Balikbayan Box & Ultra Running Advise From Ben Gaetos

A week before Ben Gaetos left for Los Angeles, California, I received the Balikbayan Box (BB) he sent in the middle of January 2009. The BB contains nineteen (19) pairs of slightly used running shoes, lots of finisher’s t-shirts, lots of basic neccessities for ultra runners to include “noodles”, copies/back issues of  Trail Running Magazine and red wine for Major Espejo & staff of the office.

Ben, thanks for supporting my projects—Project Donate A Shoe; Project Donate A Shirt; and my Ultra Running Events. Extend my thanks also to Carmela Layson who contributed and sent her running shoes through the Balikbayan Box. Good luck on your future ultra running adventures!

Balikbayan Box From Ben Gaetos
Balikbayan Box From Ben Gaetos
Finisher's T-Shirts, Trail Running Mags, Ultra Runner's Needs & Running Shoes
Finisher's T-Shirts, Trail Running Mags, Ultra Runner's Needs & Running Shoes
Donated Shoes From Ben Gaetos & Carmela Layson
Donated Shoes From Ben Gaetos & Carmela Layson
I might as well mention in this post what Ben Gaetos had written in one of his comments about his experience running in ultramarathon events and his advise to the participants in the Bataan 102K Ultramarathon Race.

First, thank you Sir Jovie for conducting the training runs. I wouldn’t want to miss both night run and the test run. I ran both with a couple of hrs sleep coming from international flights. In the words of Jeff and Jun, “I’m also in need of serious psychiatric treatment”.
I myself suffered heat stroke at ‘07 Mt Disappointment 50M (80k). I took off early and on the crucial part may have taken contaminated (mold) Cytomax. From M38(60k) to the finish, I threw up. My blue shirt turned white due to electrolyte loss and finished almost dead last due to dehydration. Lots of DNF in the race. My will got me to finish. We had a 100 deg temp. Last year, I redeemed myself finishing 1 hr 40 mins faster.
At the Bataan Test Run, aside from my hydration I kept drinking every opportunity I had. I thank TBR and other support crews who offered. I poured water in my head all the time. Use Gatorade or any stonger drinks such as HEED, etc. You may also mix your energy gels with water. Avoid wearing dark clothes. The albedo (reflectivity ratio) of concrete is much higher than dirt. Our body generates all those heat. Some of you must have noticed me running on the dirt shoulder. It lessened the pounding on the joints at the pavement and at the same time less reflection. A high spf lotion is also ideal + application of body glides at your nipples and sensitive body parts (below under arms, crotches, butt, toes). All these are susceptible to blisters on a hot day. Remember the first part of Bataan is hilly. You should pace properly and start slow as possible. Throw away your marathon pace splits. You don’t have to be a speed demon to complete an ultra. You just have to run a smart race. I divide my race in 3 segments (warm up, target pace and finishing kick). The last one I even divide in 2 parts. Lots of psychological game here so you need to be mentally tough too. There will be lots of down times and ready to give up. Just imagine how you always bounce back whenever you’re down.
Check and for heat training tips. You won’t believe this but sometimes during summer, I turn the heater on my car or don’t open the windows at all. That’s my self improvised sauna.
Again, thanks for a wonderful time running with all of you. I can’t remember all your names but you showed the determination and fun of running an ultra. The camaraderie at ultra is uncomparable. I’ll be cheering for you at the Bataan 102. Lastly, don’t forget to taper 3 wks prior to Bataan 102. From this point do your long runs and possible back2back long runs. Walk or easy run on one of the two using “time on feet principle”. Good luck!!
Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.


Once again, thanks Ben for everything. As they say, “ultramarathon could be a stupid sports but it does not need a stupid runner to finish one”.

One thought on “Balikbayan Box & Ultra Running Advise From Ben Gaetos

  1. Pingback: Producing and the American Man » Blog Archive » Quick scan of the net - mold finisher

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