86th Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon Logo

They call this running event as “Marathon” even if it is actually an Ultra Marathon Race with a distance of 86.96 Kilometers (52 Miles). The race route is on the paved road between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. It is one of the oldest ultra marathon races in the world but at present, it is being dubbed as the world’s largest ultra marathon race whose runners would reach up to 23,000 with cheerers and spectators lined up throughout the course! (With the increasing number of International runners reaching up to almost 2,000, this event promotes Sports Tourism to South Africa!)

This Sunday, May 29, it will be the 86th edition of the race which started as a commemoration of the dead British & South African soldiers who were the casualties during World War I. It was created by a retired British Army Officer to honor his “comrades” who died as heroes during the World War I Campaign in South Africa, hence, it was named as the Comrades Marathon.

If they have the Comrades Marathon in the continent of AFRICA, then we have also the Bataan Death March 102K & 160K Ultra Marathon Races in ASIA. The reason and purpose of the two running events are similar but Bataan Death March attracts more interest due to its historical significance, popularity and involvement of war’s atrocities and heroism of the Filipinos and Americans.

The following link will describe in details the history of the Comrades Marathon from its origin up to its last edition last year.


Due to the popularity of the Comrades Marathon in Europe and USA, I read somewhere and overheard other ultra runners saying that you are finally called as a “full pledged ultra runner” if you have finished the Comrades Marathon within the prescribed cut-off time of 12 hours. It is for this reason that I am already making my travel preparation and training for the next year’s edition of the race! God willing.

In the Philippines, a runner is not a full pledged ultra runner if he/she has not finished the BDM 102K Ultra Marathon Race within the prescribed cut-off time of 18 hours. It is my personal declaration and I will stand by it.

You can browse more about how to join the Comrades Marathon at their website at www.comrades.com.


2012 BDM 102 Marathon Qualifier

Let me remind all the runners who are interested to apply to join the 2012 Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race (BDM 102) that the deadline of acceptance of letter of intent will be on September 1, 2011. Such deadline is also true to all runner-applicants for the 2012 BDM 160K Ultra Marathon Race. There will be no extension of deadline on this matter.

Since the deadline will be on September 1, 2011, those who have not yet finished a Marathon Race (42K) have two (2) Marathon Races where they could qualify. The earliest is the Manila International Marathon which will be held on June 26, 2011 and the later one will be the MILO Marathon Manila Eliminations on July 31, 2011. The month of August does not have a local Marathon Race scheduled not unless the runner would opt to finish a Marathon Race outside the country.

Personally, I suggest runners without any Marathon experience to join the Manila International Marathon. Looking at the published Race Route, the course is flat and fast as it will cover the roads along the Roxas Boulevard-CCP Area-MOA Area-Macapagal Avenue, however, the runners will have to do two loops of these areas. It’s better than doing three (3) loops!

I am sure MILO Phils. will not repeat their Manila Marathon Elimination Race Route last year because of some complaints and tragic accident. However, if the runner does not have enough time to prepare for the earlier marathon race, then the MILO Elims would be the appropriate Marathon qualifier before the deadline of BDM 102 application.

Again, the “only qualifier” for the BDM 160 is to finish the BDM 102.

If you are qualified for the 2012 BDM “Grand Slam”, the deadline of application is still on September 1, 2011.

Number of slots for BDM 102—200 runners (to include AFP/PNP & “invited” runners)

Number of slots for BDM 160—80 runners

Please relay this information to the other runners who are interested to join the BDM Races.

For BDM Races updates and details, please visit http://bataan102.blogspot.com. 


I am not referring to Rock Bands.

These are strap bands that are very popular among athletes, most especially to runners.

For the past weeks, I could not run without using these bands. They are simply called PT Bands or Pro-Tec Bands, their brand name.

For the first two weeks, I’ve been using the PT Runner’s Knee Band on my left leg which is the one where I’ve been injured. However, instead of placing the front of the band beneath my knee cap, I place the “hard” part of the band behind my knee in order to relieve a mild pain on it.

Pro-Tec Knee Band

After two weeks, I was able to buy a Pro-Tec IT Band Strap which I use to strap my lower left quads. The said strap was able to relieve the pain on my lower quads whenever I over exert my left leg. This strap had been a good medical aid during my runs.

Pro-Tec IT Band

I’ve been putting some miles again on the road and trails by running and hiking and these two bands (Knee and IT) had been helpful in easing the pain  on my leg.

This is how it looks when they are strapped on my left leg.

My Left Leg With Straps!

I could be hard-headed again with my treatment and recovery but it makes me CRAZY & bored if I can’t run/walk at least once a day no matter what the distance is.

(Note: 1st & 2nd pictures were copied from the Pro-Tec Band’s website)

Do We Love Pain?

The following is an article that I copied from a trail running book which I want to share to my readers, whether you are a newbie runner or an accomplished/competitive ultra runner. You can share also your answer to the said question on the title.

Do We Love Pain? 

Not long ago, I posted the question on a blog site: “Are we endurance athletes driven by the solipsistic need for self-validation, as in, ‘we hurt, therefore we are’; or is it that we love the pain and exertion and, therefore, more is better?”

The answers were quite edifying so I thought I’d share them:

–Personally, I love it–the pain, I mean. But most importantly, I view the pain as the engine to drive me to reach my goals. In other words, I know I’m hurting because I’m on hour four of a six-hour effort and that I’m that much closer to seeing nature in full effect. Or, that the pain is getting me through a technical uphill section. The pain is an indication that I’m do-ing!

–I train so I don’t hurt any more.

–I tend to agree; when I was most prepared to race, pain wasn’t much of a factor. The validation came in competing against others.

 –I was getting massage last night, and the therapist asked, “You do work your body hard, don’t you? What is your motivation?” I didn’t know what to say, mainly because my face was being shoved into the hole as he stretched my calf and it was hard to talk anyway…but he made me think. I don’t know that I have a good answer, but I agree that training is to avoid future pain, I also know that I absolutely love being out in the wilderness, and the harder I train, the more time I am able to spend in that environment.

–It’s all about the balance. You feel so good afterwards because you suffered through the pain during it. The sweetness of completing something wouldn’t be the same if it was easy to do. Being in pain, working through it, and finishing bring the accomplishment more meaning.

–I say it’s like most things in life: combo platter.

–I don’t love pain…but it makes me stronger, and in that way it helps me achieve my goals. I think the key to the answer lies within our personal goals.

–Balance. For me it’s all about the three-part teeter totter: sport, family, work. Each causes (good) pain the harder you try at it, and all must be in balance to make each truly meaningful.

–Maybe we like the pain. Maybe we’re wired that way. Because without it, I don’t know, maybe we just wouldn’t feel real. What’s that saying? “Why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.” I can’t take credit for the qoute, but it seems somewhat appropriate.

–I love it and think that more is fun but moderation is the key to longevity and health. I’m enjoying my Boston Marathon hangover. Pain is relative. I just wish I could recover quicker!

–If pain feels good, if pain = pleasure, then is it really pain? But I am proud to be one of the finish-line crossers so maybe pain = proud.

–It’s not the pain that’s enjoyable, it’s the feeling of accomplishment and daily reinforcement that your body is adapting—getting stronger and/or faster. Pain is a reminder that you pushed hard. We need to be more aware about the weakest point in our body, as that seems to break first. Strengthen the weakest part to keep the rest in balance.

–So many times I’ve been asked if I love pain. Or, why do I put myself through all this “insane training and criminal early (very early) morning runs?” And I have questioned myself, too: why? I love pain, I do, it make me feel alive! It makes me feel I trained, I paid my dues, I have a right to be where I am. Too crazy? Maybe.

(Source: The Ultimate Guide To Trail Running: 2nd Edition by Adam Chase & Nancy Hobbs. Guilford, Connecticut: 2010; pages 71-73)

Ultra Running Association

I have created and organized the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) as the official sports federation on ultrarunning (road races, trail races, 6/12/24/48-hour endurance races and multi-day stage races) in the Philippines which is under the umbrella and approval of the PATAFA. PAU had been an accredited member of the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU), the world’s governing body of ultrarunning.

In my research, I was able to read the blog of Scott Dunlap and found out a post which he published on February 16, 2005 where he interviewed Nancy Hobbs, an ultra trail runner, Race Director, co-author of the book The Ultimate Guide To Trail Running, and Founder of the All American Trail Running Association (AATRA).

The following is the link on the details of Scott Dunlap’s interview to Nancy Hobbs.


I hope the Race Directors in Ultra Running in the country will be able to learn from this, to include the ultrarunners.

Happy reading.


5 + 9 = 59

Don’t be confused with that simple arithmetic. I am now 59 years old, 3 years after my retirement from the military service and 4 years after I have renewed my dedication and time in serious running and be the Bald Runner.

To celebrate the day, I would have to run 59 kilometers but with my recovery from injury, I would be committing a “suicide” and make my condition worse.

It was a choice of running 59 minutes or 59 seconds or walking 59 steps or 59 meters or running 5 + 9 = 14 kilometers.

And finally…

To make the day significant, I had to run without any pit stop. I added the two numbers in my age and I was able to run 14…miles, not kilometers! That is equivalent to 22.4 kilometers with some additional yards & feet as change. I finished the distance in 2:35:20 hours with an average pace of 11:02 minutes per mile (6:51 minutes per km) and an elevation gain of 1,120 feet (342 meters). It was a slow and easy run but it was worth every pace and stride of it.

One year more and I will be a dual-citizen…Filipino + Senior Citizen. I was able to get a “tip” from Sir Amado Castro Jr aka Reinier6666 that the Senior Citizens have a lot of privileges to include free movies on Mondays; free admission at the ULTRA Oval Track; 20% discount on meals in restaurants and purchase of medicines in drugstores; and if I declare my residence in Makati City, I would be receiving medical privileges in their hospitals and one sack of rice (?) and birthday cake every time I celebrate my succeeding birthdays. Sir Amado and I made a deal to be meeting every Monday for meals and movies after “race walking” with him at the ULTRA Oval Track as soon as I will get my Senior Citizen’s Card next year!

I would like to express my sincerest thanks to those who greeted me at Facebook (400+ friends out of 1,125), through e-mail, SMS, and personal greetings.  It took me hours to reply each greetings from my Wall which I truly enjoyed. As usual, Jonel aka FrontRunner was the first to greet me and Sir Amado had the longest message. Thanks, Jonel & Sir Amado and to everybody.

So, what is next?

I will still be running but more on ultra marathon (and marathon training for a Boston Qualifier and as LSD workout) and this blog will be featuring more on ultra marathon training and activities. And I will be adding “hiking and backpacking” as my other cross-training sports activity (not necessarily posting my journal here in this blog).

I want to be like this (excluding the hair!)….

Hiker/Backpacker (Source: Google Images)

Watch out for the Bald Packer or Bald Hiker or Bald Backpacker or Bald Ultra Walker! Any suggestion?

History: 1st Manila International Marathon by Red Dumuk

Finally, the then famous Manila International Marathon is being revived this year. I am not sure if the use of 30th edition of this race is proper as I know that some of the editions in the past had never been conducted. I hope my friend, Red Dumuk, shall make some adjustments on this. However, I appreciate the posting of this article on the website of the said Marathon Race.

If my memory serves me right, this was my first Marathon Race and Red Dumuk specifically mentioned my name and my finish time.

Thanks, Red for bringing back those good memories of Road Racing in the 80’s.


The First Manila International Marathon

By Red Dumuk

Running great, Bill Rogers, winner of four Boston Marathons and four New York Marathons, apprised of the race route and the weather conditions, predicted 2:20 as the winning time in the inaugural Manila International Marathon. His visit to Manila came at the heels of his dismal performance in Japan. As he was off-form, he begged off from showing his form in the MIM.

Rogers’s fearless forecast was way, way off. When East German Waldemar Cierpinski, second only to Ethiopian Abebe Bikila to have ruled back-to-back Olympic Marathons (Bikila turned in the trick in 1960 Rome and 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games while Cierpinski in 1976 Montreal and 1980 Moscow), breasted the tape with President Marcos heading the spectators, the display clock showed 2:14:27, a good 5 minutes and 33 seconds inside the expected time.

The time could have been lower had there been stronger challenge. After 5K, the MIM morphed into a battle against the clock for Cierpinski, who in 1976 frustrated 1972 Munich gold medalist Frank Shorter’s bid to join Bikila as back-to-back Olympic Marathon champion. In the 1976 Olympic Marathon, Cierpinski beat Shorter, considered to have ignited the running boom in the United States, by 49 seconds (2:09:56 against 2:10:45).

Cierpinski’s winning time which is 3 minutes and 24 seconds outside the clocking he posted in Moscow Olympics less than two years earlier can be better appreciated against the backdrop of marathon times in other parts of the world held in different seasons in 1982.

It’s no wonder, therefore, why the 2:14:27 has yet to be expunged as the all comers best in the Philippine Marathon theater. (Domingo Tibaduiza whose time was 20 seconds slower than Cierpinski’s when the former claimed the top prize in the 1982 Berlin Marathon emerged as 2nd MIM champion. He checked in at 2:25:01, nine minutes 34 seconds adrift of the existing standard in 1983.)

Runner-up American serviceman Phil Camp might have found Cierpinski out of his league but his 2:19:39 timing would have outweighed the first placers’ in four of the above marathons.

The last berth in the podium was hotly contested by Chang Ming Chen of Chinese-Taipei and Peng Jiazheng of the People’s Republic of China. There was a sideshow even. A PROC embassy official protested minutes before the cannon fired off the marathoners the display of the Republic of China’s flag on Chang’s singlet and threatened to pull out Peng from the marathon. We explained to the embassy official we were aware if Chang has to show a flag on his breast, it should be the IOC designated banner. We added we subscribe to the one-China policy of the government. Then, we convinced Chang to have the ROC flag covered with a masking tape. Had Chang not acquiesced, disqualification awaited him.

When the smoke of the conflict had settled, so to speak, Chang outstripped Peng by 59 seconds–or just about the time it took the former’s official to tape that offending flag–to claim the third position. Chang’s 2:26:49 clocking bested winning times of two 1982 AIMS events. Peng’s 2:27:48, on the other hand, beat the champion’s time of one of the AIMS member marathons.

Great Britain’s Tim Johnston (2:31:31) rounded out the top 5 finishers. He crossed the finish line two minutes and 30 seconds ahead of the first Filipino finisher, Army man Ricardo Carillo (2:34:01). Landing in the top 5 among the locals and top 10 overall were Manuel Carmelo (2:35:28),7th; Guillermo Padilla (2:37:31),8th; Ireneo Illut (2:38:01), 9th and Carlito Solis (2:38:06), 10th.

Fifty-three runners (only seven were foreigners) registered sub-3 hours clocking. By comparison, looking at the results of the recent marathons in the country, less than 10 runners with sub-3 times seems to be the current norm.

In the distaff side, only the 11-year old wonder girl Joan Laput, tops among the 11 lady finishers, broke 3:30. Laput ranked 173 overall with her time of 3:28:22. Laput’s “preys” included priest marathoner Amado Picardal (3:20:16, 195th), the Baldrunner (3:58:44, 286th) and arguably, the country’s No.1 race organizer Rudy Biscocho (4:40:02, 440th).

Of the 603 hopefuls who answered the starting cannon, only 30 did not finish–a remarkable mortality rate of measly 4.98%. The most courageous and greatest survivor was cardiac patient Teofilo Espejo, Jr. He placed 509th with a time of 5:11:16.

Asst. Race Director Colmenares running and finishing the MIM spoke volumes about the organization and management of the race. He clocked 3:47:50, good for 281st position, well in the upper half of the finishers.

It would be great seeing another Philippine President accommodating the top 200 finishers of a marathon or any road race of prestige in Malacanang and treat them to dinner after the awarding ceremonies where he would trace the history of marathon even as he extols its virtues in his address.

In another first, the country’s top sportscaster then Joe Cantada found his equal in Katherine Switzer during the coverage of the 1st MIM. Joining the fun was Zal Marte, another sportscaster of note. This would never be duplicated. “The Voice” has passed on to the great beyond.

As recognition for a job well done, Race Director Dorotheo’s peers in AIMS elected him as member of the original batch of Board of Directors. It goes without saying the Manila International Marathon was accepted as full-fledged AIMS member barely four months after its initial edition. Dorotheo was to be reelected to the AIMS Board.

And from the locals, what was the reward? The second MIM saw the size of the field doubled.

1st Manila International Marathon Statistics

Countries Represented

  • Macao
  • Sweden
  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • United Kingdom
  • Taiwan
  • Norway
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • United States
  • People’s Republic of China




95.02 %



98.08 %



1.92 %



93.53 %



6.47 %

Waldemar Ciepinski flashes the No. 1 sign more than 5 minutes ahead of the 2:20 winning time predicted by Bill Rodgers

Source: http://manilainternationalmarathon.com

Cut-Off Times

I have been making a research in running books and running resources on the Internet on the basis of cut-off times of Marathon and Ultra Marathon Races. It seems that I could not see any “authority” or “regulation” in the IAAF or IAU Manuals and Protocols as to what is the accepted formula in the declaration of cut-off times in every race.

Without any basis, I have the impression that this “rule & regulation” in a running race, whether road or trail, on the prescribed cut-off time is arbitrary and based on the decision of the Race Organizer/Race Director.

On the part of a Race Organizer in a busy City Marathon Race, a six-hour cut-off time is a standard period for a 42K distance. This will minimize the time for the closure of main streets from vehicular traffic. The lesser time for the roads and streets are closed, the better for the riding public and commuters. It will also lessen the time of exposure and involvement of security, medical, marshals, and volunteers and other administrative and logistic supports for the race.

Obviously, this is true also to ultra marathon distance races but with longer and extended period of cut-off times.

Comrades Marathon (90K), the oldest ultra marathon, had an 11-hour cut-off time for so many years until it was extended to 12 hours since 2003. Aside from being the largest ultra road race, it is also the hardest in terms of elevation profile and with a very restrictive cut-off time.

The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), 166K ultra trail race, has a cut-off time of 46 hours.

Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, also a ultra trail race, has a cut-off time of 30 hours.

Jeju International Ultra Marathon 100K Race, a road ultra, has a cut-off time of 16 hours.

Miwok 100K Ultra Trail Run has a cut-off time of 16 1/2 hours. Most of the 100K ultra trail distance races in the USA has a cut-off time of 16 hours.

Singapore’s Sundowm Ultra Marathon 100K Race, a road ultra, has a cut-off time of 16 hours.

Bulldog 50K, an ultra trail race, has a cut off-time of 9 hours. Most of the 50K ultra trail races in the USA have a cut-off times of 9 hours.

Headlands 50-Mile Trail Run has a cut-off time of 14 hours and this is true to almost all the 50-milers except for the JFK 50-Mile Endurance Run which has a cut-off time of 18 hours ( based from tradition and history).

The Hardrock Ultra Marathon, the officially dubbed as the hardest ultra trail race in the USA, has a cut-off time of 48 hours.

The Barkley Marathons (100-mile trail race), the unofficial hardest ultra trail race in the USA, has a cut-off time of 60 hours, however, each loop which has a distance of 20 miles must be completed in 12 hours. It is a “lucky” year’s edition if there is a “survivor-finisher” for this race. Since its first edition in 1986, only nine (9) had finished the race up to this year.

Surprisingly for this year, the Badwater Ultramarathon has reduced the cut-off time from 60 hours to 48 hours! There was no reason in its website for the said dramatic change, however, its registration fee had increased from $ 850 to $ 995.

In my opinion, the cut-off times give an impression on the degree of difficulty of the race to the participants and at the same time provide a status of distinction for the said race.

For the runners, cut-off times serve as their lowest target time to finish. They should not be satisfied to finish the race way beyond the prescribed cut-off time. Finishing any Road or Trail Race must be defined strictly as Finishing the required Distance within the prescribed Cut-Off time. A runner is fooling himself or herself if he/she brags about finishing a race way beyond the cut-off time. For the Race Director, runners who finish the distance beyond the cut-off time are considered as DNF (Did Not Finish).

Simply stated, a runner must train and prepare to finish a race within the cut-off time.

Insights & Observations @ 2011 Miwok 100

On Race Management

1. Registration—Every runner must apply and register at Ultra SignUp, at least 8 months before Race Day. The deadline of application is approximately 6 months before Race Day. (Note: It is a good motivation to follow a 24-week training program for this ultra trail event). The last day of application was on December 1, 2010. All runner-applicants must go through a lottery to be able to cover the maximum number of runners allowed for the race to 446 only. The final list of accepted runners (through lottery) are published at Ultra SignUp effective on December 10, 2010. The registration fee of $ 155.00 is immediately credited from the runner’s Credit Card once he/she is accepted . Few weeks from race day, each runner is designated with a Race Number. Most of the runners can redeem their Race Packet/Bib within the period of at least one hour before the Start of the race.

2. Maturity of the Race—The 2011 Race is the 16th edition of the event as it started in 1996. I am sure through the years, the Race Management, to include the Prizes and “give-aways”/schwag, had improved with the presence of corporate sponsors. According to Rick Gaston, Miwok 100 had built its reputation as the “prime” ultra trail run at the Marin Headlands during the spring season. The other trail race that is also popular and has one of the best reputation in terms of race management and attendance of top elite athletes in the Marin Headlands is the TNF 50-Mile Championship on the 1st weekend of December every year. Maturity goes with the proper planning and preparation of the event as seen by the favorable feedback from the runners after the race. As one of the volunteers, I was impressed on the cooperation and unity among the members of the group.

3. Volunteer System—The involvement of the volunteers was impressive. The leadership of the Race Director in orchestrating all the jobs of all the committees involved speaks well of the excellent organization, planning, and professionalism of everybody. I was able to feel the “bayanihan” atmosphere among the volunteers. Each of the volunteers had specific job to perform and they are expert and knowledgeable of what to do. I am not surprised about this because all the volunteers are ultra marathoners themselves!  The volunteers at the different Aid Stations made sure that each runner was attended through all their needs, from cheering, filling their hydration bottles, serving them with food and even locating and giving them their drop bags.

4. Prizes, Schwag, and Montrail Cup Series—If I joined the race, finishing the distance within the prescribed cut-off time would be the most defining “prize” for me. Those schwag/give-aways are just souvenirs or evidence to prove that I was part of the race. However, for the top elite runners, what is important to them was to earn points as this race was part of the annual Montrail Cup Series where a runner joins at least four (4) ultra trail races of the said series and the runner with the highest points will be awarded a cash prize of $ 5,000.00. For this year, the Miwok Race started to award $ 500.00 for the Champion.

Miwok 100 Altitude Profile (Source: Miwok 100 Website)

5. Simplicity—Trail Running events are not evaluated in terms of bright lights, lots of tarpaulins and banners, loud speakers with blaring disco music, Emcees with nice English pronunciation, leading a prayer and singing the National Anthem, arches, marshals and security personnel at the Start/Assembly Area. They are evaluated by the simplicity of the event. Trail running is the purest form of running event where the scenery, degree of difficulty, and the camaraderie of the participants and the volunteers count most. The event lacked the things that I mentioned previously. Also, there are no distance markers along the route as the location of the Aid Stations serves as the distance markers for everybody. I did not even see water cups filled with water or sports drinks on the tables available in the different aid stations. What I saw were water pitchers being used to fill-up the hydration bladders and bottles of runners who need water or sports drinks. The route was marked with pink-colored ribbons tied on the shrubs, trees, grasses, and trail posts; and the paved road had pink-colored adhesive tape with an arrow-directional sign. What impressed me most was the fact that the race started on time!

On the Runners

1. Hydration System—Out of the top ten finishers whom I personally observed at the Starting Line up to the Pan Toll Aid Station and at the finish line, it was only Ian Sharman aka Elvis Presley (#10) who was running with a shoulder hydration pack (TNF Enduro BOA Hydration Tack). I did not see Hal Koerner holding or sporting a hydration system throughout the race. All the remaining top 8 runners were holding a hydration bottle on either one of their hands during the race. On the mid-pack and the sweeper groups, most of them use hydration backpacks (Camelbak & Nathan) and some with hydration belts with at least two bottles of 20-ounces each in liquid capacity.

2. Running Shorts—It was only Hal Koerner who was using a compression shorts and the rest of the top 8 runners were using the regular running shorts which are the split and v-notch type. I would suspect that their running shorts must have a lot of pockets where they can stow their gels, endurance powders, Vitamin I, and Clif Bloks. Or else, they have their respective support crew waiting for them in every Aid Station to provide them with their necessary nutrition and hydration needs. I did not recall if I saw any of the men among the participants using long compression tights.

3. Body Structure—Dave Mackey, Mike Wolfe, Hal Koerner, and Dakota Jones are tall and have muscular bodies. Which is translated to longer legs and ultimately, longer strides when they run. Their longer and strong legs could withstand their momentum in maintaining a running form on the inclines/uphills of the route. With such body structures, you could just imagine how fast these guys would run on the downhills. As for Ian Sharman, he has an average body size of a runner who happens to be an inch or two taller than me and leaner than the top 4 runners but I was able to discover why he was able to beat Tony Krupicka at this year’s Rocky Raccoon—he has a very fast, quick and light leg turn-over in an ultra race! Personally, I can predict that Ian Sharman will be this year’s Champion in the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run even with the presence of Kilian Jornet Burgada.

4. Running Shoes—I was surprised to see Dave Mackey using a weird-looking trail shoes (Hoka One One) which he used in his past 1st place trail running events. This is an opposite view of the minimalist approach of some of the elite trail running athletes. I was more surprised when I saw Mike Wolfe, a TNF model & endorser, to be using a New Balance MT 101 Trail Shoes! On the other hand, Hal Koerner was using a NIKE Lunaracer which is considered a road racing flat shoes!

5. Stop or Pass On Aid Stations—Elite athletes do not stop at Aid Stations if they have support crew waiting for them to hand them what they need from one Aid Station to another. For those who who don’t have any support crew, they stop to refill their hydration bottle/s or packs with the needed fluids and grab some gels or foods offered on the tables. A few yards from the Aid Station, the runners would remove the lid/cover of their bottles and as soon as they reach the Aid Station, the runner would simply extend his/her arm to the volunteers who would refill such bottle using a water pitcher. Sometimes, they just grab canned soda drinks and drink the contents while they are running. You will be surprised how they would stow their empty cans and empty gel packs in their running shorts up to the next aid station where trash bins are located. Runners are strictly following the rule of not littering their trash on the trails or else they will be disqualified. As for the mid-pack and sweepers, stopping on the Aid Station is a must for re-supply and rest purposes as long as they are within the cut-off time of arrival on such Aid Station.

Runners With Open Bottles Few Yards From the Aid Station
Volunteers With Water Pitcher Refilling Hand-Held Bottles @ Aid Station

6. “Fanny” Packs or Belt Bags—These bags worn as belt could be seen on the picture above where the two lady runners are using. If a runner is using hand-held water bottles and using running shorts with small pockets, these “fanny” belt packs which are light, flat and snugged to the body are good running accessory for an ultra trail runner where he/she could stow a cellphone/camera, cash, keys, sports gels, sports mix, salt tablets, Vitamin I, and sports bars/food.

7. Arm Sleeves & Calf Sleeves—It is reasonable that the runners would use arm sleeves because of the cold temperature but I could see that most of the runners were using calf sleeves, to include the lady runners. In my experience, I believe in the use of these calf sleeves during my workout and during my recovery. I am presently using the Zensha Compression Calf Sleeves during my long runs while a tighter 2XU Compression Calf Sleeves are used during my recovery periods.

One of the top runners (Freedman) with Arm & Calf Sleeves

8. Using of “Wires”—The top 4 male and female runners were not using any “wires” to their ears. I believe that these elite runners are well-focused and sharp on the task at hand during the race. In the Race Reports of these elite athletes, they could hear the steps, breathing, and sounds of the environment. These top runners would maintain conversation among themselves on wider trails. Instead of listening to music, these runners listen to their footsteps on the trails; they listen how their competitors’ breathing in order to find out if they are still strong or exhausted; and listen to the steps of the runner ahead and behind them. On single-track trails, there is a need to communicate to the runner ahead of you if you intend to pass and it would be inappropriate if a runner to be passed is using some “wires” with some loud music being played on his earphones and could hardly hear the verbal warning from the runner behind him.

Lastly, Tia Bodington (RD) sent me an e-mail 2 days after the event expressing her thanks for being a part of the Volunteer Group of the event. She called me as one of the members of the “Miwok 100 Traffic Czars”. Sweet!

2011 Miwok 100 Video

This is the video of the frontrunners during the 2011 Miwok 100 Trail Run.

This video was copied from “you tube” which was posted by the Endurables.

Looking at the video, the recording or filming of this event was done by one of the runner-participants who leapfrogs from one section of the course to another by taking the adjacent paved road that is parallel to the direction of the trail. He could be using a car from one entry-access to the trail to another. It is just my suspicion but I might be wrong since I did not see any cyclist mounted on a mountain bike trying to film the event.

The first few seconds of the video shows the top 3 finishers who were sitting and conversing with one another. Hal Koerner in blue upper shirt, black compression shorts, and blue calf sleeves; Dave Mackey wearing a sun visor; and Mike Wolfe.

I am familiar with the 1st 7 miles of the course as some of it are on the paved roads of the Marin Headlands. After their early start at the Rodeo Lagoon Beach, all the runners go to the Rodeo Trail until they reach the paved Conzelman Road which is located south of the Rodeo Lagoon until they reach the Coastal Trail that leads the runners back to where they started. After the runners cross the small bridge at the Rodeo Lagoon, it is now the start of their climb towards the Townsley Battery and northward direction to Mt Tamalpais Park.

It was my first time to enter the Pantoll Station which is 13 miles away from the Rodeo Lagoon. I’ve seen and ran on the trails all the way up to Muir Beach after passing the Wolfe Ridge Trail, Miwok Trail, Old Springs Trail, and towards the Tennessee Valley. But from Muir Beach, I could say that it is a continuous uphill towards the Pantoll Station by looking at the overall contour of the area.

The next portion of the video where there is a muddy area along the curve portion of the trail is that part which is approaching the Tennessee Valley Aid Station. At this point, the runners had covered 11 miles and on their way back, this will be the last Aid Station before they reach the Finish Line.

The portion where you see the runners in single file is the trail on the ridge of the mountain facing the Pacific Ocean. By looking at the movement of the grasses surrounding the runners, you could conclude how strong was the wind coming from the ocean.

Looking at the video, the race was contested between the top 4 runners—Dave Mackey, Mike Wolfe, Hal Koerner, and Dakota Jones as the “real” race started after the turn-around. The first 3 runners are veterans of ultra trail running competitions and they had been running this route and part of the Miwok 100 past editions. Dave Mackey is the holder of the course record in 7:53+ hours. It was Dakota Jones first race at the Miwok 100. After the turn-around and on their way back to Pantoll Station, Dakota Jones took the lead with Dave Mackey behind him. But, before reaching the Pantoll Station, it was a competition between Mike Wolfe and Dave Mackey. Dakota explained in his blog what happened to him during the race.

I had finished with my job as a volunteer when Dave Mackey was approaching the Point Bonita YMCA as the first runner of the race. He finished in 8:03:22 hours, followed by Mike Wolfe in 8:06:00 hours and then Hal Koerner in 8:06:55 hours. Dakota Jones arrived almost 11 minutes behind Hal Koerner.

My next post on this race will deal on my personal observations on the race and its runners.