of time to rest and sleep. He was determined to finish the event but he has to reach Victoria Peak and be able to catch up the earliest ferry ride to Lantau Island for the last 70K of the event.

Jag Aboard A Van As Transition From One Leg To Another

Jag Aboard A Van As Transition From One Leg To Another (He Was Awake!)

It was only when he was on the last 6 kilometers of the HK Trail course that he knew that he was already the leading runner among the three “survivors”. He was met by Vic So (2014 HK4TUC Finisher/“Survivor”) along the course to cheer him and informed him that he was able to pass Paul Wong at Km #25 when he went inside a market to eat. Jag finished the HK Trail at Victoria Peak before midnight on the third day and he was able to catch the ferry ride scheduled to leave HK for Lantau at 12:30 AM/Midnight on the 4th day. Paul Wong arrived at the Victoria Peak at 1:00 AM of January 4 while Janelle Seet finished the HK Trail later in the evening. Unknowingly from Jag, the two runners finally decided to “throw the towel” and cease from taking the ferry ride to Lantau. The reason? Extreme exhaustion and sleep-deprived conditions!

Jag Lanante was able to know that Paul Wong and Janelle Seet finally decided not to push through with the Lantau 70K leg from Andre Blumberg who escorted him to Lantua Island. The information was sent through Andre’s cellphone. Jag had already spent 65 hours since the start of the event and he was on the starting line for the Lantau 70K leg!

Slow In Pace But Fighting To Push The Body To The Finish Line

Slow In Pace But  Pushing The Body To The Finish Line @ Sunset Peak, Lantau

I was thinking that Jag was able to sleep during those transition/transfer trips from one leg to another but I was wrong! He told me that he was able to sleep for three times only——first was at the end of Km #33 along the Wilson Trail when he slept while waiting for his order in a Noodle Shop/Eatery; the second one was during the 30-minute ferry ride from HK to Lantau Island; and the third one was a 5-minute nap he requested from Andre while he was experiencing some leg cramps at the Lantau Trail.

Knowing that he was the ONLY runner left in the event and way, way beyond the cut-off time of 60 hours, he asked Andre if he is still be a part of the event and considered as a Finisher in the history of the event. Andre would reply him that this event is not a race and therefore, there are no DNFs, however, if he decides to survive and finish this event, he will get the much-needed support from him no matter how many hours would it take him to reach and “kiss” the green Mailing Post at Mui Wo. Paper, the wife of Andre who is a Thai, informed Jag that the his co-workers in Bangkok are rooting for him to finish the event as he unknowingly seen the cheers and words of encouragement posted by his friends in Thailand through the HK4TUC Facebook Page.

Jag @ Lantau Island (Last Leg)

Jag @ Lantau Island (Last Leg)

These words of encouragement from Andre and Paper drove and fully motivated Jag to finish the event. Lantau 70K Trail Course is a hard one with 3,300 meters of vertical gain, Jag has to be focused and be able to endure the pain, exhaustion, hallucinations, sleep deprivation, blisters, distractions and there is no room for him to get lost along the course. He has to finish this event.

But there is a more pressing situation and uncompromising reason for him to finish the event! He and his wife have to catch a flight back to Bangkok and he has only 19 hours before his plane leaves at 8:00 PM on the evening of January 4! He thought, at all cost he has to be in that plane with his wife no matter what happens!

Few Meters From The Finish Line!

Few Meters From The Finish Line!

With pure grit and determination despite some doubts for him to finish the last 70 kilometers of the event, Jag was able to finally kiss the green Mail Post in Mui Wo with Andre waiting for him with a Champagne Victory Spray of Moet Rose that served as an informal “body shower” to mask the smell of dirt and perspiration from Jag’s body before proceeding to the Airport. Jag finished the Lantau 70K Leg in 16:30 hours which was in actual time at 5:30 PM of January 4, 2015, 4th day of the event, finishing and surviving the whole event with an official time of 81:30 hours.

The Kiss To The Green Mail Post

The Kiss To The Green Mail Post

After a quick informal conversation/congratulatory greetings and picture-taking among the runners and the RD’s team friends and volunteers, a taxi was waiting for Jag and his wife to bring them to the Airport in order to catch their flight back to Bangkok scheduled to leave at 8:00 PM that evening. I am sure that the 3-4 hours flight time from HK to Bangkok was the best sleep that Jag experienced in his lifetime!

After making sure that Jag had fully recovered from his “brutal but inspirational” finish at the 2015 edition of the Hongkong Four Trail Ultra Challenge, I sent him a Personal Message on Facebook to congratulate him for being the “FIRST Pinoy Ultra Runner to Finish” the said event. This Facebook conversation led me to ask some questions about him and his experience during the event. Thus, this story is posted as an inspiration to all the readers of this blog, most specially to our Pinoy Ultra Runners.

And The Champagne Victory Spray By The RD

And The Traditional Champagne Victory Spray By The RD

To answer the mystery on the toughness, pure grit and determination of Jag to finish the event as I am not convinced that his one year training on a “flat, plain and boring” loops in his Hospital’s Parking Area and Bangkok’s Public Park prepared him for the event. There could be more information about this humble and ever-smiling runner as to why he has a “strong heart and a positive mental attitude” to finish this most feared ultra running event among the locals of Hongkong and other ultra runners in nearby Southeast Asia, despite the fact that the event is free; a chance to tour the nice scenery of Hongkong on foot; and a good reason to shed off those accumulated calories brought about by the Holiday Season.

My fellow ultra runners would be able to read “between the lines”, so to speak, as I mention the following facts about Jag and his “running career” and background:

1. Jag is 29 years old, a native of Davao City and had been an OFW as a Nurse in Bangkok, Thailand for so many years. He started to train and run for the past 4 years. He is married to Kathleen Faith who works also in the same hospital with Jag. They don’t have any kids.
2. He finished his primary and secondary schoolings in Davao City but decided to finish his BS in Nursing at Mountain View College in Bukidnon after his parents would not allow him to be admitted to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
His best finish time for a Marathon Race is 3:10+ hours which was held on his Birthday, four months after his Boss introduced him to running.
3. His first ultra was the 2013 TNF 100 but four months later, he finished as #10 in a 50K trail run event, both were held in Thailand. And since then, he tried his best to run everyday and prepare for the HK4TUC.

Lastly, I would ask him what would be his next ultra race. He replied to earn his FIRST 100-Mile Buckle in one of the ultra races in the Philippines if his work schedule’s leave would match the scheduled date of his choice of event. But he gave me a 100% assurance that he will be back for a repeat with a better performance at the 2016 edition of the HK4TUC.

I replied back to him immediately, “It will be a honor running with you on the First Day of 2016 HK4UTC on the early miles of Stage 10 of the MacLehose Trail!” His silent answer is depicted on the picture below!

The Ever Smiling & Humble Jag Lanante

The Ever Smiling & Humble Jag Lanante

Congratulations Jag, the FIFTH Finisher in the history of the Hongkong Four Trails Ultra Challenge!!! My snappy salute to you and from the rest of the Pinoy Ultra Runners here in the Philippines and abroad!

More pictures and stories/details of the 2015 HK4TUC can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/HK4TUC

(Note: Photos Courtesy of Paper & Lloyd Belcher of Hongkong)








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