Race Report: 2009 Condura Half-Marathon

22 03 2009

5:28 AM 22 March 2009 @ The Fort & Skyway

This is the most anticipated race of the year and the race organizers warned all the runners to arrive early at the assembly area on race day because of the heavy traffic brought about by the record number of registered runners. I had to go to bed early last night and I was soundly sleeping at 8:00 PM. I woke up at 3:45 AM and did my “drill of preparation” and I was out from my place before 4:30 AM. After a few minutes, I was already at The Fort and immediately did my warm-up jog until I was about to perspire, had my stretching exercises while greeting other people/runners who would pass by. I was surprised to see Patrick Concepcion aka The Running Shield, the Race Organizer doing also his jogging on the same place where I was having my stretching. We had a short conversation and personally congratulated him for a very successful race because of the positive response from the runners. I found out that the total number of runners reached up to 6,500+ with 1,200+ runners joining the half-marathon race. It was nice talking to him after so many months that I haven’t seen him in road races, however, we are always in contact with regular exchanges of SMS on matters pertaining about running.

I met George aka Fuerza Armada of NAMRIA and he was proud to introduce a dozen of runners who came all the way from Vigan, Ilocos Sur to participate in the said run. I introduced these runners to Patrick and he was happy and surprised that runners who came from a place which is 400 kilometers north of Metro Manila would join his run and support its noble cause. I wonder how many more of these runners who came all the way from Visayas and Mindanao. This is a gauge and indication of the present popularity of long distance running in the country. I am happy, too, because all of these runners admitted that they are regular readers and visitors of this blog. I am flattered when the runners I met along the way would call me “Idol”.

Five minutes before the start of the race, I entered the 21K corral and it was “jampacked” with a lot of runners that I tried to inch my way to the front of the runners. This is where I met the Hardcore Group & Team Bald Runner-Professional Group. It was nice to see Philip aka Foreign Runner (where have you been?), Jerry Karundeng aka High Altitude (with his luminous green shirt), Jonel aka Bugobugo85 (the “wingman”), Arman aka Pinoy Mafiosi, Mari of PLDT, Mark & Charlie, Jay Lee aka Fashion Guru, the Power Runners, and the Bataan 102 Warriors led by Atty Jeffrey Abenina & Jun Lapira aka David Goggins. I was in the company of Hardcore & Crazy Runners at the Starting Area and I consider them as the “coolest & most relaxed” runners before the start of a race.

In the true tradition of Rudy Biscocho’s road races, the race started not on time but it started two minutes before the announced start of the race. After the playing of the National Anthem & delivery of messages from the Race Organizers and Race Director, the race started without funfare and I was in the company of Jonel as we tried to look for our space on the first kilometer of the race.

Staying at the front of the corral before the starting gun is fired is a nice part of tactics in races because you can maintain your running space and average pace immediately. I conditioned myself to be slow on the first kilometer. From the starting area, the runners go all the way to Serendra and turned right at the 26th Avenue towards the old McDonalds. Before reaching the One McKinley Place Building, I was already about to have finished the first kilometer. The first kilometer was very slow but I was able to pass/overtake some of the runners.

Km #1 Split Time—5:16 minutes

I knew I was too slow on the first kilometer after looking at my watch. I wanted at least to have a pace not to exceed the 5:00-minute pace for the said race. I started to increase my pace as I passed the old McDonald and all the way to the Jollibee. Jonel and I were able to overtake more runners. As we got nearer to the Jollibee, we were able to catch up with Philip aka Foreign Runner. We were surprised to see Philip with an slower pace as he was our top runner during our speed training sessions three months ago. He is telling the truth afterall that he does have any training/running workouts for the past months. As we reached the area fronting the Shell Gasoline Station and about to enter the Kalayaan Flyover, we are ending the 2nd kilometer mark.

Km #2 Split Time—4:42 minutes

The uphill climb at the Kalayaan Flyover made me shift to my faster stride frequency with shorter stride length and lighter with my footstrike. At this time, the route was already wide for the runners and we are in the company with more of the Bataan 102 Boys. The rolling terrain of the Kalayaan Flyover made us run faster as the downhill part would force us to lengthen our strides. Before going down towards Buendia Blvd, we were able to complete 3 kilometers of the race.

Km #3 Split Time—4:42 minutes

As we reached Buendia, we maintained our pace but some of the runners would overtake us. We would make them as our “targets” to overtake along the way and just waiting for them to show signs of slowing down before we take the necessary action and increase our pace. I always remind Jonel of our average pace by shouting the time with the thought that I should not slow down and breach the 5:00-minute pace. As we reached the crossing of Buendia and Makati Avenue, it marked the end of Kilometer #4.

Km #4 Split Time—4:42 minutes

At this time, I became observant along the way. I was trying to recall if I have seen any Kilometer Markings along the side of the road from the time I left the Starting Area. I knew, the 10K turnaround is about to be reached after running for almost 20 minutes. While looking around for markers, I continouosly looked at my watch and tell to everybody the average pace. Suddenly, we reached the 10K turnaround and it signified that we were able to run a distance of 5 Kilometers. We were approaching RCBC Plaza at this point.

Km #5 Split Time—4:40 minutes

At the RCBC Plaza, I knew we are about to reach the Ayala Avenue Crossing and the slight downhill along Buendia had ended.  After passing the crossing, this part of Buendia was already flat and it was just a matter of time before we reached the entrance to the Skyway. The runners were directed by the Road Marshal to shift to the left side of Buendia after running for some time on the right side of the road. This was a warning to us that we are getting nearer to the Osmena Avenue/South Expressway and before turning left towards the approach towards the Skyway. 500 meters from the Railroad tracks marked the end of Kilometer 6.

Km #6 Split Time—4:36 minutes

After running for about 500 meters, we were led to a small street that would avoid us from running the elevated railroad tracks and we turned left. As we turned left, we could see the approach of the Skyway, which is the left side. I tried to increase my pace and prepared myself for the rolling terrain of the Skyway. After running for about 200 meters, I was running along the approach of the Skyway. It was a nice sight to see the straight direction of the Skyway. But it was a challenge to see a higher elevation along the route. The first 300 meters of the Skyway marked the end of Kilometer 7.

Km #7 Split Time—4:35 minutes

Running along the Skyway was an unforgettable experience being my first time to see it as I never used this elevated highway since it was contructed in the early 90’s. I concentrated looking at the runners far ahead of us and it was too wide for the 1,200 runners who participated in the half-marathon. There was that portion that went uphill and I thought it slowed me down. Water stations were abundant along the Skyway and the people manning them were helpful in extending their hands with the water cups to the passing runners. I was still at the Skyway at the end of Kilometer 8.

Km #8 Split Time—4:57 minutes

As I got nearer to the highest point of the Skyway, I knew I was getting slower. I tried to be light on my footstrike and saw to it that I would drink water in every water station. The end of Kilometer 9 would end at the point on top of the Magallanes Interchange/Flyover. This was the highest point of the Skyway. Jonel started to increase his pace and left me after the water station at the peak of the route.

Km #9 Split Time—5:02 minutes

At this point, the lead runners would be on their way back to where we entered the Skyway. Except for Eduardo “Vertek” Buenavista, the other 3 runners at the lead pack were members of the Elite Team Bald Runner. I had to cheer them as they met me along the way. I tried to increase my pace by lifting my knees some more from the ground as I had my sight at the turnaround point.

Km #10 Split Time—4:47 minutes

I took my GU Roctane at this point and drank water from the bottled wated stucked on my back with my compression shorts. I was the only one at the turnaround point and immediately got my string. As I was going back to Buendia, I would see the runners who were on my back and about to reach the turnaround point. This was where I started to hear shouts of “Bald Runner”, “BR”, “General”, “Sir Jovie” and “Mr Bald Runner” from the runners at my left side. Of course, I had to acknowledge these people by shouting something that would encourage them and sometimes, mentioning their names and giving them “high five” as I extend my hand to them. Guys, thanks for those greetings! I can not afford to be a “snub” to everybody. It was okey if I got slower by half of a second by doing all of these things! It was part of having fun running along the Skyway!

Km #11 Split Time—4:48 minutes

At Kilometer 12, I was still at the Skyway. More people would greet me from the incoming runners.

Km #12 Split Time—4:53 minutes

At Kilometer 13, I was still at the Skyway but the runners on the left side of the road were the slower ones already. I was going downhill and I knew I was going faster.

Km #13 Split Time—4:42 minutes

I tried to maintain my average pace as I have overtaken more of the runners while I was at the Skyway.

Km #14 Split Time—4:43 minutes

In about 500 meters, I knew I was about to end my first and only experience to run along the Skyway and I was back running along Buendia Avenue.

Km #15 Split Time—4:56 minutes

I tried to increase my average pace but fatigue was starting to creep to my legs but I knew I can still manage to maintain my pace towards the finish line. At this point, I could see more runners who were starting to walk and I encouraged them to jog all the way to the finish line.

Km #16 Split Time—4:51 minutes

Crossing the Ayala Avenue along Buendia was the start of a slight uphill and I knew my average pace will become slower. I tried to maintain my pace and at least, make my pace faster but the uphill climb was really a challenge. After passing the Makati Avenue marked the end of Kilometer 17.

Km #17 Split Time—5:02 minutes

The last uphill climb was the Kalayaan Flyover and I was in the company of the slower runners in the 10K race. I had to pass these runners and tried to run faster and avoided the crowd but the steep flyover would slow me down some more. Halfway along the Kalayaan Flyover marked the end of Kilometer 18.

Km #18 Split time—5:23 minutes

I tried to increase my pace as I passed the 10K runners who were still at the Kalayaan Flyover. It was already downhill towards the end of the Flyover and I could see the Shell Gasoline Station. Upon reaching the Shell Station, it marked the end of Kilometer 19.

Km #19 Split Time—4:55 minutes

It was a matter of time before reaching the Finish Line and I was confident that I would be able to improve my time from my past Half-Marathon Race at the Patakbo Sa Kabundukan last December. As I reached 26th Avenue, I knew it was an slight uphill climb towards Serendra. I knew I was feeling fatigued and I could already feel the effects of the sun. I had my last drink of water and tried to increase my pace at the end of Kilometer 20.

Km #20 Split Time—5:22 minutes

Near the Finish Line

Near the Finish Line

Trying to Squeeze With the Lesser Distance Runners

Trying to Squeeze With the Lesser Distance Runners

At this point, my time was at 1:38+ hours and I just cruised along knowing that I could break my last Half-Marathon time. The road marshals kept on signalling the 21K runners to enter the lane where the 10K runners were crowded but I insisted on running on the left lane. It brought a little disturbance and distraction to the faster runners along the 26th Avenue when the 21K runners were trying to compete for space on the said lane. It was a nice sight to see the digital clock at the Finish Line with the readings of 1:42+ hours as I got nearer to it.

Km #21 Split Time—4:58 minutes

I finally finished the Half-Marathon race, according to my GF 305, in 1:43:08 hours with an average pace of 4:53 minutes per kilometer. Not bad. I improved my time from my previous Half-Marathon time in the 2008 Patakbo Sa Kabundukan by 2:32 minutes. I might not be able to attain the average speed of 4:48 mins per kilometer as a result of my speed training but I am still satisfied with my time despite my preparations for the Bataan 102K.

The conduct of the race was outstanding and I consider this race as the biggest race so far for the past two years since running became a popular sports in the country. This is a proof that we are in the 2nd “boom” of running popularity in the country since in the late ’70s. Congratulations to Condura/Patrick & Ton Concepcion for their “vision” in promoting road races in the country. The efficiency and experience of Mr Rudy Biscocho as the Race Director was also contributory for the success of the race.

Overall Rating of the Race—98%

The Members of AGTARAY Running Club of Vigan, Ilocos Sur

The Members of AGTARAY Running Club of Vigan, Ilocos Sur

BR with Patrick Concepcion & Wife

BR with Patrick Concepcion & Wife

I was able to meet more runners as I delayed my departure from my parking area. The Bataan 102 “Warriors” would like to get their race packets from me & my staff after the Condura Run and I waited for them as they had another 7-8 kilometers of extended running workout. More people and runners would have their pictures taken and I was surprised that Patrick came back for some photo-ops with his wife. I took this opportunity to personally congratulate him for raising the “standards” in road racing in the country.

The Condura Run was something for the “books” of running in the country because of its unique route and the efficiency & experience of the Race Director and its staff. The 2009 Condura Run, so far, is the Best!  As for theparticipants, whether you are a fun runner or competitive one, congratulations to those who finished their respective race and to those who have attained their PRs in this road race!

Tess Geddes: The Pinay Desert Ultramarathoner

21 03 2009

To celebrate this March as the Women’s Month, I would like to pay tribute to this Filipino Woman who is, I am sure, unknown to us but in the world of multi-day ultramarathon races, she is very popular.

During the brief stay of Ben Gaetos in the country, he mentioned to me of a Pinay Ultramarathoner who is based in the Middle East and I was surprised to receive an e-mail from her through Ben immediately after Ben arrived in the USA and that was the start of our regular exchanges of e-mails for the past weeks. I really wanted her to spread the news among her friends and team mates in her ultramarathon adventures about the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race Event, and my way of inviting her to join the event in the future. Ben Gaetos also sent her e-mails about his experience with his participation in our Midnight To Sunrise and “Test” Runs for the Bataan 102K Ultramarathon.

The following is her story why she was lured to ultra running and presently loves the challenge of the ultramarathon:

“I started running 10 years ago when I turned 40. I quickly got hooked on doing races, starting with 10k’s, then half marathons and marathons.  I loved having a goal, training for it and then achieving it.  To this day, I live by my trainer’s motto:  Dream big and go for it!


I suppose it was this desire to push myself beyond my physical and mental limits that led me to do my first desert ultra, the Sahara Race in Egypt in September 2005, a 7-day, 250km foot race. Racers had to be self sufficient and we carried everything we needed in our backpack.  My pack weighed 10kgs.    It was very TOUGH!!  Temperatures exceeded 50C, everyday. In fact, the organizers had to move our start times forward by Day 3 so we weren’t in the heat for as long.  It was then that I realized the resilience of the human body and how it can take much more stress than we could ever imagine.  Needless to say, I survived, minus a few toenails.  I also fell in love with the desert and it made me want to go back.  It’s hard to explain and I put it down to my brain having been fried by the heat, so now, like Ben said, perhaps I’m in need of psychiatric treatment.


That was almost 4 years ago, and since then I have done the following:


Desafio Al Desierto, Argentina (April 2006, 3-day stage, 100kms)

Atacama Crossing, Chile (July 2006, 7-day stage, 250kms) – DNF due to injury, had to quit on Day 4

Libyan Challenge, Libya (February 2007, non-stop 190kms)

Desert R.A.T.S., Utah (June 2007, 6 day stage, 250kms)

Libyan Challenge , Libya (February 2008, non-stop 190kms)


And now, my next big adventure:  the Marathon des Sables in Morocco from 29th March to 4th April.


The Marathon des Sables or “Marathon of Sands” is a 7-day, 250 km (150mile) stage foot race and is considered to be the toughest  race on earth.  Competitors have to be self-sufficient, so we have to carry our own food, sleeping bag/mat, medical kit,  plus compulsory gear, etc.  for a week.  The only things provided by the organisers are water and a space in an 8-man berber tent (if you’re thinking North Face zipup tents that protect you from the elements, think again :) These tents are open on two sides and offer little protection in a sandstorm).  Temperatures will go up to and sometimes exceed 120F (48C).  


This year there are 850 competitors with 39 countries represented including the Philippines, with ages ranging from 16-71.


And guess what?  I’m the only racer from the Philippines!”  


Tess Geddes, by this time, is already in transit to Marrakech, Morocco for her one week stay in the desert to acclimatize herself before the start of the Marathon Des Sables (MDS).


If you have the time to send her a message during the race, please leave a message of encouragement for her at www.darbaroud.com/index_uk.php. Such message shall be read by the Race Director infront of all the competitors every 8:00 PM. She will be wearing Race Bib # 821. Let us cheer and support her with our simple message.


Tess, we are proud of you. Good luck and be safe always!

Logo Of Marathon Des Sables

Logo Of Marathon Des Sables

“If you think it will be exciting to run along the Skyway, think again!”

21 03 2009

I just had my 30-minute “active recovery” run at the Mall Of Asia (MOA) during the BDO Walk For Life 3K & 6K Walk/Run Event. On my way to MOA, I tried to look at the portion of the Skyway where the Condura Half-Marathon Run will take its route. I observed that once a runner reaches the Skyway level from the Buendia side, it will be an uphill climb up to the Magallanes Flyover and slightly going down on the way to the turn-around point. It should be noted that the height of the Skyway is higher than the ordinary flyovers that we have in Metro Manila.

I’ve never tried to use the Skyway in my life and the sight of the Skyway as I passed under it on my way to MOA and back to Makati made me nervous and not excited afterall. It looks like I will be running towards the peak of a big hill! I hope my hill runs, hill repeats and “stair” drills for the past days will be enough to prepare me for the challenge of running the Skyway portion of the race. I hope also that I will be able to implement my race strategy and at least, improve my finish time for the Half-Marathon.

Good luck & Sleep early tonight.

My Race Strategy & Predictions For Condura Half-Marathon

20 03 2009

As part of the BR’s Speed Training at the ULTRA Oval Track, each member who is joining a weekend road race must be able to run 75% of the road distance he/she has to race at Best Effort or 100%-110% Lactate Threshold at  least two (2) days before race day. This is followed with a 30-minute slow jog, we call as “active recovery” run, at 70% of one’s Best Effort or Lactate Threshold on the day before the race. And every runner must be relaxed, stretched, fully-massaged, hydrated, and carbo-loaded on the day before the race. Each runner is advised to sleep early on the night before the race, at least, an 8-hour of sleep is the ideal sleep duration. The speed workout two days before the race, which is a “must”, and the 30-minute “active recovery” run on the day before the race are the “secret” weapons of those runners attending the Team BR’s speed training. This is the reason why our runners keep on improving their PR best times in every race they participate. Prediction #1—Team BR members will again register another record in their PRs in this race! I suggest, you keep in pace with these runners or make them as your “targets” and for sure, you will get a PR, too!

We usually do this speed workout on Friday afternoon but because of the invitation of Jinoe aka Manokan Express/takbo.ph and my intention to join his Carboloading Party with other runners joining the Condura Run this evening, I scheduled my speed training earlier this morning. I arrived at the ULTRA Oval Track at 5:40 AM and I saw Mari of Team Bald Runner (Professional Group) about to finish his 75% speed run and Amado aka Reinier 6666 who is also about to finish his racewalking workout. After a warm-up jog around the track for 3 laps and stretching, I started my 15.75 Km run at my Best Effort. Last week, as my preparation for the “Run For Your Lives” 10K Run, I did a 7.5 Km run and I finished it with an average speed of 4:33 minutes. As a result of the race last Sunday, I registered the same average speed with that of my speed run two days before the race despite those hills inside McKinley Hill Area. After running for 15.75 kms this morning, my GF 305 registered a time of 1:14+ hours with an average pace of 4:48 minutes per kilometer. Basing from this result, I am sure I will be able to improve my time for the Condura Run from that of last December’s Patakbo Sa Kabundukan Half-Marathon where I finished in 1:45:40 hours with an average pace of 4:56 minutes per kilometer. Prediction #2-–Using my past speed runs’ average pace with the results of the actual road race, which are the same, I could see another improvement of my finish time in the Condura Run with the hope that I could sustain the average pace of 4:48 minutes per kilometer. So, I will be happy if you will make me as your “target” in this race but if you will be faster and intend to be infront of me, I’ll be happy also to consider you as my “target”!

On race strategy for the Half-Marathon. There are only three (3) options to select—you could be very fast on the first half (10K) and try to hang on up to finish and become slower in the last half; or you could be conservative on the first half (10K) with slower pace and increasing your pace on the last half up to the finish line; or lastly, maintain an even pace from the start up to the finish. Depending on your training/preparation and the level of competitive condition of your body, you can select one of these options stated.

Now, let us go with my race strategy for the race. In my past speed runs and 10K road races, I have the tendency to be very fast on the first half of the race and try to hang on with a slightly slower pace up to the finish line. The culprit for this kind of strategy is my tendency not to be observant on the data registered on my GF 305 watch. Simply said, I don’t look at my watch not until I start to slow down on the 2nd half of the race. However, in longer races, like in 15K, 20K, Half-Marathon, 25K, and Marathon races, I have the tendency to be conservative on the 1st half of the race and try to maintain a pre-programmed average pace by constantly looking at my watch every kilometer, making sure that I would not be running at a slower pace. If I still have the strength on the 2nd half, I try to increase my pace and attain 110% Total Effort. This race strategy had been very effective for me in road races with distances of more than 10K. So, if you see me running at an average pace of 5:00 minutes per kilometer on the 1st few kilometers of the race and you would pass/overtake me, it is okey with me because I have to maintain my race strategy.

Let us consider the terrain of the route, on the first half, the first uphill is the Kalayaan Flyover going to Buendia/Gil Puyat and then at the uphill-approach towards the Skyway. On the second half, the uphill portion of the route starts from the crossing Ayala Avenue all the way to the Kalayaan Flyover. This is what I will do to conquer these uphill climbs along the route. After running a conservative pace for about 1 1/2 kilometers, the Kalayaan Flyover will be there infront of me. I’ll just take an average pace of 5:00-5:15 minutes per kilometer going up the flyover and making sure to increase my pace from its peak and going down along Buendia and maitain a “cruising pace” of 4:50-minute per kilometer up to the approach of the Skyway. Going up to the Skyway would slow me down to 5:20 pace and I would be able to bring back my “cruising pace” of 4:45-4:50 pace along the Skyway. The big problem now will be the slight and gradual increase of uphill from crossing Ayala to the Kalayaan Flyover. I am sure this will slow down my pace plus the fact that the sun will start to rise on the horizon. I should be able to maintain my average pace below the 5:00-minute pace while running along this part of the route. From the downhill portion of the Kalayaan Flyover to the Finish Line would be a easy run for me and for everybody. 

Instead of using my NIKE Lunaracer, I’ll consider using my Newtons for this race. My tight compression shorts and Bataan 102 Race Shirt will be my running attire for this race. I am expecting that more of the Bataan 102 “Warriors” will be wearing their race shirts during this run. I need to take one (1) GU Roctane before the start of the race and take another one at the halfway turn-around point. This, more expensive sports gel, works well with me since I started using it in my last year’s San Francisco Marathon and my ultramarathon distance runs. I need to hydrate myself every water station and I am confident that I will not be wearing my hydraton belt on this race. I know, the Race Organizers (Patrick & Ton Concepcion) and the Race Director (Rudy Biscocho) are “perfectionists” on the safety and welfare of the participants in this road race. I know that the runners will not be “sandwiched” with any vehicle along the route because the route of the race will be entirely closed from any vehicular traffic. In summary, Abundant water + No vehicles along race route = More focused running by the participants. Prediction #3—So far, this will be the best Half-Marathon and Road Race for this year and runners would compare this event to other road races in the past and in the future.

Did I miss anything? If there is none, then, I am wishing everybody…Good luck, have fun, and be sure to wake up early and be at the starting line before 5:00 AM on Sunday. See you at the Starting Line!

Running Clinic @ NAMRIA

19 03 2009

1:30 PM 17 March 2009 @ National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA)

It was last January of this year when Jay aka BroJ verbally requested me for the Team Bald Runner to conduct a running clinic among the members of their office’s running club and to their staff & employees. After a few weeks, I received and e-mail with the e-copy of the letter of request signed by their boss, Undersecretary Diony A Ventura, who is a retired General of the PC/PNP and member of PMA Class 1967. It was followed with the hardcopy of the said letter of request in a few days.

I immediately approved the request and the scheduled date and NAMRIA had lined up the running clinic as part of the office’s national celebration of the Women’s Month of March. The running clinic was part of the scheduled “Fitness Day” for 17 March 2009 and the activity has an objective “to provide knowledge to their employees on the basics of running as a physical activity and to help create awareness on the need for a healthy lifestyle”.

Upon my entry to their compound (infront of the Philippine Army Gymnasium, across Lawton Avenue), I was received as a VIP by their guards and led me to a spacious lecture hall with at least 50 persons assembled for the running clinic in the presence of John Fabic, Bro J, George and the rest of the staff. The program immediately started with an opening remarks and introduction about me from George aka Fuerza Armada. The people from NAMRIA and the organizers of the program/event made their research about me as I was introduced properly as a former military officer with my past positions and as a runner-blogger with my past exposure in ultramarathon, marathon and lesser distance races.

Lecture on the "Why" In Running

Lecture on the "Why" In Running

Everybody Was Attentive & Nobody Was Seen Dozing

Everybody Was Attentive & Nobody Was Seen Dozing

The Two "Great Teachers/Coaches" in Running

The Two "Great Teachers/Coaches" in Running

My lecture was concentrated on the basics of running, benefits of running, principles of training, and “tips” and suggestions in order to enjoy an injury-proof training in running. My lecture was followed with the lectures of Major Ferdie Espejo to answer the question of the “How” in running and the actual demonstration from MSgt Satur Salazar on the proper form of running. Proper warm-up, stretching exercises and drills were demonstarted by the two IAAF Level IV-trained Coaches to the audience. The lectures and demonstrations were followed with an Open Forum and questions were asked by the audience. More “tips” about injuries, nutrition and training for the marathon were clearly explained to the participants. 

Receiving a Certificate Of Appreciation & Loot Bag

Receiving a Certificate Of Appreciation & Loot Bag

My staff and I were surprised that NAMRIA, as the Host was well-prepared and fully-funded for the event. During the closing program of the event, each of us were given a framed Certificate of Appreciation signed by Undersecretary Diony Ventura, loot bag full of “goodies”, a basket full of fresh fruits and calendars of the office. I discovered that one of the calendars being distributed by their office is an exact replica of the First Published Map of the Phlippines which was cartographically compiled by Spanish Priest Father Pedro Murillo Velarde in 1734 with a Calendar which is good for 200 years. I was able to find out  that I was born on a Friday, 56 years ago.

One of the Finisher's T-Shirt Donated by the Members of the NAMRIA Running Club

One of the Finisher's T-Shirt Donated by the Members of the NAMRIA Running Club

Group Picture With The NAMRIA Staff & Employees

Group Picture With The NAMRIA Staff & Employees

After the closing program, the members of the NAMRIA Running Club donated a bagful of Finisher’s T-Shirts from Road Races for my Project Donate A Shirt. A group picture was taken before we ended the activity.

In behalf of my staff/coaches, I would like to extend my thanks for the warm accommodation and support of the office in our advocacy to spread awareness about proper running to the members of the NAMRIA Running Club, to its staff and employees, and most especially to Undersecretary Diony Ventura. Mabuhay po kayong lahat at Salamat! 

Note: This is the 4th Edition of BR’s FREE Corporate Running Clinic.

The “Few, Proud, & Brave Warriors” Of Bataan 102 Ultramarathon

18 03 2009

Finally, this is the list of participants in the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race to be held on 05 April 2009 along the exact route where history happened where each runner must be able to finish the race within the cut-off time of 18 hours.

1. John Frederick Abenina

2. Albert Henson

3. Francisco Lapira, Jr.

4. Constante Mendoza

5. Jonathan Babsa-ay

6. Kim O’ Connell (F)

7. Jo-Ar Calvadores

8. Regie Buljoran

9. Dionisio Potonia

10. Roel Ano

11. Ricardo Cabusao, Jr

12. Norio Tanaka

13. Jerome Cartailler

14. Arman Fernando

15. Aniceto Grimaldo

16. Jessie Ano

17. Martin Lorenzo

18. Jonnifer Lacanlale

19. Don Ubaldo

20. Charlie Chua

21. Ralph Salvador

22. Eric Socrates

23. Noel Hernandez

24. Albert Sama

25. Bonifacio Dalisay

26. July Oconer

27. George Dolores

28. Jose Marie Javier

29. Willy Suarez

30. Vincent Tongson

31. Albert Salazar

32. Victor Ting

33. Alipio Narciso

34. Enrico Tocol

35. Michael Sudario

36. Ivy Macainan (F)

37. Jerry Karundeng

38. Fernando De Lara

39. Regidor Samar

40. Jay Lee Cu-Unjieng

41. Ronald Declarador

42. Nicomedes Jaranilla

43. Odessa Coral (F)

44. Ezekiel Mangune

45. Edwin Bien

46. Hermogines Olvis

47. John Nickko Nolasco

48. Carlos Nobleza

49. Raiza Tulan (F)

50. Dennis Enriquez

51. Felipe Nama

52. Pepito Deapera

53. Melchor De Lara

54. Arman Abalos

55. Nonilo Onoya

56. Richard Poquiz

57. Edilberto Severino

58. Filomeno Duterte IV

59. Cesar Abarientos

60. Christian David Alacar

61. Mark Bata

62. Roselito Bernardo

63. Eduardo Vilanueva

64. Rodolfo Tacadino

65. Romeo Marquez

66. Alvin Canada

67. Esmeraldo Ondoy

68. Mamerto Corpuz

69. Adons Lubaton

70. Andrico Mahilum

71. Randy Bumahit

72. Rey Antoque

73. Bowen Montecillo

74. Isidro Vildosola

75. Bald Runner

76. Rey De Los Reyes

77. Ellen Tolentino (F)

78. Lucas

79. Baldwin

80. Andy Ho

81. Mario Salumbides

82. Jayson Fabricante

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much for your support and Good Luck!!!


Bataan 102 Registration Is Closed!

17 03 2009

The last day of registration for the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race was yesterday, 16 March 2009. And the registration is defnitely closed and there will be no extension!

As expected, Filipinos are fond of “last minute” payments as most of the runners have already their respective reserved slot for the race. Yesterday, a record payment of fourteen (14) runners in a single day was accepted by Allied Bank and the BR’s office. I exempted the three (3) runners from Singapore for the last day of payment due to some problems with the bank transmittal. I informed them that I will accept their payments on race day. 

Last September 2008, I planned this race to be limited to only 100 participants with the hope that only a handful would be interested to finally join the race. I was thinking that an attendance of at least 10-20 runners on race day would already be a sign of “success” and fufillment for me to introduce an ultramarathon event to honor and commemorate the historic WWII Bataan Death March with a challenging cut-off time of 18 hours.

To my surprise, the final number of participants for this race is already seventy-eight (78), including the foreign runners. There are five (5) female runners. The complete list of runners will be posted later today.

To all the participants and sponsors, thank you very much for your support.

Q & A: TNF100 @ Sacobia, Clark

16 03 2009

The 2008 TNF 100 in Batangas was a significant running event as this was the first race where the newly-formed Elite Team Bald Runner had participated and since then Team Bald Runner started to be known in road races as well as in trail running events in the country. Last month, I started to see and read posts of runner-bloggers about the TNF 100 @ Sacobia, Clark with the proper display of their teaser-ad poster. I really wanted to ask questions from these bloggers in their comments portion but I knew that they are unaware of the details of the event. After waiting for sometime, I was happy to see that there is a dedicated website for this event and I immediately posted some questions with the Administrator of the site.

So, these were the questions I posted in their website’s “Contact Us” page which were immediately answered by the Administrator.

I have the following questions for the solo 100K:


1) What are the prizes for the top winners? Are there age category top runners’ prizes?

TNF: We plan to give out prizes worth as follows: 1st – 30K ; 2nd –  20K ;  3rd –  10K  plus freebies  from sponsors. Top finisher gets a trophy while runners up get a medal. Both 100K solo and 100K relay are OPEN categories.

2) What do I get from the P 1,650.00 registration fee?

TNF: As of now  reg fee entitles you to a race kit with a singlet/jersey, race bib, drop bag, stub for energy drink, photo vendo, insurance and 20% discount on all TNF products (all registrants get this). 100K finishers will receive a special token. We are working on possible free or discounted accommodations within Clark prior to the race. Reg fees will be collected upon claiming of race kits, 2-weeks before race day.

3) How many Aid Stations will be available along the route? Aside from water, what other drinks and foods will be available in your Aid Stations?

TNF: We intend to have  at least  7 aid stations , aside from marshal points and roving support vehicles. We plan to have some energy drinks and fruits, although we encourage runners to be self-sustained.


4) Is there any cut-off time for the 100K solo race? Or do you have cut-off times in your checkpoints/Aid Stations?

TNF: 30 hrs will be the cut-off time for the 100K race, although we will also implement cut-off times  in Marshall points/LPs. These will be announced as soon as details are finalized.


5) Are the runners allowed with a support crew and pacers?

TNF: This is yet to be decided on.


6) Is there a possibility that the RO/RD (Race Organizer/Race Director) would arrange for a “test run” for the participants at least one month before race day in order to orient the runners?


TNF: Yes, we intend to have a series of running aid clinics to better cascade information and help participants prepare for the race. 


If the Administrator of TNF 100 is reading this post right now, I would like to make some comments about their website. The website is very nice and attractive but putting those pictures of US & International Ultra Trail Runners whom we don’t even know and met in person is giving us the impression that these runners will be joining the said event and/or TNF is using these runners as their models. May I suggest that TNF Philippines should use the pictures of the male/female top runners of the 2008 TNF 100, 2008 Mt Mayon Trail Run, latest TNF 20K Trail Run and Neville Manaois’ Pinoy Ultra Runners in order to promote our very own ultra trail runners. How about featuring the “running legs” of Isidro Vildosola or Elmer Sabal of Team Bald Runner in your Website’s Main Page? Filipino runner’s legs in TNF trail shoes & socks would be great!

If you want to know more about the 2009 TNF 100 @ Sacobia, Clark, please visit their site at www.thenorthface100.ph

Race Report: The Rotary Gift of Life Charity 10K Run @ The Fort

15 03 2009

5:58 AM 15 March 2009 @ The Fort

After running for almost 51K in our last Sunday’s “Runabout”, I did not have any intention of running a short road race except for the Condura Half-Marathon on 22 March before I finally taper for the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race which will be held on 05 April. However, last Friday morning, I finally decided to join this race and test my speed as part of my final preparation for the Condura Run and the ultramarathon event. I went to the New Balance Store at the Shangrila Mall to officially register and get my race packet.

As part of our regular Friday afternoon speed training at the ULTRA Oval Track, our coaches would always instruct us to run 75% of the distance of the race we have to compete for the following Sunday morning, running within our 100% Lactate Threshold or 100% of our Total Effort. And so last Friday’s speed run resulted to a time of 34:52 minutes with a distance of 7.65 kms at an average pace of 4:33 minutes per kilometer. Such pace was actually 106% of my Lactate Threshold. But at the back of my mind, I was hoping I could reach my 110% Total Effort during the race which is a pace of 4:21 minutes per kilometer. At least, I hope also that I would be able to improve my time during the PSE Bull Run 10K at 46:17 minutes.

The Elite Team Bald Runner and I arrived at the Starting Area at 5:15 AM and I started immediately with my warm-up jog together with Totoy Santos of Happy Feet and later on with other members of Team Bald Runner. After 15-20 minutes of warm-up, I did my stretching and made some speed drills just to loosen my muscles. As the Emcee announced for the remaining 10 minutes before the start time, I entered the corral and joined the other runners for the 10K race. I was positioned at least one meter behind the elite runners at the front.

A Pose Before The Race

A Pose Before The Race

The race started at 5:58 AM and it went smoothly. The first kilometer covered a part of 6th Street as the runners turned right to the 26th Street. Along the 26th Street, I thought I was on a relaxed mode with my pace as other runners would pass me and I tried to settle for my running space. At the end of the 26th Street is the old McDonald’s as we turned right to Rizal Street towards Jollibee and St Luke’s Hospital. More runners would overtake me while I was running along Rizal Street. Calvin’s Restaurant marks the end of Kilometer #1.

Km # 1 Split Time—4:20 minutes

From Calvin’s Resto, there is a slight ascending portion towards Jollibee. As runners turned right at 32nd Street where St Luke’s Hospital and Home Depot are located, the space in between runners have stretched out and my running space had expanded. The road seems to be so flat but after crossing 5th Avenue and running towards Home Depot, I felt that the road is slightly ascending again and I started to breath heavily and my sweat was starting to drip from my head and arms. It was a sign that my “second wind” has just arrived where I could maintain my prevaiing speed or speed up some more. A few meters before turning right at the 11th Street (Serendra) marks the end of Kilometer #2.

Km # 2 Split Time—4:24 minutes

The 11th Street which is the road that separates Serendra and Bonifacio High Street Mall is a very familiar place for me as I extend my running route to this road when doing my workouts at the BHS Loop. The distance in between runners was already overstretched up to five meters and I was alone trying to pace myself. Instead of turning right at 26th Street (based from the original route provided in the race packet), a road marshall was at the intersection of 11th & 26th Streets telling the runners to go straight along 11th Street and towards McKinley Road. I observed that at least 10 meters before runners would turn right at McKinley Road, the lead runners would run along the sidewalk and cut corners. I decided to run along the road as I turned right towards McKinley Road. A few meters before I turned left towards an uphill road going to the American Cemetery Circle, it marks the end of Kilometer # 3.

Km # 3 Split Time—4:32 minutes

As I turned left towards an uphill road going to the American Cemetery, I prepared myself for my first uphill run along the course. I shortened my strides but made them quicker and swing my arms faster. The short uphill portion was a “test” for me and I conditioned my mind that I could easily go through the ascending portion of the McKinley Hill. After passing the American Cemetery Circle, the runners were directed by a road marshall to take a road that directly connects to Lawton Avenue. The road is slightly downhill from the American Cemetery but it goes slightly ascending once the road reaches to Lawton Avenue. The fruit store on the right side of Lawton Avenue marks the end of Kilometer # 4.

Km # 4 Split Time—4:34 minutes

As we reached Lawton Avenue, the lead runners would initially run along the right side of the road and I followed them but after about 50 meters, the lead runners would shift running along the left side of the road. The reason for the sudden change was a sight of the other faster leading runners turning left towards McKinley Hill. The race route had entirely changed as runners would no longer go to Bayani Road but going inside the McKinley Hill and running along its roads would be harder than running along the ascending and descending parts of Bayani Road. My pace became faster as I was running along Lawton Avenue and it became faster when I was going downhill at the entrance of the said establishment. I thought that my faster pace in going down would compensate for the slower pace during my uphill climb back to the finish line. A few meters after reaching the bottom of the downhill road marks the end of Kilometer # 5

Km # 5 Split Time—4:21 minutes

After looking at the Kilometer Markings on the side of the road and knowing that I finished the first half of the race, I looked at my watch for the first time during the race. I was surprised to see that I had a half-split time of 21:52 minutes. From here, I decided not to look at my watch not until I reached the finish line. The running along the roads on the right side of the McKinley’s main road was my second time experience and tried to look around as I passed the eastern side of the remaining cantonment area for the Philippine Army Headquarters. I used to be the Camp Commander of the remaining 102 heactares for the Philippine Army and I could see the high-rise Transient Housing Facilities on my right. At this point, I was smiling as I looked upon the lady runners wearing ballerina/tutu dresses. These ladies really run fast! I am just wondering if they should be holding their “magic wand” while they are running! As I go up to the main road of MacKinley Hill and before turning right towards the British Embassy, it marks the end of Kilometer # 6.

Km # 6 Split Time—4:34 minutes

The road towards the British Embassy was an uphill one and the sight of the runners going back to Lawton Avenue was a motivation to run faster. I thought the turn-around was placed at the vicinity near the C-5 Highway & British Embassy. I was running slower at this part of the route and I knew most of the runners were also running slower. The air and smell in the surroundings of McKinley Hill affected my breathing. I could smell a mixture of cigarette smoke and smoke coming from the different contructions around. It could be the smoke of the welding jobs being made on the steel foundation and concrete reinforcements. At this point, I could hardly breath but my legs were still strong. The downhill portion from the turn-around point going to the McKinley Hill Commercial marks the end of Kilometer # 7.

Km # 7 Split Time—4:49 minutes

The “cursed” uphill climb from McKinley Hill back to Lawton Avenue almost covered the entire length of Kilometer # 8 of the route.  My problem of breathing due to the quality of air at McKinley Hill plus the steep uphill climb towards Lawton Avenue slowed me to a great extent. I usually cough when I smell smoke and I was trying to control it. I tried also to quicken my leg strides and swing my arms faster but my breathing was not synchronized with leg strides. At this time, I knew I slowed down and I thought I reached the 5:00 minute/km pace. Once I reached the Waiting Shed & Jeepney Stop at Lawton Avenue, I tried to breath deeply and quicken my pace. I was no longer attentive to those runners who were passing me and those lady runners in “tutu” dress attire. My goal from this point was to focus on my strides and make my average pace faster. A few meters after the Waiting Shed marks the end of Kilometer # 8.

Km # 8 Split Time—4:53 minutes

As I quicken my pace along Lawton Avenue, the smell of the smoke was still there and later disappeared before reaching the Robinson’s Condo Building. I tried to run faster on the downhill portion before reaching Essensa and I was back on business with my pace. However, the uphill climb along 5th Avenue at Essensa slightly slowed my pace. After passing the Essensa area and a few meters before the crossing with McKinley Road, it marks the end of Kilometer # 9.

Km # 9 Split Time—4:40 minutes

Crossing the intersection of McKinley Road and 5th Avenue was a relief as the road towards the finish line was downhill. I knew I was running hard and fast on the last kilometer of the race as if I was running at my pace during my speed runs at the oval track. As I turned right along 26th Street, I just imagined that I was running my last lap around the oval track as I got nearer to the finish line.

Km # 10 Split Time—4:24 minutes

I finished the race in 44:17 minutes with an average pace of 4:33 minutes per kilometer. My race pace was the same with my last Friday’s “speed workout” and I was not able to lower my average pace for this race as what I have planned. Despite my failure to reach the 4:20 min/km pace, I was able to improve my finish time from my 2009 PSE Bull Run 10K held last January (46:17 mins), a 10K race which was held within the same race route without the McKinley Loop.

A Pose With Jonel & Ilo After The Race Who Finished With PRs (Again!)

A Pose With Jonel & Ilo After The Race Who Finished With PRs (Again!)

As I assess and evaluate my performance on today’s 10K race, there are still things to do with the remaining days before the Condura Half-Marathon and the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race. Initially, starting tomorrow, I will have to do my hill repeats and hill runs. The flyovers at C-5 Highway, the rolling terrain of Bayani Road and the roads surrounding the Ortigas Complex would be nice spots where I could test my legs and lungs! I need to go back to the gym and do more strengthening exercises on my legs, arms & core muscles. Finally, come up with a race strategy to catch up with those lady runners in “tutu” dress!!!

Overall Race Rating—96%

P.S. No running photos this time as my old SONY Digital “Cyber-Shot” Camera is about to be retire and replaced. I need a handy digital camera with a faster shutter speed and faster memory processor.

Bataan 102K: Latest Updates & Reminders

11 03 2009

1. Last Day of Registration and Acceptance of Registration Fees is next Monday, 16 March 2009. Effective March 17, registration and payments for registration fees will not be accepted except for the special accommodation given to the “foreign runners” from Singapore and other countries for them to register at the starting area on D-Day.

2. Final List of Participants will be posted in this site and at www.bataan102.com;  www.baldrunner.blogspot.com; and www.baldrunnerevents.blogspot.com. Only those who have paid their registration fee up to March 16, 2009 will be included in the list.

3.  Race packets will be available for pick-up effective 17 March 2009 at the ULTRA Oval Track on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 5:30 to 9:00 PM or at our office at 115 2nd Floor M.H. Del Pilar corner E. Angeles Streets, Santo Tomas, Pasig City or call telephone number–497-6442.

4.  Race packet will include a “soft backpack”, white long-sleeved race shirt, a running cap with cover on the nape, race bib, GU Sports Gels, PowerBars, Salt, tissue paper (just in case) and Pain Reliever tablets. The “soft backpack” with the printed Race Number of the participant will serve as a “Drop Bag” of the runners where they can put in their extra shoes and clothes. These “drop bags” will be in the care of a dedicated Mobile Aid Station during the race.

5. There will be Aid Station in every twenty (20) kilometers where food, water and sports drinks will be available. In addition, three (3) Mobile Aid Stations will serve as a General Support Vehicle for everybody which will alternately “leap frog” as the race will progress. These Mobile Aid Stations will provide water and sports drinks for everybody and one Mobile Aid Station will serve as the repository of the “Drop Bags”. Gatorade, Propel, RC Cola & Zesto Tetra Pack Drinks are the brands available during the race. Foods available in the Aid Stations will include boiled bananas, boiled sweet potatoes, boiled eggs, fresh ripe bananas and other fresh fruits, Fita Biscuits, Sky Flakes Crackers, Peanut Butter Sandwich, raisins, chocolates, and “hot” cup noodles at Km Post # 50.

6.  Finishers (within the cut-off time of 18 hours) will receive a Finisher’s Medal, Finisher’s Trophy, and Finisher’s T-Shirt. A Certificate of Achievement will be given on a later date where the name & time of finish will be printed. We plan to give the Certificate with an appropriate Finish Picture of each runner-finisher.

7.  Each runner is advised and encouraged to carry with them Hand-held Hydration Bottles, Hydration Belt, or Hydration Bladder during the race. Remember, the Number Enemy or Opponent during the the race is not the other runners but the “Heat of the Sun and the Pavement”. Good luck to everybody!

8. Donors and Sponsors are highly appreciated to give anything (services, money, and material things) to make this ultramarathon race a success and memorable event. A part of your donation will support the “needs” of the surviving veterans of World War II who are presently under the care of the Veterans Medical Center. For those who supported this historical event and those who made “commitments” to support this endeavor (you know already who you are), my deepest appreciation and thanks to all of you.

Note: Payments for the Registration Fee must be deposited at Allied Bank Account # 0251-07156-8 in the name of Bald Runner’s Events or Jovenal Narcise. Please send an e-mail to jovie75@hotmail.com to inform me of your payment as my basis for confirmation with the bank. Thanks!


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