New PR: 3:48:32 Hrs @ MILO Finals

What can I say? It’s a miracle! But this is a product of hardwork, commitment, patience, and discipline!

After a warm-up and the usual stretching, I met the “Hardcore Group” who planned to have a “fun run” (not as “bandits”) at the pre-designated place and we wished each other good luck. And we some photo-ops as Jonel aka Bugobugo85 was the overall planner of this event. Jonel aka Bugobugo85, Dr Joe aka The Loony Runner, Jerry aka High Altitude, Philip aka Foreign Runner, Jay aka Prometheus Cometh, Lester, George, and Nico were there.


The Hardcore Group turned their backs at the camera before the start but they earned their PR times and 42K Finisher’s Medal. These guys are really “funny & crazy”!

The race started at 4:27 AM and we joined the other Finalists for this MILO Nationas 42K. I had a brief “pep talk” to the runners of Team Bald Runner to include the defending champion, Cris Sabal, minutes before the start of the race. As the street was still dark, I just maintained my easy pace which I practiced on the oval track of about 5:30 mins/km and maintained such pace up to the finish line.


At Lawton Avenue going to Bayani Road…

The whole marathon was just an easy run for me without much pain with my leg muscles. I could not believe that I did not have any trouble along the way. I decided to run the race as light as possible—I did not bring my Nathan Water Belt; I used my NIKE Lunaracer with lightest socks that I have; and my first time to use my new “customized” Oakley glasses which I ordered from my family in California. For the first ten kilometers, I drank my water from the water stations and those hydration gave me the much needed water at the start of the race. Once I entered The Fort, my support staff was already there ready to give me bottled water and Gatorade drinks I needed. After coming from the Heritage Park and about to reach Lawton Avenue on my way back to the Finish, I asked my staff to hand me the oatmeal that instructed them to prepare. I ate the oatmeal on a styro cup, while running, and that gave me my much-needed source of energy for the last 11-12 kilometers!


Philip aka Foreign Runner was the 1st member of the Hardcore Group to reach the Finish Line!


Jerry aka High Altitude got also a sub-4 hr PR finish time on this MILO Marathon, his 2nd Marathon race!


Jonel aka Bugobugo85 and George of the Hardcore Group along Bayani Road. They got also their PR.


This guy was tailing me from The Fort up to Roxas Blvd but he was not able to overtake me up to the finish line. He had all those motorcycle escorts and cameraman beside and infront of him. He must be a VIP of MILO Philippines.

As I reached Roxas Blvd from Buendia Ave, my GF 302 registered a time of 3:20+ hours and Capt Espejo was there telling me that I could finish in sub-4 hours as the distance was only 4+ kilometers to the finish line. I just maintained my pace, reminding myself to run “on a straight line”; to be “light” on my midfoot strike; and stay relaxed. And these are the things that we are telling to our students in our speed training for the past two weeks!

Finally, the finish line was there! The digital clock at the Finish Line registered a time of 3:48:30 hrs but my GF 305 registered an additional time of 2 seconds. Later, I found out that I had an average pace of 5:29 mins/km for the whole race with a distance of 42.1 Kms.


The Hardcore Group; Capt Ferdie Espejo; Coach Satur Salazar; Team Bald Runner—Cris Sabal who won 1st Runner-Up Overall & Marecil Maquilan who won also 1st Runner-Up Overall. Each runner got a cash prize of P50,000.00

It was a nice run and a fulfilling one to end my 2008 running season.

I would like to mention my thanks to the female runner, Bib # F 164, who paced with me for the first 15 kilometers. You are really a strong runner!

To the Hardcore Group, they all have also their PR times for this marathon race and you will read their experiences and pictures in their respective blogs.

To those who will be going to Singapore for the Marathon this coming Sunday, beat my time and you will earn a 2009 Wall Calendar from Bald Runner! Good luck and have a safe trip!


“I am running the 32nd MILO Marathon”

Two months ago, the “Hardcore Group” came up with the idea to run the 32nd National MILO Marathon Finals as “bandits” as a way of redeeming themselves for not being able to attain their respective goals during the Metro Manila MILO Elimination Race last August 2008. Some of them did qualify but most of them joined the marathon race to gain experience being their first marathon.

After some exchanges of comments among bloggers, I suggested if there is a way that Mr Rudy Biscocho could accommodate us, the “hardcore group, as “qualifiers” through the efforts of my staff/coaches, we could join the MILO Marathon. After continouos requests to the race organizers, they finally decided to disapprove our request but gave me the privilege to run as a “qualifier”. However, the group had earlier registered themselves to run the 10K race but actually they will be running the 42K race. These runners will be running as “bandits” and this shows how “hardcore and crazy” these people are. I know these “bandits” will be making me as their “target to beat” during the race. Guys, I am sure you will beat me because you are 10-20+ years younger than me!!! However, if I beat you, you have to donate your running shoes for my project! Ha!ha!ha!


This marathon will be my third (3rd) one for this year and my 13th marathon in my running career. I will consider this race as my “specific-endurance test” to find out if my shift to running on the oval track and introduction to speed training have positive results on my marathon performance.

Race strategy? I am going to run an even-pace race of 5:30-6:00 mins/km but if I still have the strength on the last 10K, I might end up having a negative split for the race. The overall goal is to improve my finish time from my San Francisco Marathon and going for a sub-4 hours would be a miracle!!!

After this race, my training will be geared towards my training with the “Hardcore Group” and other marathon finishers for the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race on April 5, 2009.


To those who will be running the marathon race tomorrow, Good luck and enjoy the race!!! After the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race, I will be doing this…


Yes, President of the “Hardcore Group”!!! Ha!ha!ha! Since I copied this act from Jonel aka Bugobugo85, I will designate him as my “Campaign Manager”. Cast your votes and vote wisely!

DelQ’s Balikbayan Box

DelQ was one of my first readers of this blog living in the United States as he happens to be my “kababayan” from the Ilocos Region. He is a native of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, the birthplace of former President Ferdinand Marcos, and migrated in the United States and he is now a US citizen living in Walnut, California. He had his vacation/visit to the Philippines last June and he joined the Araw ng Maynila Half-Marathon and we had a chance to have a brief conversation and photo-ops after the race. On the night of that Sunday, he was scheduled to leave for Los Angeles. I really appreciate his endurance as he was able to insert in his short vacation to run a Half-Marathon. Upon his arrival back to California, we had some exchange of e-mails and he was kind enough to invite me during his running club’s weekend trail runs while I was having my vacation California. But due to my schedule during weekends with my family, my scheduled practice run with him and his group did not push through. Nevertheless, he promised me to help me in my Project Donate A Shoe.

Yesterday noon, Captain Ferdie Espejo informed me that a Balikbayan Box was delivered to our office and the sender is DelQ . I personally supervised the opening of the box and on top of the contents is a letter from him. The following is his letter to me:

October 2008

Hi, BR! Congratulations in your running adventures. I’m still a regular visitor of your blogs and although I don’t leave comments, I really admire your views especially what we all love to do—run!

My apology for not sending the shoes for your project sooner. My running club, Southern California Roadrunners of Walnut, was supportive and donated quite a few of their good “used” shoes. I tried to fit as much as I could in the box. I was able to wash some of them. I also included some new and “not-so-used” shirts.

Good luck in your forthcoming races especially the “big one”. Great job Manong Jovie!

Del Quevedo (DelQ)


Sorry that we were not able to run together in L.A. Well, there’s always next time…God bless.


Balikbayan Box from DelQ delivered at Bald Runner’s Events Office


Capt Ferdie Espejo opening the box.


The letter of DelQ was placed on top of the contents of the box which were neatly packed


Tbe Balikbayan Box contained 28 pairs of running shoes—14 pairs of ASICS; 9 pairs of NIKE; 2 pairs of ADIDAS; 1 pair of BROOKS; 1 pair of MIZUNO; and 1 pair of New Balance. It also contained 14 pieces of Finisher’s T-shirts and almost brand-new sports shirts.

These “used” shoes will be displayed at the Project Donate A Shoe booth at the Starting/Finish Area of this Sunday’s MILO National Finals Marathon and the Finisher’s T-shirts will be donated to the families of a Gawad Kalinga community.

Thank you very much, DelQ. Please extend my sincerest thanks to the members of the Southern California Roadrunners Club of Walnut, California. I hope we will be able to run together during my next visit in Los Angeles next year.

Happy Thanksgiving Day and advance Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Team Bald Runner Beats RP’s ASEAN Games Gold Medalist

Gerald Sabal, one of the elite runners of Team Bald Runner, won as the Champion in the the ABS-CBN 101.9 FM “Run For Life” 10K Race at the Global City, The Fort  held last Sunday. He was able to beat Rene Herrera, who placed 1st Runner-Up in the said race. Rene Herrera won the Gold Medals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the Vietnam’s South East Asian Games in 2003 and in the Manila’s South East Asian Games in 2005 and also a medalist in last year’s Bangkok South East Asian Games. Herrera is presently training in Baguio City as part of the RP Athletics Team for the 2009 SEA Games. Sabal registered a finish time of 32:35 minutes.

Gerald Sabal is 23 years old and a native of Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao. He is presently taking up BS Education (Major in Physical Education) at the University of the East. His latest accomplishments were the following: Champion in the 5K & 10K Run at the 2008 New Balance Power Race held in Clark Freeport. His time in 5K was 15:42 minutes. His training is presently being handled by Captain Ferdie Espejo, Jr.

As per request of QuickSilver Runner, who is based in San Diego, California and Finisher in the 2008 Kona Ironman last month, I’ll take this opportunity to give a brief background of the members of Team Bald Runner.

Cresenciano Sabal—29 yers old from Sultan Kudarat and taking up BS Computer Management. He is the defending Champion of the Milo National Marathon; Queen City International Marathon: Pasig River Heritage Marathon; and Clark Freeport International Marathon. His best time in the marathon is 2:21:58 hours; 21K in 1:05:00 hours; and 10K in 31:58 hours.

Jujet de Asis—He is from Koronadal City in Mindanao and 4th Year College. He placed 1st Runner-Up in the 2008 New Balance Power Race 25K Run with a time of 1:24+ hours. He is also a consistent top three placer in 10K to 20K races in Metro Manila.

Bernardo Desamito—33 years old and a native of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. he is in 3rd year college. he is the defending Champion of the 2008 Philippine Marathon; Cebu Sinulog Marathon; 2008 New Balance Power Race 25K Run; 2008 Adidas King of the Road 16K; and 2008 Yakult 16K Race. His best time in marathon is 2:22:44 hours; 21K in 1:08 hrs; 10K in 30:52 mins and 5K in 14:54 mins.

Marecil Maquilan—22 years old and a native of South Cotabato in Mindanao. She is presently taking up BS Education Major in Physical Education. She is the Women’s Champion of the 2008 Adidas King of the Road 16K Run and the 2008 New Balance Power Race 25K Run. Her best time in 10K is 37:58 mins and 5K in 18:52 mins.

Ailene Tolentino—19 years old and a native of Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao. She is 3rd Year in College. She is the defending Champion of the 2008 Queen City International Marathon; Pasig River heritage Marathon; Clark Freeport International Marathon. her best time in marathon is 3:05:37 hours; in 21K is 1:18:58 hrs; in 10K is 37:56 mins; and in 5K is 16:59 mins.

Ellen Tolentino—24 years old and a native of Cagayan de Oro City. She is defending Champion of the 100K The North Face Ultra Trail Race last July 2008.

Reynaldo De Los Reyes—37 years old and a native of Balasan, Iloilo. Champion in Every Nation 10K Race last Saturday and 1st Runner-Up UNICEF 10K Race last Sunday.

Michael Embuedo—25 years old and a native of Bataan. Champion in 20K Walkathon at the National Open TF Championship from 2006 up to the present.

Elmer Sabal—26 years old and a native of Sultan Kudarat. He is the Champion of the 2008 1st Mayon Trail Run. His best time in marathon is 2:28:56 hours and best time in 5K is 15:46 mins

Isidro Villasola—32 years old and a native of Libungan, North Cotabato. Gold Medalist in the 1,500-meter run during the 2007 4th ASEAN Paralympics Game in Bangkok, Thailand and 1st Runner-Up in the The North Face 100K Ultra Trail Run last July 2008.

Saturnino Salazar—47 years old and native of Ivisan, Capiz. National Record Holder of 50K Walk and IAAF Level IV International Coach

Ferdinand Elpidio Espejo Jr.—IAAF Level IV International Coach in Middle, Long Distance & Race Walk; ITU Level II Coach in Triathlon; and UCI Level II Coach in Cycling. His best time in marathon is 2:44:48 hours; 10K in 34:12 mins; and 5K in 16:58 mins.


Team Bald Runner at the 2008 New Balance Power Race. From Left to Right: Ferdie Espejo, Ailene Tolentino, Marecil Maquilan, Bernie Desamito, Ellen Tolentino, Jujet de Asis, Elmer Sabal, Gerald Sabal, Rey de los Reyes, Satur Salazar, & BR (Sid Villasola & Mike Embuedo were in another race in Metro Manila and Cris Sabal was on-training in the mountain trails of Cebu in preparation for the 2008 Milo National Marathon Finals)

Run 55K Ultra And Win 10K Race (My Hair Grew at Mt Pinatubo and Became Champion at the UNICEF 10K Run) Part 2

6:02 AM 23 November 2008 @ McKinley Hill/UNICEF 10K Run

After almost 8 hours of restful sleep, I woke up at 4:15 AM and did my pre-race rituals—shave my head and face to remove the hairs that grew during my run to Mt Pinatubo and the rest of the activities to include drinking coffee & Ensure and eating my oatmeal and boiled eggs. At 5:15 AM, I was already at the McKinley Hill Area waiting for Capt Espejo to hand me my racing bib. While doing my warm-up and stretching exercises, I could feel that my legs were still sore because of the ultra run to Mt Pinatubo. Well, as planned, I had to do this run without any race strategy at all. I just wanted to finish the race and make this race as my “active recovery” run.

While waiting for Capt Espejo, Amado The Race Walker, passed by my parked vehicle and I  called his attention. He was holding a bag with his two pairs of shoes to be donated to my project. He handed to me his shoes and introduced to me his daughter-in-law and two sons. In return, I handed him a “ONE” wristband. (Amado, Thanks for those 2 pairs of running shoes! They are almost new! The recipients will be happy to have them). However, after the race I did not have the chance to have a photo-ops with him. Anyway, I can always see him at the ULTRA Oval Track and have some pictures with him as documentation for the project.


Two runners of Team Bald Runner (Sid & Coach Salazar)  were on my side prior to the start of the race.

What impressed me about Coach Rio’s races is his punctuality on the time the race starts. Ten minutes before 6:00 AM, I was already at the starting area looking for the members of the “Hardcore Group” but could hardly saw them around. Instead, I approached and talked to the runners of the Team Bald Runner and instructed them to make good and try to win the race. After a short program, at exactly 6:00AM, the race started and I tried to run faster and race with the faster runners for the 1st kilometer. I just wanted to “jolt” my running muscles after running an ultra run the day before. After leaving the McKinley Hill area, I was on my “comfort speed” and just enjoyed the race. Infront of the Philippine Army Golf Course at Bayani Road, Dindo aka RunMD overtook me and called my attention. I was surprised to see that he gained some weight after not seeing him in the past races. Infront of the AFPSLAI along Bayani Road, Mark Parco greeted me and passed me with  his fast running pace. I just maintained my 4:50-5:00 mins/km pace during the race.


Coach Rio’s races always start on time!

After the Heritage Park and the uphill climb towards Gate 3 of Fort Bonifacio, I was still on my “comfort speed” and I was enjoying my run due to the fact that I did not feel any severe pains on my running legs. After passing the Gate 3, MarkFB ran beside me for about 50-100 meters but I told him to maintain his fast pace (It was a nice way to send him the message to just leave me and go for his PR best time for the race) So, he overtook me and left me with his blistering pace as we reached the uphill portion near the Phil Army Gym and towards Lawton Avenue. From there, I increased my pace for the last 1.5 kilometers to the finish line.


I pressed the stop button of my GF 305 once I passed the Finish Line and I still looked fresh!

My GF 305 registered a finish time of 49:54 minutes with a distance of 10.02 kilometers. After I passed the finish line, MarkFB greeted me and that was the only time that I told him of running the 55K Pinatubo Run a day before the race and he was surprised. I am happy after the race with a sub-50-minute time for the 10K race but I knew I could finish with a faster time if I did not run the 55K ultra run. Later, Mark & Tiffin approached my Project Donate A Shoe booth and Mark told me about his observation that I was running less than my 100% race effort and just like what I told to MarkFB, I told him that I just finished the 55K Pinatubo Run yesterday. MarkP was surprised, too!

Anyway, I awarded a Finisher’s T-shirt for the “1,000-Km Club” to Tiffin after some photo-ops with the personnel of Accenture who ran the race. Congratulations, Tiffin for finishing the distance and for being a member of the “Hardcore Group”. Keep on breaking your PR best time every road race and run faster. I hope you and Mark will join our  “speed” training soon.


Tiffin, wife of Mark Parco, was happy to receive her “1,000-Km Club” Finisher’s T-Shirt. Cogratulations, Tiffin for a good job and keep on running some more miles/kms!


It looks like I am the youngest among the winners of the different age group categories!

To my surprise, I was called to the podium to receive my prize as the Champion in my Age Category (50-59 years old). Thanks Coach Rio and UNICEF for the prize and for an outstanding road race. Runners of the Team Bald Runner won 2nd & 3rd Place in the Men’s Overall for the 10K Run.

I was indeed a very fulfilling and memorable weekend for me for having been able to run a distance of 65 kilometers (for Saturday & Sunday) without any injury. I just feel stronger and ready for the Milo Marathon Finals this coming Sunday. 

Run 55K Ultra And Win 10K Race (My Hair Grew at Mount Pinatubo and Became a Champion at the UNICEF Run) Part 1

5:33 AM 22 November 2008 @ Barangay Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac

Last Friday, I attended the Team Bald Runner’s Speed Training at ULTRA Oval Track for the first time since it started last Tuesday evening and I met the “student-runners”. Each runner was given a strip of paper which was prepared by Capt Espejo where their respective goal-times were listed for a particular distance from 400 meters up to 5-Km with the proper “personalized” instructions on how to follow the said list/schedules. After their stretching, warm-up and drills, I joined their speed runs around the oval and acted as one of the “timers” for each of their lap runs. I was happy that I was getting postive feedbacks from these runners aside from those who made favorable comments on this blog who joined the said training and those who posted their experience in their respective blogs. I’ll make a separate post on the feedbacks of these runners who are presently undergoing such “speed” training. I had to leave the Oval Track early at 8:30 PM while the runners were still doing their “lap-sets” in order to prepare my things for the forthcoming ultramarathon run the following day. 

After three hours of sleep, I woke up, prepared my things, picked-up Capt Espejo and we were on our way to Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac from Manila. At 4:30 AM of Saturday, Captain Espejo and I arrived at the Barangay Hall of Sta Juliana and I could see the members of the Pinoy Ultra Runners busy preparing their things for the Run to Mt Pinatubo. Neville Manaois, the leader of the Pinoy Ultra Runners invited me and the “Hardcore Group”/guest runners to join their group in their first run up to the peak of Mt Pinatubo. Jonel aka Bugobugo85, George, Nico and Anne (girlfriend of Nico) were also at the vicinity of the Barangay Hall busy preparing their things and support requirement. Without the knowledge of the host, I contacted my brother who is the Commanding General of the Light Armor Division of the Philippine Army, at least one week before the event, whose Headquarters is located in Camp O’Donnell (few kilometers to Sta Juliana) to provide me and my runners with vehicle support and security along the way and within the area. I was surprised to see that my brother was at the starting area together with his senior officers and we had a brief conversation and briefing from him and his officers.


Nico, George, BR, General Samie (my brother), Jonel aka Bugobugo, & Col Mayor de la Cruz

Having identified our support vehicle, we started loading our food/water/logistics and getting the necessary instructions on the conduct of the run and information on safety from Neville and we were ready for the start of the 55-Km run (frm Sta Juliana to the peak of Mt Pinatubo and back). Our start was delayed for about 33 minutes but it was okey because it was still dark and the number of runners were minimal. To be exact, we were 32 runners. After departing the Barangay Hall by walking, we ended at the edge of the 1st of the so many river crossing along the route as most of us would not like to have our trail shoes to be soaked with water. The 1st, 2nd, & 3rd group of the Pinoy Ultra Runners were brough to the other side of the river by riding on the 4X4 jeeps and we had time to have our photo-ops while waiting for those jeeps to bring us also to the other side.


The members of the Pinoy Ultra Runners running ahead of our group at the start of the 55K Mt Pinatubo Run

After our group (BR, Bugobugo, George, Capt Espejo, and Nico) reached the other side of the river, we started our run with the Pinoy Ultra Runners having a lead distance of about 100-200 meters away. It was really a very slow run for us and I was the one controlling the pace at 6:30 to 7:30 mins/km for the group. I knew that we have to conserve our energy for us to be able to complete the ultra run without any problems with our body and legs. Without the knowledge of my group, I set a goal of finishing the run in less than 9 hours of actual running, not including those logistic stops, conversations with the officers and men of the Philippine Army, and a brief “picnic” and photo-ops at the peak of Mt Pinatubo. However, I told to the runners of my group that we should be able to be back at Sta Juliana on or before 4:00 PM so that we have more time to travel back to Manila and have a complete rest/sleep before joining the UNICEF 10K Run the following day.


With Jonel aka Bugobugo85 while waiting for the 4 X 4 Jeeps to ferry us across the river

The run at the lahar covered ground was very challenging as our feet would land on loose, hard and sometimes wet lahar. At first, it was a very comfortable run with those lahar filled route and the route we took was the existing jeeps’ route that passes through a vast area covered with lahar up to the “Baseline”—the limit of the vehicles’ route. We ran almost 15 kilometers up to the Baseline for almost two hours. We had to reach a shaded portion of the route before 8:00 AM in order to escape from the intense heat of the sun. At first, it took my group to cross those numerous rivers as we tried to select a narrow portions of the river where we could easily jump over the flow of water. Some of my runners, started to remove their running shoes to save them from being wet and it took so much of our time and delayed us to reach the baseline. Later, we were amazed to experience of wading through the waters and rivers with our shoes on and it gave some frefreshing feeling to our tired feet and legs because the water was a little colder. From here, we dared to cross the rivers and step on submerged rocks and fight the strong currents of the flowing water while we were running/jogging.


Capt Espejo and the Hardcore Group before reaching the Baseline


These rocks were all around us as we followed the river towards the Baseline and peak of Mt Pinatubo.

After two hours of running, we reached the Baseline and we had our Aid Station from the support vehicle which went ahead of us. I brought boiled sweet potatoes (camote), boiled eggs, and boiled bananas as our initial support food. We ate a lot of these solid foods and drank our sports drinks. Boy, we were really hungry and we need to re-charge ourselves for the next 20 kilometers which I expected to be an uphill climb to the crater of the volcano. After almost 45 minutes of eating, drinking and talking to the support personnel and our local hosts for the event, we started to resume our run towards the peak of the volcano.


This is one of the markers that points us to our route along the rocky banks of the river. Take note of the rocks along the way which makes jogging/running more challenging.

From lahar sand, the ground changed into small rocks mixed with lahar and later with big rocks along the way and there were no more road for the jeeps to be followed by the runners. As we moved towards the volcano, we had to walk and jog along the river and banks of the river with big rocks. We had to see and look for “markers” to indicate the way/hiking route towards the mountain. The jogging became brisk walking and later the brisk walking became simply walking along and in between the rocks along the way. As we got nearer, we started to see and meet the members of the Pinoy Ultra Runners going down from the crater of the volcano and they gave us encouraging words and warning us that the crater/peak was already near. Even if our trail shoes were already wet and filled with lahar sands which caused them to be heavier as we jogged and walked, we concentrated and focused to keep one step at a time as we started to walk along a rocky steep trail. It was a relief when we saw a concrete stairs and it was a sign that we were already near our destination. Finally, we saw the crater-lake on the peak of Mt Pinatubo. It was really a breath-taking view which could be an exact copy of the views/scenes seen in movies like “The Lord of the Rings” and resemblance of pictures I’ve seen on the scenery of New Zealand’s mountains ranges. Not contented of just the sight, we went down to the edge of the lake and washed our socks and shoes. Some of the runners with my group experienced a brief plunge on the sulphuric water of the lake. We rested and ate some more food which were brought and carried by Captain Espejo in his backpack. Capt Espejo requested us to finish everything as she wanted his pack to be light on our way back to the Baseline. Washing and soaking my tired feet into the water of Mount Pinatubo was already enough for me and I could feel that I haven’t shaved my head and face for the past days. I thought my hair miraculously grew after soaking some parts of my body to the lake at Mount Pinatubo. That’s a joke!


If you think you are surrounded with mountains as you go up to the peak, yes, these are mountains made of lahar from Mt Pinatubo.


At the edge of the crater-lake at the peak of Mt Pinatubo

While eating and resting at the edge of the lake, I was entertained by the stories of Capt Espejo,  Jonel aka Bugobugo, George, Nico, and Anne. These guys are really “kalog”, funny, “cowboy”, witty & smart, strong, dependable, “risk-takers”…in short, these guys are really “hardcore and warrior” runners. We talked a lot of things, about our blogs, about our PR best times, training and running. But we never talked about the other half our of run back to where we started which was another 27-28K run. We talked about our plan to reach the finish line at 4:00PM and immediately go back to Manila for a good night rest and have to see each other again the following day for the UNICEF 10K run. I know already from these plans that I was in a right group—a group of “crazy runners”.


This is the sight one can see at the end of the rocky trail at the crater of Mt Pinatubo. There are still 125 steps of a crude concrete stair from this place to the edge of the lake.

We left the crater-lake at 12 Noon and Bugobugo volunteered to count the number of steps of the stair that leads to the start of the trail from the edge of the lake. He was able to count 125 steps and we were breathing heavily once we reached the top. As we left the crater, we met the last two members of the Pinoy Ultra Runners who just arrived at the area. As we hiked slowly down the rocky trail, we met  more trekkers and tourists approaching the peak and almost all of them were asking us how far is the end of the trail in order to reach the crater. We answer them in terms of the number of minutes of walking or the number of meters from the crater and they were glad to hear that they were almost at the crater.

After passing those rocky trail where nobody would dare to jog/run, I started to speed up my pace. Later, I did not notice that I was already jogging and then later running down the rocky slopes of the volcano. It was like doing some “pylometrics” or “speed drills” running on the rocks and rivers while going down to the Baseline. Capt Espejo ran on my side while Bugobugo, George, Nico and Anne were left behind and agreed to wait each other at the Baseline and make it as our last “pit stop”. Capt Espejo and I became faster during our run as we were already familiar where to find the trail and had the courage to cross the river even with the strong current. Due to our fast pace, we were able to pass some members of the Pinoy Ultra Runners. In one hour and half, we were already at the Baseline where our support vehicle was waiting. Being our last “aid station”, we ate our late lunch—rice porridge with chicken (chicken lugaw) and sauteed ampalaya with tofu (guinisang ampalaya with tofu) and lots of Gatorade and Propel drinks.


This picture was taken by Capt Espejo as we approached our 40-Km mark and back to Sta Juliana. We passed in between the mountains on the background as we reached our final destination to the peak of Mt Pinatubo.

After our late lunch with the rest of my group, we started our last leg of our run and we were able to have run or cover a distance of 32 kilometers already. It started to shower and later rain were already falling when we started our run and it was refreshing. The weather was very cooperative as the sky became cloudy before 12Noon and it started to rain early in the afternoon. We ran faster along the jeeps’ tracks and crossed the rivers without any reservations and kept maintaining our pace. At this point, we passed more members of the Pinoy Ultra Runners along the way. When we reached the 44K-45K-mark as registered on my GF 305, I started to slow down while Bugobugo and George kept their constant pace and went ahead of me and Capt Espejo. At Km 47, we had to stop to eat a sandwich and drink water from a support vehicle and started to walk. While doing brisk walking, our support vehicle came at our side and Nico, who rode the vehicle from the Baseline, joined us for our remaining kilometers of the run. Our last “pit stop” gave us the much-needed strength up to the finish line and we continued our run after Nico joined us. The first river we passed was a sight to behold as we knew we were already less than 2 kilometers away from the Barangay Hall. There was no need for our support vehicle to bring us to the other side of the river as our shoes had been wet and dried while running along the route. As we reached the Barangay Hall, the faster members of the Pinoy Ultra Runners were seen fresh as they had their shower/bath and wearing clean clothes already. These runners approached and congratulated us for finishing the run. It was really nice of them to be telling us encouraging words and statements about what we had accomplished. Thanks, guys!

My GF 305 registered a distance of 52.14 kilometers but Neville explained to Bugobugo and Capt Espejo that the readings on the GPS did not consider the actual land distance on the rocky  trail along the steep slopes of the volcano. So, basing from the actual land distance measured by the Pinoy Ultra Runners, the course covered a distance of 55 kilometers. Our actual running time was 8:14 + hours and we finished in less than the mandatory 9-hour cut-off time for a 50K Ultra Trail Race.

In behalf of my running group, I would like to extend my thanks to Neville Manaois, the Pinoy Ultra Runners, and to the Officers and Men of the Light Armor Division of the Philippine Army for an adventurous and memorable Mt Pinatubo run. It was my first visit to the place and my second ultramarathon run in my running career. Our thanks also go to the sponsors, support staff, The North Face personnel, Pocari Sweat, and to our hosts from Tarlac and Pampanga.

And now, the “Hardcore Group” is already asking…”Neville, when will be the next ultra run?”

Things Your Dad/Mom Forgot To Tell You About Marathon Running

…Assuming that your parents are seasoned marathon runners!

The following are the 13 rules of marathon running, principles which must be followed if you want to have a great race. These are things your Dad/Mom should have told you about, although if he/she had known you were going to become an avid marathon runner, he/she might have invested in counseling rather than inform you about training and sports-nutrition.

Rule #1—You should treat the marathon as a power race, not just a test of endurance.

Rule #2—If you are running about 35 to 40 miles per week (56 to 64 kms) and want to become a better marathoner, you should not simply add on more mileage.

Rule #3—You must optimize your lactate-threshold running speed (LTRS) before your marathon.

Rule #4—Plan your workouts so that you accomplish five key (5) tasks ( endurance, tempo runs, speed runs, recovery, & tapering) before race day.

Rule #5—Start the race slowly

Rule #6—Make your pre-marathon long runs “race-specific”.

Rule #7—Take in four (4) grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per day during your marathon training.

Rule #8—If you are female, schedule your marathon for the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle (the time period between the onset of menstrual flow and ovulation).

Rule #9—In spite of what everyone says, do not smear vaseline on your foot before the race begins.

Rule #10—Have a BM (Bowel Movement) before the race.

Rule #11—Do not run a race while bearing a child.

Rule #12—Stay away from ill people during the week after your race.

Rule #13—Rest for seven (7) days–with no running at all–after your marathon.

Reference: IAAF New Studies in Athletics Quarterly Journal. April 2007. page 86

137 Days: Trip To Laoag City

Yes, on this day, there are 137 days before the Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race.

Last Monday evening, I left for Laoag City by plane to visit the graves of my Mom and close relatives who had passed away. It was some sort of a late celebration of All Souls Day as I was not able to leave Manila on those holidays. Anyway, as they say, “better late than never”. This was the reason why I was not able to attend the 1st and 2nd sessions of the Team Bald Runner’s speed training clinic at the ULTRA Oval Track.

As soon as I woke up last Tuesday morning, I had a run at the newly-renovated Laoag City Oval Track which is 800 meters away from our house. The Oval Track had been fitted with an Olympic-standard tartan track which was formally opened last 21 September 2008 (Milo Half-Marathon Elimination Race Day) by no less than the Governor of Ilocos Norte, Hon. Michael Keon, the former Director of Project Gintong Alay and former Chairman of the Phillippine Olympic Committee during former President Marcos’ administration. As I was about to start my run on the oval track, I saw Dr Chester Punio, a practicing medical surgeon in Laoag City and an avid runner, and he called my attention and we had a brief conversation. He introduced to me Reynaldo Pascua, an elite runner from Ilocos Norte who qualified for the the Milo Marathon Finals this coming 30th November for finishing No. 2 during the Milo Half-Marathon Elimination Run in Laoag City.

After a brief conversation with Dr Ponio, I started my run and Rey Pascua joined me during my workout. I found out that Rey Pascua is 38 years old with a height of 5 feet and had been a past/former champion of yearly races in Metro Manila in the late 90s and early 2000. He told me that he is one of the provincial elite athletes being supported by the Provincial Government but he lamented to me that he still lack the much-needed financial support for him to participate in road races in Metro Manila which offer Cash Prizes to the top winners. While he trains for the MILO Marathon Finals, he receives a monthly stipend of less than P 4,000 (barely $ 80.00) which I have the impression to be his salary for being one of the maintenance personnel of the Oval Track. I really admire his passion in competitive running but I also pity him for being not being supported well in his training.

I was able to run 10.32 kms in 52:54 minutes last Tuesday morning with an average pace of 5:07 mins/km.

On the following day, I went to the Oval Track for another run and I was able to cover a distance of 10.04 kms in 55:40 minutes with an average pace of 5:32 mins/km.

It was a little odd to see that the Oval Track is already under repair after almost two months since it was opened for the public. There are portions of the track where the tartan was not evenly “fixed” or “snugged” to the ground and these portions are starting to create “bubbles” on the track. I hope these problems will be fixed soon. I got some information that more people from Laoag City are starting to run and use the oval track which is a good sign of the sports development, most especially in running, in the said city.

Lastly, what I like about the Laoag City Oval Track and Iloilo City Sports Complex Oval Track is that they are FREE for the public. How I wish the ULTRA Oval Track should also be FREE for the public. PSC has more appropriated budget/support from the national government than the local government. This is just a wish.

And Now This One…Love/Hate: Comment From RG

Here are the exact words from RG that he posted in one of the comments from my post about my Race Report in last Sunday’s NB Powerrace 25K Run:

Hello sir, I first ran into your blog in June. I decided to log my runs and try the 1000K challenge. I logged around 375km since June. The NB Powerace is my longest run ever 25K. I was a truly a challenge. The course layout and support (marshalls, signs, water stations) were great. It was a great feeling to make to the finish line. My wife also finished the 10K run.

Unfortunately, I was among 5 car owners whose vehicles were broken into sometime during the race. We parked at the end of street (cul-de-sac) behind the Clark Hostel and Clark Museum. I and my wife lost many valuable and important items. I reported this to the CDC police. They seemed to point the finger at the race organizer for not providing security. Another robbery victim at the police station said that he talked to a race organizer. The race organizer said that security is a police matter. Quite sad to see people pointing fingers at each other while washing their hands of responsibility.

I work at Clark and was able to borrow money from co-workers so that I could check my family out of a hotel, feed them, buy fuel and pay for toll back to Manila. The new theme/tag-line of New Balance is very appropriate for my feelings – Love-Hate running.

Hate to rain on the parade, but I think other runners should learn from this experience. Be careful where you park your car. Push organizers to improve lighting and security. There is always a better way to do things.


I’ve heard and read a lot of reports and incidents about thefts and robberies on parked cars at The Fort and other places where there were road races for the past months and these were discussed among runners in their respective e-forum and sometimes after the race.

I think I’ve heard of two separate incidents of robbery on things inside the cars parked at the Bonifacio High Street for the past few races and RG’s comment/predicament is the usual sitaution for the owners or victims—the race organizer and the Police/Security Personnel/Administrator of the place or venue of the race do not accept responsibility for your losses and they are not even liable to what had happened. Such incident ends up as part of the Police’s Statistics on Crimes Committed within the area and nothing is done about it.

What should we do to fight/catch these thieves and give a lesson to those who should be responsible for the safety of our car once we park in such places? The following are just my humble suggestions and you can add up by posting your comment/s:

1) Keep your car “clean” inside—Do not display your cellphone, digital camera, laptop, any bags, shoes, shirts/apparel, even sandals, and even towels inside you car. Place them in one bag and hide the bag inside your baggage compartment. Anything seen inside your car is a source of temptation to these thieves. 

2) Keep it simple, stupid! (KISS)—Before you leave the house, wear already your “running kit” and your race bib and after the race you should go home, if possible, with the same attire most especially if you don’t expect to be at the podium. Leave your money and cellphone at home, however, bring your ID with you (just in case, you win in your age category) and hide it in your car.

3) Stay in a Hotel With Quality Service—For races outside Metro Manila, in case you want to rest overnight near the venue of the race, you should make your reservation to a hotel that speaks well of its quality service. You can leave your valuable things inside your room’s deposit box/security steel box and leave the room wearing your running kit. Put your car key inside the pocket of your running shorts.

4) Bring your “designated” driver/”security guard”—If you are running as a group, bring somebody who could be your driver and at the same time your “security guard” who will guard your vehicle.

5) Be vigilant and observant—Security is everybody’s business and we have to cooperate each other in order to arrest or catch these thieves in the act or when they are about to do their act. There is what we call “citizen’s arrest” and anybody could implement this. I believe that these thieves “pose” as legitimate runners with the proper bibs and running kits ( and that’s the reason why they are not being observed intently or suspected by the security guards) and they run the shorter distances. Once they are finished with their runs, they pretend to be going back to their cars but instead, proceed to their “targets” whose owners are still running the longer distance races. If you observe such “runner-thieves”, report to the security guards at once. If there is a term called “runner blogger”, there is also a word called “runner thieves”, too!

6) Submit An Incident Report—Those victims of these acts must be able to file an incident report or complaint letter to the Race Organizer, Owner/Administrator of the Parking Areas, and Director-General, PNP (Attention: SAGSD-Security Agency & Guard Supervision Division, PNP) to complain on the inability of the Security Agency to provide security and protection to such installations. Such report and complaint on the inefficiency of the Security Agency will be a ground for the owner of the installation to terminate its contract with the security service provider. This will serve as a “lesson” to the security guards for them to do their job properly. You can also report the incident to the Police/PNP for documentation purposes, however, don’t expect that those stolen goods/equipment will be brought back to you.

7) Continuous Reminders and Announcements by Race Organizers Before, During & After The Race—Have you heard those continouos announcements at the airport through the Public Address System not to accept any baggage from strangers before you enter the airport or board the aircraft? In trying to imitate this, the race organizer could announce some security measures (repeatedly, too!) to warn every runner to be security concious with their belongings and be sure to double-check if their cars are locked and their things secured. The race organizer could also warn the Security Guards to do their jobs properly and efficiently during the race. Let me ask how much does a Race Organizer pay for the use of The Fort streets in every road race? So, if a Race Organizer is paying an specific amount to The Fort, the Security Provider is duty-bound to provide the best security services to each of the runners. From there, you know already who should be accountable to such incidents.

I hope such incidents of robbery in parking areas during road races will cease to exist in the near future. Remember, let us be vigilant always and cooperate with one another.

Have fun and run faster!

Ok, thanks!… you bumped-off my booth again!

I am wondering why my “Project Donate A Shoe” Booth had been picked by Race Organizers or their staff to be placed away from the vicinity of the other booths or near the stage. Is there preferential treatment to sponsors for the race? My booth is not getting any income and my staff is not engaged in business and we are wondering why these people had to drive my booth away from the initial place we had established before the start of the race.

Our booth is not actually a booth with a tent, table and chairs but only a “tarpualin”  being tied on two posts which serves as a background for our photo-ops in case we have donors of used shoes. Our booth is an advocacy and not a business entity. For the past three road races, our booth had been advised to leave the vicinity or near the other commercial booths or booths of the race organizers and sponsors.

We just kept silent about these incidents during race days as we didn’t want to argue with the race organizers and their sponsors. We didn’t want them to be disturbed in acquiring more income to their outfits and businesses. I am just wondering how much does a sponsor pay or contribute to the sports organizer in a particular road race? Last Sunday, it was okey for us to be positioned, after being bumped-off again, near the rows of the portalets. Despite such location, my runners, donors, friends, and other runner bloggers still came to the booth and we were happy to trade and exchange our experiences during the race.

So, next time, if you don’t see my booth/”tarpualin” near the stage or along the rows of booths of sponsors, we could be just around the corner of the block or along the sidewalk. Please, be patient to look around and you will find us.