Call Centers’ Night Fun Run @ MOA

24 05 2010

I am starting to love (again!) the lighted roads of MOA since I am trying my best to build-up my mileage for my next marathon race (MILO Marathon Elimination on July 4). I started my run at 7:30 PM along the 5.5-Km loop which I expanded to 6.5-Km loop on my second lap around the MOA Complex. However, after running for 12 kilometers, I ended my workout to greet my elite runners who were registered to run in a road race which was scheduled to start at 9:00 PM. After talking to my elite athletes, I had the time to observe what was going on at the Start/Finish & Assembly Areas of this Fun Run.

The “fun run” which is sponsored by all the Call Centers has all the “works”—loud music from a sound system; lots of booths with free products for the runners; booths for pictorials; powerful lighting systems; a rock band; photograhers; big tarpaulins of sponsors; lots of race officials & marshals; start & finish arc; video camera team that goes from one group to another group of runners to conduct interviews; cash prizes for the top winners and above all, the presence of “newbie” runners and the Kenyans!

The fun started when the registration was conducted “on site” few hours before the scheduled start of the race. The second “funny” thing is that a runner has to pay Five Hundred Pesos for a 10K race; Three Hundred Pesos for the 3K Race; and Four Hundred For the 5K Race. The participants who are employees of Call Centers had lower rates, a difference of One Hundred Pesos from the Non-Call Center participants. Since I’ve finished my 12K run before the race started, I opted to save my money and instead be at the sidelines to cheer for my elite runners and at the same time observe the conduct of the event.

It was no longer funny when the start of the race was delayed from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The reason was that more runners are still registering at the booths and the race organizer had to wait until everybody had registered. Finally, the 10K race started first at 10:15 PM and after 15 minutes, the 5K runners were released. After another 10 minutes, the 3K runners which consisted of the biggest bulk of runners were off on the road. In my estimate, there were less than a 100 runners in the 10K distance; 150+ in the 5K; and almost 300 for the 3K run.

After 10 minutes that the 3K runners were released, the fastest among the 3K runners started to approach the Finish Line. I was surprised to hear from the RACE Officials asking the approaching runner “what is the race distance is he competing with?” What? I said to myself, this Race Official does not know how to distinguish the color-coded bibs given by them to their runners? WTF??? Personally, I also could hardly distinguish the color dark-green from the dark-blue color during nighttime even if the streets are lighted. (Blue bibs were for the 10K runners while the green bibs were for the 3K runners)

Well, one thing leads to another. This is a fun run where the route was not fully explained. The runners were told by the Race Organizer just to follow the directional signs and get directions from the road marshals along the route. I am sorry to say that many of the leading runners of the 10K race were lost! In the end, I even acted as a “volunteer” in reminding the 10K finishers to enter their respective “chute” so that their time will be registered.  

Due to some of the technical problems encountered during the race, the awarding of winners was delayed. It was already 12 midnight when the Race Organizers finally awarded the winners. My elite Team Bald Runner members were able to place #4 in the 10K race; 1st, 3rd & 4th in the 5K race; and 4th in the 3K distance. This was their second race for the day and 3rd race for the weekend!!!

For sure, I will be going back to MOA Complex for more of my endurance runs in the evenings!


The Running Priests & Adventure Runs

22 05 2010

I’ve been trying to browse the Internet if there are “documents” or “daily accounts” available to back up the running experiences of Fr Robert Reyes and his running mates in their “adventure runs” throughout the country in the past.

In one of my meetings with the Race Organizers/Directors at the PATAFA Office, Mr Ben Alacar, father of ultrarunner Ian Alacar. mentioned that he was among the runners that accompanied Fr Reyes’ ultra runs in the country. I was surprised when he told me that it took them 8 days to run from Laoag City to Manila in 1998. WhenI asked him about their daily accounts/documentations, he told me that the GOMBURZA group which Fr Reyes led, was the repository of these running accounts.

Anyway, I still persisted to browse the Internet and I was able to find this link of a document written by Fr Robert Reyes which is worth reading about the running priest’s story. In the said article, I found out that he did the following:  

“I have run and biked in Europe, the United States, Australia, China and now Hong Kong. I ran across the Philippines in three phases from 1996 to 1998 (1996, from Cotabato City to Cagayan de Oro; 1997, Across Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Negros and Panay; 1998: from Laoag to Manila and Sorsogon to Manila).”

Among the runner-bloggers, we have also Fr Amado Picardal who is presently based in Davao City. His blog is a repository of his daily running adventures in the South/Mindanao which is worth reading because he features his training/preparation, nutrition, and all the details about his runs with the appropriate pictures. His personal story and beginnings in running is featured in the latest edition/copy (3rd) of the FrontRunner Magazine.

I have yet to find out who was that Candidate For President in the past elections (in the 80s or 90s) who did his campaign throughout the country by running from one town to another with only one support vehicle! I hope he did not cheat in his running adventures during those times! Although this running-candidate for President did not win, I really do not know if he was able to get votes after the ballots had been canvassed then by the COMELEC. (Note: If somebody among my readers know the name of this candidate, it is worth meeting this guy for an interview!)

Going back to Fr Reyes & Fr Picardal, these running priests are also “cycling priests” and their “feats” had been admirable. I salute them for their cycling and running achievements! But personally, I don’t buy or use running as a means “to create awareness on political and economic issues” confronting our country and people.

In my analysis, these priests could easily plan for these “adventure runs” because they have an “in-place” organization that supports them along the route they take. Every town has a church and a priest or priests in them. Sometimes, every city has a cathedral, group of priests and a seminary. These in-place facilities are easily accessible to these priests as their “pit stops” and “transient homes” for them during their adventure runs. They are really blessed!

If I have a plan and means to do what these famous “running & cycling” priests have done in the past, it would be best for me to stop in every capital city of every province to lecture to elementary and high school children about running and I might also include colleges and universities, too! But my planning would take longer as I need proper coordination as to where I will have my “rest over night” during my adventure run. I have yet to look for some sponsors for my future adventure runs! Wish me luck!

No More Laoag MILO Elimination Race

21 05 2010

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Mr Andrew Neri of MILO/Nestle Phils with the following message:

“Due to the recent change in the political environment, we’d like to inform everyone that we will be transferring the 34th National MILO® Marathon Laoag Elimination race to Dagupan slated on July 11, 2010.”

Being a native of Laoag City, I was surprised to receive such information. Although, I don’t have plans to join this MILO Elimination Race in Laoag City, I am “intrigued” with the reason stated why MILO had to transfer the race from Laoag City to Dagupan City.

As a result of the May 10 elections, former Senator Imee Marcos won over the incumbent Governor Michael Keon for the Governor of Ilocos Norte. I could only surmise that the change in the leadership of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte has made some changes in the “organizational” preparations for the said race. With the limited time between the assumption of the new provincial administration and the date of the event, the organizers of the race do not want to compromise the preparation and conduct of the race with another coordination with the new administration.

However, in my own experience in attending this Laoag Elimination Race two years ago, I found out that there was a dismal turnout on the number of runners for the 21K elimination race. Despite the fact that you have a Governor who was a former Director of the Project Gintong Alay, POC Chairman, and PATAFA President, I could only see few runners (less than 30) who competed for the half-marathon distance. I guess, this could be the actual reason why MILO has to transfer the venue to Dagupan City.

This is a good chance for the people of Pangasinan to shine in long distance running. 

Good News!

20 05 2010

This is a good news to our athletes. Knowing that Athletics, Swimming, and Boxing had been the consistent medal-earner for our athletes in the Olympics, Asian Games, and Southeast Asian Games, it is about time to develop the full potentials of our citizens to these sports. I do hope that the following pronouncement of Representive-Elect Manny Pacquiao will lead us to another level of sports competitiveness with other countries knowing him as a world’s top boxer that the country had produced so far!

With the following news & statements coming from a world-top elite athlete and now as a politician, I might be eating my words when I said that “Politics and Sports do not mix”.

Having been the Project Director of the DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap-Marathon (RP’s 1st Olympic Gold in Marathon) for more than 3 years before my retirement from the AFP and as the Head of the Elite Team Bald Runner Distance Project for the past 2 years, I think it will take Representative Manny Pacquiao for the remaining years and months before the 2012 London Olympics to produce our first Olympic Gold Medal, if not, up to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics with the hope that he’ll be re-elected for his 2nd term.

Rep. Pacquiao’s priority: Help RP win 1st Olympic gold
Posted at 05/18/2010 10:12 PM | Updated as of 05/19/2010 2:58 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao has yet to take his seat in Congress as Sarangani province’s lone district representative, but he already has in mind several projects he wants to pursue.

Foremost among his priorities is to help the country win its first Olympic medal.

“’Yan ang pangarap natin na makakuha tayo ng gold [sa Olympics],” said the congressman-elect.

Pacquiao said this goal will be one of his priorities in Congress, aside from providing livelihood to fishermen and farmers in Sarangani.

The Philippines has yet to win an Olympic gold medal since it joined the quadrennial event in 1924.

Pacquiao said it doesn’t matter which sport he will prioritize as long as it generates the elusive gold medal.

“Sa boxing, kahit ano, basta tutukan lang natin at kelangan lang ng suporta ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.

Pacquiao is also optimistic the party-list group Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA), which he chairs, will eventually secure a seat in Congress.

He said PBA, which aims to represent amateur athletes in Congress, will help him realize the Filipino people’s Olympic dreams.

The closest the Philippines has gotten to an Olympic gold medal was during the 1964 Tokyo and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Anthony Villanueva reached the gold medal round in the 1964 Olympics, but lost a controversial decision to Soviet Union’s Stanislav Stepashkin in the featherweight division. He took home the silver medal.

Thirty-two years later, in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco took home a silver medal after also losing a controversial decision against Daniel Petrov of Bulgaria in the final round of the light flyweight division.

The Philippines has also won 7 bronze medals in the Olympics.

The Filipino Olympians who have won bronze medals are: Teofilo Yldefonso (2), Simeon Torribio (1), Miguel White (1), Jose “Cely Villanueva (1), Leopoldo Serrantes (1) and Roel Velasco (1). — With a report by Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News

Coke, Salt, Ice Water, Etc.

19 05 2010

How I wish I could be a part among the “volunteers” in The Bull Runner’s Dream Marathon this coming weekend. Due to my scheduled meeting with people outside Metro Manila which is connected with my recon activities for my next “adventure run” and incoming PAU road races, I could not be a part of the said event. However, I am coming up with the following suggestions and tips for the runners who will be experiencing their first Full Marathon:

1. Ice Cold Coke—It does not matter if it is Coca-Cola, Pepsi, RC Cola, or Sarsi, you need to drink at least one can, one bottle up to one liter of Coke if you feel exhausted or before you think you are at the verge of hitting your “wall”. You will be surprised that this sweet ice cold drink will give you the much needed “kick” on your last few kilometers. In all my road races that I’ve organized, there is always a Coke in every Aid Station, to include the usual water and Gatorade drinks!

2. Salt—It could be the ordinary table salt, rock salt or iodized salt or if there are available commercial salt tablets, you have to bring some in your packet or in one of the zippered pockets of your hydration belt. If you are going to finish the full marathon in 4 hours or more, you have to take some salt or salt tablets to maintain the sodium level of your blood. For the ultrarunners, they mix salt and ice cold coke for their hydration intake in the last 10-20K of their ultra races.

3. Ice Water with Sponge—If the heat of the sun is too much to bear on your skin or body, you need a sponge soaked in an ice-cooled water to use in rubbing the parts of your body being exposed to sunlight. You can also douse some of the absorbed ice water on the sponge to your head. Ice cold water poured on your head  and back gives refreshing sensation to your body.

4. Immodium—Don’t forget to take immodium capsule or diatab tablets at least one hour before the start of the race. This will give you the confidence to run without any GI issues even if you eat some foods or drink a lot of water/drinks during the race. However, it is advised that you should have your pre-race “bowel movement” before taking this medication.

5. Massage—Be sure to have your last body massage at least two days before the race/event. Don’t have your massage a day before the race as your body muscles will not have enough time to rest & recover before the race.

6. Alaxan FR, Pain-Killer Medications, & others—I know of some “hardcore and competitive” runners who take Alaxan FR with Immodium before the start of the Full Marathon for obvious reasons. The Alaxan FR will anticipate the “arrival” of pain to your leg muscles and joints during the race. Other runners would say that Viagra make them stronger, faster, and can extend their endurance limit in long distance running events but there is a need for advise from your physician. My elite athletes will always remind me to take Pharmaton tablets at least 3 days before the marathon run.

7. Candies—Most of the ultra runners crave for candies during the second-half of the race as they are sweet. It is worth trying with a candy in your mouth while you are running. Be careful not to experience being “choked” when you swallow your saliva with the sweet extracted from the candy while you are breathing with your mouth! In my road races which I organize, runners are always served with Cloud 9 bite size chocolate candies in every Aid Station.

8. Kinesio Tapes—I have a lot of Kinesio Gold Tapes (Black in Color) For Sale and I only used them once when I had an injury on my lower left leg and it gave me some comfort in my recovery runs. When I participated in the Jeju International Ultramarathon Race last March, I’ve seen a lot of the Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese and US runners using this kind of tape on their legs. Michelle Estuar, the Lady Champion in the 1st PAU 50K Race, was sporting a lot of Kinesio tapes during the race. The way I looked at her during the run, she looked like a running “Robocop”!

Good luck to the TBR Dream Marathon Runners!

Travel Advisory

19 05 2010

Do not travel along the SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) from Subic to Clark or vice-versa during nighttime. There are unidentified persons along the expressway who throw stones at your car. If your car’s windshield or one of your window panels is broken, it creates shock and panic to the driver and to the passengers! The breaking of a glass of a car at a speed of 80-100 KPH is a horrible experience. It seems that somebody had shot you with a gun or a rifle. And the burst of those tiny glass fragments inside the car landing on your body seems that you were hit with shotgun pellets!

But what is worst is when you are shocked and get panic, it is either you suddenly stop your car or bump your car along the side railings of the expressway. Either way, you will end up as a casualty. There were reports that these unidentified persons who threw stones to passing vehicles are members of  a “hold-up” syndicate. Once you stop your car at the shoulder of the highway, this is a chance for these persons to approach your vehicle and divest you with your things. In a few seconds, they could escape along the fields and trails leading to the hills beside the highway under the cover of darkness.

Last week, I was a victim of these “stone-throwers” but I did not stop along the expressway even if I was in the company of Mr Sig Sauer. It was 7:30 in the evening when I heard a loud explosion of a broken glass and knowing that my windshield was untouched, I continued driving until I reached the Clark Exit to NLEX. I found out that the quarter panel glass on the side of my car was broken and there was a trace that a stone had hit it. I am glad the stone did not hit my windshield or my window glass panels.

After the broken glass was replaced by the car company’s repair service, I went back to the place where I believe the incident happened. It is the place in between Dinalupihan & Floridablanca Exits. This was the very same place of the first 10K of last year’s Subic International Marathon! One of these days, I’ll have that hut/nipa house situated on a hill and the rock-crushing facility inspected by the soldiers during nighttime.

So, if you have plans of travelling along the SCTEX from Clark to Subic or vice-versa, do not do it during nighttime! Stay safe!

Too Many Road Races

18 05 2010

1. Yes, there are too many road races on a Saturday and Sunday up to 4-5 running events for each day for this month of May. It is surprising that we have the most number of road races in a month which is considered as the hottest month of the year for us. On the other hand, this could be a sign that it is about time to declare the Month of May as the “Month For Running” or “Month For Runners” in the country. If any of the newly-elected Senators and/or Members of the House of the Representative would read this blog, at least, they have a proposal for a Bill that could be enacted into a Law. This will encourage more of our countrymen to be involved in an active healthy lifestyle through running. I hope the member of Congress who will propose this bill is also a runner!

2. Is it good or bad to have a lot of Running Events in one day or during the weekend? If there are Cash Prizes for the top runners, it will be good for the “visiting” Kenyans and to the local Elite Runners, to include my Elite Team Bald Runner! If there is none, it will be good for the competitive/average runners (to improve their PRs) and receive their “loot bags” and a “winner” to the corporate sponsors for their marketing exposures.

3. Too many road races means that there are also too many race directors & race event organizers around. It also means that almost all the corporate products are dipping their money to promote their products through the road races. I just wish that the Race Organizers will get a profit out of their running events even if they are competing with other road races being conducted on the same day. It is good to “spread” the economy, too.

4. If there are two or more road races in a weekend, what would be the most important factor to consider in selecting one? Is it the registration fee (lower or higher), the route, the reputation of the Race Organizer/Race Director, the singlet & the “loot bag” at the Finish Line, the brand or product being endorsed, or the popular personality who is endorsing the race and the product? Whatever your choice is, you are the one making the decision and above all, it’s your money!

5. There are more road races being conducted outside Metro Manila and I hope that there are more runners being developed and/or discovered as a result of these races. Aside from the MILO Elimination Runs in the Regions and key cities in the country, I hope more of the established companies/corporations would be able to sponsor local road races and fun runs. In addition, it is about time that the local government units should be in the forefront in encouraging their consituents to be involved in sports. Running would be the least expensive sports that they could plan & implement.

6. Last Sunday morning, I was at The Fort and I observed the Start & Finish of the Neutragena 15K/10K/5K/3K Road Races. I was an spectator of the event and I was surprised that there are only “few” runners (as compared with the previous races with 5-8 thousand runners!) It appears that there were less than 2,000 runners in the event based from the published results. This could be the effect of too many road races in one weekend where runners have a choice depending on the factors to be considered in a road race. On the other hand, this was the first time that I also observed the presence of “tall & muscular” security guys dressed in all black. “Bouncers” in a Road Race? What is their job description at the Start & Finish Line? If I may suggest, these “security guys” should be posted in key intersections along the route of the runners where they could “bully or intimidate” those undisciplined jeepney drivers/motorcycle riders and “angry-shouting & honking” taxi drivers! I wonder if they are “volunteers” or get paid by the Race Organizers/Sponsors?

7. With the new administration of government preparing to take over the reign of leadership for the whole nation, I’ve been reading a lot of news about the same personalities who brought our athletes in our past international sports competitions (2008 Beijing Olympics & 2009 Laos Southeast Asian Games) with dismal performance as the ones reportedly recommended to be leading again our government’s sports institutions. Politics & Sports will never mix in order to get the best from our athletes and win medals in International Sports Competitions.

8. Lastly, I am planning to tender my resignation as the PATAFA’s Chairman of the Road Race Committee. Nothing had been done to my recommendations on the conduct & protocol of road races to include the conduct of seminar among road race directors and organizers. I would rather concentrate my effort in promoting ultramarathon races through the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) as the President & Founder by bringing more of the ultra races outside Metro Manila.

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