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“Taklang Damulag(s)”

23 08 2011

(Warning: This is an offensive post to those who are concerned. Please don’t proceed if you feel you are one of the persons being described here)

This is a Race Director’s Report on the past three (3) running events that the PAU and Bald Runner’s Events had organized and directed. These road races consist of the following: PAU’s Fort Magsaysay 60K Run; 1st Bald Runner’s Barefoot Run; and the newly-concluded PAU’s Western Pangasinan 65K Run.

Taklang Damulag is a word from the local dialect of the people from the province of Pampanga. It is a Kapampangan word which means literally as a water buffalo crap or shit or bowel. If used figuratively, it means a person who is a pretender, a “bullshitter”, or somebody who tells stories that are exaggerated, or simply a “liar”. In this post, it would mean as somebody who is not honest or one who does not have a “word of honor”.

In the past, I have conveniently announced the schedule of our PAU Races and other BR’s Events through the Facebook as most of the runners had been accepted as my “friends”. It is very easy to create an Event Page on my Wall and it is from there that I receive persons and names of applicants for each of the event I have posted. I usually announce the limited slots for each event as we want a simple and personalized attention to each of the runners.

On the other hand, it is very easy also for the runners to reserve slot for them and for their friends. Comments are easily posted under each Event Page where most of them are requests and intentions of joining the event. From these comments and a click on the Box “Attend”, it is assumed that the person is ready and well-trained to join the event.

From the number of participants listed on each event, we prepare for the number of medals/trophies and Finisher’s Shirts. This is done by ordering them from our “suppliers and manufacturers” and we pay them in cash using our own money as most of our registrations are accepted through bank deposits and “onsite registration”.

The last 3 Road Races had been very “painful” to us in terms of logistics and financial matters. Each runner knows for a fact that our running events are not being backed up by any corporate sponsor. We simply want to spread the love to running and promote the sports of ultra marathon, whether in road and/or in trails, and this had been our advocacy since we started organizing and directing running events. Our efforts are not geared to earn money but simply, to sustain our efforts in our passion to let every runner “test their personal limits of endurance”.

In the PAU’s Fort Magsaysay 60K Run, 230 runners signified their intention to join the said event and we prepared the logistics (shirts and medals) good for the said number of applicants. On Race Day, only 116 runners joined the race. We smiled and did not complain. In the 1st BR’s Barefoot Run, another 220 runners signified to join the 3.2K Barefoot Run but only 89 runners joined the event. This was not a painful one in terms of finances as we asked P 50.00 as a registration fee, enough to pay for the order of Race Bibs. In the newly-concluded PAU’s Western Pangasinan 65K (“COCOS to SUAL”) Run, 147 runners signified their intention to join but only 76 runners finally showed up at the starting area. We have lots of ordered extra medals and shirts which we have decided as part of our losses. It’s a “strike 3” for us and we could no longer smile and keep our silence.

The financial portion hurts but the “passion” for our love to promote ultra marathon will be sustained. This the gravest ” negative stressor” that I experienced for the past weeks and for me to get a relief from it, I have to express this concern to my readers.

The numbers and data would show that one-half of the applicants for reservation of slots in our PAU Races and BR’s Events are “bullshitters or taklang damulags”.

We have a master list of the names of applicants of each of the events listed above and we have determined already the list of the so-called “Taklang Damulags” in PAU Races and BR’s Events.

From this trend, we are getting “wiser but mean” to all the applicants in our future races. We only prepare one-half of the number of applicants as posted in our Events Page in terms of their simple “loot & evidence” given after the race. If Finishers would exceed more than the logistics we have prepared for the event, then we could always re-order the items from our “suppliers and manufacturers” and award them to you as fast as possible. We have also decided NOT to accept On Site registration to some of our races.

This post is not complete if I don’t try to make an attempt to analyze this trend among the runner-applicants at Facebook.

Why do runners apply for a running event on Facebook and then later, don’t join the event?

Is it impulsively done without thinking one’s schedule in the future days, weeks and months to come?

Does a runner want to impress or “brag” to his friends that he is joining an ultra marathon event organized by the PAU?

Do you want to “brag” to the whole world that you will be a future Ultra marathon runner?

Does a runner want to join the list of Pinoy Ultra Marathon Group at Facebook?

Does a runner want to be a part in the history of running in the country by listing his name as one of the applicants?

There are so many questions to answer as there are so many “reasons” why a runner would include his name in the list where he/she is not fully committed to join the event. It baffles my mind. Maybe, this is a sign of immaturity or recklessness of runners. It could be that “bragging” is the “new” past time or hobby on Facebook.  Joining these events is not a joke but it should be treated with serious thoughts and actions. In the same manner that running is NOT a joke, too! Moreso, in ultra marathon running events! If you want to “brag” on Facebook, do it after you have finished the event! You can post your pictures, excitement, medal, trophy, and “loot” to your heart’s content after the event.

I really appreciate those runners who would go out their way to send me SMS or send e-mail to me telling their inability to join the race few days before the race. However, I could only count 3-5 people who have done this effort to inform me. Most of the bulk of the “absentees” could not even have the decency to send me a message on my Wall at FB to explain their side on their inability to join the race after the event.

For those who have consistently supported our races, thank you very much! Most of you are getting stronger, faster and “smarter” ultra runners and I hope you will be able to improve some more and expose yourselves to international ultra running events. Whether you are preparing for the BDM Races and for the 1st 100-Mile Trail Endurance Run, the future PAU events will be nice training grounds for your fitness evaluation, race strategy, hydration and nutrition, and the efficiency of your support system. Be consistent on your training be able to listen to your body.

Our scheduled events will still be posted at Facebook and please refrain from making impulsive decisions by “clicking” the “Attending” button. However, we will not be serious in considering you if your name is listed in the “Taklang Damulags” list. You have to personally convince us that you are matured enough and fitted to be as an ultra marathon runner.

See you on the next PAU Race!

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18 responses

23 08 2011
rundmd8

This is just sad, Sir…maybe, we should really do away with this on-site registration so you can have a real head count and prepare accordingly. This way, we can weed out the poseurs and retain the passionate participants. It’s so easy to click ATTENDING but more difficult to pay ahead at your Landbank account…good luck!!!!

23 08 2011
kingofpots

we are trying to develop a family of ultrarunners which is united, close to each other, and service-oriented. simply put, a group dedicated to good values and discipline. henceforth, we’ll be selective in our on site registration for our races. thanks for the comment.

23 08 2011
juliuscervantes

Fair enough, sir. I’m sure a lot of the runners have legitimate excuses, but I agree that they could have at least advised you of their no-show a few days before the event. Anyway, you already have your list of the “usual suspects” who DO show up, so I hope it makes the logistical preparations somewhat easier.

In any case, sana po huwag madala ang BR Events and PAU, and I hope you will continue giving us these wonderful opportunities to test the limits of our bodies and character. More power po, sir. Looking forward to more PAU events in the days ahead!

23 08 2011
kingofpots

the “usual suspects” are real friends and ultrarunners at heart and i know them very well. but with our past experience, 1/2 of the total reserved slots would be our guide in the preparation of our logistics. we’ll continue promoting our advocacy and we’ll sustain it. we are guided with our mantra, “this is passion, not a business”!

23 08 2011
juliuscervantes

Amen, BR!

23 08 2011
Amado L Castro Jr

Its a straight forward post and hope that it educates us of our social responsibilities on social sites. Wishing you all the best in your future races BR.

23 08 2011
kingofpots

well, such actuations without responsibility separate the matured ones from the immatured. hehehe! we belong to the matured ones! thanks and hope to see you soon in one of the races.

23 08 2011
Zalds (TKR)

I think there should be a distinction between those who will be attending as runner participants, and those who will be attending as support crew. That is one reason, I think, that the number of attendees is a lot. I agree with rundmd8, do away with on-site reg or make it only for those with track record of participation.

23 08 2011
kingofpots

thanks zaldy for the comment. i guess, if you say you are attending in my event, it means you are going to be a registered runner and not a member of a support crew. hey, congrats for the mayon 360 top recommendee for a top sports event on a nationwide selection. best wishes!

2 09 2011
Zalds (TKR)

will be guided accordingly sir. Thank you for the wishes 😉

23 08 2011
etivacenyo

Some people don’t know the meaning of “RSVP” here in the Philippines, sad but true. I had my fair share but on a different avenue. Runners applying should adjust their schedule if they want to join PAU or Barefoot races and not the race director/organizer.
I kinda notice this during the Barefoot run last Aug 6. On a financial standpoint yes it is unfair, Its disheartening to see the number of participants who actually showed up. The “immaturity” should stop, the term like “nang-Indian” is not a laughing matter when you commit in the first place.
Im not saying im being loyal to you sir BR but I wisely use the RSVP button for its sole purpose, not just during races.
Sa mga runners maging “drawing” man kayo, it’s your rep at stake.
– Wesley

24 08 2011
benwah

I hear you Sir Jovie. Better to DFL than be giant pretenders. Last yr, I DNS in 6 races due to last minute plans. At least in one race I got a refund or managed to get my goodie bags in others. With races filling up quick and reg fees increase on certain dates, you just have to commit early to avoid being procrastinator.
I suggest have early reg fee differ on certain dates. Also notify runners that x amount of medals and shirts are guaranteed. Anything over would be back ordered. Lastly, some RDs don’t indicate date on the shirts or medals for future use. But then again runners sometimes call them “cheap RDs”.
A lot of Pinoys don’t really know the real meaning of RSVP as evident on weddings, reunions, parties, etc. It’s not an easy job to organize and prepare for so many people and only a few show up.
Walk like a man, run like a man.

24 08 2011
Paul Amerigo Pajo

Sir Jovie – onsite registration is really convenient for most runners – I think there should be a “badge” for those who consistently indicate their intention to register and this people be allowed to do onsite registration – the rest, maybe they can pay via PayPal or online on penalty that if they don’t show up their fees will not be refunded 🙂

24 08 2011
Nilo Butay

Sir Jovie,

I think one of the consideration in joining an ultra marathon is the cost of the expenses not just registration fee but everything. One might forfiet himself in joining the race on the last minute (even if he is physically prepared) due to budget constraint. It might be helpfull, especially to those out of town participants, to give them a rough idea on how amount needed in order to participate the race. Although this idea might not prevent any pretenders but at least it would remind everyone that one of the consideration in joining an ultra is monetary aspect and as early as they register they should start to save something.

Thanks,

Reno

24 08 2011
Titanium Runner

I’m kinda guilty here. Which is why lately, I just indicate “Maybe Attending”. Zaldy has a point though. Some may just signify to be support crew. There should be a qualifier. Other than that, how about making it a little more expensive for onsite registration? This will hurt me too, considering that I have been doing onsite registration for about two PAU races. But it would encourage people to pay in advance. I really wish I could join ALL the PAU races this year. 😦

In my case, even if I miss up on a race event of PAU, I still help out with the logistics of my fellow team members. That’s the best thing I can do even if I am not there.

24 08 2011
juliuscervantes

All the points that have been raised so far are valid, BUT, to be fair to all concerned (specially to the RD, who always advances the costs), I think the simplest approach would be to require advance registration and payment. Exceptions can be granted by BR in his sole and absolute discretion. Refunds can be given to those who cancel at least three or five days before the race. Past this period, BR can give refunds again on a case-by-case basis, but in his sole and absolute discretion.

24 08 2011
nerilim

Sir J,
You’re just kind. Real friends don’t take advantage of other friend’s kindness for whatever reason.
Letting everyone pay a registration fee before being considered as a participants would limit the no show.
Most RD here have registration deadlines and ‘discount for early birds’ (sometimes 50% off by signing up 11 months before the race). They also have a disclaimer that they’re not responsible for t-shirt sizes or medals for late registrants. For those who informed the RD that they’ll miss the race, MAY have a free entry the following year but no refund.
I miss 1 or 2 marathons a year due to schedule conflict or illness. For limited entry like Pick’s Peak or Umstead 100, I inform the RD so he could give my slot to someone on the waiting list. If I’ve book my hotel and non refundable airline ticket, I’ll go to the race and just volunteer. Like what you did at Wiwok 100.
Philippine ultra is still at it’s infancy, so education is required.
More power to you and good luck.
Abe

25 08 2011
jonnifer

I have had my fair share of this experience during Fat Ass.
Phillip who prepared the shirts did not know what to do with excess shirts.

One of the sensible solutions around is advance registration with limited slots especially for ultras. Runners will have the option to withdraw within a given period before the race date but subject to forfeiture or deduction of registration fees. This is very common and being done in most races.

Now for on-site registration, I will allow it under certain conditions. Foremost of which is availability of slots, type of race, etc.. Now, runners who did not show up need not be branded or penalized in future races. There could be a thousand and one reasons. Sometimes it is our oversight as RDs for failure to put some security measures against this unfortunate outcome despite enough exposures. Ultrarunning in Philippines should now be “professionalized” and elevated to the next stage.

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