1. Weeks and days before last year’s BDM 102 (1st edition), I included a warning in my rules and regulation that “cheaters” will be disqualified. Some of the runners made a comment why I have to include such instructions in their race packets as according to them this warning was not necessary. I just smiled and did not answer their comments. However, on race day, I was a witness of so many cases of “cheating” among the runners. Did I approach them and tell them on their faces that I saw them cheating during the race? NO! But I remembered their names and faces. In my RD’s Report, I admitted that there were cheating as I personally observed plus the fact that I received also information from my marshals, staff, and from the other runners and their respective support crew. Most of my marshals then were the members of my Elite Team Bald Runner and I really believed in their reports. Their reports were collaborated with the information coming from other runners and their respective support crew. I did not expose them but they know that I know that they cheated. It is for this reason that I declared the Results of the 1st BDM 102 as Unofficial. Case closed.
2. This year’s BDM 102 was a perfect race because there were no reported cheating or making some “shortcuts” of the route as we implimented time stations/checkpoints along the way where each runner were listed with their elapsed time/split time as they passed in many points along the route. Those who were reported to have allegedly cheated on the 1st edition were able to redeem themselves in this year’s BDM 102 by registering a much-improved finish times as compared in last years edition. Did I congratulate them for redeeming themselves in this year’s race? NO!
3. In the 1st PAU 50K Run in Tanay, Rizal last May 9, 2010, one of my marshals reported that one of the runners rode a vehicle with the intention of declaring himself as DNF but he alighted from the vehicle after riding a considerable distance and resumed his race until he reached the finish line. I removed the name of this runner from the Official List of Finishers in the said race and banned him from my road races. This runner contacted me and questioned my decision why I had to remove his name from the list. I stand on my decision based from the reports of my marshals and collaborated by other runners. The runner did not insist to defend himself and I told him that he is banned from my races. Case closed. Most of the finishers in this race knew his name and one of his running friends tried to defend the culprit but I just listened to his reasons and appeal. Did I expose his name? NO, but I kept on informing in my blog and in my race instructions that “cheaters are disqualified in my races and they forever banned in my future races”.
4. After the “P2P” PAU 70K Run in Ilocos Norte, I received reports from my marshals that some of the runners did not pass in one of the checkpoints where each runner must get a string necklace. To be specific, some runners did not pass along the trail road that goes to the Bangui Windmill Project and my marshals potively identified the runners. In another incident, one of my marshals reported also that one runner was seen alighting from a “jeep/multicab” some hundred yards away from the Finish Line. This runner was seen by tricycle drivers in the locality coming out from the vehicle and my marshal overheard some unsavory comments from them due to the incident that they have seen. My marshal positively identified the runner from the pictures I’ve taken at the Finish Line. Before I left Laoag City, I started receiving reports, stories, and observations from the finishers/runners and such reports supported the observations/reports of my Race Marshals. These additional information collaborated with the reports coming from my race marshals.
5. Do I have to call the attention of these reported “cheaters” and let them explain? NO. The reports of my race marshals are enough to pin down these people as I have delegated to them the authority to make sure that the race is conducted honestly and with its integrity intact. These marshals are members of my Elite Team Bald Runner and they know the “do’s and dont’s” in conducting road races. These are the very same people who have been my staff in my road races for the past two & half years and I personally know them since the time I was designated as the Project Director of the DND-AFP Gintong Pangarap for Marathon six years ago! These elite runners do not make-up or create stories of cheating. For what purpose? Bottomline, I trust my elite athletes and they did their job well in my races.
6. Now, ask me how do I feel with these reports of cheating in my races? I am already fed-up and angry about such acts. For the past two years, I am frustrated that there are still reports of cheating in my races (except for 2nd BDM 102) and this is an act of disrespect to the sports, to the Race Director and its staff/marshals, and to the rest of the runners competing in my races. Let us not be legalistic on this matter. But if these runners want to challenge the reports of my marshals, then the burden of proof rest on the shoulders of those who think that they should be innocent or not guilty of cheating.
7. My exposure of ultrarunning events in South Korea and United States as a runner-participant gave me the confidence to conduct more ultra road races in the country. In those countries, I’ve observed that the Race Organizers do not deploy race marshals along the route and there are no reports of cheating among the runners. It is my objective to reach this kind of situation and level of perfection in the conduct of ultra races where every runner should be honest and responsible for their actions. But somewhere towards this goal, a “wake-up” call is needed to remind the runners that I am serious in seeing to it that the integrity of a race should always be intact.
8. If you think I am gaining from these road races financially and for popularity, you are wrong! The registration fees we are collecting from each race are not enough to support the race. We are bringing our logistics from Manila to Bataan, Pampanga, Rizal, and Ilocos Norte and the effort we give just to ensure that each event is successful is not personally rewarding to us as the Race Organizer. The planning, preparation, coordination, bus trips, stress, and discussions among my staff and marshals were all very tiring as if we are also preparing as runners for the race. As you know, our PAU Races are not supported by corporate names or government sports institutions and most of our additional support come from the donations of the runners themselves and good friends who believe in my advocacies. So, I am appealing to everybody that each of the runners of my races should always maintain the integrity of the race and should give respect to us as the Race Organizer and to the other runners. Always remember that we organize these ultrarunning races because we simply have the love and passion to promote the sports. On the other hand, popularity for what end? None! I am already contented as a runner-blogger and enjoying my retirement with a plan to run more miles/kilometers here and to other countries. My blog serves as my one and only marketing tool for my races. At wala kayong makikitang product ads sa blog ko!
9. Now, if you are banned from my races, then that is my decision and I will stick to the reports of my marshals. I really don’t care the implication and result of my decision. My staff and I will continue promoting ultrarunning in this country and spreading the “good news” about running to include honesty in races. Going back to what I always said when I started the BDM 102—“It is better to conduct a race with only 10 participants who are honest than getting as much as thousands of runners in a race which is tainted with dishonest runners”. Lastly, our races define what you are made of, in terms of your attitude, character, personality, and physical and mental capabilities.
10. This “issue” boils down to Integrity, Respect and Obedience. All my races are covered with Rules and Regulations/Instruction and all runners who join my races abide by these rules and instructions. A runner in my races submits himself/herself to these rules from the starting line up to the time he/she crosses the finish line of the race. However, if he/she commits infraction or violation of any of my rules & instructions during the race, then I have the authority to decide to disqualify such runner even without informing the runner in question. It is harsh but, in simple terms, that is the Bald Runner’s Rule!