Last October 2009, I received a formal letter from the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) informing me that the Philippines had been officially accepted as a member of IAU through the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) which I created and organized. IAU officials informed me that the Philippines is the 6th ASIAN member and the 45th member worldwide.
After two weeks, I received an invitation from the IAU for our country to be represented in the 1st Asian IAU 100K Championship Race to be held in Jeju Island, South Korea on March 27, 2010. Attached with the invitation are the protocol and requirements for participating in the said race. The Event Organizer, South Korea’s Ultrarunning Federation, invited 3 men & 3 women whose accommodation and food will be provided free for the duration of only two days. The participating runners are supposed to be the best and most qualified ultra runners that the country could offer.
The desire to join in this competition was so strong on my part but the big problem was the logistics/financial support needed for the plane tickets of the athletes. As of November 2009, I met all the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner and asked them who would “volunteer” to train for the 1st Asian IAU 100K Championship Race. Alquin Bolivar & Frank Indapan came forward to accept the challenge and started to train from then on.
Last year, I also thought of sending the top Male & Female Champions of this year’s BDM 102 to Jeju’s 100K Ultramarathon Race but the timing/schedule was not conducive for the best performance of our athletes as they are on their “recovery” mode barely weeks before the event after the BDM 102.
Being a relatively new running sports, ultramarathon is “alien” to our government sports officials, moreso, to our friends in the government and corporate world. So, I did not want to be frustrated again to be begging to these “personalities” for some financial support for me to send our country’s representatives to this IAU-sanctioned international event. My experience with the government & corporate world in the 1st BDM 102 will never happen again.
The only way to make this invitation to materialize and succeed was to ask help from the “Friends” of the Bald Runner and they came in full force to donate the needed amount for the visas, plane tickets, travel tax, and training/competition support to Alquin Bolivar & Frank Indapan. The following are the “running angels” and their respective donation/s to the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner for Jeju Island:
|Ria & Emerson Go Tian||2,500.00|
|Mari Javier||1,000 + CWX|
|Jeremiah Isip||1,000.00 + CWX + Long Sleeve|
|Randy San Miguel||1,000.00|
|Jay Lee Cu Unjieng||$100|
|Jan||1box Hammer Gel + 1 box Gatorade Powder + Roll on Linement|
(Note: The names without any donation had made their pledge already)
As of this morning, the Elite Team Bald Runner and PAU’s representatives to the 1st Asian IAU 100K Championship Race had arrived in Jeju Isalnd, South Korea. The place is nice, clean, orderly, cold and windy. We were met at the airport by the representative of the Race Organizer and we were brought to our Hotel which is at the very center of Jeju City.
It is very hard to find somebody here who could speak English! But by walking and jogging on the main streets of the city, we were able to find familiar fastfood establishments and shopping malls where to eat and buy much needed water, food and fruits.
I found out later that this running event will also be the 9th Jeju International Ultramarathon Race and the Jeju International Cycling Race which will be held on the same day. The circumferential road of this island will definitely be dedicated to the ultra runners and cyclists on Saturday.
Note: We are wearing the Official Jacket of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU)
Tomorrow will be another day to run and acclimatize with the weather ( rainy, cloudy & windy) of the island. A formal program, briefing, and carboloading party will be held tomorrow afternoon. It would be a nice time to meet other international elite runners and ultra running sports federations leaders/officials.
Hopefully, the following goals/objectives will be attained in this race:
1) The IAU 100K Championship Race (no cash prize for the winners, only medals will be awarded to the top 3 runners) will set the Philippine Record in 100K Ultramarathon Race in an IAU-sanctioned event. Winning this event is our ultimate goal but with Japan’s attendance/presence in this event, simply finishing and setting a National Record Time for the distance from our runners will be a great accomplishment already.
2) The Philippines, through the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU), will be represented to an IAU-sanctioned ultra race for the first time. This will expose our country to other ultrarunning countries.
3) The Elite Team Bald Runner goes International as we will be using our official uniform-singlet, courtesy of MILO/Nestle, Philippines.
Once again, for those who supported and continued praying for us, thank you very much. God bless to everybody!