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.


7 thoughts on “137 Days: Trip To Laoag City

  1. rununlimited

    Hi Sir Jovie, I was fortunate to have ran at Laoag City. I took the city roads because the oval was closed for renovation then. I found out also that number of people are into running in that famous city. Its good to see that running is evident here. I hope the city government will continue this advocacy.

    My related story as posted in my blog: http://rununlimited.blogspot.com/2008/10/running-up-north.html

    Good luck and best regards.

    Vener – run unltd.


  2. kingofpots

    vener, thanks for the comment. we have good runners in the province and more of the people there are active in going to the oval track and the nearby hill roads to sweat it out. actually, i was happy to see that there were lots of people jogging/walking on the oval track when i was there. see you on sunday. stay healthy & run faster!


  3. Small correction Jovie, the Iloilo Sports Complex Oval Track is not FREE it charges a usage fee of P10.00 and it does not issue a ticket I have used this oval track for more than ten times. The only oval track I know that does not charge is the one in PALAWAN its quite new as well and was only completed this year for the Palarong Pambansa. I had the opportunity to use it last May for 3 consecutive days very new at that time although the tartan as well was not perfectly layed out.


  4. kingofpots

    amado, thanks for the correction. the maintenance guy could have allowed me to use the iloilo sports complex “free of charge’ knowing that i was the commander of the phil army division in the area. hahaha! anyway, had i known it, i should had paid for it. see you this sunday!


  5. fuerzaarmada

    Along with Rey Pascua, Randy Basilio and Rabin Dalog are the top three runners in the province today. I consider them as the Laoag Triumvirate. (Unfortunately this year, a runner from Baguio City broke the streak). They are the perennial qualifiers of the National Milo Marathon representing the Ilocos Region. These guys can run sub 2:40 marathons. As for myself, I am happy joining these elites having qualified for the NCR Milo Elims running a sub 4:00 marathon. But for this year, I had a bad left knee injury which prevented me to run the NCR elim. I will definitely miss the Milo carbo party this year, which the Ilocandia runners share in one big round table…


  6. docchester

    hi tio, it was really nice to see and talk to you again. hope to see you on the 30th, the milo finals, although i will just be accompanying paski (rey pascua) to see how he will fare with the bill pierce training program. agbiag dagiti ilocano a tumataray!


  7. Vimz was kind enough to show me the ULTRA Oval Track when we attended the Orientation of the Nike Running Clinic last Nov. 14, 2008. I could only admire the beautiful track and wish there’s also something like this in my place (Las Pinas City). I envy you and the other runners who have the opportunity to run on tracks. . .

    Good luck in your training for the Bataan historic Death March. You are an inspiration to the running community especially to “golden” girls like me.

    Nora, the golden girl


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