Tony Benson: The Man Behind Project “Gintong Alay”

31 01 2009

If there is a man to be fully credited on the success of Philippine Sports, most especially in Athletics, it is Tony Benson of Australia. He was the National Coach of the Project “Gintong Alay”. The following is the excerpts taken from his website, Readers are encouraged to visit his site and see its “Honour Roll”  page where he presented Ani De Leon, our woman qualifier and participant  in the 2008 Ford Kona IRONMAN and our past athletes in Athletiics as his athletes who were trained under him .

A 1972 Olympian and once the fifth ranked 5000m runner in the world, Tony was undefeated on tours of the USA and Europe between 1970 and 1972, is the last Australian distance runner to win at the prestigious Cologne, Stockholm and Oslo meets. In addition Tony is a sub “4” minute miler, a former Australian 2000m record holder and the 1969 Pacific Conference 1500m Gold Medalist. He has best times of 3:59.8 (mile), 7:50 (3000m) and 13:36 (5000m) as well as a road 10k time of 27:37 on a Ballarat course that, while uncertified, had seen only two other athletes, Wayne Bourke and Kevin Brady – both sub 14:05/5000m runners, break 30 minutes on the course in 40 years.

Tony began coaching in 1967 while teaching at St Patrick’s College in Ballarat. He moved to club coaching with Ballarat YCW on his retirement from international competition in 1973 and within two years had produced the first of what would be a long list of internationals. During this period a small skinny kid named Steve Moneghetti arrived at St. Patrick’s starting an association that would last through Steve’s foundation years. In 1979 Tony was offered, and accepted, the position of National Coach of the Philippines. At that time the Philippines ranked 29th in Asia. By the time Tony had left the Philippines they had reached 6th place, produced Asian champions and record holders as well as Olympians including a steeplechase semi finalist.

Tony first became involved in triathlon through Emma Carney while still the National T & F Coaching Director of Australia and assisted her with her running during 1993 and 1994 as she started to make her very successful transition from a national class runner to World Champion triathlete.

In June 1993 he left Athletics Australia and by the end of 1994 had a squad of 25 athletes. Since then the squad has grown to the point where there are usually between 70 and 80 athletes training at six to eight different locations around Melbourne as well as interstate and overseas.

Tony Benson has been the Head Coach of Olympic, Commonwealth, World Championship and Asian Games teams, lectured in Africa, Asia and the Pacific on behalf of the International Olympic Committee and International Association of Athletic Federation and put his theories into practice by producing Olympic athletes and World Championship level athletes, triathletes and duathletes.

In 1993, at the insistance of close friend Irv Ray, Tony and Irv produced a best selling coaching book called “Run With The Best”. The philosophies it contained were proven when Irv coached 17 year old Ryan Hall to a 3:42.7/1500m and No2 US high school miler of 2001 and Patrick Sang, a former standout Kenyan steelechaser, used the RWTB principles he adopted after meeting Tony in Nairobi at the 2002 IAAF All Africa Level 2 Coaches’ Course in his preparation of 18 year old 2003 World 5000m champion Elicud Kipchoge.

Finally he has also mixed with elite athletes and coaches from triathlon, cycling and swimming and acknowledges the influence of many of these highly respected and successful people in the construction of his training schedules and in the development of his computer programs. He is a Level 5 Track and Field coach and a Level 3 Triathlon Coach as well as National Track and Field Consultant (AFTCA).

Response To My Critique @ 2009 PSE Bull Run

30 01 2009

Race organizers’ response to Bald Runner’s comments on the Bull Run 2009



First of all, we appreciate all the comments made regarding the conduct of the PSE Bull Run 2009.  Below are our answers to the said critique:


  • Water stations were positioned in several spots along the route as well as at the Start/Finish Line.  The water station at the Start/Finish Line is located at the far end of the finish line, left side facing the finish line arch. 


  • Road marshals were stationed at every turning point and street intersections.  They were riders and personnel from Fort Bonifacio Development Corp.  But we will still assess the performance of our road marshals in order to improve the management of vehicle traffic while the run is ongoing.


  • PSE owns the area where the start/finish line and program was situated.  That is the reason for the selection of the said area.  Given the significant increase in the participants for this year, it is best that the PSE considers other area/s for their race.


  • The digital clock is mounted just below the trusses of the starting/finish line arch.    Some runners may not have seen the clock mainly because of its height.  Positioning of the clock will be further reviewed so as to ensure its visibility to all runners.


  • We, Argent Network International Corp./Full Shot Advertising, are the organizers of the Bull Run this year.  Our company name is visible in all our promotional materials such as flyers and tarpaulin banners and in promotional activities such as TV guestings.  Furthermore, during the race day event itself, the main persons behind our company (Pablo Cay and Gay Maddela) are repeatedly acknowledged by the emcee.  We would want to know the specific circumstance/s that we have been “notorious for not being able to look for the safety and welfare of the paying runners and walkers.”  PATAFA officials are present because they are in-charge of the technical aspect of the run.  That is, the measurement of the course distance and result officials.


  • The content of program after the race was a decision made by the race owner  – which is the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).  We have already communicated this with PSE.


  • The announced registration period will end a 2 days before the actual race event which is January 16, 2009.  But due to the influx of runners wanting to register, the runners reached beyond the projected numbers thus, the race bibs ran out.  With this situation, we have to declare an early closure of the registration.  But we officially closed the registration on January 15, 2009, Thursday and not a week before the race day.


  • There had been a remiss in the releasing of the race packets, which include the race bib and singlet.  Production of the singlet was delayed thus, the race bibs were released even without the singlets.  There had been cases of missing race packets.  This we have to improve on.  Reasons for the delay are internal between our company and PSE.  Rest assured that we would review our registration and releasing procedures and implement a more efficient process in our next races.


  • There are assigned color codes for each race event – 10k (blue ), 5k (green), 3k Open ( violet )and 3K PSE (red0.  But due to the increase in the number of registrants, we were forced to transfer race bibs of one event to another event.  In order to ensure that the runners run the event where they registered in, we have added measures to identify such runners.  These added measures were communicated to the technical group.


  • Certificates of Completion were distributed at the Secretariat Booth situated beside the Technical Booth.  Distribution was announced by the emcee.  Most runners were able to get their certificates.


  • The VIP tables were set-up for the VIP guests of the PSE.  These were not intended to discriminate anyone but to accommodate the event sponsors, PSE officials, among others.  In most races, race owners do not give runners food.  Discretion on such matter rests on the race owners. 


  • We agree that walkers should not be mixed with runners in one route.  The race owner and the race organizers did not anticipate the huge turnout of fun runners because previous years records show a low trend for such type of race participants.  PSE and the next race organizer of the event will consider this in their future race events.

Two or Three Days Rests

29 01 2009

Last week, I had a 3-day rest (Monday to Wednesday) from running and resumed my running on the morning of Thursday at the ULTRA Oval Track. I did a 10K run at the oval within my 97% Lactate Threshold with an average pace of 5:03 minutes/kilometer. On the following day, Friday morning, my son and I ran the route of the Happy Run 15K with 79%-80% Lactate Threshold with an average pace of 6:10 minutes/kilometer. However, during our scheduled “speed” session on Friday night, Maj Espejo gave us the usual instruction to run 75% of the distance we are going to run for the Sunday’s race at our 100%-110& Lactate Threshold. So, for the members who were scheduled to run the Happy Run 15K, they ran 11 Kilometers at their race pace and I ran 7.5 kilometers at my race pace for the Resolution Challenge 10K Run and finished it with an average pace of  4:48 minutes/kilometer. On the early morning of Saturday, I was back at the ULTRA Oval Track for my 30-minute “active recovery” run with a 70% Lactate Threshold or with a slow pace of 6:30 minutes/kilometer. Well, last Sunday, I finished the Resolution Challenge 10K Run with an average pace of 4:32 minutes per kilometer, barely missing eight (8) seconds from my 110% Lactate Threshold.

This week, I had another 2-day (Monday & Tuesday) complete rest from running.  I went to the gym after lunch yesterday for a 0ne-hour workout for my upper body and “core” muscles. After a short shower and changing my attire for running, I was already on my way to the ULTRA Oval Track for the Wednesday scheduled training. During our training session, the coaches gave us more new “jumping & bouncing” drills and “new” speed drills we had never experienced before. Our coaches keep on surprising us with their “gimmicks and techniques” wherein they explain the importance of each drill for us to improve our finish time and running technique & form. The best part of such explations is that our coaches deliver their point in English! I can say that almost 100% of the members keep on improving their finish time because of the “message/voice” of Coach Salazar which keeps on repeating to our ears & brains during weekend road races! Here comes now the best part—our “main course” for the day! We were directed to do 5 X 400 meters with 1:30-minute rest in-between interval at our 110% Lactate Threshold. That is just the starter. After 3-minute rest after finishing the 5 X 400, we have to do 2 sets of 15-minute runs with 3-minute rest in-between the sets within our 110% Lactate Threshold, too! There was no need to complain as we knew our coaches were leading us to a new and higher level of running performance. As my GF 305 was not working because of spent battery power, I really did not know how fast or slow we were running on those laps and sets. However, what I knew was that I became stronger and faster after those two days rests and did not have any leg pains or soreness even if I had my gym workout before this speed training session yesterday.

On these two or three days rests, I went to the province, away from the polluted air of Metro Manila. I just enjoyed the fresh air and the nice cold weather in Laoag City last week and in Cagayan Valley last Monday & Tuesday. No running but just a short walk to have a glimpse of those vast fields newly-planted with rice. Just breathing the fresh air around; enjoying the fresh foods which were home-cooked and sometimes, served “raw”; and resting and relaxing for the rest of the day during these days made me recover my tired muscles and I know my body is ready again for more running “adventures” in the coming days.

To all the runners, I suggest you take also a 2 or 3-day rest and drive/fly away from the noise, crowd, traffic and polluted air of Metro Manila and re-charge yourself. Just relax, eat, and breath the fresh air around you.

Also, to most of the runners who want to improve on their speed and finish times in their future road races, you should know your Lactate Threshold and be able to use it in your training. You should know the answers of the “WHY” you are doing those repetitive interval runs of 100, 200, 400, or 800-meter or other speed runs on the track and your “fartleks” in your road runs. Not knowing the reason/s why you are doing something to improve your running is not good for your training.

(Note: For those runners who do not understand or don’t have any knowledge about Lactate Threshold, join or visit our “speed training” sessions at the ULTRA Oval Track, our coaches will be glad to explain it to you. If interested, our coaches will be glad also to test and find out your Lactate Threshold. For our schedules of training, please visit

To: All Ultramarathon Runners; An Invitation

28 01 2009

To those runners who have reserved a slot or had registered for the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race, you are invited and highly encouraged to join Albert aka Run2Dmoon for an scheduled “long run” as he sent this invitation in the Comment page at

Hi to all fellow runners joining this race!

Anyone up for a 6-hour run practice?
This is a midnight to sunrise gig.

Location: MOA Seaside Blvd. (C-loop – 6km/loop)
Time: 12am-6am
Date: Jan. 31 (Sat) and Feb. 7 (Sat)

Note: This is not an organized practice.
There are gas stations (Jetti or Shell) for water breaks. Mcdo and YellowCab if you get hungry.

Albert aka Run2Dmoon

The “Hardcore-Concerned” Runners would like to join this invitation but they have an scheduled “Runabout” on the early morning of February 1, thus, making them unavailable on the first scheduled invitation. However, we (Bald Runner & Staff) have initially made some arrangements already in joining the scheduled run on the Midnight of February 7 up to 6:00 AM of February 8. I am sure that the other “Hardcore-Concerned” Runners will be joining also in this running practice.
To all the “Hardcore-Concerned & Power Runners” and those interested future ultra marathon runners, let us join Albert in this “practice run”. 

25 Jan 09: Latest “Team BR” Performance

27 01 2009

At the 2009 Resolution Challenge held in SM Mall of Asia (MOA) 10K Race, Elite Team Bald Runner’s Cresenciano Sabal won the Championship with a time of 30+ minutes. Another Elite Team BR’s Alley Quisay won the 1st Runner-Up with a time of 31+ minutes. Rene Herrera, Gold Medalist in the past ASEAN Games 3,000-meter steeplechase placed 2nd Runner-Up. This is the second time in road races that members of Elite Team Bald Runner defeated a member of the RP Athletics National Team. In the Female Category, Ailene Tolentino and Anna Vargas of Elite Team Bald Runner won 1st Runner-Up and 2nd Runner-Up, respectively. The Female Championship in the 10K went to Mercedita Manipol of the RP Athletics National Team.

In the Resolution Challenge 5K Run, Gerald Sabal of Elite Team Bald Runner won the Championship with a time of 15:55 minutes. Oher members of Elite Team BR, Rene Desuyo and Jujet De Asis won 2nd Runner-Up and 3rd Runner-Up, respectively. In the Female Category, Marecil Maquilan won the Championship.

At the Happy Run 15K which started & ended at The Fort, Jose Mari Javier of Semi-Elite Team Bald Runner placed 6th Overall and won 1st Place in the  Age “C” Category (30-39) with a fast time of 1:08:10 hours. Mayo Rodriguez of the Semi-Elite also placed 5th Overall with a time of 1:08:01 hours. Another Semi-Elite Team BR member, Jonel Mendoza aka Bugobugo85 who placed 12th Overall with a time of 1:08:20 hours and barely missed getting 1st Place in the Age “D” Category by 40 seconds from the 1st Placer. Coach Saturnino Salazar also finished the 15K in 1:08:40 hours while pacing and reminding the members to be “light & fast” with their midfoot strike and stride frequency.

The rest of the Competitive Team (about to become Semi-Elite) Bald Runner members: High Altitude, RunMD, Tri’N Hard, Banana Running, My Iron Shoes, BroJ & Baby, Jay Lee Cu-U, Jody Jacinto (whose finish time is in the Female Category), Nino Ramos, Charlie Chua, Gold’s Gym’s Power Runners, and the rest of the “Hardcore-Concerned” Runners, were able to improve their PR times in the 15K distance. Congratulations, guys!

Latest “1,000-Km Club” Finishers/Members

27 01 2009

The following are the latest runner-bloggers who completed running 1,000 kilometers as they enrolled with the “1,000-Km Club”. Each of them was awarded with BR’s “1,000-Km Club” Finisher’s T-Shirt. Congratulations and welcome to the Club, guys!

Jinoe aka Manokan Express Receiving His Finisher's Shirt

Jinoe aka Manokan Express Receiving His Finisher's Shirt

Mark Parco aka Mark's VO2 With Tiffin Receiving The Finisher's T-Shirt

Mark Parco aka Mark's VO2 With Tiffin Receiving The Finisher's T-Shirt

Felipe Dumpit aka Lendendorf Leben Receiving Finisher's T-Shirt & Donating His "Used" Mizuno Running Shoes

Felipe Dumpit aka Kinderdorf Leben Receiving His Finisher's T-Shirt & Donating His "Used" Mizuno Running Shoes

Results: 2009 PSE Bull Run 10K

26 01 2009

The 2009 PSE (Philippine Securities Exchange) Bull Run “Takbo Para Sa Ekonomiya” 10K Road Race was held last January 18, 2009 at the Fort, Taguig City and considered as the first road race for the year after almost a month of absence of road races due to the Holiday Season.

I ran the said race to prove if my training during the Holidays will result to a better performance. I reached a weekly mileage of 127 kilometers in one week, two weeks before this race wherein most of the mileage were done on the oval track. One week before the race, I tapered my mileage by reducing by one-third of my total number of kilometers covered. I did all the things to be done just to ensure to get a positive and faster results.

In my Garmin Forerunner (GF) 305, it registered my finish time in 46:17 minutes. However, in the official results published by the Race Organizer after one week since race day, I got a time of 46:38 minutes. I can not understand the big discrepancy from the time registered in my GF 305 and the Race Organizer’s clock as I pressed my watch simultaneously with the start command of that “loud” Emcee on the stage while “the ringing of the bell” was done and stopped my watch after I passed the Finish Line.

From the official results, I placed #94 out of 762 runners in the 10K race, which is within the upper 12% of the overall finishers. In my age category of 50-59 years old, I placed #4 with a 50-year old runner from Fairview Running Club placing #1 with a time of 38:23 minutes! A difference of almost eight (8) minutes! A tough job is needed to attain that fast finish time. However, the 3rd placer had a time of 42:43 mnutes which I think would be a “doable” goal in the next coming races.

But the 64-year old runner who placed #96, the second runner behind me who finished few seconds after me could be another threat. How I wish I could run that fast if ever I could reach the age of 64.

“Girls, Kids, and Ladies”, can you beat the time of that 64 years old runner?

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