The reason why I conducted the “first and only Bataan Death March Challenge” in April 2000 held along the exact route where the event occured because I was challenged why in the world would the ROTC of White Sands, New Mexico, USA celebrate such event in their desert where a handful of US World War II survivors from that State would be supported and commemorated. Also, there are three other places/States in the US where they commemorate this famous Bataan Death March.
As WWII history and survivors would tell that about 600-650 US soldiers died in that Death March while the 5,000-10,000 Filipino soldiers perished in that long march which took them 2-3 days to reach San Fernando, Pampanga and then boarded a cargo train to Capas, Tarlac as more of them died in those “sardine-packed” cargo trailers. By the number of fatalities on the side of our Filipino heroes of Bataan and Corregidor, we should be the one who should be doing this memorial services to them by way of retracing the route they had taken in order to imbibe in us the sacrifes that our forefathers had to offer in the name of defense to the country and freedom from foreign invaders.
For the past years, a “relay run”, usually known by runners from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, San Fernando Runners of Pampanga and the Running Confederation of the Philippines (RUNCPI), had been conducted to commemorate the Bataan Death March during the week-long celebration of the “Araw ng Kagitingan” (Fall of Bataan & Corregidor Day). This is a yearly project of Mr Ed Paez, a runner & journalist, who loves the sports of running with passion. This is dubbed as the “Araw ng Kagitingan Tribute Ultramarathon Relay Run”. Since this is a “relay run”, there is no competitive spirit in it but it is very commendable as it gives awareness to the heroic deeds of our “Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor” and it contributes in supporting the needs of the living survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March.
On the other hand, I would like to adopt and apply a competitive spirit in this historic event in World War II and make it as an Ultramarathon Race with an imposed cut-off time to finish the 102K running event. It is for this reason that the “Bald Runner’s Events” is now on the planning stage of coming up with a 100-K Ultra Run from Mariveles, Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga which will be held on 05 April 2009 to commemorate the Bataan Death March on the exact route that our forefathers took (without the beatings, bayonet/sabre killings, famine, lack of water and firing squads, of course!). We will make this as our “Comrades Ultramarathon” in Africa or as our “Badwater Ultramarathon” in the USA for the Philippines. And let the ultramarathon runners in the country and worldwide experience our Bataan Death March Memorial Ultra Run. As they say, “build ‘em and they will come”.
Patterned after 100K and Ultramarathon Races held in any place of the world, each participant must meet the following requirements and follow some rules:
1) Runner must have finished at least one (1) marathon race. Age limit—at least 20 years old. Open to male & female.
2) Cut-off time will be observed in particular Aid Stations. Cut-off time for the whole run is 18 hours.
3) Maximum number of participants—100 runners. This is a “solo” race. (This race will push through even if there are only 10 runners or less)
4) Registration is expensive as each Aid Station will be provided with water, energy drinks, and lots of food! This is a non-profit event and this is all for the love of running as we need volunteers for our Aid Stations for this event.
5) “Big and heavy” medal or Plaque and T-shirt will be given to all the Finishers and/or Belt Buckles for winners. Cash Prizes will be available depending on the availability of corporate sponsor or other benevolent sponsors.
6) Each runner can have his/her crew (optional) from the Starting Area and could be only assisted with a pacer from Balanga, Bataan to the Finish Line.
7) Race starts at 4:00 AM of Sunday or midnight of Saturday.
We will come up with a clinic/seminar for ultramarathon to interested runners early next month. This will be free of charge and the final details will be announced here in this blog. If you are interested to join this ultra race and start your 30-week training, you can check my other blogsite at www.baldultrarunner.wordpress.com.
I will join the race and my training starts next week.
I need your comments about this plan, whether they are negative or not. Go to the next level, go ultra!