The primary objective of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) is to promote the sports of ultrarunning/ultra marathon races, whether they are on roads or trails. It is also a way of bringing the sports closer to the grassroots with the hope to discover new and younger talents and potentials as elite runners. It also serves as a contribution in the Sports Tourism Program in the locality where the event is being held. Such events and presence of runners from other regions and countries would bring added income and economy to the local establishments and at the same time for the runners to explore the site of the event.
The PAU Nationals, for the second year, had been held in Guimaras Island Province which has a 125-Kilometer Circumferential Highway on the outer edges of the island. It is accessible from the long distance runners from the islands of Panay and Negros, where potential elite runners are residing. Rene Herrera, our Olympian 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter runner, hails from the Province of Guimaras.
Through the help of Dick Balaba, PAU Runner of the Year 2011, who is presently assigned in the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army whose Area of Responsibility covers the Island Provinces of Western Visayas, my trip arrangements and courtesy call to the new Provincial Governor, Honorable Samuel Gamurin, were scheduled and implemented without any problem.
My staff and I were received by Governor Gamurin in his office and immediately gave instructions to his Provincial Administrator, Provincial Tourism Officer, and the Provincial Risk Reduction Management Administrator who was the Action Officer during the conduct of the 1st PAU Nationals in the province. With a short notice, the 5 Municipal Tourism Officers were called for a meeting with the Governor giving instructions for the support for the event, to include the PNP and the Philippine Army Reservist/Reserve Force in the province.
Governor Gamurin fired the Starting Gun at Midnight of Friday in front of the Provincial Capitol and he event went to the extent of manning the first Aid Station at Km #10, asking and giving food to the runners, and later inspecting the rest of the Aid Stations along the route.
The Barangay Captains in places where Aid Stations were located were properly supervised by the Barangay Captains themselves and their Councilors. PNP elements were also stationed in the Aid Stations and some selected points along the route. Critical intersections were covered by the Philippine Army Reservists and they served as Marshals. Roving patrols and checkpoints were also manned by the PA Reservists.
The 50K runners were ferried from the 50K Finish Line back to the Provincial Capitol aboard specially-built vehicles for tourists along the rest of the circumferential road of the island. This is an improvement from last year’s experience for the 50K runners where they were ferried by military 6 X 6 trucks!
The Governor and First Lady, Vice-Mayor Cecille Gumarin of Buenavista, Guimaras awarded the Trophies, Medals, Finisher’s Shirts and Certificates to the Podium Finishers of the 50K and the Overall Top 3 Runners for the 110K Race.
Even if I prepared packed lunch/dinner for all the runners, the Provincial Government prepared also another set of packed lunch/dinner with one ripe Guimaras Mango for all the Finishers!
Before the Governor left the Finish Area, he promised to fully support the next edition of the race where he suggested that the event will be a part of the Octoberfest in the province. He said that there will be lots of beer for the runners and Rock Bands on Stage near the Provincial Capitol. This is something that ultra runners would like to experience after finishing the race.
There was a 100% finish rate for the 50K runners while 3 runners declared themselves as “Dropped/DNF” among the 27 starters for the 110K race. A total of 50 runners started in front of the Provincial Capitol of Guimaras.
The Course Record in the 50K Race was broken by Marianito “Jun” Ramirez, Jr of Iloilo City with a time of 5:03:28 hours , improving the time by 7 minutes.
The Official Result of the Event is posted at: http://baldrunner.com/2013/09/16/official-results-2013-pau-national-championship-110k50k-ultra-marathon-race/
I would say that the mission/objectives of PAU were satisfied with the conduct of this event. New potentials/talents were discovered among the runners in the area. Sports Tourism for Guimaras was promoted and the presence of the runners and their family & friends had greatly contributed to the economy in the area.
See you next year in Guimaras! Keep on running!
Note: Additional pictures of the event can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/baldrunner/media_set?set=a.10201423731048885.1073741853.1043179758&type=3