The Big Dance

20 06 2012

Ultra Trail Runners call the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run as “The Big Dance”. It is considered by many as “the most prestigious 100-Mile trail run” in the world. It is due to the fact that it has challenging qualification requirements for each applicant to meet. If ever one is qualified on these requirements, then you have to go through a lottery process where only about 400+ will be finally chosen to join the race.

Finishing this race in 30 hours, which is the race cut-off time, is already a good performance. But the stronger and faster runners are awarded with the Silver Belt Buckle if they finish the race below 24 hours. And the elite trail runners in the world would always dare to break the existing course record of 15:07:04 hours set by Geoff Roes in the 2010 edition.

Starting Area of the Western States 100 (Photo Courtesy of Jorge Maravilla)

For me and to the rest of the local Pinoy Ultra Runners, this a “dream race”. At my age, I could hardly finish a sub-11 hours for a qualifying 50-mile race; sub-15 hours for a qualifying 100K race; and never experienced finishing a qualifying 100-mile race. I tried to make an attempt two years ago to qualify by joining a trail running event and the training was so hard but I fell short of the WS100 qualifying standards. From there, I was contented to just read about the stories related to the Western States 100 and have a look on the Finish Line which I did last year.

Not to mention the resources needed to train, travel, and qualify for this race, one’s preparation for this race is simply very challenging! If you are a local Pinoy runner intending to join this race, you must be focused to your training, have the resources (time and money) at your disposal, and be able to acclimate to the conditions of the route before race day, which means that you should have trained and be familiar with the route weeks and months before the event.

For this year’s edition which will be held this coming Saturday, June 23, 2012, we are fortunate enough to have a local Pinoy Ultrarunner toeing the starting line in Squaw Valley, California. Attorney Jonnifer Lacanlale, the Course Record holder and Champion of the 2012 Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race will be one among the 419 runners in this edition. Atty Lacanlale was picked in the lottery as he qualified for finishing the toughest trail races in the world—The Great North Walk of Australia and the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (UTMB) in Europe. Consistently being the First “local” Pinoy Finisher in The Great North Walk and the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (UTMB), he is now considered as the First “local” Pinoy to represent the country in the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. And hopefully, the first local Pinoy Ultrarunner to finish the prestigious trail running event.

I give also the credit to a friend of mine, Rick Gaston, whom I consider to be the First Pinoy “non-local” Finisher of the Western States 100, not once but twice! He finished in the 2006 and 2011 editions. I consider him as the fastest and strongest Pinoy “non-local” Ultra Trail Runner in North America today!

It is worthy to note also that there is another Pinoy in the list of starters this coming Saturday. He is Joselito San Gabriel of California. This is a “redemption” run for Joselito as he declared himself as DNFed after finishing more than one-half of the course in last year’s edition.

I wish the best and pray hard for the success and strong finish of Atty Jonnifer Lacanlale and Joselito San Gabriel.

On the elite runners of this race, I happened to meet, talk, and see (in the past) on how the following perform in races: Killian Jornet, Mike Wolfe, Dave Mackey, Ian Sharman, Ryan Sandes, and Jorge Maravilla. But Killian is no longer joining the race due to the untimely death of his running partner, Stephane Brosse, last week during their skiing adventure in Mont Blanc. So, this race will be interesting to the remaining runners that I’ve mentioned above.

I saw how Ryan Sandes ran in some portions of this year’s Vibram Hongkong 100K Trail Run and was able to have a brief talk and photo-ops with him at the Finish Line. The Nepalese runners were running ahead of him about 3/4 of the course but he ran faster on the last 1/4 of the course to finally win and register a course record for the race. He also won the TNF 100K in Australia few weeks ago. Being the course record holder of the Leadville 100-Mile Endurance Trail Run and familiar with races that have “heat conditions”, he could be a strong contender as the Champion in this year’s WS100.

Mike Wolfe, WS100 1st Runner-Up last year, has also a good chance to get the Championship Trophy, to include Dave Mackey, winner of this year’s Miwok 100; and Ian Sharman. But I personally believe that the heat condition on race day will greatly affect their performance.

I happened to meet and talk for a longer time with Jorge Maravilla in last year’s Miwok 100 where we were both served as volunteers. Since that meeting, I have followed his running career as he won as Champion in trail races in California and breaking some course records in the process. Due to his performance, he became as one of the members of the elite Team Salomon. Even if he would be joining this race for the first time, I could see and predict a “top 10” finish for him in this year’s edition.

WS 100 Silver Buckle

How I wish I could be at the Finish Line this coming Saturday or Sunday but my personal schedule won’t allow me. I will just be contented to follow the Live Update through the Internet and hope to relay such information via Facebook and/or Twitter to my Pinoy Ultrarunner friends.

All the best to Atty Jon Lacanlale and to the rest of my friends who will be part of this race on Saturday. Bring home the “Buckle”!


The Road To The 2013 BDM 102 & 160

19 06 2012

The deadline in the submission of application to join this race is strictly enforced. For those who were not able to beat the deadline (Midnight of June 15, 2012),  they will not be considered to be invited to join the event.

We have reached more than the allowable limit we have set for the number of runners in this event. As of the deadline, there are 267 runner-applicants for the BDM 102 and another 110 runner-applicants for the BDM 160. Those who have finished a Trail Marathon and Ultra Marathon Events (without finishing a Marathon Road Race) will be considered for the screening process. Definitely, those who have yet to experience finishing an official full Marathon Race will not be considered and invited to join this race.

For the proper implimentation of safety and security for all the participants, we have set a limit of 200 runners for the BDM 102 and a maximum limit of 100 runners for the BDM 160, except for the additional slots reserved for the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and other security/armed services of the government..

If my proposal to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard and to the other Armed/Security Services of the Government to include the BDM 102 in their “AFP-PNP Olympics” Competition will be approved, we have to allow at least 50 additional slots for this race. There will be NO competition among the Armed Services in the BDM 160.

Letters of Invitation will be sent to qualified applicants thru e-mail and/or Facebook starting tomorrow, June 20, 2012. All invited runners should follow the instructions stated therein. These are very simple instructions to follow.

Good luck and train well.

“Did Not Peak” (DNP) @ Mt. Apo

18 06 2012

5th “Peak Bagging” Experience (April 6, 2012)

A simple ads on Facebook did the trick on me when a group of climbers posted an itinerary of a climbing event towards the peak of Mt Apo, the highest mountain peak in the country with an elevation of 2,956+ meters above sea level which was scheduled during the Holy Week. After a phone call and coordination with a friend in Davao City, I decided to try an approach towards the peak of the mountain which is new and not-so popular among mountain climbers. Reservations had been made with regards to my accommodation and transportation needs and everything was a GO!

Bansalan Trail (Bansalan, Davao Del Sur) Climb To The Peak of Mt Apo is a yearly activity (this is the 2nd year) being organized by the Tourism Office of the municipality in cooperation with mountaineering groups in the Davao Provinces. The itinerary of the climbing event spans for 4 days! The event started on the early morning of Holy Thursday with the participation of 300+ climbers and marshals. I was among the registered climbers but I opted to start the trek the following day, Good Friday! I was thinking that I can “run-peak bag-run” the mountain!


Although I left Davao City very early in the morning of Friday, I was delayed with so many “snags” once I arrived at the Bansalan Municipal Hall—the Tourism Office was closed; the Tourism Officer was called in their house to attend to me and receive my registration fee; it was Good Friday and there was only one eatery opened to serve food; the food order & service at the eatery was very slow. Finally, we were on our way to the trailhead which is another 20+-kilometer ride from the municipal hall.

With 6 kilometers more to go before reaching the trailhead, our vehicle just stopped and had a mechanical trouble! I had to ride on those motorcycle “habal-habal” just to be able to reach the trailhead which they call “Pluto”. I realized later that all the sitios and populated areas within the trailhead are named after the planets and stars of the galaxy.

I got the services of a guide who happens to be a “former” driver and worker in Manila for about 10 years and married to a lady from Pangasinan. Our trek started at 11:00 AM and we traveled fast and light! But the first kilometer was so steep that it took us 45 minutes to cover it! It was a sign that the trek will be a difficult one! The first mountain that we trekked was full of vegetable gardens just like those mountains in the Cordilleras where they are planted with carrots, cabbage, and radish. But after the first mountain, we entered to a place where you have tall grasses, reeds and later forest!

As compared with the trails in Luzon, the trail in Bansalan towards Mt Apo is a “beast”! It has all the combination of challenges and hardships, moreso, when it started to rain when we reached the forested area. They are foot trails/single-track and muddy which was brought about by the 300+ climbers that passed ahead of me. There are big trees that fell down due to natural causes and we have to do some detour from the established foot trail. The grasses along the sides of the trail had grown so tall that they completely cover the trails. In short, these trails are not maintained and they are usually used by the locals in the area. The Bansalan Trail is not a “tourist-friendly” trail and it is best for the “hardcore trail runners/trekkers” who are looking for challenges and risky adventures! And I guess, I consider myself as a “hardcore”!

After 4 hours of trekking (this is my first time not to be able to jog or run in any point/location towards a mountain peak), my guide and I were able to catch up with the tail of the climbers. One of the climbers recognized me and he was surprised to see me! We had some short conversation and some photo-ops. I had to pass their group and was able to reach the middle part of the group as we reached what they call “Lake Jordan”.

At this point, I had been trekking for the past 5 hours and I could see the full view of Mt Apo’s Peak. I told my guide that we have to rest and assess our chances of reaching the peak of the mountain on that day. We ate our energy bars and took some pictures while resting. I still have enough water in my Camelbak and enery bars to last for another 5 hours.

The next target to be reached by the climbers is Camp Reyes where they will spend the night and try to reach the peak of the mountain on the following day, Saturday. I was informed that I could reach Camp Reyes through power hiking in 1 hour but I would still have 2-3 hours to reach the peak. So, I made the decision to make my turn-around at this point. I was not fully equipped for the colder temperature (no tent, lack of food and water in going back to the trailhead for me and guide, and thicker jacket) as we went higher in elevation. It became colder as it rained in the mountains!

At Lake Jordan, the distance we have trekked covered 7.1 kilometers from the Pluto Trailhead and my GF305 registered an elevation of 2,428 meters above sea level. We still have another 530+ meters of elevation to trek for as to be able reach the peak of the mountain. It was a good decision to turn-around at this point. There will always be next time for Mt. Apo!

Our trek back to the Pluto Trailhead was more challenging as it rained some more and the thick mud kept on sticking to my trail shoes which made it heavier. Before we reached the last mountain from the trailhead, it was already becoming darker and it was already nighttime. With my headlight and hand-held flashlight, the guide and I were able to reach the trailhead with a slower pace making sure that we don’t slide or trip on those slippery descent and fallen trees which we have to walk on.

If my counting is right, I fell five (5) times on my butt on those slippery descents and bumped my head on fallent trees’ trunks & branches for three (3) times but I got no injuries or sprain on my body. Well, those are just part of the adventure and experience.

Finally, I reached my ride at the trailhead at 9:30 PM and reached Davao City before midnight. What a day to spend the Good Friday! This could be the longest day in my “peak bagging” feats so far!

This is my first “DNP” but it is worth the risk and adventure! I will make sure that I will be more prepared and smarter next time! This could be my first “DMB” (Did My Best) “peak bagging” so far!

Mt Apo, I’ll be back!

Picture Of The Week #6

12 06 2012

Result: 1st BR’s BEER Mile Run

10 06 2012

1st Bald Runner’s BEER Mile Run/June 10, 2012/Rizal High School Oval Track

1 Alfredo Ocampo 8:24
2 Meljohn Tezon 9:44
3 Virgilio Leona 10:10
4 Cesar Abarientos 10:11
5 Graciano Santos 10:14
6 Randy Duenas 10:44
7 Bob Castilla 10:56
8 Victor Ting 11:11
9 Kokoy Delmo 11:47
10 Joey Baladad 11:49
11 Godfrey Gozo 12:44
12 Pjong Dela Paz 12:46
13 Marco Christopher Montaos 12:47
14 Larry Daliwag 12:55
15 Chino Atayde 12:56
16 Samuel Narcise 12:57
17 Dindo Diaz 13:01
18 Sergio Bardol 13:20
19 Mark Anthony Rodica 14:01
20 Benedick Meneses 14:11
21 Joseph Soriao 14:24
22 Gil Ocampo 14:41
23 Bert Camangonan 14:56
24 Imelda Laron (Female) 15:02
25 Frederick Quitiquit 15:12
26 Demesio Mamano 15:53
27 Manolito Anyaya 16:05
28 Chito Carreon 16:49
29 Gerry Geralde 17:23
30 Emil Burgos 18:22
31 Raymund Suarez 18:42
32 Bong Bernadez 18:43
33 Lemuel Narcise 18:59
34 Jeffrey Abenina 19:02
35 David Buban 19:12
36 Jonel Mendoza 19:28
37 Junar Layug 19:57
38 Rico Cabusao 20:07
39 Stephanie Hefti (Female) 20:40
40 Frederick Gabriel 20:52
41 Enrico Caramay 21:40
42 Cindy Sevilla (Female) 22:10
43 Daphne Codilla (Female)  25:26
44 Gene Olvis 26:05
45 Eric Socrates 28:44
46 Vic Viola 30:44
47 Ron Sulapas 31:12

Congratulations to everybody!

Picture Of The Week #5

7 06 2012

Random Thoughts (After TD50)

6 06 2012

In the United States, June 6 is declared as their National Running Day. In some of my previous posts in this blog, I mentioned about coming up with the same concept in order for the citizens to adhere to a healthy lifestyle by engaging to any kind of sports. The following was the exact words from my previous post:

“It will take a real “sportsman or sportswoman” among our politicians to think and “lobby” for a “National Sports Week or Month”. There is already a party-list group at the House of Representatives which is called “PBA” (Partido ng Bayaning Atleta) but I am still waiting for them to be heard or seen in our national sports endeavors. Well, this could be a good idea for the PSC and POC to indulge if they are really sincere in discovering new “talents” and developing our sports program in the “grassroots”!”

Those people who are responsible in making or declaring a “National Running Day” for the country will always defend themselves by saying that “there is no need for such day or celebration because runners run everyday”!


I would like to personally thank those who greeted me on my 60th Birthday through Facebook, SMS, e-mail, and telephone calls. Instead of running for 60K, I was contented to run for 60 minutes on my birthday towards the peak of a mountain. There was no party or grand celebration for this day. I was contented  to just pray that I will have more years to enjoy running on the roads and trails. Finally, I got my Senior Citizen’s Card!


Taklang Damulag Ultra Trail Races (TD 100M/50M/50K) will remain to be the most challenging trail running event in the country. It will remain to be a challenge for the hardcore runners. I am proud that the 1st TD 100-Mile Trail Run made those runners who DNFed as stronger, smarter, and faster trail “experts” in their succeeding races here and abroad. It also started a trend of mountain ultra trail runs in the country.


I always IGNORE non-ultrarunners who make their opinion and/or observation about the sports I love and promote. Being the Founder and President of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU), I should be the one who should be refuting or arguing the statements of these people. But it would be best if these people will accept my personal invitation to join in next year’s edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race which I will send to them on the 4th week of this month. I think eight (8) months will be enough time for them to prepare and train for such invitation.


I am happy that more marathon runners are slowly “crossing the fence” to the world of ultrarunning. I am happier that more runners are also shifting to trail running. After posting my “peak bagging” adventures, I’ve observed that my ultra running friends and other runners have started to go to the mountains, too! Some of my friends are wondering why I am always “peak bagging/peak hunting” almost every week. Well, the answer is that I am preparing for my next ultra trail run. It could be before the year ends or finally participate in next year’s TNF 100.


I am supposed to join in this Saturday’s San Diego 100-Mile Endurance Run but I missed the on-line registration at Ultra SignUp by a few hours as I did not expect the influx of interested runners. I was surprised that the slots were filled-up as soon as the registration opened. Even if I appealed to the Race Director with an e-mail and FB Personal Message, my request to be included was not granted. Lesson learned: Be fast with your Credit Card and Stick to the Rules and Regulation of the Event!


This site will remain as a running blog. More ultra running events here and abroad will be featured in this blog as more of our local runners are interested to know what is happening in the world of ultrarunning. Actually, some of our runners had been consistently joining ultra trail running events outside the country. Jonnifer Lacanlale, Simon Bolivar, Jael Wenceslao, Paolo Osmena, Garry Garcia had been consistently joining ultra running events outside the country and have been our ultra “ambassadors” to represent our country. I have a prediction that more of our local ultrarunners will be following their footsteps in the years to come.


Starting tomorrow, June 7, BDM 102 Finisher and ultrarunner Mac Milan will be starting his “multi-day adventure run” from Davao City to Cagayan De Oro City covering a distance of 250+ kilometers. He promised me to have his run “journalized” through a blog and will try his best to update us with his running experience. Good luck and have fun, Mac!

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