Race Report: 2015 Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Ultra Trail Run (CM50)

25 11 2015

There are three (3) important things or information that I would like to report on this challenging ultra trail run here in the Philippines: First, I finished this race with a faster time as compared to my last year’s performance; Second, This is my third consecutive finish and I am on my way of getting the most coveted Baddest Ass Award for this event with two more editions to finish; and Third, I am still the Defending Oldest Finisher for three consecutive years for this Event.

Even if there is no specific award for the Oldest Finisher for this race, I am sure that I will be the First Senior Citizen to have coveted the Baddest Badass Award before the end of 2017. And maybe, it will mark my “retirement” from ultra trail running. Just maybe!

As compared to my last year’s five-month training preparation, I have a shorter training period for this year which are mostly done on the road, oval track, and hiking in the mountains on the first month of my 4-month training period. However, on the last six weeks/peak period, almost all my training long runs were done on the road, specifically on the road races that I have Race Directed since the middle of September. My Mt Batolusong 25K Trail Run participation was a test to validate my new nutrition strategy and narrow down the things that I need in a hot environment. However, I had more time to work on on my core and to rest/sleep as recovery for my running on the pavement.

Last year’s Race Report on my second time finish on this event was very detailed and it was divided into four (4) parts and I believe that this is now considered as the number one resource or reference material for those “newbies”/”first-timers” for the CM50-Mile Event. I will not go through to the detailed description of the course and the usual “section-by-section” narrative of my experience on this Race Report but rather state or tell those significant things that made me faster and more efficient in my finish this time. The following are the things that I’ve considered and applied during the race:

  1. Simplicity and Being Light—One week before the race, I’ve decided to use my two-year old New Balance MT  Minimus 1010v2 Trail Shoes which is very light (240 grams per shoe) and it proved to be the best shoes for this kind of trail running. Believe me, there was no grain of lahar that penetrated its upper mesh and therefore, its lightness did not change throughout the race. I did not use any Hydration Vest but I’ve used three (3) Simple Hydration Bottles with only one bottle filled with my nutrient mix (Carbo Pro) diluted with water; one bottle of Carbo Pro Powder only; and one empty bottle as my previsionary “Water Cup”. It was only from the AS4 to the Peak that the three (3) Simple Hydration Bottles were filled with Carbo Pro Mix and Water. On my way back to the Finish Line from AS3, I have one bottle filled with Carbo Pro mixed with water and one bottle filled with Water Only. Stashed in my UD Waist Belt Pockets are two (2) Clif Meal Bars & Whistle. I was not wearing a pair of Calf Sleeves.
  2. Familiarity of the Route—One month before Race Day, I went up to the “peak” and Miyamit Falls for a training run. It was on this run that I was able to “program” and plan for my hydration and nutrition requirements. I was able to register also my Average Pace on this part of the course in order for me to determine the “timeline” on each part of the course (from Km #24 to Km #56). I found out that I must be able to leave AS3 on my way to the Finish Line not later than 2:00 PM (13 hours elapsed time) so that I have enough “buffer time” before the cut-off time of 18 hours.
  3. Simple/Light Nutrition—-Eating a Full Meal (Rice & Meat “Adobo”/Beef Steak) before the Start of the Race (30 minutes before) with hydration (water + Carbo Pro), proved that I could last for the first 3 hours without any hydration or food intake. I took two (2) packs of Clif Bloks and One Meal Bar for the whole duration of the race. I would place a Coffee Candy in my mouth regularly in order to maintain a little sugar to my saliva. In every Aid Station, I would drink a lot of water and Coke/Sprite and ingest a number of watermelon bites. I never used the two (2) Sports Gels stashed in my gloves during the race. I did not have any Drop Bags, instead, I used a “FlipBelt” where I stashed my CarboPro Powder Mix and Clif Bloks.
  4. Heat Training & Hydration Strategy Training—One month before the Race Day, I’ve conditioned myself to start drinking my water after running 10 miles (16 kilometres) under the heat of the sun. Yes, I would carry a lot of water on my vest and waist during my training runs but I would finish my workout with only one-third being consumed. I suspect that my practice of ingesting Succeed Salt Capsules (it started last August this year) during my training runs had helped conditioned my body to take in a limited amount of water even if I was sweating profusely without having a “bonking” feeling/situation.
  5. Focused On Moving Forward—I did not spend a lot of time staying on the Checkpoints and Aid Stations. I guess, two minutes of stay was my longest and it could be when I asked one of my running friends to take a picture of me at the “Turn-around” Point at Km #40 and another picture taking at the Miyamit Falls’ Checkpoint. The rest of my brief stops in the Aid Stations were purely on refilling my hydration bottles and mixing my nutrition powder. Instead of stopping in sari-sari stores for ice cold sodas along the populated areas, I opted to take a “quick shower” in a place where the locals were washing their clothes and it made my core and body to be more relaxed.

There are also things that made me slow down during the run. First, I’ve experienced “muscle cramps” on the groin area of my legs along the section AS4 to the Peak that I needed to slow down and hiked on this section. I expected this to happen as I knew I lacked the necessary total elevation gain in my training. This experience never happened in my previous two editions. Second, The heat of the sun slowed me down on the section from the Miyamit Falls to AS4 that I spent almost one hour for a section that is ONE MILE long, instead of power hiking it for about 25 minutes during my recon run. And of course, I carried all my gear down to the Falls from AS4 and back. From AS4 to AS3, I “power hiked” alone on the trail and started running downhill when another runner from behind was trying to pass me.

Looking at my Suunto GPS Watch once I arrived at AS3, I began to be in a “panic” mode knowing that I was registering an Average Pace of 3.0 miles per hour. I knew that it will take me five (5) hours to reach the Finish Line from this point. So, I started to run, jog and power hike until I was able to pass runners who were either lost, simply walking, resting on the side of the trail, or those who would stop in each of the Aid Stations or Convenience Stores along the way.

Finally, I finished the race with a time of 16:43:58 hours, faster than the time I had last year (17:50+), with a ranking of #87 among the 132 finishers within the cut-off time of 18 hours. I am still the Oldest Finisher of this race and I have the intention of defending this title for the next two years. Hopefully, I will get the most coveted Baddest Ass Award of this Event.

Crossing The Finish Line

Crossing The Finish Line With RD Jonnifer Lacanlale

Congratulations To All The Finishers and Thanks to RD Jonnifer Lacanlale and his staff/marshals/volunteers for a successful event.

The training for the next year’s edition will start next week. Keep on running!


Official Result: 2nd NAIC To NASUGBU 55K Ultra Marathon Race

16 11 2015

2nd NAIC To NASUGBU 55K Ultra Marathon Race (N2N55)

5:00 AM November 15, 2015 To 3:00 PM November 15, 2015

Starting Area: Public Plaza/Covered Court, Naic, Cavite

Finish Line: PETRON Gasoline Station, Nasugbu, Batangas

Cut-Off Time: 10 Hours

Number Of Starters: 33 Runners

Number Of Finishers: 33 Runners

Thirty-Three Runners @ The Starting Line

Thirty-Three Runners @ The Starting Line

RANK                                  NAME                              TIME (Hours)

  1. Jijie Famador (Overall Champion, Course Record)—–5:11:46
  2. Sharone Rodriguez (Female Champion, Course Record)—6:18:53
  3. Beda Busoy Abugan, Jr (1st Runner-Up, Male)———–6:20:08
  4. JP Navarette (2nd Runner-Up, Male)———————-6:49:30
  5. Ervin Cabral ————————————————–6:51:37
  6. Mark Anthony Redondo ————————————7:03:30
  7. Amiel Casanova ———————————————-7:11:00
  8. Joseph Dela Goza ——————————————–7:11:02
  9. Rod Losabia ————————————————–7:33:34
  10. Gia Estrella (1st Runner-Up, Female) ———————7:35:13
  11. Marie Perez (2nd Runner-Up, Female) ——————-7:40:05
  12. Dennis Chavez ———————————————–7:43:52
  13. Gilbert Malvar ———————————————–7:48:54
  14. Zaldy Santillan ———————————————-7:50:02
  15. Joji Salvador ————————————————-7:52:15
  16. Ruben Veran ————————————————-8:01:06
  17. Kathleen Pinero (Female) ———————————-8:13:01
  18. Aleli Delos Santos (Female) ——————————–8:17:56
  19. Raymond Nable ———————————————-8:17:59
  20. Amor Gabriel ————————————————-8:18:00
  21. Gerune Gloria ————————————————8:23:28
  22. Albert Leocadio ———————————————-8:23:30
  23. Kenneth Delos Reyes —————————————-8:27:31
  24. Enrique Trinidad ——————————————–8:27:33
  25. Cyril Wong —————————————————8:47:42
  26. Ale Paez ——————————————————8:51:40
  27. Rogelio Palma ———————————————–8:55:25
  28. Jhon Robas ————————————————–8:56:39
  29. Jilson Batistil ————————————————8:56:42
  30. Victor Rodriguez ——————————————–8:56:44
  31. Poch Bermudez ———————————————-9:17:40
  32. Fernando Torres ———————————————9:37:48
  33. Alvin Jotojot ————————————————–9:58:23
Overall Champion & New Course Record Holder Jijie Famador

Overall Champion & New Course Record Holder Jijie Famador

Female Champion & New Course record Holder Sharone Rodriguez

Female Champion & New Course Record Holder Sharone Rodriguez

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

Related Stories & References:



Official Result: 6th Mt Pinatubo 50K Trail Challenge

9 11 2015

6th Mt Pinatubo 50K Trail Ultra Challenge

5:00 AM To 5:00 PM November 8, 2015 (Sunday)

Cut-Off Time @ The Crater: 6 Hours

Cut-Off Time @ The Finish Line: 12 Hours

Start/Finish Line: Barangay Hall, Barangay Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac

Number Of Starters: 34 Runners

Number Of Finishers: 32 Runners

32 Starters + 2 Late Runners

32 Starters + 2 Late Runners

RANK                             NAME                                   TIME (Hours)

  1. Ryan Mendoza (Overall Champion) ———— 5:39:51
  2. Ian Goff (1st Runner-Up, Overall) ————– 6:32:35
  3. Nel Valero (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) ———- 6:46:48
  4. Roy Garcia —————————————– 7:15:54
  5. Alain Vincent ————————————– 7:30:53
  6. Martin Jardbo ————————————- 7:31:03
  7. Lao Ogerio —————————————– 7:55:14
  8. Duckie Labayan ———————————– 8:26:03
  9. Rod Losabia ————————————— 8:26:04
  10. Julie Ann Luchana (Female Champion) ——- 8:33:13
  11. Khris Caleon ————————————– 8:37:12
  12. Nino Edison Guerra —————————— 8:37:27
  13. Ron Ilana —————————————— 8:56:13
  14. Jerry Peralta ————————————– 8:56:15
  15. Joseph Ryan Serano —————————– 9:00:47
  16. Oliver Banag ————————————–9:00:49
  17. Loradel Hanopol (1st Runner-Up, Female)—-9:39:26
  18. Maricris David (2nd Runner-Up, Female) —-9:40:49
  19. Richard Reyes ————————————9:41:29
  20. Gene Parchamento ——————————-9:49:57
  21. Jeric Miranda ————————————-9:49:58
  22. Jawe Rivera —————————————9:49:59
  23. Benjie Dantic ————————————-9:50:20
  24. Adel Laking (Female) —————————10:08:21
  25. Bren Bulso —————————————10:08:23
  26. Rimberto Del Rosario ————————–10:11:09
  27. Ricardo Gregorio ——————————–10:18:41
  28. Kenneth Dela Cruz ——————————10:41:06
  29. Ryan Garcia ————————————–10:41:08
  30. Cleo Gevero (Female) —————————11:11:56
  31. Fernando Torres ———————————11:19:49
  32. Ted Araullo —————————————11:58:43
2015th Edition Champion Ryan Mendoza

2015th Edition Champion Ryan Mendoza

2015th Edition Female Champion Julie Ann Luchana

2015th Edition Female Champion Julie Ann Luchana

Congratulations To All The Finishers!!!

Official Result: 3rd WEST COAST 200K (Single Stage) Ultra Marathon Race

2 11 2015

3rd WEST COAST 200K (Single Stage) Ultra Marathon Race

Starting Area: Remy Field Oval Track, Subic Freeport, Olongapo City

Finish Area: Barangay Lucap Port, Alaminos City (Pangasinan)

Start Time: 5:00 AM October 30, 2015

Finish Time: 5:00 AM November 1, 2015

Cut-Off Time: 48 Hours

Number Of Starters: 18 Runners

Number Of Finishers: 15 Runners

18 Runners At The Starting Line

18 Runners At The Starting Line

RANK                      NAME                                       TIME (Hrs)

  1. Thomas Combisen (Champion, Overall)—–34:51:28

2. Rod Losabia (1st Runner-Up, Overall)———–37:48:39

3. Jilberto Marpiga (2nd Runner-Up, Overall)—–38:43:45

4. Tess Leono (Champion, Female)——————39:33:12

5. Beda Busoy Abugan——————————–42:22:47

6. Bong Anastacio ————————————-42:22:48

7. Jon Borbon ——————————————42:22:49

8. Amos Adalim —————————————43:30:51

9. Eden Pagsolingan ———————————-45:12:27

10. Glenn Rosales ————————————-45:12:28

11. Amor Gabriel ————————————–45:48:43

12. Alvin Cesar —————————————-45:48:44

13. Jonathan Moleta ———————————-45:48:45

14. Kathleen Pinero (1st Runner-Up, Female) —–46:39:33

15. Ruben Veran —————————————46:39:34

Overall Champion Thomas Combisen

Overall Champion Thomas Combisen

Female Champion Tess Leono

Female Champion Tess Leono

WEST COAST 200K Finisher's Buckle (Photo By Boy Takbo)

WEST COAST 200K Finisher’s Buckle (Photo By Boy Takbo)

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

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)


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