2012 Olympic Games Qualifying Standards For Athletics

Sculptor Art For the London Olympic Park (From http://www.london2012.com)
In a meeting last April 11-12, 2011 in Daegu, South Korea among the members of the IAAF Council, it was approved that  there are 47 Medals (Men & Women) to be contested which are categorized as the following:
IAAF Qualification System Athletics 2011. In addition to the list of events, a qualification system is also discussed and stated.
Running/Walking/Track Events—29 Medals
Field (Throwing & Jumping)—16 Medals
Combined Events (Decathlon & Heptathlon)—2 Medals
Total Medals In Athletics—47 Medals
With the list above, it is in Athletics where you have the most number of Medals in contention in the Olympic Games. The next sports which has the most number of medals would be Swimming. I think the 3rd medal earner would be Gymnastics. And the last would be a tie for boxing, taekwando, and other combat/contact sports like wrestling and judo.  It could be noted that these sports are all DOABLE for the Pinoys and we could excel in them! Basing from our physical features, average height and weight, we are not different from the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans who had been among the top medal earners in the Olympic Games.
I will not deal on how we would be able to excel and become Olympic qualifiers on these sports because our Sports Officials and NSA Coaches have better ideas and have the necessary resources to attain such objective/goal.
The following are the qualifying times and distances for the different track/running and field events for the 2012 London Olympic Games:
The following are the list of Marathon Races which are considered as Olympic Games Qualifying Races for the 2012 London Olympics’ Marathon Race. It is well noted in the list that the 2011 CAMSUR Marathon Race is the qualifying Marathon Race in the Philippines. I hope our National Pool of Athletes for the Marathon Race will be able to attain their qualifying time for the 2012 London Olympics.
On Racewalking, the following are the published races which are considered as Official Qualifying Races for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
I hope the above documents will be a good reference to our NSA in Athletics, to their Coaches, our National Pool of Athletes and to the upcoming elite athletes in athletics.


I never learn my past mistakes and heed to the lessons learned I have been repeatedly writing on this blog. I am simply stubborn!

I should have recovered from my latest adventure run for at least 4-6 weeks due to the injury I incurred on my left knee. But I was not able to control my urge to run on this particular place.

Paved Road Covered With Big Trees
Not Much Traffic From Vehicles
But I Was Able To See A Lot of Cyclists
In A Place Called "Meadow" After Running 5K Uphill On A Trail
Trail Covered With Trees
Redwood Trees All Around The Place
Trail Running Is Fun!!!
Highest Peak of the Trail
This is the Place Where "Folger's Coffee" Started Its Production

For a clear description of the trail and park, please visit Leor Pantilat’s blog.

A distance of 40 kilometers, 20K on paved road and 20K on mountain trail, for six hours made me limped towards the end of the run. Because of this run, my recovery was disrupted and I am back to square one! However, I am back to my rehab activities.

My mantra during the rehab period is PATIENCE!!!

TNF (Phil) Sucks!

Reasons Why I Don’t Run The North Face (Phil) Races

You can see in my profile that I never participated in any of the local TNF Races and I have personal reasons for it. Although I finished my first taste of an Ultra Trail Run at the Bulldog 50K in 2008 in Malibu, California in 2008, I was happy to know that the Main Sponsor for such race was The North Face. By chance, I finished this first ultra trail run using a TNF Arnuva 50 BOA Trail Shoes! Since then, I’ve been using various TNF Trail Shoes and apparel/equipment for my trail runs here and abroad to include my training runs up to the point that I feature them in this blog!

Let me go directly to the reasons why I don’t run on TNF local races. These are my personal reasons and I don’t want that my readers will be influenced by these reasons.

  1. TNF Philippines did not act on my request for sponsorship for the 1st BDM 102K in 2009 with the reason that it was not an ultra trail run. However, I saw TNF Logos being displayed on the Support Vehicles of Pinoy Ultra Runner (PUR) members who participated in the 1st BDM 102K which simply means that these runners were “sponsored” by TNF. I really did not understand why TNF would sponsor PUR runners/participants in my race when in fact they did not favourably act on my request for sponsorship for the event. (Note: I wonder what happened to the elite ultra runners who called themselves as “Pinoy Ultra Runners”)
  2. TNF Philippines gave a TNF Trail Running Shoes to a runner-blogger who have not yet experienced running on a trail running race event for the simple reason that the runner-blogger was going to participate a TNF 10K Trail Run along the lahar grounds of Clark-Sacobia area. I called the attention of TNF Philippines about this and complained why they are not giving “something” for the Bald Runner as he was fielding a team of runners from the Elite Team Bald Runner for the past two editions and had been a loyal user of TNF apparel and products. Moreso, that I finished already an ultra trail running event. TNF Phil promised to give a new pair of TNF shoes to me as a result of my complaint but up to now I have yet to receive the shoes. It was a simple case of being envious but it was not fair on my part as I’ve endorsed their products way ahead than the other runner-bloggers.  Fortunately, it was one of my BDM 102 finishers who gave me a brand new TNF shoes but he is not in any way connected with TNF. Thanks to July Oconer for the “gift” and generosity. July is also a TNF “loyalist” like me.
  3. I complained about the condition of my TNF Rocky Chucky Trail Shoes after a 50K Trail Run at Mt Pinatubo and TNF did not replace it. Instead, TNF Phil repaired the shoes by using glue to the detached parts and I got the repaired shoes after 5 weeks (that’s a long time to repair a pair of shoes!). After using the repaired shoes for one running workout, the glued parts were separated again. For once, I praised the customer service of TNF Phil when they replaced my non-operating BOA lock & wire for my TNF Arnuva 50 BOA shoes with a new pair of TNF trail shoes but in this case, their customer service was simply poor and deplorable.
  4. It came to my attention of a complaint made by a runner who joined the TNF Baguio about his lost drop bags who got an unsatisfactory feedback from the Race Organizers but the bottom line here is that TNF Phil did not give a satisfactory reason why the runner’s drop bags lost during the conduct of the race. BDM 102 “veteran” Eric Socrates would attest to this information.
  5. On technical matters about the local TNF races. In their 100K trail runs, the prescribed cut-off time is 30 hours. I think this is a very easy requirement to finish an ultra trail run with such distance. You can practically walk all the way up to the finish line even if the terrain is very challenging. The thing that I don’t understand is that the TNF Phil races has the same “point equivalent” with that of a ultra trail running event in the USA which is more challenging and longer in distance. Such accumulated points are needed if you want to qualify for the TNF Mont Blanc 100-Mile Endurance Run (UTMB) in Chamonix, France. So, if you have plans of participating in future UTMB Races, then joining the TNF Phil races will give you the “points” needed for you to be qualified for the race.
  6. For this year, TNF Phil has scheduled a Trail Run in Camarines Sur on April 30-May 1 as part of the 2011 TNF Pacific-Asia Ultra Trail Run Series. Up to this time, TNF Phil is silent about the details of the race but there is only one mountain that is prominent in the province and that is the Mt Isarog. While I was in Camarines Sur for the Marathon Race last year, I had the chance to talk to the Philippine Army’s Intelligence Officer based thereat. In our conversation, I asked him about the security condition of Mt Isarog and he told me that it is not yet declared as “cleared” from the NPA/insurgent forces operating in the area. I hope and wish that from the time I had a conversation with the said Intelligence Officer up to this time, the Mount Isarog is already declared as “cleared” from the armed insurgents! (Note: I wrote this post 2 months ago and I hope that by this time the security forces in the area had “cleared” the place and they will be there to provide the necessary security for the said event)
  7. I created a sports federation for ultra running in the country which is the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) under the auspices of the PATAFA and the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU). PAU embraces and covers all running events that are considered farther than a Marathon Distance which is 42.195 kilometers, whether they are ultra trail runs, ultra road races, or multi-day/multi-stage runs. What I don’t understand is that the Race Organizers of TNF Phil are not coordinating with me or with PAU with regards to their races. If these people are professionals, they should have, at least, the respect and courtesy to coordinate with the sports federation on ultra running. A simple e-mail or SMS would satisfy me on this matter. (Note: This observation goes also to those Race Organizers/Directors who are coming up with ultra marathon races in the different parts of the country who do not coordinate with me/PAU in coming up with their scheduled events. I don’t want that the sports federation for ultrarunning will become like our cycling, basketball, shooting & other sports who have two or more associations/federations under each sports!)
  8. This could be a petty reason but I would like to repeat it (all over again!) as I stated in my previous posts. When will TNF Phil sponsor the visit of Dean Karnazes to the Philippines? I think you know that DK is one of the most prominent athlete endorsers of TNF, if not, the most prominent in the world. I admit that I was strongly influenced by the first book of this guy to get into ultra trail running and eventually come up with the 1st BDM 102K Ultramarathon Race. To describe how crazy I was to meet this guy, I went to Badwater, California for the start of the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2008 (a trip with my wife for 5 hours from Los Angeles where I drove a car) just to personally meet and have a photo-ops with this guy and it later resulted to meeting and talking to him again in two separate events. I hope TNF Phil will not wait till the time when DK is within the age of Jeff Galloway (age of 66) to visit the country.

Now, if you ask me if I will join in this year’s TNF Phil? No way, Pedro! I’d rather run in the San Francisco’s 50-Mile TNF Endurance Ultra Trail Run this December!

Good luck to all the TNF 100 CamSur trail runners & trekkers! Have fun and stay safe!

By the way, does TNF Phil allow the use of trekking poles? Just asking!


Grete Waitz of Oslo, Norway died last Tuesday, April 19 due to cancer. She was 57 years old. She was considered as the fastest lady marathon runner from 1978 to 1988, except in 1981 when she DNFd the New York Marathon due to shin splints and when she placed 2nd and earned the Silver Medal in the 1984 Olympic Games’ Marathon Race. Nobody among the lady marathoners had broken her record of winning the Ladies New York Marathon for 9 times! She won also the Ladies Category in the London Marathon in 1983 and 1986. She was one of my marathon idols when I started to train and run for my marathons races in the 80’s. May she rest in peace!

Grete Waitz, A Consistent ADIDAS Endorser & Sponsored Athlete

In contrast, a young athlete, Sally Meyerhoff, a runner and a triathlete, died last March 7, 2011 due to cycling accident as she was bumped by a fast pick-up truck wile she was crossing a road intersection. She died on the spot. She was still young at the age of 27 and had the potentials to be a future Olympic Games athlete. What makes her more memorable is that she maintained a blog at http://runsal3.blogspot.com where she wrote her latest post entry a day before she died.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, there are more than 500,000 people in the US are treated in emergency department, and more than 700 people die due to cycling-related accidents.

In the Philippines, I have yet to find out the statistics of cycling-related accidents.

Sally Meyerhoff, A "MararthonGuide.Com" Endorser


There is only one word to describe what happened at the 115th edition of the Boston Marathon which was held last Monday—Unbelievable!

For the past years, I was not interested  in trying to monitor what is happening “live” during the race due to the fact that the elite runners were not so much known to me as most of them were from East Africa—Kenya and Ethiopia. After Toshihiko Sato of Japan won the race in 1987 for the 2nd time, the succeeding years up to now had been won by either from Kenya or Ethiopia, except in 1990 when it was won by Gelindo Bordin of Italy and in 2001 when Lee Bong-ju of South Korea won the race. On the women’s division, after Rosa Mota of Portugal won the race in 1990, those elite runners from Poland, Germany, Russia, and of course, Kenya & Ethiopia did not “ring” a bell in my ears. It could be that the winners’ names were hard to memorize or it could be my non-interest then of running because my sensitive assignments or it could be that I did not mind updating myself on what was happening in the running world’s events by not subscribing or buying the latest editions then of the popular running magazines.

But what caught my attention again in this year’s edition of the Boston Marathon was the fact that Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher of the USA had been featured in the runners’ magazines and other running news of their desire to win in the said race. Of course, who would not be excited to see an American/US citizen who will win this year’s edition when the last American winner (Greg Meyer) was in 1983 (almost 3 decades ago). And this is the reason why there is a lot of euphoria and expectations on the result of this year’s edition as being played by the press releases, articles published in running magazines, and other media pronouncements.

But the results in last Monday’s race proved that the Kenyans would steal the show from the rest of the elite runners. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won the race in the fastest ever recorded Marathon Finish of 2:03:02 hours. In the Ladies Division, Catherine Kilel of Kenya won the Championship with a time of 2:22:36 hours. Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop are definitely the fastest marathoners whose times were faster than the existing record time of 2:03:59 hours by Haile Gebrselassie at the 2008 Berlin Marathon. Whether Mutai’s time was not considered as an official Marathon World Record, it is considered as a New Course Record for the Boston Marathon. In my opinion, Mutai will not be affected with such decision as he is more interested in cashing in the Cash Prize he received for his efforts. A cash prize of $ 200,000 is a lot of money for a Kenyan runner!

Ryan Hall, Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher of the USA had also unbelievable results in their efforts where each of them improved their respective PRs. But there was another unbelievable show during the race which was 53-year old Joan Benoit Samuelson’s finish time of 2:51:29 hours making her the record holder for the fastest finish time in the ladies age group of 50-54 years old.

Lastly, the most unbelievable of them all is the decision of the BAA last February of this year to reduce the qualifying time for each age category for the Boston Marathon by 5 minutes. This means that I have to finish a marathon race in 3:55:00 hours by next year (as I will turn to be a 60-year old!) if I need to include joining the Boston Marathon in my “bucket list”. At this point in time, a decision to join or qualify for the Boston Marathon in the future will entail a lot of focus, patience, determination, and resources. There is a need to completely dedicate my time in this life-defining quest for excellence in running.

But, for the Bald Runner to finish the Boston Marathon that would definitely be…UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

For 2013, these are the new qualifying times for the Boston Marathon

Age Group Men Women
18-34 3:05:00 3:35:00
35-39 3:10:00 3:40:00
40-44 3:15:00 3:45:00
45-49 3:25:00 3:55:00
50-54 3:30:00 4:00:00
55-59 3:40:00 4:10:00
60-64 3:55:00 4:25:00
65-69 4:10:00 4:40:00
70-74 4:25:00 4:55:00
75-79 4:40:00 5:10:00
80+ 4:55:00 5:25:00

Creed For The Ancient Marathoner

For those who are about to reach their “half-century” age and “senior citizen” status, the following “creed” is nice to read and as a good reference. The complete article where this excerpt was taken can be browsed at Marathon and Beyond Magazine. This creed applies to me!

Creed for the Ancient Marathoner

1.  Honor the run. Train enough, but not too much. Don’t rely on yesterday’s experience for today’s challenge. Be true to the task. Know
that you are the torchbearer for those younger. You show them not just what you can do but what they will be able to do. You show
them their future.

2.  Don’t be surprised. Train in the heat and in the cold. Know how todrink and eat. Know where each step is taking you.

3.  Don’t take any extra weight along with you; be spare.

4.  Be rested, be fresh, and arrive at the start ready for a full go. Know that each part of you is ready to go the full course.

5.  Age is not an excuse. It is an advantage. Each of us has been up our personal hill more often than the younger runners. We are older, we have experienced more, we have more to give—and we understand more.

6.  Don’t make excuses. Don’t rely on someone else. You are in charge. You alone can crest the rise, fight the fatigue, master the moment.

7.  Although you are in charge of yourself, you are not alone. Your number increases. You run in the footsteps you have made—but also in the paths of Emil, Frank, Johnny, Grete, Clarence, George, and others. You tie your shoes with their laces. You are one with the heroes and heroines.

8.  Don’t compete with your yesterday. No one can defeat you. Be the best that you can be this day. By being your best today, you will
prepare for being your best tomorrow.

9.  Listen to the wisdom of your body. It is older. It has been tested. It knows how. Pay respect and learn from its teachings.

10.  Have fun, don’t take the run too seriously, be confident. 

Bortz’s Law: “It is never too late to start, but it is too soon to stop”

(Source: Running, Aging, and Human Potential by Dr Walter Bortz, Marathon And Beyond Magazine, Sep/Oct 2009)

On Rehab

For the past one week, I’ve been regularly going to the Gym to strengthen my knees, quadriceps and calf muscles. In short, I’ve been trying to to cure my injury which I incurred during my “West To East” Run. The problem lies on my left leg which I think had been my more dominant running leg in my workouts and road/trail races.

Since I’ve finished my latest adventure run, I rested and recovered for about 16 days without any run or physical activity. My daily activities were geared to my rest by doing some light stretching exercises, walking, and browsing on the Internet. I did not have any massages but I concentrated more on my intake of natural foods rich in carbohydrates, proteins and fats. However, every two days, I have to take one capsule of Alaxan FR.

After 16 days of no running, I decided to go to the gym and start trying to bring back some “action” to my legs. After 16 days of no activity, I’ve observed that my leg muscles were soft and tender. I missed those times that my legs were full of “lumps” or “rocks” of hard muscles.

I have been doing lots stationary cycling/biking maintaining an rpm of not less than 100; doing also fast rpm on elliptical machines of at least 120 rpm; and lastly, on the rowing machine trying to maintain at least 22-24 strokes per minute. All these exercises are done with an elapsed time of at least 30 minutes. I hope these exercises will result to something better for my running legs.

The core and upper body muscle routine is still there but the emphasis in my gym works are now concentrated to my legs.

To top it all, I’ve been drinking Ensure as my nutrition drinks. Lots of water intake during gym workouts.

We will see in the coming days what would be the result of my gym workouts. I hope my legs will be better.

Real LIFE Foundation: Serving The Poor

Over a breakfast meeting at the Camp Aguinaldo Golf Course Restaurant in the early part of January 2010, Joshua Suarez, a runner-applicant who was invited to run the 2nd edition of the BDM 102k Ultra Marathon Race, explained to me that he is going to run and finish the BDM 102K Ultra Marathon Race to raise funds in behalf of the scholars of the Real LIFE Foundation. It was in this meeting that he explained to me about the programs and projects of the said foundation.

I immediately approved on the request of Joshua and he was able to finish the race. He was cheered and supported by the scholars/students on those hot, humid, dusty, and exposed kilometers of road on the last half of the course. I guess, he was able to raise a lot of funds to support the scholarship of those students who belong to the marginalized families in Pasig City and other parts of Metro Manila.

Little did I know that Joshua recruited another four (4) runners immediately after he finished the BDM 102 and asked them to train for the 3rd edition of the BDM 102 with the same purpose of raising some funds to support the scholarship of selected students under the administration of the Real LIFE Foundatioon.

Paul Pajo, Ferdie Cabiling, Junn Besana, and Alden Meneses diligently atttended the Ultra Marathon Clinics/Lectures and participated in some of the PAU Races held last year as part of their preparation for the 2011 BDM 102K Ultra Marathon Race. Joshua Suarez became their point man and leader of what they dubbed as the “Bataan LIFE March 2011”, a charity project to raise funds for the scholars of the Real LIFE Foundation by running and finishing the BDM 102.

BDM 102 "Heroes" For Real LIFE Foundation (Ferdie, Alden, Junn, Joshua, & Paul)

These five runners were able to finish the race and were able to raise funds amounting to P 500,000+ from pledges and contributions from donors, here and abroad. I am sure this money will go to the projects and programs of the Foundation with the main aim to provide hope and better future for less-fortunate and poor children for them to attain education and develop good values in the process.

These 5 runners became instant “heroes” to the scholars of the Real LIFE Foundation. And in a fitting ceremony, each of them received medal and plaque of appreciation from the Board of Trustees of the Foundation as represented by the Executive Director, Lynn Nawata.

I was also awarded with a plaque of appreciation and a gift for being the Founder and Race Director of the BDM 102K Ultra Marathon Race. My heartfelt thanks to the Board of Trustees for having me invited to such memorable event and for the award accorded to me.

Joshua Suarez Being Awarded With Jekoy Valle and Lynn Nawata
Junn Besana Being Awarded With Jekoy Valle & Lynn Nawata

I will always remember this program/ceremony. The testimonials of the graduates of the foundation’s scholarship program made me cry! It later sink in to my mind that I created an event, the BDM 102K, as a platform and instrument for people to be able to help the poor.

It is a motivation that will keep me doing my best to sustain the yearly conduct of the BDM 102!

Thanks To The Real LIFE Foundation!!!

If you want to be a part or donor to this foundation, please visit www.igivetolife.com.

Race Director’s Report: 1st Mayon 360 50-Mile Run

4:00 AM April 2, 2011/Penaranda Park, Legazpi City


Event's Logo By Yves Yu


A Dream Race 

Yves Yu, an avid visitor of my blog and a member of the Jaycees International of Legazpi City, and I personally met during the 1st Mt Mayon Trail Run in October 2008 when I joined the said trail run. In one of our conversations, he asked and invited me to try and run the circumferential road of the Mount Mayon Volcano and be the first runner to complete and run the distance from Penaranda Park and back where I’ve started. I told him that I will be back to Legazpi City and have a try on the said run.

Fast forward. After three years such attempt to run around Mt Mayon did not materialize but the dream was still alive. When I participated in the 3rd Mt Mayon Trail Run last October 2010, Yves again reminded me about the run and I said that finally, I will be coming back soon to have a try to run the dream run.

On the early part of January this year, Yves and Provincial Board Member JP Lee had a chance to meet in Manila and we discussed about the conduct of the said event as part of Albay’s Magayon Festival. The schedule was set and the overall administration and operational needs of the event were laid out already. It was a plan which needs to be approved by the Governor of Albay, Hon Joey Salceda.

Recon Run in Legazpi City (January 25, 2011)

Although I was still recovering from my injury, I visited Legazpi City on the later part of January this year. Instead of running through the road surrounding the volcano, I opted to have a short recon run and measured the whole distance of the route while inside a vehicle. After seeing the route and scenic surrounding of the places we passed by during the recon run, I told Yves and his friends with the JCI Legazpi that the course is beautiful and challenging to ultra runners. It is doable and there is a need to implement the plan for the said race without any delay and it could be done on the first Saturday of April.

Mt Mayon & Memorial Park For The Victims of a Flood/Disaster Incident

And just like that, assignments of jobs to be done were designated to each member of the JCI Legazpi City and I was tasked to be the Race Director and have the race sanctioned by the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU). Despite the needed qualifications of runners imposed by the standards of PAU, the Race Organizers approved the implementation of such standards.

The Majestic Mt Volcano From The Oval Track of BSU

Courtesy Call To Governor Joey Salceda

While I was in Legazpi City for the recon run, the Event Organizer decided to drop by the Office of the Governor for a short courtesy call. It was my first time to meet the Governor. The planned short visit and courtesy call lasted for 2-3 hours. The casual conversations about the running event and other topics led to the approval of the budget for the said event. In short, the Mayon 360 50-Mile Ultra Marathon Race was approved as part of the Magayon Festival with the approved budget for the Cash Prizes for the winners and for the expenses needed for the logistics and mobilization of security/administrative personnel and volunteers.

Governor Joey Salceda of Albay & BR

Governor Joey Salceda simply wanted something different to happen in his province for the Magayon Festival. He knows that nobody had done such feat, to run around the most beautiful volcano in the world in 15 hours, and he knows that this is an opportunity to create awareness about ultrarunning for his province.


The Race Organizer/JCI Legazpi and I were one in coming up with such running event with the thought of not making a profit out of it. I could be corny and try to be naive but it was far from our thoughts and objectives of raising some funds from such event. The mere fact that the Provincial Government had supported the event, it was already enough to have this dream realized. The vision was to develop this sports event as part of the yearly Magayon Festival and promote “Sports Tourism” in the region.

I told Yves that if we have 70 runners, it will be a good start to create awareness about the event as it will be the first PAU-sanctioned ultra marathon race being organized by a Provincial Government outside Metro Manila. Yves understood my point as he experienced what came out with his Mt Mayon Trail Run (MTR) for the past 3 years. His races which he founded and initiated had grown in its participants through the years and runners keep on coming through the years.

I have a prediction that the Mayon 360 will be a regular ultra marathon schedule of the year where runners would train and prepare for. It will be an ultra race where the participants will be growing in numbers through the years.

Coordinating Meetings & CarboLoading/Briefing Party 

Two nights before Race Day, I joined the last coordinating meeting among the different committees involved in the said race. I was impressed on how the member-units were able to brief the whole group on their preparations and jobs to be done during the race. Different scenarios had been played and “brainstormed” by the group or committee involved in any particular situation to happen during the event. These guys were so meticulous on their preparations and I could see in their eyes the interest and drive to make this event a successful one. 

Coordination Meeting With All The Committees Involved

The CLP and Briefing was done at the Provincial Capitol Center with almost all the runners who most of them are from Metro Manila and the so-called “PAU-loyalists” and “BDM Veterans”. I was happy that these runners, although not yet fully recovered from their BDM Races, have joined this event and be a part of history in running in the Bicol Region.

Prov'l Board Member & President of League of Barangays JP Lee, BR, & Oriel Maddela/Chairman, JCI Legazpi

As the Race Director, I delivered a very detailed Briefing about the race and what the runners would expect along the route, to include the elevation and the logistics, but I did not tell them about the beauty of the scenery of their surroundings while they will be running the race. Finally, I told them that they are already part of history in this event as the first group of runners who ran around the Mt Mayon Volcano. They should not be pressured with the distance as the people of Albay will be in every Aid Station to cheer and support them in their run from Start to Finish.

Board Member JP Lee Delivering His Opening Remarks to the Guests & Runners
Runners & Guests From Metro Manila
Route of the 1st Mayon 360

Race Proper

My first frustration in directing a road race is when the scheduled time of start is not done on the dot. I have that “signature” of starting my races before or on the scheduled time of start. It is a little shy of 5 minutes after 4:00 AM that the race started after a short prayer, singing the national anthem, and a short talk from the Race Organizers. At least, the race started not more than 10 or 20 minutes from the scheduled time. I knew the runners would not notice such a little delay. 

Start of the 1st Mt Mayon 360 50-Mile Run

The communications, support, and logistics systems of the race were great and everybody was working as a team and they were very efficient. A local radio station was broadcasting a “live update” of the race from the top runners from Start to Finish. The AMA School Computer Team was also feeding a “live update” on the event’s website at http://mayon360.com with photos of finishers as they cross the Finish Line! Results of the Race were on real-time as they are posted on the website immediately. Simply great!

Mt Mayon 360 Website Picture

What is nice about an ultra marathon race is the “drama” within each runner; the “drama” among runners and competitors; and the “drama” of the runner with the challenges of the environment; the route; and the warm hospitality & appreciation you receive from the local people witnessing the event. Moreso, the interaction of the runners with those people who volunteered to make this road race an enjoyable and successful one! 

Elmer Sabal & Willy Rotich Leading The Race @ Km 25
Alley Quisay, Willy Rotich, Mario Maglinao, & Elmer Sabal @ Km 40

The “drama” on the first half of the race was the competition between our own elite runners, Elmer Sabal, Alley Quisay and Mario Maglinao with the visiting Kenyan runner, William Rotich. The four made up the frontrunners for almost 40 kilometers with each of them exchanging places from time to time, depending on the terrain of the route. At Km 41, Elmer Sabal dropped out from the race due to severe muscle cramping in his legs and declared as DNF before he rode in one of the support vehicles. From here on, it was a matter of knowing who will win as the Champion as the three of them were confident to bring home cash prizes after the said run. At Km 50, Mario and Alley were already having problems with leg cramps and they slowed down. William took advantage of the situation and started to speed up his pace towards the Finish Line. He did not look back and went alone to win the race. Mario was running 2nd place while at far back of him of about 500 meters, Alley was trailing his back.

Willy Rotich Leading The Race at Km 70
Alley Quisay Running 2nd at Km 70

The “drama” started to unfold between Mario and Alley when suddenly Mario was struck with a severe leg cramping that he had to lie down on the pavement to be given a “massage” by the Medical Team. Alley was able to pass him with 15 kilometers more to go before the Finish Line. Alley maintained his pace and he was able to create a big gap from Mario. When Mario was able to recover and started to run again, Alley was already 2-3 kilometers ahead of him. Alley won 2nd place and later, Mario arrived in 3rd place.

The Hardcores of Ultrarunning!!!

There was a “big drama” with the Women’s Division. Merlita Arias was leading for about 2 kilometers from the Kenyan runner at halfway but at Km 60, Merlita slowed down due to cramps and Poywo was able to overtake her at Km 70 and she was leading for awhile. But Merlita was able to recover and through her strong will to win the race, she placed all her efforts to regain back the first position. On the last 10 kilometers, they alternately changed positions but Merlita prevailed and she was able to lead the race until she reached the Finish Line. Poywo came in second.

Merlita Arias Dunkin @ Km 25
Peris Poywo of Kenya Having Massage & TV Interview @ Km 40

Due to unavoidable circumstances, a first-time lady ultrarunner whom I invited to join the event through the Event’s Page on Facebook got the 3rd place. Arianne Ortega was surprised when she crossed the Finish Line and declared as the 3rd top finisher among the women’s division. She joined her first ultra marathon race with the only objective to finish the race within the prescribed cut-off time of 15 hours but she got a bonus for winning a cash prize of $750.00. She was very happy and she thanked me for the invitation. Nice and happy lady!

Out of the 69 runners who started the race, 59 runners were able to cross the finish line and all of them were declared “official” finishers as they finished within the cut-off time of 15 hours. 

Mac Milan Having Massage & TV Interview at Km 40
A Typical Aid Station Along The Route
Hard-Boiled Eggs With Salt
Boiled Bananas & Massage Station at the Next Table
Sodas & Bite Foods

Awarding Ceremony

The awarding ceremony started as soon as the last runner crossed the finish line. Gov. Joey Salceda awarded the cash prizes, medals, and certificates to the top finishers (men’s and women’s). Governor Salceda was satisfied with the result and the awareness the event had created among the people of Albay. He stated in his closing message that this event will be made bigger and with more participation from international runners in the next year’s edition. Thus, this event will be a permanent activity for the Magayon Festival that will promote Sports Tourism in the Region.

Awarding Ceremony With Governor Joey Salceda

Things To Be Improved

Knowing that 85% of the runners would be coming from Metro Manila and the “usual suspects” in PAU and BDM Races, I did not strictly impose on the rules and regulations of PAU Races because I knew that such rules/regulations are already “automatic” to them. I did not realize that the local “first-time” ultra runners were not aware of such rules and regulations. We will improve on the strict implementation of the PAU/BDM Races’ rules & regulations on the future editions of this road race event. (Note: About 30+ local runners ran as “bandits” and pacers for the registered local runners)

Through my suggestion, a local Marathon (42K) race must be conducted in Albay months prior to the Magayon Festival to give a chance for the local and regional runners to qualify for the next edition of the race.

Future and Expectations 

As stated by Governor Joey Salceda in his closing remarks during the Awarding Ceremony, the ultra running event will remain as a permanent activity of the yearly Magayon Festival. It will be a bigger event where international runners will be invited and hopefully, included in the calendar of events in ultra marathon websites and Ultrarunning Magazine Online.

The involvement of the Provincial Government, League of Barangays of Albay, JCI Legazpi, and the people of the 3 cities, 7 municipalities and 77 barangays of the province will showcase the unity, warmth, hospitality, and the kindness of the populace.

This ultra marathon race must be a part of the yearly checklist of an ultrarunner!

See you next year!