Cut-Off Times

17 05 2011

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

15 05 2011

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

13 05 2011

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.

DNS @ 2011 Miwok 100

11 05 2011

DNS…In Running Protocol, it means “Did Not Start”! My running injury from my latest Adventure Run on my lower left quads which turned out later to be an injury on my left knee did not heal even if I rested for so many weeks. After my LSD trail run for more than 6 hours at the Wunderlich State Park in Redwood City, California 4 weeks before Race Day, it gave me an assessment that finishing a 100K ultra trail run with a total ascent of more than 10,000 feet will be an impossible feat to accomplish.

Despite such assessment on my part, I tried my best to remedy the situation by taking all the necessary treatment I could gather from the different running resources in the Internet, running books, magazines and personal journals of famous trail/marathon runners. I even went to the extent of soaking my legs regularly on warm water mixed with Epsom Salt; regular massages; and even taking Alaxan FR capsules. I am glad that my cross-training in the gym kept me busy from the lack of more prolonged time of running on the road. One week before Race Day, I made my decision to DNS the race.

Miwok 100K Guy & Logo

Instead of joining the race, I thought of offering my presence on Race Day as one of the Volunteers of the Race to the Race Director, Tia Bodington. After a brief exchange of e-mails with the RD, I was accepted as a Volunteer at the Starting/Assembly Area and at the Aid Station #1 which happen to be at the same location.

The motivation to do a volunteer work for Miwok 100 was due to the following as stated at the event’s WebsiteEight hours of volunteer work at Miwok fulfills the Western States 100 service requirement. Eight hours of volunteer work at the Miwok 100K also gets you an extra ticket in the following year’s entry lottery. Hopefully, my injury will heal soon so that I will prepare specifically for the next year’s edition of this race.

DNS…Did (A) Nice Spectating…by Volunteering!

As a Volunteer at the Starting Area/Aid Station #1 @ 7.1 Mile, I was able to witness every minute how the Race was managed by the Race Director.

I arrived at the Assembly Area at the same time with the arrival of the RD who was driving a U-Haul Truck at 3:45 AM last Saturday. Tia Bodington was alone. The beach of Marin Headlands was dark, cold and windy on the early morning and I was prepared for the weather. I immediately approached the RD and introduced myself. The two of us started to bring out the necessary things needed for the processing of the runners from the truck and I even shared my flashlight to her as she was trying to locate some traffic/reflectorized vests and other flashlights needed for the volunteers.

The U-Haul Truck was filled with containers filled with water, timing device, foods, and other stuffs needed for the race to include the “loot” for every finisher of the race which trail runners call “schwag”. I was smiling as I recall myself on the shoes of the RD whenever I start the races for the BDM and PAU Races.

After a few minutes, another runner/volunteer arrived with a casted/bandaged right wrist & hand. The guy, Charlie, was supposed to run the race also but he met an accident (slipped while running along rocky trail) on training and opted also as a volunteer for the race. The guy was given a reflectorized vest and a flashlight and he was asked by the RD to act as the Parking Attendant at the Authorized Parking Area for the Runners. In a few minutes, I was asked also by the RD to act as the Checkpoint at a point that is 200 yards from the Parking Area for the Runners. My job was to ask the drivers/passengers of each vehicle approaching the Assembly Area if they are runners or volunteers. If they are runners, I simply advised them to proceed to the “dirt” Parking Area. If they are volunteers or dropping their passengers for the race, I simply advised them to proceed to the paved Parking Area. Just imagine a Police/Military Personnel/Traffic Enforcer stopping your car/vehicle with a flashlight and the other hand signalling you to stop. Yes, that was my job as a volunteer for almost 2 hours!

As the lone personnel at the Checkpoint, I was able to see the faces of the runners! It is unfortunate that I was not able to glimpse on the faces of Anton Krupicka, Scott Jurek, and Geoff Roes! They opted to DNS, too!

At 5:30 AM, I was approached by Tia telling me that I was doing my job well and she informed me that my volunteer job was done. However, I asked her that I could still be of help in any of the Aid Stations or at the Finish Line as I wanted to see the Front Runners cross the Finish Line. She accepted my offer and I started to observe how the race would start.

Runners Crossing The Bridge To Rodeo Beach Lagoon

Tia Bodington, RD, Announcing To The Runners On Her Final Instructions

No Arch, No Lights, No Starting Line...Just Runners Who Want To Have Fun & Enjoy The Trails

The processing of runners was very simple. Each runner simply got his/her race bib from one of the volunteers and that’s it! Ten minutes before the scheduled start time at 5:40 AM, all the runners were led to the beach near the Rodeo Lagoon which is about 300 meters from the Assembly Area. There were no intricate START Arch/Tarpaulins; no sound system; no music; no lights; no invocation/prayer; and no singing of the National Anthem. The RD positioned herself on top of a little mound on the beach while the runners lined up before an invisible starting line listening to the final instructions from her. Tia’s final instructions were about RESPECT. If I can recall them right, she said something like—“Respect the trails”; “Respect the Volunteers & Marshals”; “Respect the other Runners”; “Respect the Race & the Distance”; “Respect your Goal”; and “Respect Yourself”. After a few seconds, the RD simply shouted “GO” and the runners started the race along the sands  of Rodeo Lagoon.

The Runners Were Off From The Starting Area

After the race had started, Rick Gaston and I were able to talk while the rest of the volunteers and spectators went back to the Assembly Area. This is where all the volunteers (to include myself) helped in loading the “drop bags” of the runners to be transported to the Finish Line which is about 3 kilometers away. After this job, I was able to engage more conversation with Tia and had a chance to give her a copy of the frontRunner Magazine. It was a good chance for me to have a picture with her.

Rick Gaston in Montrail & BR in TNF Skull Caps

With Tia Bodington, RD of Miwok 100 & Editor-In-Chief of Ultrarunning Magazine

U-Haul Truck & Drop Bags To Be Loaded

While waiting for the lead runners to pass at the Aid Station #1, I was introduced by Rick to Brett Rivers who is also an elite ultrarunner, got to talk to Mark Gilligan of UltraSignUp, and the rest of his ultrarunning friends whom I could not recall their names. Finally, I was able to back-up my e-mail messages to Matt for the possible inclusion of the BDM Races to UltraSignUp through a longer conversation and personal interaction. We had a longer discussion about the matter/issue when we had a chance to meet again at the Starbucks at Mill Valley.

With Mark Gilligan of Ultra SignUp

Shouting The Runner's Race Bib Number to Mark Gilligan

At the Aid Station #1, Rick and I became instant volunteers for Mark Gilligan’s Live Update in his Website by posting each runner’s split time. We were requested by Mark to shout to him the Race Bib Number of each of the runner approaching our place. It was a good chance to stretch my vocal chords! After the last runner had passed our station, I found out from Matt that there were 345 starters out of the 416 accepted/registered runners.

At Mile 7.1, Dave Mackey (Right) & Mike Wolfe (Center)

Nathan Yanko

Look At That Stride!!! Leading Runner Meghan Arbogast

Jean Pommier (Another Ultra Blogger) @

Kristin Moehl at the Middle

Pam Smith (Lady Champion of the Race)

Ian Sharman aka ELVIS, The King!

At the Pantoll Aid Station (Mile #20 & 41)

Rick brought me to Pantoll Aid Station to observe and spectate to the runners passing. The top runners just passed the area when we were looking for a parking space. It was nice to observe the other fast runners on how they re-supply themselves with their hydration packs; how and what they eat at the Aid Station; and how lively the cheerers to the incoming runners.

Don't Try To Imitate This Guy!

The Legendary Ultrarunner Scott Mills @ 59 Years Old (Ranked #49)

Cheering The Runners at The Old Mine Trail

Later, I positioned myself about 30 meters along the trail before runners would reach the Aid Station. The trail is called Old Mine Trail. As the runners would approach my position, I would shout encouraging words while clapping my hands. The words, “Looking Good”; “Good Job”; “You Can Make It” and other positive ones shouted to the approaching runners would boost the runners to jog at a faster pace. As a response, the runners would say, “Thank you for being here” with a smile on their faces!

This is where I was able to meet Geraline Harvey, a Filipina runner from Ontario, Canada who greeted me with the words “Kumusta kayo?” After a few seconds, Carmela Layson and her group approached me as I was cheering them! At last, Carmela and I met in person. Actually, if ever I decided to push through with this race, it was my strategy in this race to stick to her all the way to the finish line. Carmela had been a veteran of Miwok 100! If ever I would have a chance to run in this race in the future, my race strategy would remain the same, I’ll stick on her tail. Carmela had been an active contributor of my Project Donate-A-Shoe! (Congrats, Carmela & Geraline for a successful finish!)

With Carmela and Friends at the Old Mine Trail

With Geraline of Ontario, Canada

Finish Line @ YMCA Point Bonita

From this point, it was time to go to the Finish Area and try to help the other volunteers. I was able to meet Jorge and Rich (with ages in their late 20s) who are also ultra runners planning to earn their entry through the lottery for next year’s edition of the race. There was another lady runner who was supposed to run but due to stress fracture on her legs, she opted also to volunteer. We helped in organizing the different “schwag” for the runners and preparing for the BBQ Party venue after the race for all the finishers. It was worth the fun and time to be working and volunteering with the rest of the other senior and younger ultra runners.

Helping This Lady Runner Who Became One of the Volunteers For The Schwag

Finisher's Shirts & Fleece Vests & Beers in White Boxes

Finisher's Commemorative Plates

At 1:30 PM when the lead runner was a few miles away from the Finish Area, all the schwag were properly organized and packed. The job was done and the next job for me was to watch each of the lead runners cross the Finish Line. The plan was to wait for the arrival of Ian Sharman who was running the whole race as ELVIS before leaving San Francisco in order to catch up with the Pacquiao-Mosley Boxing Fight in Las Vegas!

Champion Dave Mackey Approaching The Finish Line

Hal Koerner At The Last Turn Before The Finish Line

ELVIS Approaching The Finish Line

While waiting for ELVIS to cross the finish line, I was able to talk to the Front Runners/Top Finishers of the Race. It was nice talking to these wonderful guys in ultra trail running which ended with a brief pose with them.

Congratulating & Talking To Dave Mackey & Mike Wolfe

A Pose With The Champion Dave Mackey & Mike Wolfe, 1st Runner-Up

Hal Koerner, Champion of 2009 & 2007 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run

Talking To Dakota Jones, 4th Placer in the 2011 Miwok 100

A Pose With The Kid

Talking With The ELVIS in Ultrarunning

Ian Sharman Finished in 10th Place & Bound For Comrades Ultramarathon This Month

After about 10 hours of volunteer work at the 2011 Miwok 100K Ultra Trail Race, I really enjoyed and had fun for being a part of the race as one of the volunteers. As an spectator, I was able to interact with the top runners in ultra trail running in the United States which I could not have a chance to do such if I finished the race in 15-16 hours. For sure, they are already sleeping in their houses as I cross the Finish Line!

Before I left the Finish Line area, I talked and thanked Tia for being a part of the Volunteer Group for the event and told her about my early departure to catch a flight to watch the Pacquiao-Mosley Fight in Las Vegas. In return, she thanked me also for being a part of the Volunteer Group for the event . She assured me also that I will be coming back to run the 2012 Miwok 100!

The results of the 2011 Miwok 100 are published here.

Running Around “The Ring”

10 05 2011

My running injury did not heal for the race I’ve been preparing for this year. Instead of forcing the issue to run the race and be able to finish the prescribed finish time of 16:30 hours for the Miwok 100K Ultra Trail Race at the Marin Headlands in San Francisco, California last Saturday, I have opted to watch how Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley “run around” the boxing ring at the MGM’s Grand Garden Arena.

Congratulations to Congressman Manny Pacquiao for another impressive show and for “entertaining” the whole world through boxing!

At The MGM Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Nordic Running?

3 05 2011

Raul and Perkins of A Runner’s Circle in Manila asked me to watch the movie on DVD entitled “Running America”, when I visited the store before the Mayon 360 50-Mile Run. They lend to me the DVD of the said film and returned it after I saw the entire film. The film “Running America” is about the documentation of the Trans-Continental Run Across the United States of America by two famous ultramarathon runners, Charlie Engle and Marshall Ulrich, which was held sometime before the US Presidential Election in 2008 with Marshall Ulrich finishing the run by himself.

What impressed me about the film is the portion where Marshall Ulrich was gracefully using the use of trekking poles while he was running. Actually, it was my first time to see a runner using the trekking poles while he is in the act of running on a paved road. I usually see the use of such poles when I watch downhill slalom, biathlon and other cross-country ski sports events on the TV. Lately, I saw some runners at the UTMB (Mont Blanc Ultra Marathon) using such trekking poles as part of their equipment to finish the race. Films on UTMB with runners using and carrying trekking poles could be seen at You Tube.

In the Philippines, I saw only two (2) ultra runners who had been using these trekking poles on a trail run. The first one was Doc Punzalan of Pinoy Ultra Runners (PUR) in 2008 when I joined his group for my first trail run to Mount Pinatubo. The second guy whom I observed to be using these poles was Jerome Cartailler during my second run to the same area, Mt Pinatubo in July 2010. I saw these guys how they used such trekking poles while they brisked/power walked along the rocky portions of the trail and when they balanced themselves in crossing the river and other water crossings. I was not surprised that these good ultra runners had the appreciation to use these poles. Doc Punzalan had experienced running the UTMB and Jerome is from France, one the countries where the UTMB course would pass.

Jerome Cartailler Using His Trekking Poles To Mt Pinatubo

After those observations (years ago), I’ve tried to look for those trekking poles in the local market and it was at ROX where I found a pair that costs about P 6,000 (?). I was surprised to see the price and opted just to hold them. And I forgot all those trekking poles!

I know that most of the Pinoy mountain trekkers/hikers know the value of these poles and to some of the TNF 100 trail run participants. However, I have yet to see one of them using these trekking poles in action.

But, running with trekking poles on paved roads? It is something that is unthinkable and out of the norm. But I was intrigued when I saw that part of the film where Marshall Ulrich was using these poles on the paved roads across America. So, I made some research on the Internet.

I was able to find out the following through some research on the Internet:

1. Nordic walking which was known before as “ski walking” using ski poles was a good off-season workout for elite Finland/Scandinavian ski athletes to maintain their consistency in their sports. Ski coaches concluded that the use of trekking/ski poles during summer contributed to the success of world-class ski athletes. Ski athletes would train the whole year round using the trekking poles.

One of the Pictures Taken From The Internet On Nordic Walking

2. The use of trekking poles on power walking or running would lessen the impact of the feet on the ground as the weight of the body would be supported by the trekking poles. This form of running/walking is suggested as cross-training for those athletes who are recovering from knee injury or those who are under leg-injury rehabilitation.

3. There are lots of instructional films on the Internet/You Tube on Nordic Walking/Running. All you have to do is google the word “Nordic Walking”.

4. There are a Sports Federations for Nordic Walking in the United States and other European countries which had been in existence for the past 10-14 years.

5. There is a Marathon (42K) Race on Nordic Walking at the Portland Marathon which is on its 5th edition this year. Rules and Regulations are posted in their website. In Europe, there are already existing Nordic Walking Championship Events.

6. There are blogs and websites about Nordic Walking/Running. You can check one of them at

7. Almost all the ultra trail races in Europe allow the use of trekking poles. In the most prestigious UMTB, most of the runners have in their packs a pair of folded trekking poles.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been using a pair of LEKI Titanium Trekking Poles during my regular power walking and I even went to the extent of running with them for 3 hours along the rocky Calico Hills Trail of the Red Rock Canyon Park in Las Vegas, Nevada.

With My LEKI Titanium Trekking Poles

Easy Effort On Nordic Walking

I could say that the use of trekking poles on technical trails would lessen the impact of my feet on the ground, making my knees less sore and painful after my run on the trails. With regards to running on the paved roads with the trekking poles, I am confident that I can already run with the same ease and grace like Marshall Ulrich! (Note: It is purely coincidental that I bought LEKI trekking poles, the same trekking pole brand that Marshall Ulrich used in all his adventure runs to include his feat in “Running America”)

Running and/or walking with trekking poles is a great cross-training activity for me as an old and under rehab average competitive runner.

With my present exposure and training with the trekking poles, I am thinking of allowing their use in the incoming PAU’s Pinatubo 100 to all the participants.

I will be glad to know about your comments on this.

Something To Read & Think About

2 05 2011

Before you read the following article which I copied from the website of Marathon Guide (, I would like to mention my insights about the New York City Marathon which is true to the other Marathon Races in the different cities in the USA and to other countries around the world:

1. It takes an avid or regular runner who has the passion in it to create, organize, and implement  a Marathon Race, no matter how small the number of runners on its first edition. What it needs is a good leader and a vision for the event. Fred Lebow, founder of the New York Marathon and later President of the New York Road Runners, was neither a natural-born American nor an elite & fast runner but through his dedication to the event, the race had become as one of the World’s Championship Marathon Races.

2. The need to be backed-up by an organization that shares your vision and purpose. The New York Road Runners had been the running club/organization that is behind the event. Of course, the club has membership fees and such fees have corresponding privileges.

3. Partnership with the City Government and Sponsors.  I am sure the City Government had the strategic thinking/view that the event will become bigger as the years come. With more participants to this race, it will increase the number of visitors, and income to the different establishments, thereby making the economy of the city more vibrant and active. The bottom line is that the city government receives more revenues from the taxes being paid  by such establishments.

4. Involvement of the Community. Like the Los Angeles Marathon, San Francisco Marathon and other city marathons, they are very memorable to runners because of the involvement of the community as volunteers and cheerers along the ENTIRE route of the event. By reading the experiences of runners in their marathon experiences, you could find out that almost the whole route is lined up with musicians; volunteers with water, beverages, sports drinks, and even beer; acrobats; dancers; rock bands; loud stereo music from big speakers; and simply people cheering you loudly and even stating your name.

5. Lastly, the runner-participants. The more the runners participating the event, the better for the event and the city. It is stated in the report below that the runners contribute much in the economy for the city from their brief stay in terms of hotel accommodations, foods, tours and shopping. On the other hand, the taxes being paid by the Race Organizer, the New York Road Runners, to the City Government come from the registration fee paid by the runner. So, if you are wondering why you are paying much for the registration fee as compared from other Marathon Races in some of the key cities in the USA, it’s because you are in New York!!!

Enjoy reading this one.

2010 ING New York City Marathon Generates $340M for NYC

Race Raised $30.8M for Charities

Total Economic Impact Increased 25% Since 2006

New York, NY—The ING NYC Marathon generated a new high of approximately

$340 million in total economic impact for New York City last year, a New

York Road Runners (NYRR) commissioned study released today found. In

addition, the study showed that the Marathon generates more than $30

million for charities, and a record number of visitors, participants and TV

viewers were involved in last year’s race.

The study is based on a survey of over 1,000 participants in the Marathon,

and assesses their spending in categories such as hotel, travel,

entertainment and retail, in addition to their direct expenditures on the

race itself.  In addition, the study includes other metrics such as total

charitable donations captures, visitor estimates and number of total race


“This study demonstrates the crucial role the ING NYC Marathon plays in

bringing benefits to our whole city and making it more vibrant every year,”

said New York Road Runners CEO and President Mary Wittenberg. “In addition

to the hundreds of schools we help with health and fitness programs and

hundreds of thousands who participate in the races, this race has clearly

become a cornerstone of positive economic activity for New York that the

city can count on year in and year out.”

“The New York Road Runners impact our economy by bringing in millions of

dollars through programs that benefit our overall city’s health including

hundreds of thousands of students in public schools,” said Council Member

Robert Jackson, Chair of the New York City Council Education Committee. “I

look forward to continue participating in races to come and supporting its

initiatives to improve the health and daily lives of our children.”

“Running the ING NYC Marathon is a feat of willpower – but it’s also a

testament to the economic power of the 2 million spectators, the runners

and their guests, the sponsors, the vendors, and the New York Road

Runners,” said New York City Economic Development Corp. Chief Operating

Office Josh Wallack. “Not only does the marathon raise money for charity,

it results in real contributions to the City’s booming tourism economy.”

The study showed two ranges of total economic impact.  The “conservative”

range showed $304 million in impact and the “baseline” range $378 million.

The conservative range includes only those impacts that would not have

occurred within New York City without the Marathon, and the baseline

includes all expenditures associated with Marathon participants and their


The full report can be requested by emailing

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Total economic impact from visitor and guest spending is 25% greater in

2010 than in 2006

  • Tax revenues to New York City from the ING NYC Marathon ranged from

$10.8 to $11.2 million.

  • 2010 ING NYC Marathon drew 45,350 participants, 2 million spectators,

and a television reach of 315M worldwide

  • The race raised $30.8M for charities, $24.3M of that went to charities

in NYC

  • The total number participants and their guests was about 290,250 people
  • Participants spend a total of close to $1,800 each during their visit

The 2010 ING NYC Marathon made an unprecedented charitable impact, raising

$30.8 million overall, $24.3 million of which went to NYC based charities.

NYRR provides a number of charities with entries to the event, each of

which recruits runners to raise at least $2,500 per participant and then

provides the runner with guaranteed entry into the race.  NYRR receives a

fee for the entries, all of which is dedicated to NYRR’s non-profit


More than 2 million spectators came to watch the 45,350 runners in person

and total direct spending was approximately $153.2 million from

participants and their guests.

The first phases of findings were based off an electronic survey of

approximately 1,000 participants in 2010 ING New York City Marathon. In

addition NYRR collected data concerning spending by Marathon sponsors and

vendors as well as charity fundraising. The final estimates were based off

ING NYC Marathon participants and their guests, the NYRR organization

itself, Marathon sponsors, vendors at ING Health and Fitness Expo, and

associated charity fundraising.

The analysis does not include spending and impacts generated by

unaffiliated spectators because many of them are likely NYC residents who

would be spending money anyway, even though this does not account for the

many others who are likely non-NYC residents who traveled into the city for

the race but were not associated with a participant.

Expenditures by Marathon sponsors, vendors at the ING Health and Fitness

Expo, and charity revenues generated by fundraising are also considered in

the impact analysis. Sponsor and vendor expenditures as well as NYC-based

charity revenues are assumed to be either directly or indirectly associated

with the Marathon.

Expenditures by media organizations for providing televised coverage of the

event, public costs of staging the event (security, street closures etc)

and media and branding value from extensive world-wide television exposure

for NYC were not considered.

NYRR retained AECOM to estimate the economic and fiscal impacts of the ING

New York City Marathon 2010. AECOM was retained on similar occasions by

NYRR to conduct a similar analysis.

New York Road Runners

Headquartered in New York City, New York Road Runners is dedicated to

growing the sport of running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and

meeting our community’s needs. Our goal is to leverage the expertise

acquired in our 50+ year history to empower all people of all ages to live

fitter, healthier lives through participation in our races, community

events, instruction and training resources, and youth programs. Our races

and other fitness programs draw upwards of 300,000 people annually. The ING

New York City Marathon, NYRR’s premier event, is the largest and most

inclusive marathon in the world, attracting the world’s top professional

runners and raising over $20 million for charity annually. NYRR’s

running-based youth programs, which currently serve nearly 100,000 children

in hundreds of schools and community centers, promote children’s physical

fitness, character development, and personal achievement in underserved


So, after reading this report from the New York Road Runners, it is deplorable and sad to remember that we had then a Manila International Marathon; PAL International Marathon; and Pasig River Heritage Marathon since the early 80’s but all of these just disappeared.

Sayang!…What a waste!!!

I rest my case.


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