“Good Morning, Taipei!”

At 9:00 AM this morning, Saturday, December 11, 2010, the 10th Annual Edition of the “IAU’s Silver Medal” Event in Taiwan which is called, “Soochow International Ultramarathon 24-Hour Endurance Race” shall start. The 24-Hour Endurance Race usually consists of only 36 elite runners in ultramarathon running where 18 runners are “the best” international runners and the other half are elite runners from Taiwan.

The Soochow University’s Oval Track had been the official venue of this event since its first staging in 1999. This ultramarathon/24-hour endurance race had been organized and directed by one of its University professors, Frank Kuo, who happens to be a passionate ultrarunner who had joined the Spartathlon and other multi-day running events in the world. Professor Kuo is presently the Head of the Physical Education Department of the University. We happened to meet in this year’s Jeju International Ultramarathon Race in South Korea and became friends. Thus, he invited me to participate in this event.

Official Crest of the Soochow University in Taipei, Taiwan

In the profile description of the University, it is noted for its College of Law as most of the respected lawyers and politicians in Taiwan graduated from this prestigious institution. Its school buidings are located on the slopes of hills and mountains at the Shilin District of Taipei.

University Oval Track & Starting Area

Ultrarunners from six (6) countries will be the “stars” of the 24-Hour Endurance Run. Ryoichi Sekiya and Mami Kudo, both World Record Holders in the 24-Hour Endurance Run, will lead the delegation from Japan; Martin Fryer from Australia, the Champion in the 2009 Surger 48-Hour Endurance Run; Dong Mun Lee and Kwangbok Kim of South Korea, Champions of the 100K & 200K Jeju International Ultramarathon Race, respectively; the brother & sister Ulrich & Annemarie Gross of Italy; Anne-Celile Fountaine of France; and elite ultrarunners from Taiwan.

Ulrich Gross of Italy is the Champion of the Tor Des Geants Endurance Trail Run last September 12-19, 2010. His sister, Annemarie also won as the Lady Champion of the Tor Des Geants 330-Km Trail Endurance Run last September 12-19, 2010 placing 4th Overall Finisher!

Anne-Cecille Fountaine is presently the Ladies World & European Record Holder & Lady Champion in the 24-Hour Endurance Run during the 8th IAU World Championship in Brive-La-Gaillarde in France last May 13-14, 2010. She has a World Record of 243.644 kilometers in 24 hours!

Ryoichi Sekiya’s 24-Hour Endurance record is 276.++kilometers while Mami Kudo’s record is 254.++kilometers. These runners could run from Manila to Baguio City or farther to La Trinidad, Benguet in one day!!!

A 5-Lane Oval Track For An International Ultra Event

 Unfortunately, the Philippines’ runner-participant, Rey Antoque, could not make it in this prestigious ultramarathon event. It is sad to say that the Philippine Army did not allow him to leave the country as he is one of the major ranking non-commissioned officers who will be leading the Team Philippine Army in the AFP Battalion Run Competition this coming Sunday, December 12, 2010. His absence in the team would drastically affect the results of the Battalion Run Competition, thus, the Philippine Army might not be able to attain the Championship in the “AFP Challenge”. (Note: How I wish I could run in this event, in lieu of Coach Antoque, and “rub elbows” with these “Great Warriors” in ultrarunning!)

Inside the Soochow International Marathon Museum

On the day before the event, I went around the University and I was surprised to see a dedicated room (a big one!) which serves as the Official Museum of the Ultramarathon Event. The following pictures would best describe what are the things you could see inside the room. It chronicles the history of the event from 1999 up to the present.

This observation is giving me an idea (again!). An idea or a “dream” to come up with a BDM Ultramarathon Race Museum!!! This will serve as a warning and reminder to our “BDM 102 Veterans” to keep their running stuffs they used to finish in this historical race and have them donated and displayed in the said museum. I am already imagining the pictures (the good and the bad) of past BDM races being displayed in this room!

A Poster With Japan's Ryoichi Sekiya (Right Photo), World Record Holder For 24Hr Run
Posters With Yaanis Kouros & Japan's Mami Kudo, the Women's Record Holder in 24Hr Run

I had the opportunity to have lunch and a lot of time talking to Professor Frank Kuo and Dr Martin Fryer of Australia yesterday. I was surprised to know that Martin is a recipient of the prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run’s “Silver Belt Buckle” for finishing in 20:30:02 hours, placing him #21 in the 2007 edition of the race. Talking to these two distinguished athletes in ultramarathon provided me with lots of ideas and insights which are priceless!

Prof. Frank Kuo (RD of the Event); BR; & Dr. Martin Fryer of Australia (World Record Holder For the 48-Hr Ultra Run)

In the next 24 hours, I will be watching and cheering for these “Great Warriors” in Ultramarathon Endurance Race. And at the same time, I will be gaining a lot of administrative and technical matters about the race. We will see if we can have our first 24-Hour Endurance Race in the country in the future!

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