Official Result: 5th PAU Tanay 50K Ultra Marathon Race

5 10 2015

RANK             NAME                                            TIME (HRS)

  1. Jerome Caasi (Overall Champion) ————6:05:10
  2. Lao Ogerio (1st Runner-Up, Overall)———-6:38:03
  3. Beda Abugan Jr (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) —6:49:07
  4. Remy Caasi (Champion, Female) ————-6:52:10
  5. Tess Leono (1st Runner-Up, Female)———-6:52:39
  6. Beverly Benaid (2nd Runner-Up, Female)—–7:36:11
  7. Ronnel Go —————————————7:57:14
  8. Myk Dauz —————————————-7:57:17
  9. Raymond Nable ———————————7:57:25
  10. Arthel Caronongan ——————————8:19:21
  11. Khlaren Agoncillo (Female) ———————8:46:20
  12. Melchor Nicolas ———————————8:46:21

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

Final PAU Logo

Things That Went Right During The Zamboanga 50K Run

1 10 2015

Since it is the first PAU-sponsored event in Zamboanga City and being the one who suggested this event to be conducted, I have to join this race as one of the participants. It is also a part of my “evaluation runs” to test if my training program is working and to determine some feedback on the improvements of my speed, endurance, and nutrition. Lastly, it is also a way of sharing my experience to my readers, hoping that one day they will be a part of this race.

The following are the things that went right (nothing went wrong) during my race:

  1. Nutrition & Hydration——It is the most important thing that one have to plan and have a strategy to be strictly followed. Although there are Aid Stations along the route, I was not well-informed on the details and what kind of drinks and food that are available in the race. Although, I have a general idea of what to expect in those Aid Stations. So, I brought my own “mini-nutrition pack” stashed in my Ultimate Direction (UD) Belt. I had 2 Packs of Clif Bloks (one pack in the UD Belt & one pack in my shorts front pocket); one Meal Bar (in my UD Belt); and two (2) GU Gels stashed in my shorts back pockets. I have also a CarboPro mix (with water) in my Simple Hydration Bottle and 2 Packs of it in my other Simple Hydration Bottle and in a tiny 3-oz bottle (without liquid). I brought with me two (2) Simple Hydration Bottles where one of it is filled with CarboPro Mix without water and the other one with water mixed with CarboPro. Both bottles were clipped with my UD Belt and placed on the back of my waist. A reserve CarboPro powder was inside a 3-oz bottle which is stashed in one of the pockets of my UD Belt.

My Nutrition & Hydration Strategy went this way: Eat 3 pieces of Clif Bloks every hour or when I feel hungry; sip my Carbo Pro mix every time my GPS watch makes a “beep” sound which tells me that I just finished one mile which is approximately equivalent to 14-16 minutes; drink at least 16-oz of cold water in each of the Aid Stations; eat something solid and fruits in the Aid Stations; take one Succeed S-Cap Capsule every 1.5 hours; and then mix the remaining CarboPro mix with Gatorade Drinks. The routine was repetitive and boring but it was the key for having successfully finished the race without any issues or problems.

CarboPro Powder Mix

CarboPro Powder Mix

2. Run Light——I did not use a hydration vest in this race and I only used my UD Belt where I stashed my IPhone and my food/mix powder. I was practically running with one Simple Hydration Bottle with liquid in it entire the race. I would have been lighter if I did not bring my Clif Protein Bar and two (2) GU Gel Packs but these food were my “reserves” just in case of any “bonking” during the race. I was using my Hoka One One Huaka which is more of Road Shoe but it is the lightest shoes that I can use for this race. No need for Calf Sleeves; Arm Sleeves; or Gaiters for this run.

3. Metronome——For the past months, whether it is a trail run workout or speed workout on the flat paved roads, I would use the Metronome Application stored/downloaded in my iPhone. This is the very reason why I had my IPhone with me with only one earbud on either on my right or left ear during the race. Metronome Application is now available Free for download and it is very useful in my making sure I was consistent in my running cadence. My Metronome is set at 180 steps per minute and the “tick-tock” sound could be easily followed every time I step each foot on the ground. Since my steps are short, quick and fast, I could easily keep in step with the beat. In the early 70s whenever I join Marathon Races, I’ve been using a metronome which was installed in earlier models of TIMEX/CASIO Running watches where there was no need for earphones. The continuous beat would remind or motivate you to keep up with your cadence during the run. Try it in your training runs and you will be surprised on how fast you can keep up with your pace. Additionally, it will generate constant reminder and at the same time distract the pain and suffering you are experiencing during the run. Whether I am the in the ascending or descending parts of the route, the metronome reminded me to maintain my cadence even if I was power hiking on the ascents.

The Actual Metronome

The Actual Metronome

4. Heart Rate Monitor——As soon as I reached the first peak of the course (Km #7), my HR reached its highest Average Record of 163 beats per minute (bpm) which happens to be my Maximum Heart Rate as shown by my Suunto Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch. I made a quick stop and rest at AS 1 by drinking some water and eating a suman (rice cake). It was a quick stop just to lower my HR and after about a minute, I continued the race by walking and only started to jog again when my HR was lowered to 150 bpm. Throughout the race, I was monitoring HR every mile and I was satisfied that I was able to maintain an average of 150 beats per minute and would not exceed my Maximum Heart Rate of 163 bpm in the steep ascents. Through my HR Monitor, I did not feel any tiring moments even when I was hiking up the “Gulod de Medyo” area.

5. Electrolytes & Salt Tablets——Aside from the CarboPro mix, I used one tablet of GU Electrolyte Tablet every bottle of mixed drinks and constantly orally had taken Succeed S-Caps Capsule every 1.5 hours throughout the race. While my drink mix maintain the continuous replenishment of electrolyte loss through excessive sweating, the S-Cap Capsules made me pee regularly and try to give some feedback on the color of my urine if I am dehydrated or not. This combination of Electrolyte Tablets and S-Caps had been very effective to me in my training for the past 2 months.

6. Quick & Short Stops In The Aid Station——Except for the “turn-around” points where I refilled my bottles (with the CarboPro & Electrolyte Tablet inside) with Gatorade, ate some foods, and drink at least one bottle of 16-oz mineral water and some Cola drinks, where I would spend at least 3 minutes, the rest of the Aid Stations were short and quick to pick-up some bottled water to drink and then leave to continue the race. I think I spent not more than 2 minutes in these remaining Aid Stations during the race. I ate my Clif Bloks and then drinking my CarboPro mix while I was hiking the ascents.

7. No “Selfies” & Unnecessary Picture Taking——Taking some pictures with ones camera or IPhone is very cumbersome and very irritating sometimes as you have to bring out and bring in your camera to your race belt’s pocket or hydration pocket. If it is wrapped with Ziploc or some plastic pouch, the opening and closing of this protection from being wet and damped would entail some unnecessary movements that result to being not focused to the main task of running efficiently. Even if it takes a few seconds to “point and shout” ones camera, if these seconds are totaled or accumulated, it would add up to more minutes of delay on the course. Since there are members of the Running Photographers in the race, I just let them, as the experts with better cameras, take my pictures and just wait for them to post their pictures on Facebook.

In a nutshell, proper training/preparation where one has to test his apparel, hydration system, nutrition & hydration strategy and positive mental attitude is the key to a successful finish in an ultra running event. Although, running is an experiment of one, I hope my experience will guide you or test the above mentioned factors if you can adopt them or incorporate them in your running style or manner of finishing an ultra running event/race.


Round Trip Ticket (Cebu Pacific)——P 1,200.00 (Promo Fare/Sponsored By ZRC)

Hotel Accommodation & Meal——P 4,000.00 (2 Days)

Gratuitous Expenses (Tips)—-P 500.00

Total Expenses——P 5,700.00

My Running Kit (Picture By Running Photographers @ Km #17)

My Running Kit (Picture By Running Photographers @ Km #17)

Even if I am not an sponsored athlete, I would mention the things that I’ve used during the event:

Running Shorts & Shirt——ASICS

Running Shoes——Hoka One One Huaka

Runner’s Cap & Compression Shorts——Under Armour


Buff/Neck Sleeves——BUFF

GPS Watch——SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak

Hydration Bottles——Simple Hydration Bottles

Race Belt & Pouch——Ultimate Direction


Nutrition——CarboPro Powder Mix; Succeed S-Caps; GU Electrolyte Tablets; Clif Bloks; Water & Gatorade (@Aid Station); Rice Cake (Suman), Boiled Banana, Ripe Bananas, Watermelon, & Hotdog Sandwich (@Aid Station)

My training continues…Go out and run!

Race Report: 1st Zamboanga City Mountain 50K Ultra Marathon Race

29 09 2015

History of the Race

Last January of this year, I was invited by the Zamboanga Runners Club (ZRC) to conduct a Running Lecture and Clinic to its members in Zamboanga City During my stay in the city, Derick Rhodz, one of the ultra runners in this Club, invited me for a short run in his “playground” which is basically on the mountain range just north of the City Proper (Pasonanca Park and beyond). It was an “out and back” route with a distance of 7 kilometers but I was impressed with the scenery of the City Proper, the Santa Cruz Islands, the sea and the rest of the mountain once I reached the first peak of the route. For the said short distance, my GPS watch registered a total elevation gain of 1,600+ feet and I was impressed. I suggested to Derick and the rest of the ZRC members that they should conduct an ultra running event in those mountain range that will showcase the City as an ultra running destination. I gave them the challenge and after seven months, the race event became a reality. And I prepared myself to join this race.

Event's Ads & Logo

Event’s Ads & Logo

Race Briefing

The Race Briefing was conducted with a Dinner the day before the race at the Starting Area—-Palmeras De Zamboanga Hotel. It was attended by runners coming from Metro Manila/Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with a total of 63 registered runners. As presented in the Race Briefing, the route is an “out and back” with a mixed concrete and wide “dirt and rocky” road that goes up to the mountain and its ridges. There are directional signs in key intersections and turning points and there is no way that any runner would be lost along the way as most of these points are manned by Marshals. There are five (5) Aid Stations where four (4) them would be used or passed by the runners on their way back to the Finish Line. In a span of 50 kilometers, one will be “serviced” or supported by a total of nine (9) Aid Stations. These Aid Stations will be manned by some of the members of the ZRC and their friends who served as volunteers for the event. The Finish Area is the same as the Start Area and it was a big comfort for the runners who came from other provinces who stayed in the said hotel. If a runner is not a local in the place, there was no problem with regards to accommodation, transport to the start/finish area, and other amenities that a runner needs before and after the race.

Race Proper

As announced, the Assembly Time was at 4:00 AM and the parking area of the hotel was already full of runners and vehicles of the volunteers. It was only at 4:30 AM when I came out of my room to proceed to the Starting Area. There was already excitement among the runners and more photo-ops were taken by the Running Photographers who came all the way from Manila to render pictorial coverage of the whole event and to all the runners. Running Photographers had been posting all their pictures for FREE at their Facebook Page.

Zambo 50K 01

After a Prayer for the event and singing of the National Anthem, the President of the ZRC made the countdown from 10 to GO! and we were off at exactly 5:00 AM of Sunday, September 20, 2015. As soon as the runners left the Starting Line, I started to walk briskly and then after about 15 meters, I started to jog and made my warm-up run. I had a chance to jog with Evan Lu aka “Smiley Foods” of Cotabato City but he decided to stop and walked briskly. I finally caught up with a group of five lady runners and I was able to run with them for the next kilometer. It was a paved and flat road on the first 1.5 kilometers and we had an easy pace. It was still dark but the street lights were able to illuminate the road and there was no problem of being tripped on the road.

On the start of the ascent (after 1.5 kilometers), only one lady runner out of the five remained to be running with me, pacing with me on my brisk walking, power hiking and jogging on the winding ascending road towards the first peak of the route. The lady runner happens to be a PNP Lady Officer and she was very consistent in her pace. After one hour and ten minutes, we were able to reach Aid Station #1 (AS 1) which is located in front of the Dulian Elementary School in Barangay Dulian, Zamboanga City. When I checked on my GPS Watch, the distance had already registered a total elevation gain of 1,600+ feet. I was impressed on the drinks and foods available at the Aid Station, as it is well-stocked and full of crushed ice and local rice delicacies (suman & biko). I drank one 12-oz bottle of ice cold water and ate one piece of biko and immediately left the Aid Station.

Race Event's Elevation Profile (SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak)

Race Event’s Elevation Profile (SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak)

From the AS 1, it was a brief descent for about 200 meters and then it was another start of an ascending part of the route which has a distance of 3 kilometers of mixed paved road and dirt road until I reached the 2nd Aid Station in Sitio Carlos. The Aid Station is also well-stocked with food and cold drinks. Again, I asked from the volunteers one bottle of ice cold water and immediately left the Aid Station. After coming out of the Aid Station, it was the start of a single-track trail which has some mud and flowing stream of water. Although it was a short distance I made sure I would be deliberate in my footing as I was using my Hoka One One Huaka which has a sole without lugs. The descending road led us to the bottom side of one hill which has a stream of water and the next part would be a long ascending trail where the peak is manned by a combined forces of PNP and Philippine Marines. From the position of the military personnel, it was again a descending road but it was a brief one as we were faced again with steep ascending road full of rocks. My footing again would be deliberate as one could be easily tripped by the protruding rocks. As I got higher in elevation, I was able to meet the first two runners (lead pack) who just came from AS 4. Even if the trail was full of rocks, the trail was covered with tall trees and we were all running inside a forest. This is the coolest part of the route as one could feel the fresh air around.

Elevation Profile (GARMIN GPS Watch)

Elevation Profile (GARMIN GPS Watch)

As I got higher and nearer to the AS 4, I would meet the faster runners which just had their turn-around thereat. At this point, I started to count the number of runners that I would meet before reaching AS 4 to find out what is my ranking in the race on the first 20K. Those rocks on the trail slowed me down on the descending parts of the trail as I did not want to take the risk of being tripped and hurt which may cause some delay or stops along the way. As I got a few meters nearer to AS 4, I was able to count 30 runners with one runner in front of me. I calculated that I could be the #32 runner to have arrived at AS 4.

The AS 4 is located in Zambales Elementary School in Sito Zambales and again, it was well-stocked with foods to include fresh fruits. I asked for some bites of ice cold watermelon and fresh bananas. I made a refill of Gatorade to my Simple Hydration Bottle after consuming my first bottle of fluid on the first 20K. I ate one biko (rice cake) before leaving the Aid Station. I was given a bracelet by the Marshal to indicate that I reached the first turn-around point.

@ The 1st Turn-Around Point

@ The 1st Turn-Around Point

From the Km #20 turn-around, I was simply retracing the road that I’ve taken in going to AS 4. Lots of long ascending and descending parts of the route but my Race Strategy would be simple and repetitive——power hike on the steep ascents; try to jog on gradual inclines; run along the flat and descending portions; and be consistent on my cadence while running or hiking. As I reached the peak where the soldiers are located, one of the Philippine Marines offered a fresh coconut water and I signaled him that I would like to drink from the fruit. I took a few sips of the coconut water and it was sweet, cold and refreshing. After descent and ascent along a single track trail, I was already getting nearer to AS 3. At AS 3, I asked for a bottle of ice cold water and one boiled banana. I talked to the Volunteer of the Aid Station who happens to be Dra. Maya Lim who was the Past President of the ZRC. After ingesting the boiled banana, I immediately left the Aid Station as I was hoping I could finish the race in 7 hours.

Very Significant Race Bracelets

Very Significant Race Bracelets

After about 500 meters from AS 3/Km #27, the Lady Runner who was pacing and slightly ahead of me suddenly stopped and told me that she is starting to have muscle cramps on her legs. I told her to do some stretching exercises on the affected area; drink some water; and keep on moving with slower pace. I passed her and maintained my pace. After running for about 2 kilometers, I was able to pass two runners before I entered the route going to what the locals call as the “Gulod De Medyo”. I was met by two marshals who were manning an intersection and they mentioned to me that I should turn left even if could still see the tarpaulin marker that has a green arrow pointing towards the left direction. The marshals were smiling at me as if they were trying to send me a message of what to expect on that road.

Rocky Dirt Road (Photo Courtesy Of Mon Quicho/Jen Eugen)

Rocky Dirt Road (Photo Courtesy Of Mon Quicho/Jen Eugen)

Unknowingly, this intersection was the start of the “Gulod De Medyo”, a 2.5- Kilometer distance which is purely an “assault”/very steep winding road towards another peak of a hill/mountain. At this point, I started to feel some cramps on my inner parts of my upper legs and groin area which caused my power hike speed to be slower. I alternately mixed walking forward and walking backwards towards the higher part of the road. This technique caused my cramping to disappear but the heat of the sun would force me to breath harder as I went up to the peak. This is the most brutal part of the course and I am sure that all the runners had to be forced to walk on this portion. A member of the Running Photographers suddenly came out of the bushes on the side of the road as I was on the steepest part of the hill and started to aim his camera on me. Instead of showing pain and heat exhaustion on my face, I tried very hard to smile for the camera!

"Gulod De Medyo"

“Gulod De Medyo”

Finally, I was able to reach AS 2 and the volunteers were very kind and helpful to give me what I needed. I ate a piece of fresh banana and refilled my bottle with water after I drank one 12-oz bottle of ice cold water. Somebody went after me after I left the Aid Station just to give me the “bracelet” to show that I dropped by/passed the said Aid Station. I had to turn right to an intersection and I was wondering where the road would lead me. It was a slight descending road towards the last turn-around point which is located to a lower elevation. I was already wondering on how will be running at this portion of the route in going to the Finish Line as it was about noontime already while the road was uphill. The heat of the sun was showing its fiercest glow to all the runners as most of the roads are not covered with tall trees anymore. I would continue to hydrate myself as I ran towards the turn-around point. One of the runners that I met along the way who happens to be one of the Officers of the Philippine Army’s unit assigned in the area offered a 1/2 bottle of Gatorade Drinks and I gladly received it from him. This is the beauty of ultra marathon where each of the runners would take each other to finish the race in view of the challenges the course would offer.

Still Smiling Despite The Heat

Still Smiling Despite The Heat

The 6-kilometer distance is mostly downhill that I had to maintain my momentum in running until I reached AS 5 at Barangay Tumanday (in front of the Chapel). The Aid Station is another well-stocked “pit stop” with lots of ice cold drinks and food. The volunteers offered me a hotdog sandwich which I accepted and ingested as fast as I could with some Gatorade drinks. In about 2-3 minutes, I was already back on the road and asked the remaining runners at the Aid Station to run with me. Two runners were immediately on their feet behind me and for the next kilometers, we were practically pacing each other from a distance. We had to alternately power hike and jog for the next 6 kilometers and stopping by a mini-Aid Station for some cold water to douse our heads and bodies.

As soon as we reached the highest peak before the finish line, it was all downhill for the next 7 kilometers towards the finish line. It seemed to be easy running with the gravity of the body but the steepness of the road gave more stress to my quadriceps, knees, and feet due a heavier of pounding on the paved road. The pain on my legs plus the heat of the sun had made most of the runners to basically “crawl” towards the Finish Line. It was on the last 7 kilometers that one have to test his/her mental toughness to be able to finish the race. The heat that was felt by my body was coming from the sun above and the hot paved road. It was time to hydrate more at the last Aid Station and refill my bottles with the hope that my fluids will last up to the Finish Line.

At about 4 kilometers from the Finish Line, I saw a runner in front of me who was sitting on the road and asked him if he is alright or if he needs any help. The runner replied that he is okey and he was seen trying to change his shoes to a pair of sandals with straps. The runner behind me who is also from Manila asked also the runner if he needs any help but the runner simply said that he is ok and about to continue his run. This is another experience that promotes the beauty and the essence of ultra running where every runner looks for the welfare and condition of each runner who are sitting or lying on the side of the road.

Finally, At The Finish Line

Finally, At The Finish Line

Finally, I was on the last 200 meters before the entrance gate of the Hotel and I was hoping that the runner behind me would pass or get nearer to me for us to finish together. I guess, the runner behind me gave me the “courtesy” to finish and cross the finish line alone.

There were cheers and shouts of surprise when I entered the gate of the Hotel. The people at the Finish Line were informed that I was still on the last 4 kilometers of the route and they did not expect me to reach the Finish Line that fast. So, I was ranked as Finisher #17 out of the 62 Finishers with a time of 8:34:10 hours. I could be the oldest runner in this event but I showed to the younger runners that a Senior Citizen could outrun and outpace them.

Derick Rhodz and Oliver Tan, President of ZRC immediately awarded me my Finisher’s Medal and Shirt. The famous “Knickerbocker” of the Hotel was given to me as the best award for a tired ultra runner. I stayed for about one hour cheering for the incoming runners and talking to the lead pack about our experiences in the race before I finally went to my room for the much-needed shower and sleep.

Awarding of Trophies to the Podium Finishers were done after the last runner crossed the Finish Line with a Buffet Dinner served with Crispy Lechon Zamboanga Style and Ice Cold Beer!

Lechon For Recovery

Lechon For Recovery

Assessment of the Race

This is the most organized race where all the runners are well-supported in terms of logistics during the race and hospitality of the ZRC members before and after the race. The excellence in conducting the event is a reflection of the cooperation and unity among the Officers and members of the ZRC. Even if this event is dedicated to an advocacy, I would sense and feel that financial profit is far from the minds of the Race Organizer as the primary goal/objective of this event. This is an event that is a showcase of how peaceful Zamboanga City is. This is how an “old school” ultra running event should be organized and implemented. I have the impression that this race will continue through the years.

Congratulations to the Officers, Members of the Zamboanga Runners Club and Volunteers/Marshals of the Race for an excellent conduct of the race. For sure, I will be back for the next edition of this race whether it will a 100K or 50K distance.

My personal salute to all of you and the “Pioneers” of this Ultra Running Event!

(Note: Pictures Courtesy Of Running Photographers)

Robberies & Thieves In Running Events

25 08 2015

…And Also In Other Outdoor Sports & Activities

Whether you like it not, being robbed by somebody is a part of ones life. If you have not experienced being robbed, then you are an insignificant person. Try to remember your childhood days; your schooling years, from elementary to college/university days; at work; and your relationships with your own family, siblings, relatives and friends, and you will know what I really mean.

Robberies in Sports Events had been very rampant in the past years. And most of these robberies are done in cars/vehicles being parked in Parking Areas near the Venue of the activity. In running events in Metro Manila, there had been many reports of robberies for the past years and these incidents were not openly discussed by the Race Organizers to the Running Community. Whether you are parked in Bonifacio High Street, MOA, McKinley Complex or at the CCP Complex or Luneta Park, the cars of runners parked on designated parking lots are not safe from these thieves. There had been an instance when a trail running event outside Metro Manila with few runners was marred with reports of robbery of things left in cars of some of the runners/support staff of the event. Up to the present, I have not yet received any progress report or information as to what happened to these robbery reports in the past running events.

Lately, I just received a report from one of my runners that he and together with some of my running friends were victimized by these robbers in a running event that was held in one of the neighboring provinces from Metro Manila. Their car was parked in a designated parking lot for the runners in the said event and when they returned to the car to change their attire after finishing their race, they found out that their things were gone! I have yet to know the progress of the investigation being done by the local police in the area if they have already arrested or have identified probable suspects to this incident.

A Thief Trying To Open A Locked Car (Picture From Google)

A Thief Trying To Open A Locked Car (Picture From Google)

Why do we have such robberies in our running events? Why do thieves “disguise” themselves as legit runners and do their business of stealing one’s property left in their cars in running events? I think the answer is very simple, “It’s the economy, stupid!” The more we have running events and more runners, the more we have dumb runners who don’t think about “security” and become super excited to toe the line and be together with friends at the Starting Area! They eventually become the targets of these thieves in running events. Of course, everybody is excited to show to everybody their individual fashion statement in running——new shoes, new tights, new compression shirt, new compression socks/calf sleeves & arm sleeves, new GPS watch, iPhone 6 with BOSE earbuds, new Head Visor, and Oakley Sunglasses. Wow! That is an impeccable form of a runner ready to be posted on Facebook! Most often, this is the reason why we are very lax in terms of securing what we left behind in our respective vehicles when we run. In short, the more runners in running events, the more targets of opportunities for the thieves!

Other sporting events and outdoor activities are not spared from these thieves. In the past, I’ve received reports of stealing/robbery incidents in Duathlon, Triathlon, MTB rides and even in Camping/Backpacking/Mountaineering events.

What should we do to solve or prevent these robberies from happening in our running events? I have the following suggestions/advise and I would like to entertain your comments if you have additional advise or suggestion to what I will mention in this post:

  1. Prevention Starts With Us, The Runners!——If you are using your car/vehicle in going to the running event, make sure that there is NOTHING seen inside the car from the outside. Hide your things in the trunk/baggage compartment! Better yet to hide your things in the compartment before you leave your house or place of residence. Thieves (among your co-runners) would observe your move in transferring your things from your car’s seats to your compartment if you do it in the designated parking area for the running event. Make sure also that you have parked your car in the designated parking area for the running event. If you have the luxury of a driver, let him stay in the car if you have “diamonds and gold bars” stashed in side your car. Remember that your Finisher’s Medal and Shirt purchasing costs would be cheaper than the salary of your driver per hour!

    Nothing Should Be Seen Inside Your Car (Picture From Google)

    Nothing Should Be Seen Inside Your Car (Picture From Google)

  2. Carpool——It is nice to see public transport vehicles, like Jeepneys, SUV Express and buses being used by running teams coming from other provinces and cities/suburbs around Metro Manila area. Since these transport vehicles have drivers, instruct these drivers to secure and look for the things of his passengers instead of going to the Start/Finish Area as an spectator. If you belong to a Running Team or group, it would be wise and practical to carpool to the venue of the running event, provided there is a driver to look for your things.
  3. Multi-Event vs. Single Event——There were suspicions in the past robbery incidents that these thieves are also legit runners but they join the shorter distance events, like 3K or 5K races. After they finished their race, they go back to the designated parking areas or any parking area with their running attire, race bib, finisher’s medal and shirt and then take the opportunity to do their acts to the cars of those who are running longer distances like, half-marathon or full marathon. If you are 4-hour finisher or more of a full marathon and these runner-thieves would finish their 5K race in 30 minutes, then they have enough time to select their targets and do their acts. In selecting a running event to join, one of the factors to consider if you want to eliminate the possibility of being robbed with your properties in your car is to select a single event race. However, this is not a 100% solution or prevention technique because the runner-thieves could also “drop or DNF” on the first few miles and then go back and have access to the parking areas while the rest of the runners are still out there on the road. Actually, these runner-thieves do not train to improve their endurance capability but they would rather train better on how fast they can open your car and run faster carrying their loot towards their vehicle. In road ultras, there are no cases of robberies because the runner’s car is used as support vehicle with a driver and support crew in it. As far as I can remember, I have not yet received any reports of robberies in road ultra marathon events in the country.
  4. Get A Driver/Personal Assistant——If the Parking Area of the event is not guarded, then get a designated Driver or a Personal Assistant to guard or stay in your car. Before you register to a running event, make sure to make the necessary planning as to who would be your driver/assistant. Better safe than sorry!
    Commute or “Walk Instead”——If you reside 3K radius distance from the Event Venue, you can walk or jog and make it as your warm-up exercise to get yourself to the Starting Area before the start of the race. Take the Bus, Taxi, or Uber in going to the Event Area. Sleep early the night before the race and wake up early making sure you have a buffer time for adjustments in case of some traffic delays.
  5. Belt Bag & Other Related Running Bag Accessories——I remember my ultra running friend, the late Cesar Abarrientos with regards to using such running bag accessories. He usually comes to a race (coming from his work) in his running attire with a “drop bag” used as a mini-backpack where his things are stashed. He would run with the said backpack throughout the race. What was good about it was that the bag that he was always using was the “drop bag” that I gave to all the “pioneer” participants of the 1st Edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race. At present, there are running shorts with multi-pockets, runner’s belts with pockets/slots, compression apparel with pockets, and even hand-held bottles with zippered pockets where one can stash his things during the run.
  6. Operational Security On Social Media——Most of the runners are in the Social Media for so many reasons. Obviously, the runner-thieves are also there to find out their probable targets. Without you knowing it, these thieves would be able to know your personal profile, your lifestyle, your race schedules, running times, and other “bits & pieces” about your daily life, to include the plate number, model and type of your personal vehicle. In a matter of time, even if it will take them years to follow your posts, there will be a time that you will regret what you had posted in your Social Media’s personal account. Believe me, they are out there lurking every move and status you post on your FB Wall. So, always think Operational Security, keep to yourself about your activities, plans and schedules!
  7. Race Organizer’s Security Responsibility——Do we still have a lot of “bouncers” with big muscles dressed in tight-fitting black T-shirts in our BIG Running Events? If so, then I suggest that Race Organizers would redeploy them to our Parking Areas and patrol in tandem or in addition to the thinly spread force of the Security Guards. They need to walk around at the Parking Areas and not just to stand at the Starting Line/Starting Arc as a “fence/wall” as if the runners are there to make a stampede before waiting for the Race to start. In big running events, additional marshals should be deployed to patrol the designated Parking Areas for the event to deter these thieves from doing their acts. They should be trained also to detect and make a quick profile to runners who just finished the race. They should know the signs and body language of a runner who just finished a race even if he/she is wearing a finisher’s medal and/or shirt. And they should be ready to ask questions to these runners as to what happened along the way or ask about the route just to test if they really joined the race.
  8. Simplify——Be simple. Do not brag. Do not announce to the world about your running achievements and plans, not unless, you are an elite and sponsored athlete of a big corporation or establishment.

    Not The Best Way To Steal A Bike (Picture From Google)

    Not The Best Way To Steal A Bike (Picture From Google)

Let this post serves as a wake-up call or warning to every runner, athlete, or outdoorsmen & women to be security-conscious and aware of their surroundings and their actions.

Gerald Tabios: First PINOY “Back-To-Back” Badwater 135-Mile Race Finisher

18 08 2015

Last year, I featured on this blog the story of Gerald Tabios as the First Pinoy to have finished the New (Route) Badwater 135-Mile Ultra Marathon Race to include his story as a runner/ultra runner. As a result, Gerald finished the 2014 Badwater 135-Mile Ultra Marathon Race in 44:40:40 hours ranking him as #69 overall out of 97 starters.

Team Tabios Logo Of Badwater 135-Mile Race

Team Tabios Logo Of Badwater 135-Mile Race. Shirt Was Designed By Bryan Calo of San Diego, California (Photo From Facebook)

This year, 2015, Gerald surprised us again for his feat to run and finish the actual/original route of the race. As a result of a thorough study on the safety of athletes in the conduct of sports activities in the Death Valley Park which resulted to its closure to sports events for almost two (2) years, the Superintendent of the Park allowed the conduct of the Badwater Ultra Marathon Race on its original route, from Badwater, Death Valley Park, California to Mt Whitney Portal, Lone Pine, California with a very strict start in the evening, instead of a morning start. The race was held on July 28-30, 2015, on the hottest time of the year in the Death Valley Park.

Team Tabios @ The Starting Area (With Donna, Kat & Ronald)

Team Tabios @ The Starting Area (With Wife Donna, Robert Rizon, Kat Bermudez, Luis Miguel Callao Is Not In The Picture) Photo From Facebook

This is the brief description of the race as taken from the Badwater 135 Website:

“The World’s Toughest Foot Race”

“Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, the Nutrimatix Badwater® 135 is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m). The Badwater 135 course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places or landmarks with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Keeler, Alabama Hills, and Lone Pine.”

For this year, Gerald Tabios is one of the 97 starters who represented runners coming from 23 countries, including USA and Canada. With a cut-off time of 48 hours to finish the race, the runners have to endure the hottest temperature in the area, reaching to a high of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (air temperature) and another 200 degrees Fahrenheit heat coming from the pavement , gusty winds in the desert and mountains, the challenging vertical ascents of three (3) mountain ranges, and the sight of never-ending paved highway on the horizon. These are the challenges that each of the runners would experience before they reach the Finish Line. Each runner is ably supported by his team, consisting of a Support Vehicle, driver, pacer, and a medical/logistic aide, but most of the time, each member of the team are doing multi-tasks just to be able to bring their runner to the Finish Line, safe and without any injuries. Each runner would bring with him his logistical support and emergency medical/first-aid aboard his/her Support Vehicle, “leap-frogging” the runner from one point to another along the route. Gerald was supported by Team Tabios consisting of his wife, Donna Tabios, Kat Bermudez (wife of Bigfoot 200-Miler Finisher Jun Bermudez), Luis Miguel Callao (a Pinoy Ultra Runner), and Robert Rizon.

Luis Miguel “Nonong” Callao and Gerald Tabios are very close childhood friends and classmates since kindergarten!

Starting Area: Badwater Basin @ Death Valley Park

Starting Area: Badwater Basin @ Death Valley Park (Photo from Facebook)

Gerald In Action With Luis Miguel Callao As Pacer

Gerald In Action With Luis Miguel Callao As Pacer (Photo From Facebook)

Considering that the “original” course is harder and more challenging than last year’s “alternate/new” Badwater 135 route, Gerald improved on his performance. Gerald finished this year’s edition with a time of 42 hours, 52 minutes and 9 seconds, making him as the 65th overall finisher out of the 97 starters. Out of the 97 runners who started, 18 runners did not finish the race. Such DNF record for this year is higher than of last year’s edition. Despite such situation, Gerald was able to improve his performance chipping off almost 2 hours of his time last year and improving his ranking among the finishers.

To make his accomplishment more significant, he is the ONLY Filipino to have been qualified and invited by the Race Organizer to join in this year’s edition. And he is now in the history of this race as the FIRST Pinoy Ultra Runner to have finished the Badwater 135-Mile Race in two consecutive years!

Approaching Mt Whitney @ Lone Pine, California

Approaching Mt Whitney @ Lone Pine, California (Photo From Facebook)

The Overall Champion of the 2015 Badwater 135-Mile Race is Pete Kostelnick of Lincoln, Nebraska, USA with a finish time of 23:27:10 hours. The Lady Champion, Nikki Wynd of Australia, finished the race with a time of 27:23:27 hours, making her as the 4th Overall Finisher of the Race. Race results can be seen here:

The Race Organizer of the Badwater 135-Mile Race is very selective in accepting its participants every year. Even if you have the financial resources to register; support the logistical needs in this race; or have the physical and mental prowess to undertake and run this course, every Runner must convince the Race Organizer on his/her advocacy to help the community or to the world for a better place to live in. As in last year, Gerald ran for a Charity to help the Victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. And since his successful finish in last year’s edition, Gerald had continuously channeled whatever amount of money he had raised to this advocacy/charity for the past two years.

Never-Ending Highway @ Death Valley Park

Never-Ending Highway @ Death Valley Park (Photo From Twitter/Badwater.Com)

In a brief interview with him, I asked if he is joining in the next year’s Badwater 135-Mile Race. He immediately replied, “Yes, I will be joining this race as long as I can run. This is a significant way that I can help my country, most specially, to those who are still suffering due to the effects brought about by Typhoon Yolanda.” Not only does Gerald is firm in his stand on his advocacy, he is also a good example of a fit, healthy, and hard-working father of a family.

Mabuhay ka, Gerald! You make us proud to be a Filipino! Congratulations to you and to Team Tabios!!!:

Proud To Be Pinoy!

Proud To Be Pinoy! (Kat Bermudez, Donna Tabios, Gerald Tabios & Luis Miguel Callao (Photo From Facebook)

Conrado Bermudez Jr: The FIRST Filipino Finisher Of A 200-Mile Mountain Ultra Marathon Trail Single Stage Run

17 08 2015

My friends and contemporaries would always tell me that I am CRAZY to be running ultra marathon distances in the mountains in the country as well as in Asia and the United States. I just smile because that is the best description we (as ultra runners) could get to those who have not yet experienced our sports. But now, more ultra runners have extended their body limits and endurance by introducing a 200-mile endurance mountain trail event which has doubled the famous 100-mile distance which is now being accepted as the NEW Marathon Distance in Ultra Running. The runners of this new event could be the CRAZIEST of them all and since it was introduced only last year in the first edition of the Lake Tahoe 200-Mile Endurance Run, three of these events had been scheduled for this year and called the Grand Slam of 200-Milers (it was supposed to be 4 races: Colorado 200; Arizona 200; Lake Tahoe 200; and Bigfoot 200 but the Arizona 200 was cancelled).

Let me introduce to you the CRAZIEST Ultra Runner who just recently finished the 1st edition of the Bigfoot 200-Mile Endurance Run——Conrado Bermudez Jr! Being the FIRST Pinoy to have finished this mountain ultra trail running event, it would be proper and fitting to have his story in running to be published here as one of the main highlights of this blog with the hope of inspiring others and telling to the world that we, Filipinos, are very strong and resilient in nature.

Bigfoot 200-Mile Endurance Race Picture Collage

Bigfoot 200-Mile Endurance Race Picture Collage

Conrado Bermudez Jr, or fondly called as “Jun”, finished the 200-Mile Race in 94 hours, 26 minutes, and 30 seconds, placing himself as #40 among the 59 finishers where 80 runners started in the morning of Friday, August 7, 2015 at the Mt Helens National Monument in Washington State. The race has a cut-off time of 108 hours which is equivalent to 4 1/2 days, forcing the runners to complete 45 miles per day during the race. The following is the general description of the race as taken from its Website:

“The Bigfoot 200 is a trail running event in the Washington State that seeks to give back to the trails by inspiring preservation of the wild lands and donating money to trail building in the Pacific Northwest. The race is a point to point traverse of some of the most stunning, wild, and scenic trails in the Cascade Mountain range of Washington State. The Race ends in Randle, WA after traversing the Cascade Mountains from Mt St Helens to Mt Adams and along ridge lines with views of Mt Rainier, Mt Hood, and more!

The race will bring together people from all over the world to tackle this incredible challenge. With over 50,000 feet of ascent and more than 96,000 feet of elevation change in 2015 miles, this non-stop event is one of a kind in both its enormous challenge and unparalleled scenery. The race is not a stage race nor it is a relay. Athletes will complete the route solo in 108 hours or less, some without sleeping.”

Jun finished the race with barely 6 hours of sleep during the race! He was supported by his wife, Kat, their daughter and running friends who would meet him in Aid Stations where there is vehicular access. For more details of the race, one can visit the following link:

Finish Line Of The Bigfoot 200-Mile Race

Finish Line Of The Bigfoot 200-Mile Race With The Race Director (Photo From Facebook)

Jun is a native of General Santos City, graduate of the Philippine Military Academy belonging to Class 1996, a Special Forces Airborne, and Scout Ranger of the Philippine Army before his family migrated to the United States.

In my interview with him on the later part of last year after he finished the other 3 100-Milers in the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (except Western States 100); he recollected that he first personally met me when he was the Aide-De-Camp of the Commander of the Southern Command in Zamboanga City and I was then the Commander of the Task Force Zamboanga. The year was 2000 and he was barely 4 years in the military service. He went further to tell me that he got inspired by my blogs and photo running galore through my posts in our PMA Bugo-bugo Facebook Page.

Jun finished the prestigious Boston Marathon Race in 3:11:14 hours.

The following are the some of the data about Jun and the answer to the questions I’ve asked him:

1. Home Province-Gen. Santos City; Age-42 ; Height- 5’9″; Present Body Weight-146 lbs ; Schools Attended (Elementary to Graduate Schools)-Notre Dame of Mlang, Noth Cotabato (Elem), Notre Dame of Dadiangas College-High School Dept; PMA Class-1996 and Special Training in the Military-Scout Ranger, Airborne.

2. Places of Assignments and Positions held in the Military/Philippine Army:

Platoon Leader-  Alpha Coy, 25IB, PA as Ready Deployment Force (striker battalion) of 6ID in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato Province. My platoon was also involved in capturing Camp Rajamuda in Pikit, Cotabato Province in 1997.

Company Commander- Bravo Coy, 25IB, PA , mostly deployed in Maguindanao. My company was also deployed in the front lines of Matanog and Buldon and was very instrumental in capturing Camp Abubakar.

3. Present Job & Working Hours-Security Officer in the United Nations Headquarters in NYC and works on day shift; City of Residence in the US-Jersey City, New Jersey; Wife’s Job- ER Nurse; Gender & Number of Children- one daughter

4. Brief Background of Running (during Childhood up to College and as Cadet of the PMA)

I started running when I was 7 years old. I grew-up in a farm and the only playground we had was an open field and trails where we would run and tag each other. In elementary and high school, I was so engrossed on soccer games than any other ballgames. This is why when I joined the PMA, I discovered that I was a decent runner because I was always in the lead pack when we had our 2-mile run as part of our physical fitness test. I also represented my company (PMA) in various races but most of the time I bonked because I usually go all out at the start and faint halfway through, which resulted to my ER visits. My style of running then was with a “do or die” mentality; no technique, no proper hydration and nutrition. It was just a plain “old-school” way and lots of brute force.

5. Best time in 5K- 19:22; 10K-42:08 ; Half-Marathon-1:26:52 ; and Marathon-3:11:14 All were done in 2013.

6. Brief story on your exposure to ultra distance running events—-first 50K; first 50-miler; first 100K; and first 100-miler.

I started joining races in 2012. That year I only finished 2 marathons. I was following your blogs and postings about the Bataan Death March 102 and 160 and the other races you directed and I got inspired by the spirit of the running community, and it was that I got curious about ultrarunning, especially the 100-mile distance.

To start my ultrarunning quest, I signed-up for a local flat, out-and-back, looped course. Thinking that 50km was just over a marathon, and 50 miles was just 2 marathons, I signed-up for a 100k, which was held in March 2013 in New Jersey. I’m glad that I met some new good friends there, who are now like a family. I was so proud that I finished in that muddy, swampy, and cold course third place. My wife and daughter were there for my first ultra. As a solitary person, running alone for a day was not such a big deal. The feeling of finishing a long distance further boosted my spirit… I got hooked. Then I signed-up for my first 100 miler scheduled three months after. It was in June in the inaugural Trail Animal Running Club (TARC) 100-Mile Endurance Run and the first 100-mile run in Massachusetts. The race started at 7 pm Friday with a cut-off of 30 hours. The course was in a 25-mile flat trails with some creeks spread along the way. I was very enthusiastic to train knowing that some of my friends are also running the race. As part of my preparation, I was reading some blogs and race reports, and I even asked your advice on how to deal with the distance. You discussed to me the proper nutrition and hydration and also incorporating hike into running. The course got indescribably muddy, with most sections in knee-deep mud in every mile, but with my grit and determination, I was able to finish despite a big number of DNF in the race. I felt reborn and my spirit was so high. It took me a week to recover from the pain.

In November, I did my first 50-mile race as  a finale for the year. The JFK 50 Mile is the oldest and the largest ultramarathon in the US. The course is a combination of road and trail. It passes through the Appalachian Trail and C&O Canal Towpath then ends in an 8-mile paved road in Maryland. The course was pretty easy and fast. This is where I met some new hardcore ultrarunners from the Virginia Happy Trails Club.

After running all long distances, I signed-up for my first 50k as part of my back-to-back training for my incoming six 100’s. The Febapple Fifty was held on Saturday of February 2014. Then the next day, I ran the Central Park Marathon. The Febapple race was fun. The course was filled mostly with knee-high ice and snow in a rolling hills of South Mountain Reservation in New Jersey. It was quite a tough race because the ice turned slushy and it was a bit hard to run. I still managed to finish in the top ten.

All of my first attempts of these distances were mostly to get me into groove to venture and discover ultrarunning. I realized the 100-mile distance is my favorite.

7. Training Preparation in your 100-Miler Races and Nutrition Strategy in your Races. How do you balance your training with your work and family? (*I will discuss my training in item # 9).

In short ultra races, I carry a handheld bottle or belt hydration system. They are lighter that I could run faster. I take one salt tablet every hour but if I sweat a lot, I take two every hour and nothing at night when it’s cold. In aid stations, I eat potato, banana, watermelon, and PB & J aside from the Ensure that I carry as my basic load. I make sure I take more nutrition at the early stage of the race. I also drink ginger ale and Coke/Pepsi to refresh my mind from the lows.

I come home from work around 8pm and do my chores and help my daughter do her homework. If all is done, I relax for awhile and train. It usually takes me an hour or two to finish my training. I sleep around midnight and wake-up at 6am. I am fortunate that my wife is also supportive of my passion as she herself is an ultrarunner. And our daughter is also our number one cheerer. So far, everyone is in sync in the family.

Jun Bermudez @ Leadville 100-Mile Race

Jun Bermudez @ Leadville 100-Mile Race (Photo From UltraSignUp)

8. Were you aware of the US Grand Slam of Ultrarunning? Since you missed the Western States 100 this year, do you intend to take a shot on the 2015 US Grand Slam of Ultrarunning?

I did not have my qualifier for Western States  last year. I was already aware of the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, so to get the feel of it, I tried to sign-up for six 100-mile races. I put my name in Massanutten Mountain Trail 100 and Wasatch Front 100 for lottery and fortunately, I was accepted. Since I have proven that I could finish multiple races in a gap of 3-5 weeks, I have more confidence now to challenge myself in GS in the future. There’s only a slim chance for me to get into Western States with one ticket but I will make sure I will apply every year to increase my chances. If not, I am planning to do more challenging 100-mile mountain races next year. It just sank-in that what I did was insane. Every time I finished, I cursed myself for signing-up and promised myself not to do 100’s anymore. But a couple of days after, I feel that I am ready to go again. Thus, if ever I am accepted in Western States in the future, I won’t hesitate to join the Grand Slam.

9. Knowing that you are a “lowlander”, how did you train for the 100-mile mountain races that you finished? How did you cope up with the possibility of encountering “high altitude” sickness in your latest two 100-milers?

My training was focused in strengthening my legs, ankles, and feet in battling the rigorous technical terrain. But 90% of my training was indoor because of my busy schedule, and  I have a child to watch that I could not leave at home if my wife is working or training for her ultra events. I usually do stairs workout, climbing up and down, up to 250 floors without rest every two weeks, which is a great way to improve my VO2max and giving me more mountain legs. Most of the time, I abuse my incline trainer/treadmill, which goes to 40%. I use it for incline hike/run with 10-15 lbs of rucksack together with my 2.5 pounder ankle weights. Although I hated speed workout, I still do my 5k in treadmill and this keeps my pace honest. Sometimes I do my trail long runs in the weekends with my friends but most of the time, I am stuck on my treadmill. Treadmill running is boring but it gives me more mental conditioning to tackle the distance. Aside from that, it also preserves my feet from the hard pounding of the pavement. I don’t really track my weekly mileage because I don’t have a proper training plan that I follow. I just listen to my body and do whatever I feel I need to work on. And to avoid injury, I do strength and core workout twice a week.

In an attempt to combat altitude sickness, I was taking  iron, B complex, and vitamin C supplements. But these didn’t really help much. I still got more vomitting in Leadville (12,600 ft highest altitude) after mile 60 and had some also after mile 70 in Wasatch.

10. How did you balance recovery and preparation in between those 100-milers for the 6-month duration of your ultra events?

I treat every race as my long run. After the race, I relax, stretch, and foam roll for 3-4 days to get rid of the pain. I also come back to work 2 days after the race. At work, I stand for 6 hours. I think standing at work and walking from home to train station and to work helps my fast recovery. At the end of the week, I start doing easy runs again. Then the next week, I go back to my usual training routine. My taper starts 2 weeks before the next race. I did this routine in my last four 100 milers. In fact, I was feeling fresh every time I start the next race and my spirit gets stronger. I was amazed that I was able to do sub 20 hours in 3 100 milers. Although I did not achieve my goal of finishing Leadville 100 in sub 25 and Wasatch Front 100 in sub 30, I am still ecstatic that I finished those races SOLO (no pacer, no crew) and without getting injured. When I finished Leadville 100, I focused more on recovery by just doing stretching, hiking and easy runs. It was in Leadville that I suffered much because of the altitude and my mistake of not hydrating properly. I had nausea and I threw up every time I ate and drank after mile 60, and I was also suffering from a bad stomach issue. Wasatch is harder than Leadville. But due to my proper hyrdation and nutrition, I felt better and stronger although I still had gastrointestinal issues around mile 70, but later I managed to cope with them by slowing down and taking my time at aid stations to recover.

11. What are your tips and advise to those who would venture to mountain ultra trail running events. What would be the things that you have to improve upon if ever you want to improve your performance in your previous 100-milers?

It takes a lot of discipline. Training involves time away from your family and it is important that no matter what, family comes first. It is helpful if your family is supportive, so that is paramount in your quest for ultrarunning and paramount in the list of things you have to make sure you obtain, foremost.

Never be afraid of the adventure. It is not always about the destination (aka finishing) but the journey. That is my advice to other runners.

Personally, I think I need to improve on certain strategies like hydration and nutrition. Also, not just to eliminate issues like GI problems that come with certain races, but— more importantly— how to perform well regardless of these problems because, lets face it, problems encountered during races MAY NOT ever go away. So it is a matter of pushing past these issues and finishing strong. Thats what I need to work on.

12. Aside from the 2015 US Grand Slam of Ultrarunning plan, what is in store for you in the coming ultra running years?

I want to venture into other Ultra races. The challenging ones, in particular. There are many races out there to explore with challenging course and beautiful sceneries. When they go hand in hand, they become priceless experiences, especially when you finish them. Like I said, mountain 100-milers are my favorite, but that is not to say I will not try to explore on distances beyond that. We’ll wait and see.

Jun could not stop wanting for more and he is now one of the few mountain ultra trail 200-mile single stage finishers entire the world. For the past two years, he has the following 100-miler mountain trail races with their corresponding finish time in his belt :

TARC 100-Miler in Westwood, Massachusetts (June 14, 2013) —-25:19:27 hours

New Jersey Ultra Trail Festival 100-Miler in Augusta, New Jersey (November 23, 2013)—-18:53:31 hours

Massanutten 100-Miler in Front Royal, Virginia (May 17, 2014)—-28:05:55 hours

Great New York City 100-Miler (June 21, 2014)—-19:33:14 hours

Vermont 100-Miler (July 19, 2014)—-19:10:51 hours

Leadville (Colorado) 100-Miler (August 16, 2014)—-29:19:11 hours

Wasatch Front (Utah) 100-Miler (September 5, 2014)—-32:18:26 hours

Massanutten 100-Miler (May 16, 2015)—-25:45:03 hours

San Diego (California) 100-Miler (June 6, 2015)—-22:16:27 hours

After his sub-24 hour finish at the San Diego 100-Mile Endurance Race, I told him that he has to rest and recover in between his races to let his body free from injuries brought about by over racing or over training in ultra distances. I even told him that he has to prepare for the possibility of being selected in the lottery for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race if ever he registers to join the race. I emphasized that I am betting on him that he will be the FIRST Pinoy Ultra Runner to be awarded the “One Day-24 Hour” Silver Buckle in the said race and I am sure that it will take another generation of Pinoy Ultra Runners to surpass such accomplishment.

My prediction on his ultra running career brought not a single word from his mouth but instead responded to me with a smile. Jun is a silent type guy and does not openly brag about his ultra running finishes on the Social Media and he does not even have a blog or journal where he can relate and share his stories in his ultra races. However, my interview with him has a lot of tips and advise for those who would like to embark on mountain ultra trail running, most specially to those who are in the lowlands and for those who don’t have access to the mountains or simply lazy to be in the outdoors.

BR & Jun @ Lake Cuyamaca

BR & Jun @ Lake Cuyamaca

Before we parted ways in Lake Cuyamaca in Mt Laguna, San Diego, California, he intimated to me that his ultra running career is not complete if he will not be able to finish the Grand Slam of the Bataan Death March 102/160 Ultra Marathon Race! Hopefully, that will be the day that Jun will be able to meet the whole Pinoy Ultra Running Community in his homeland.

This is what I said to Jun, “Get your Western States 100-Mile Silver Buckle first before coming home, Cavalier!”

(Note: Jun had been using HOKA ONE ONE Shoes in all his trail running races and training)

Deaths In Running Events

3 08 2015

Those “one-liners” below were the supposed titles which I would choose for this post but I ended up with a General Statement of what is really happening in our Running Events. This is again a very long post which will compensate the long period of time that I was not able to post in this blog. So bear with me and hope that my post will somehow prevent “Mr Murphy” from creating a havoc to our well-planned or well-organized running event. Happy reading!

Why Runners Die In Running Events?

Things To Do If You Want To Die In A Running Event

Why Die Running When You Are Supposed To Be Having Fun?

How Can We Prevent Deaths In Running Events?


Phidippedes (Picture From Google)

If you want to relive the origin and history of the Marathon Race, you are not Phidippedes, who was then a professional runner, messenger and one of the warriors of the Athenian Army before and after The Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. If you don’t know what went through with him, then I have to refresh you with what he did before and after the said battle. Phidippedes was sent by the Athenian Army Generals to ask help and for additional troops from Sparta to repel the impending attack by the Persian Army by running a distance of 140 miles in 36 hours. After getting a negative feedback from the Spartan government, he went back to Athens running the same distance delivering the message of the Spartans. Without the support from Sparta, the Athenians went to battle with the Persians at the Battle of Marathon and the Athenians won with the surviving Persian Army retreating through their ships and tried to make their way nearer to Athens. Phidippedes was sent to Athens to deliver the message that the Athenians won the battle and warned the remaining Greek Army to prepare for the impending attack of the retreating Persians. After delivering the message, Phidippedes died despite running a distance of 26 miles. Thus, this heroic deed of Phidippedes as a runner-messenger gave birth to our sports of Marathon Running. (Note: If you read closely to the history, Phidippedes’ deed also gave birth to Ultra Marathon events!)

Map Showing The Locations Of Athens & Sparta

Map Showing The Locations Of Athens & Sparta (Picture From Google)

In this modern time, you, as a runner is not Phidippedes! You are not a trained warrior or a soldier of an Army who dons a warrior’s armor and spear or sword, running on trails and mountains or hills and through vegetation on sandals or maybe, on barefoot! Organizers of Running Events are already well-equipped and prepared to prevent and respond to any contingencies, more so, on the safety and well-being of every runner-participant. Nobody would like to die in a running event and want himself/herself to be declared a hero! Every runner has the ultimate desire to finish the race and hope that his/her attendance to future running events will give him/her a better performance.

Then why do we have these deaths in Running Events when we should be joining them for fun and healthy reasons?

Who gives a SHIT on this topic when only few people or runners gave such information (death/casualty of the race) on the Social Media and everything stops there? And as in the same with the previous deaths, this incident was not published in any of our traditional media and our BroadShits/Daily Newspapers

Where is the Official Statement of the Race Organizer for us to know the details of the death so that those “experts” would know what to do to prevent this thing being repeated in the future? Remember, the same death occurred five (5) years ago in the same Running Event and the same distance. And other deaths in running events were not officially reported in the past and up to this time, no studies or conclusions were published.

Do you remember this post that I made? I guess, this blog right now is a repetition of what I’ve posted 5 years ago.

Is there any note/message/appeal from the family of the victim? Five years ago, the father of a runner came up with this article stating all the facts and his observations he gathered on the death of his son. It would be nice to refresh everybody’s mind on this.

The father of the dead runner five years ago made a very well-written and well-researched article on the death of his son and asked some questions to be answered. However, his seven (7) questions to the Race Organizer remained to be unanswered up to this day. So far, I have never encountered published answers to these questions by the Race Organizer whether in Social Media/Traditional Media outlets or an information from the father of the victim if his questions were answered.

Whether such questions were answered by “other means”, I really don’t give a SHIT out of it. But the fact remains, there will be more deaths in running events in the future!

As they say, “History repeats itself!”

On the lighter side, I am coming out with a parody on the deaths of runners being organized by BIG Multinational Companies.

I might be senseless and insensitive or maybe, boastful but take these next statements as comical and non-serious in nature. I am just trying to express the possibilities of things to happen in the future on these deaths of runners.

—If you are depressed and wants to commit a suicide, join a running event without any training, run as hard as you can without hydration or food from start to finish. If nothing happens on your first attempt, do it again until you pass out. Hopefully, you will be considered as a hero and your bereaved family’s questions on your death will be answered by “other means” by the Race Organizer. Who knows your death would mean an educational scholarship on your younger brothers or sisters. Or maybe, your parents will have a capital to come up with a good investment or business to remember you!

—Since most of the greater bulk of runners lives below the poverty line, these people could just join any running event so that “others in their family may live”. Make sure they should join BIG Running Events sponsored by BIG Companies! Training & Race Strategy? NONE! Just go with the flow, stupid!

—Come up with a Facebook account, get as many Friends as you can get and fake yourself as a Runner. Develop your “fake identity as a runner” with lots of “selfies on running attire” and “photoshopped” running pictures. When the timing is perfect, join a running event without any training and no hydration. If you pass out and will be able to survive it, you will be more popular. Repeat the process until you die. Who knows, one of your siblings will be able to win the Presidential Race in the next elections!

OK, I will stop this non-sense! Anyway, these are just jokes playing in my mind. Back to being serious again.

Pictures Taken Where The Victim Was Carried To The Ambulance

Pictures Taken Where The Victim Was Carried To The Ambulance (Pictures From Facebook)

What are the things that we should do to prevent these deaths from happening in the future? I think there is no need for a Congressional Investigation on this matter as we know nothing would result in these investigations. Such investigation will put a great SHAME on our law-makers as they are ignorant of what a long distance runner is going through. In the first place, these people do not exercise as you can see in their body forms. They are ONLY good in RUNNING for an Elective Position! Right? Do we need Laws to be obeyed for us to organize and participate in Running Events? Who need Laws when they are not fully implemented and most of us would violate them after all? However, as I said, there are basic things that we should do to prevent these deaths from happening again.

The following are my suggestions:

1. Make it mandatory to state/print a BOLD Footnote in all advertisement of running events that “RUNNING WITHOUT TRAINING & HYDRATION IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH. IT CAN KILL YOU”. Period! It is like buying a pack of cigarette where a word of caution/warning from the General Surgeon is written on the pack stating that “Smoking Can Cause Deaths & Other Forms of Disability” (some sort of that kind of message). This warning footnote should be printed in bold letters in every Registration Form of a Running Event.

2. If the advertisement is on TV, emphasize that “Running Without Proper Training Is Dangerous To One’s Life” with the pictures of dead runners of past events flashed on the screen of the TV.

3. Do not “force” or make the Running Event as “mandatory” to students of High Schools and Colleges/Universities through their Physical Education Departments. More so, making it mandatory to the young pupils in the Elementary Schools. By the way, who gives a SHIT if you have these “thousands or millions” of runners featured as a front page picture of the most popular daily newspaper/broadSHIT of the country? In the first place, such coverage of the event was paid by the Race Organizer from the registration fees of the runners! If you think you are attracting or inspiring more “soon-to-be” runners to join the event, then it is directly proportional that we will have more deaths in future running events. However, if you think you have more profits to rake with a lot of runners, then that is called GREED.

4. FREE Running Clinics should be conducted continuously during the year in order to educate the citizenry on the benefits of running, how to train for it, and the importance of hydration during ones training, and during the running events or races. Make these clinics or lectures in the local dialect so that the simple instructions on training will be absorbed easily in the minds of the runners. Simplicity is the KEY. The goal is to transform a person to an endurance athlete through graduated progression and preparation. This goal brings me to the next item.

5. It is the responsibility of the runner to transform himself to a long distance/endurance runner through graduated or calibrated progression. It is a basic step to start from walking for about 30 minutes and then jogging for 30 minutes after a period of time if one is bored with walking. From there, the 30 minutes jogging becomes one hour and so on. And the worse thing happens, you want some more time to run and you now try to find out how far you can run in one hour. And then the worst thing to happen is when you try to find out where you can register for a 5K race. Through these races, a runner is now addicted to the sports, most specially when he/she learns a lot of mistakes/lessons and be able to correct them as he/she progresses to longer distances, making this runner as a smart, strong, and fast “beast”. Simply said, there are NO shortcuts in training for a running event. “Everybody starts in the Kindergarten!” (Note: Every runner should be able to read and understand the Waiver Of Liability from the Race Organizer/Sponsors before writing his/her signature on the Registration Form)

6. More of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Race Organizer. The safety of the runners is the outmost goal of the Race Organizer in order to make it a successful event. This is the reason why 5K, 10K, 21K and Marathon (42K) races have its routes as closed from vehicular traffic. The runners are the Kings & Queens of the Roads for the duration of the race and that is why they paid so much for their registration fees. There are lots of Aid Stations which offer Water, Electrolyte Drinks and Bite Foods. There are lots of Medical Response Teams along the route ready to act on emergency cases involving the runners. But despite of these planning and preparations, something happens wrong. Mr Murphy is always there to test on how we prepared for such an event and most of the time, it is Mr Murphy the one who is laughing on us. And when Mr Murphy had done his damage on us, we try to look for somebody to blame to, pointing everybody around us, rationalizing that the Race Organizer had provided all the safety nets for the event. Through “other means” of solving the situation, the incident is buried in the memory of every runner until another victim comes along. And the cycle continues and this is very true in many running events around the world.

7. It is easier said than done. There is a need to establish a Race Management Regulatory Board which could be under the National Government (maybe, in the Local Government, too) or on the level or part of the National Sports Federation that would impose fines, penalties, and suspension of licenses to operate as Race Director and/or Race Organizer. This is the body that investigates incidents of deaths or casualties in running events. It also screens Race Organizers and even controls the “sprouting” of Running Coaches in the country. Every coach should have a license from this Regulatory Board in order to do their business. More functions and mission could be on the responsibility of this office/establishment for the benefit of the safety of the runners. Maybe, this is the reason that we should have a Department of Sports Excellence.

8. This is another “out of the box” suggestion. Every runner-participant in these BIG Races should belong to a Running Club or a Running Team which has an established organization, meaning, it has its elected officers with established protocols (training, etiquette, and others) for each member to follow. If there is a death among its members related to running in races, its officers and coaches should be held liable and appropriate criminal charges should be filed against them by the family of the victim or by the government. Having said this, each runner must submit a Certification from the Running Club/Team that he is fit and duly trained by the group as an additional requirement in the registration process. Most of the time, it is the “peer pressure” among Running Team Members that would force a seemingly not prepared and not well-trained runner within the group to join a running event.

9. How about those Medical/Health Practitioners who issue Medical Clearances and Certifications to every Runner, should they be liable also if their names appear in the submitted requirement? Of course, Yes! This should put a pressure on those issuing authorities of Medical Requirements to be thorough in their examination and tests to the runners before giving them the appropriate certificate. This process could be very expensive on the part of the runner but what is ones money’s worth when ones life is at stake in doing this process properly. Staying alive after a running a race is the best prize one could get in joining running events.

10. Just maybe the Government would come into the picture for the youth to be mandatory involved in Boy Scouting & Girl Scouting in Elementary Grades; Preparatory Military Training (PMT) for High Schools; and ROTC in the Colleges and Universities. Or maybe, come up with a Physical Fitness Test for High Schools and College Levels. Such programs would make our youths physically active instead of sitting their asses in front of their Laptops, iPads, or IPhones playing Internet Games or posting their status on Facebook.

11. Lastly, I could be wrong but in my opinion, the Emergency Response Teams are not capable in dealing with heatstroke and more so, if the runner had a heart failure/attack. Please correct me if I am wrong on this assessment to this group. I have only this word for them——Over Acting (OA)! I have the impression that the Emergency Response Team has the primary job to determine if the casualty needs to be transported to the hospital or not. If the personnel of this Team do not know what to do or on a panic mode, their best bet is to simply call for the Ambulance. This leads me to the next issue to ask—if the personnel in the Ambulance that transports the casualty have the capability to make first -aid procedure en route to the hospital.

For whatever is worth in this post, I wish this post would reach to all the runners, soon-to-be runners, Race Organizers, Race Directors, Sponsors, Volunteers, Race Marshals, members of the Race Management Staff, and the family/friends of runners with the hope that we should learn something from these deaths in running events.

Lastly, let me remind again that in endurance sports, always remember to “listen to your body”.


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