Official Result: 3rd Mt Pinatubo 50K Ultra Trail Challenge

3rd Mt Pinatubo 50K Ultra Trail Challenge

5:05 AM-5:05 PM October 21, 2012

Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac To Crater Lake & Back

Starters: 102 Runners

Finishers: 100 Runners

Group Picture Before Start Of The Race
RANK N    A      M    E T I M E (HRS)
1 Marcelo Bautista (Champion, CR) 5:35:09
2 Ronie Nullar (1st Runner-Up, CR) 5:47:15
3 Mark Carlo Villafuerte (2nd Runner-Up, CR) 6:00:38
4 Jerome Lagumbay (CR) 6:08:25
5 Rayman Delos Angeles 6:31:01
6 Edge Madronio 6:32:08
7 Jon Las Bruce 6:32:58
8 George Killo 6:38:40
9 Raffy Gabotero 6:40:02
10 Laurencio Lao Ogerio 6:43:03
11 Henry Laron 7:04:08
12 Calvin John Escandor 7:21:53
13 Simon Pavel Miranda 7:22:10
14 Mark Aethen Agana 7:36:28
15 Roberto Delos Santos 7:38:56
16 Marlon Zarate 7:41:50
17 Ruben Torralba 7:45:51
18 Jeffrey Diaz 7:54:33
19 Bong Alindada 7:57:30
20 Chris Kapher 7:59:02
21 Maria Josephine Liao (Lady Champion, CR) 8:00:58
22 Jessie Llarena 8:13:18
23 Paolo Osmena 8:19:43
24 Andrew Aquino 8:23:43
25 George Javier 8:26:56
26 Nicolas De Leon Jr 8:26:58
27 Jon Borbon 8:27:00
28 Vener Roldan 8:27:53
29 Ronnel Go 8:28:07
30 Rod Gotos 8:29:18
31 Jarred Baliguat 8:33:07
32 Philippe Arenillo 8:35:01
33 Cheryll Bihag (Lady 1st Runner-Up) 8:36:24
34 Dennis Chavez 8:45:16
35 Dindo Diaz 8:45:22
36 Dean Cordero 8:50:42
37 Clyde Imperio 9:00:42
38 Carlito Buenaventura 9:05:45
39 Jojo Dela Cruz 9:08:41
40 Rodell Mendoza 9:10:32
41 Daphne Rose Codilla (Lady 2nd Runner-Up) 9:10:42
42 Meriam Torres (Female) 9:11:50
43 Alex Jones 9:12:08
44 Luke Mark Odon 9:13:35
45 Edgardo Vocal 9:14:36
46 Nixon Pasiken 9:15:43
47 Errol Regaya 9:20:13
48 Ejercito Suyo 9:20:57
49 Johann Marquez 9:22:12
50 Edrick Nicdao 9:22:56
51 Jayson Canete 9:25:37
52 Arman Garcia 9:26:06
53 Gerson Patriana 9:27:00
54 Harold Manalo 9:34:58
55 Jason Sison 9:39:56
56 Joseph Pineda 9:49:07
57 Noel Veloso 9:58:58
58 Dexter Cruz 9:59:41
59 Arnel Distor 10:15:11
60 Jeffrey Enverga 10:15:19
61 Gay Baniwas (Female) 10:15:23
62 Stephanie Hefti (Female) 10:15:29
63 Carl Balagot 10:15:57
64 Marc Conrad Molina 10:16:39
65 Venn Lamela 10:17:37
66 Jayson De Ocampo 10:17:46
67 Benj Termulo 10:17:54
68 Tom Baniwas 10:30:43
69 Steve Paul Dumlao 10:34:25
70 Armand Belen 10:34:36
71 Juvy Pagtalunan (Female) 10:38:35
72 Nap Ocampo 10:41:33
73 Jericho De Jesus 10:41:35
74 Darwin Avila 10:42:20
75 Ofelia Lorete (Female) 10:45:36
76 Sheryll Quimosing (Female) 10:45:37
77 Harold Lorete 10:45:38
78 Brian Casorla 10:48:18
79 Kim Youngju 10:55:09
80 Park Kwangyeol 10:55:19
81 Danny Consigna 11:03:13
82 Aileen Manat (Female) 11:03:29
83 Lyra Cruzette Rosario (Female) 11:06:37
84 Joseph Ronquillo 11:07:46
85 Gia Estrella (Female) 11:10:06
86 Zaldy Santillan 11:10:07
87 Emmanuel Tan 11:10:22
88 Choy Zaguirre 11:12:43
89 Benett Silario 11:13:26
90 Jeje Ajusto 11:14:23
91 Chari Sevilla (Female) 11:17:26
92 Lester Evangelista 11:17:27
93 Jinky Yray (Female) 11:17:28
94 Hazel Arnaiz (Female) 11:17:29
95 Carmeli Ortega (Female) 11:17:30
96 Katrina Constantino (Female) 11:17:31
97 Chie Angeles (Female) 11:17:32
98 Maynard Villamer 11:18:04
99 Ric Cabusao Jr 11:20:59
100 Ramon Flores 11:21:04

1st West Coast 200: Rules & Regulations

The following are the Rules & Regulations and Additional Information on the conduct of the West Coast 200K Ultra Marathon Run on November 1-4, 2012:

1. WEST COAST 200K (WC200) is multi-day stage run, a run of three (3) consecutive days which will start o/a 5:00 AM of November 1, 2012 at the Remy Field Oval Track at Subic Freeport (Olongapo City) and ends o/a 5:00 AM of November 4, 2012 at the Port of Barangay Lucap, Alaminos, Pangasinan.

2. This is a SOLO run. Runners will run along the Olongapo-Alaminos Highway covering a distance of 200 kilometers. A runner-participant has the option to join as an unsupported or supported. A supported runner can avail of a support vehicle and support crew. An unsupported runner will be on his own as he/she can avail of convenience stores & eateries along the route.

3. Pacer/s are not allowed.

4. Runners should always stay on the left side facing the incoming traffic. The race route is an Open Road and the runners shall share the road with other vehicles.

5. Support vehicles should always park on the far RIGHT side of the Highway. A runner will be disqualified if his/her support vehicle is parked on the Left side of the Highway. Support Vehicles shall not be allowed to “shadow” their runner. Only four-wheeled vehicles are allowed as support vehicles.

6. Runners will run or cover a distance of 70 kilometers on the FIRST Day. Runners shall assemble at the Remy Field Oval Track in Subic Freeport and the race shall start at 5:00 AM of November 1, 2012. The Finish Line/Area will be the Municipal Plaza of Botolan, Zambales. The cut-off time is 12 hours.

Remy Field Oval Track, Subic Freeport

7. On the 2nd day, runners will run/cover a distance of 70 kilometers. Participants should be at the Starting Area (Municipal Plaza of Botolan, Zambales) before 5:00 AM of November 2, 2012. The race shall start at 5:00 AM and the Finish Line will be at the Municipal Plaza of Infanta, Pangasinan. The cut-off time is 14 hours.

8. On the 3rd day, runners will run/cover a distance of 60 kilometers and it will be a NIGHT Run. Runners should be at the Starting Line (Municipal Plaza of Infanta, Pangasinan) before 7:00 PM of November 3, 2012. The race shall start at 7:00 PM and the Finish Line will be at the Port of Barangay Lucap in Alaminos, Pangasinan. The cut-off time is 10 hours.

Finish Line @ Vicinity of Lighthouse in Baranhay Lucap, Alaminos, Pangasinan

9. Podium Finishers’ Awards/Trophies will be given to the Top 3 Male & Top 3 Female. Finish Times  for the 3 stages will be added and  Finishers will be ranked from the fastest total of finish time  to the slowest. Official Finishers (Finishers within the Cut-off time) will be awarded with a Finisher’s Medal, Finisher’s T-Shirt, and Certificate. Points for the PAU Runner of the Year will also be awarded.

10. A runner is declared DNF once he/she could NOT meet or finish the stage within the prescribed cut-off time. The runner will not be allowed to run in the remaining stages of the race.

11. There will be NO Aid Stations along the route. NO Drop Bags will be allowed.

12. It is mandatory for every runner to have his/her hydration system; headlight/lighting system; reflectorized vest; and first-aid kit.

13. Unsupported runners could bring their camping tents and their extra clothes to be deposited at the RD’s vehicle which will be brought directly to the Finish Line of each stage.

14. Each of the Municipal Plaza in Botolan, Zambales & Infanta, Pangasinan has a Covered Court (with Comfort/Bath Rooms) and Lawn Area where runners could sleep/rest and take a bath. Please don’t litter on these areas.

15. Runners will be responsible for their meals and accommodation if they prefer to be housed in hotels/pension inns/resorts/homestays. There will be no curfews as it will be the personal responsibility of each runner to have his recovery and rest every after stage. There will be NO “socials” in every stage of the run.

16. This is the FIRST Multi-Day Stage Run to be held in the country. Let us maintain the INTEGRITY of this run and be proud to be a participant and much more if you intend to finish the event.

Additional Information:

The following are the recommended Resorts & Restaurants in Botolan, Zambales as suggested by the Botolan Tourism Office: (Note: Runners can directly contact these establishments through their respective contact numbers/websites)

1. C & J Sunset View Beach Resort. Contact Person: Mr Zaldy B. Yap. Contact Number(s): 0949-775-5082/0917-607-9207. Website:

2. Rama Beach Resort & Restaurant. Contact Person: Mr Roger Bound. Contact Number: 0918-922-2863. Website: E-mail address:

3. Westcoast Beach Resort & Restaurant. Contact Person: Mr Jun Gimeo. Contact Number(s): 0917-732-0716/0918-985-9352.

In Infanta, Pangasinan, there are NO resorts. hotels, or pension inns. There are restaurants in the nearby town of Sta Cruz, Zambales. Additional information on hotels/pension inns in Sta Cruz, Zambales will be posted soon on my Facebook Wall’s Event Page.

Pictures Of The Week #11

This is a very unique BR’s Picture of the Week because it consists of successive pictures that tell a story of the people living in our mountains. For this particular Picture Story, all pictures were taken while I was on my “peak bagging” run at Mt Miyamit, Porac, Pampanga last Saturday. The following pictures are self-explanatory but I would still put some captions to each of them.

Brisk Walking Towards The Top Of The Mountain With A Boy On A Carabao & Sled Infront of Me
“Sidestepping” To Pass The Carabao & Sled (Note: “Makahiya” Plants On the Side of the Trail). Kid’s Companions Are On Top
Was Able To Join The Group (One Family) & Talked To The Father. The Family Would Stay In The Mountains For Days To Hunt For Food & Harvest Banana Blossoms (Puso Ng Saging) To Be Brought To The Market.
Initial Picture With The Family
The Whole Family Plus The Kid On The Carabao (Not In The Picture), A Family of 9 Children!

My message in this Picture Story is to remind us that we are blessed with so much material things within our grasps as compared to this Family that I met in the Mountains. Next time that you go to the mountains, find time to engage them in a conversation, the least that you can do if you don’t have a spare of cash or food with you which you can share to them. Maybe, on my next “peak bagging” runs, I will make sure that I will bring something to give to these people in the mountains.

Happiness in a family is not measured by material possessions, title and money but on the unity and bonding of each member.

“High Peak” @ Mt Tapulao

“High Peak” was the name/title of the Event Page as posted on Facebook by Bong Alindada.

One day after my “Run For Peace” in Negros Island, I was on my way to the Dampay Salaza Resettlement in Palauig, Zambales to experience peak bagging to Mount Tapulao, the highest moiuntain peak in Central Luzon!

I was invited by Bong Alindada and the rest of the Team Maligno whose members are seasoned ultrarunners and peak baggers. Even if I knew I will be directly involved in the “Run For Peace” and will be running a distance of 87 kilometers, joining these ultrarunners will be fun and worth the experience. I would not miss the camaraderie of this team/group.

Planning and Schedule were duly published and discussed on Facebook’s Event Page and the details of the event was set. All was needed was for me to rest the whole day of the 22nd of September (Saturday) and travel early to Palauig, Zambales on the next day.

Dampay Salaza Resettlement Area is the trailhead to the peak of Mt Tapulao. It is a resettlemt area for those families affected by the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in 2001 whose houses were buried by lahar. Most of the families are Aeta tribe and residents in most of the barangays of San Marcelino, Zambales.

If one has a personal vehicle, it can be reached through the Olongapo-Alaminos Highway going north. After passing the Poblacion of Palauig, Zambales, there is a road crossing going east from the Highway before reaching the town of Candelaria, Zambales. An appropriate directional board of the Resettlement Area can be seen along the said Highway. For those who would like to commute by bus, they can take the Victory Liner Bus up to Iba, Zambales and then hire those tricycles at the Bus Station. Although it is more expensive, hiring one tricycle would cost P400 which could accommodate 4 persons. The distance from the Highway Crossing to the Resettlement Area is 7.8 Kilometers.

Team Maligno/Runners To The Peak Of Mt Tapulao (Minus the Photographer)

I met the Team at Dampay Salaza Resettlement Area at 6:30 AM of Sunday, 23 September and with a few minutes of preparation and picture-taking, we were off to the peak of Mt Tapulao.

Mt Tapulao is very popular among Mountaineers. The trek to the peak of this mountain and camping overnight serves as the Initiation Climb for the new mountaineers in almost all the famous Mountaineering Clubs in Luzon & Metro Manila.

Entry To The Trail Is Full Of Rocks Already

A gradual and non-stop incline awaited us as soon as we left the Barangay Hall of Barangay Dampay Salaza which serves also as the Office of the Barangay’s Tourism Office. I think we paid Twenty Pesos per Climber for the Registration Fee and each climber has to register at the said office before he/she climbs the mountain.

What is very distinct and different among the other mountains that I peaked is that this mountain’s trail is full of small, medium, and large rocks. The trail is wide for a 4 X 4 jeep or truck to traverse or travel. I have the suspicion that the PNOC had constructed the trail for their heavy equipment to reach the peak of the mountain. The trail’s construction has a similitarity with that of Mt Natib’s trail to its peak. The PNOC could have been exploring for possible source of energy as these mountains are considered as volcanoes.

These Are The Small Rocks!

I was in the company of my ultra friends from Team Maligno. We had 9 males and one female. I brought two of my men who served as the official photographer and “mule” for our food and water provisions not knowing that there are many sources of water along the trail. Not only I had running friends but also mountaineers as well and those who I have influenced in peak bagging. Bong Alindada served as our guide as he became the “talk of the folks in the barangay” for having registered the fastest time to reach the peak of the mountain a month ago! Team Maligno was in good hands and there was no chance for anybody of us to get lost on the “assualt stage” towards the peak of the mountain.

The people at the Barangay could not believe when we said to them that we would be back before sunset when they noticed that we did not bring any heavy backpacks for our camping needs and extra food & water provisions.

Our ascending pace was very fast! I was left behind with my two men and for having ran a 87 kilometers two days ago gave my leg muscles and knees a “recovery” workout! It’s weird but I think I considered this peak bagging event as my “after ultra recovery workout”. I tried to keep in pace with the last man of the front group making sure that the main group was always on my sight!

Brief Meeting & Talk With “Jeffrey”

Our first “pit stop” is a water source (spring) at Km # 6.3 and we enjoyed our water and food. I shared hard boiled eggs which appeared to have their shells separated from the egg itself due to the jarring effect caused by eggs knocking each other inside a “tupperware” container! It wasn’t a problem, the egg is still an egg and it’s a nice food for endurance athletes if dipped with some salt! I offered some boiled sweet potatoes, too! The next water source is at Km # 9.

We received information from the Barangay Tourism Office that there are at least 75 persons who climbed the mountain the day before and they slept with their camping tents at the base of the peak. Some of the persons are with the DENR who are conducting some studies on the “birds’ habitat & presence” in the area.

Our Pit Stop!
Jeffrey With The Smiling Team Maligno

While we were resting in our first “pit stop”, an adult Aeta who appears to be taller than the usual height of the tribe, reached our resting place and he was carrying half sack of rice and other supplies for the DENR personnel at the peak. We invited him to join us, shared our food and tried to engage him in a conversation. He brought down to the ground the things that he was carrying and we had some conversation with him. I asked his name and he said that his name is Jeffrey. I immediately said that I am naming him as “Jeffrey Mutai”. He looks like he is from Kenya! He works as a porter for climbers and he is being paid P 300.00 per day with free food from his client-climber!

As we resumed our trek to the peak of the mountain, Jeffrey was left behind as he took some rest. However, after a few minutes, he was already on our tail. Jeffrey’s sight behind us became our gauge if we are dropping our pace during our trek!

Rocks Galore To The Peak

As we got nearer to the Bunkhouse and getting higher in elevation, we met some of the climbers who are already going back to the resettlement Area/Barangay’s Tourism Office after staying overnight at the peak. We usually greet them as we meet along the trail with the usual “Good Morning” greetings. However, one of the climbers going down was aked by one of us if there are many more of the climbers still at the peak and we got a different answer! He replied that we still have a few more kilometers to walk/trek before we reach the “bunkhouse” which is the last kilometer plus hundred meters before the peak of the mountain. Weird answer, ha?

Pine Trees Ala-Baguio City
Another Group Picture Near The Abandon Guardhouse

Getting nearer to the peak became positive as we started to see big pine trees, ala-Baguio City and the presence of lots of piles of chromites ores on the sides of the trail. This could be the reason why the trail is so wide and established that there is a local mining as cottage industry in the place! We could see the clouds enveloping the mountain and we felt cooler and more refreshed. We had smiles on our faces that finally, after running/jogging and brisk walking for 14 kilometers, we will be able to reach the Bunkhouse and be able to replenish our water ration from the spring thereat.

Chromite Ore…Pine Trees…Clouds
Abandoned Guardhouse

The sight of the Bunkhouse brought happiness in all of us. But it was a temporary one as we have to make the final assualt to the peak of the mountain. All of us knew already what to expect. It will be a very steep single track trail and some slippery ones, too! One Kilometer plus a change of 400 meters was the distance of the assualt climb which we targetted to be done in One Hour!

The Bunkhouse. On the Right Side of the Pine Tree is the Assualt Trail To The Peak

I was the one who led the group during the Assualt with Bong on my back! We could have made it to the peak in less than one hour but those DENR nets which acted as a BIG FENCE on the peak of the mountain (used to catch flying birds) prevented us from doing so. But we were blessed to have reached the peak with no clouds and the sight all around us was magnificent!

Group Picture Before The Assualt!

The group selected a place where we can lie down/sit or eat our light ration at the peak. I selected a place that was inclined and took a nap after eating some food. I did not mind the heat of the sun as I was totally tired from the trek. I think I was able to get a nap for about thirty minutes. I guess, it took us 4 hours plus to reach the top of the mountain from where we started, a distance of almost 16 kilometers!

Finally, At The Peak!
Foreground Is The Hole At The Peak

Our peak bagging was not complete without some pictures as evidence that we peaked the mountain. Bong selected the place with the big hole at the peak (where story abounds the digging of an object the hole and it was transported out of the mountain through a helicopter!) and later with the whole Team Maligno clinging on the branches of the ONLY Oak Tree at the Peak! Our picture on that tree was EPIC in proportion! It showed so much fun on the faces of each of the member!

I am The Photographer!
Best Picture Of The Team!

It was time to go down from the peak! Of course, it was faster but it started to drizzle and later, it would rain. Once we reached the Bunkhouse, we replenished our water supply and started our way back to the Resettlement Area.

Descending the mountain is very hard when it is raining! Why? The whole trail and the rocks are slippery. Being positioned from behind of the group, I was able to see members of the group falling down with their butt hitting the ground. I jokingly asked each member what was their score for the number of times that they slipped to the ground. Some had score up to 4X until they reached the starting area! Well, my score was zero!

Last Picture Shot Before Our Descent (Note: Birds’ Trap Nets On The Right).

We passed more of the campers who started to leave the peak earlier than us. And they are amazed to see that we hopped and jogged on those slippery ground and rocks! It was fun doing this on the first half of our descent from the Bunkhouse but it became harder when fatigue seeps in to our body with the rocks come in contact with our shoes. Pain on my feet and leg muscles were already becoming unbearable. Everything was mental postive attitude on my last 5 kilometers of the trek down to the Resettlement Area.

My The North Face Trail Shoes I used was a mess! The whole sole of both shoes just came off as we were ascending to the peak. On our way back, I removed those dangling soles and took extra careful on my footing and tried to be light. My trail shoes failed and this was my fourth shoes with the same brand that its soles gave up and got separated from the whole shoes! It’s time to cease from buying this kind of trail shoe brand!

My The North Face Shoes Before Reaching The Bunkhouse

Before it became dark, I finally reached the Resettlement Area with the “front group” cheering on me. I could not smile to them because I was already in pain and was simply exhausted! They knew the solution as I approached them—they offered me an ice-cold 1.5-liter bottle of Royal Tru-Orange! I was already smiling after I saw what they have prepared for me!

Already Smiling After A Shower At The Barangay Tourism Center

All the members of the Team Maligno reached the Resettlement Area safe and happy after reaching the Tourism Office! We proved to the Barangay folks that we can go up to the peak and be back to the Barangay for the period from sunrise to sunset!

I could no longer count how many mountain peaks I’ve bagged since I’ve started doing this kind of adventure!

Directional Sign Along The Olongapo-Alaminos Highway & Crossing To The Resettlement Center

Two weeks after, I was already in the Office of the Provincial Governor of Zambales telling the good Governor and his staff of my proposal to conduct a running event to the peak of Mt Tapulao as part of my FKT (Fastest Known Time) Mountain Runs to be scheduled for next year!

See you at the Starting Line!

(Note: Mt Tapulao’s Peak is 2,040 Meters Above Sea Level)

“Run For Peace” In Negros Island

I have never run for any political advocacy and for the five years that I have been blogging and running, I have maintained the simplicity of my purpose. I simply wanted to inspire others to run; challenge their physical and mental limits; and promote adherence to a healthy lifestyle.

In a spur of the moment decision, I think I did something for the good of everybody in the name of PEACE & UNITY.

The story goes this way.

After I have conducted my final coordination with the Governor of Guimaras, the Honorable Felipe Hilan Nava, in the conduct of the 1st PAU National Championship 110/50, I have decided to have a side trip to Bacolod City. With a telephone conversation with the Philippine Army Brigade Commander who is responsible for the province of Negros Occidental and telling him of my plan to visit his place, my side trip was set even if the lead time is only 12 hours.

The Super Ferry Boat plying Iloilo City and Bacolod City is a very convenient and cheap way to travel as one would take only 2 hours. The fare is P 620.00, one way, but I was able to get a 20% discount for being a Senior Citizen.

At the Bacolod City Port, I was met by a Driver (MSgt Arnel), a Security Aide (Sgt   Julius), and a Van. I was brought immediately to the Headquarters of the Philippine Army’s Infantry Brigade in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental, a distance of about 25 kilometers southeast of Bacolod City.

The Commander and the Deputy Commander, who happened to have served under me when they were Captains, are now Colonels and about to be promoted to the One-Star General rank. They were waiting at the Commander’s Quarters where breakfast was prepared and served.

Both of my hosts are runners and sports enthusiasts. The Commander, Colonel Oscar Lactao, is the “Top Gun” of his Class in the Philippine Army, had scaled and peaked Mt Canlaon few weeks ago. The Deputy Commander, Colonel John Aying, had been a sprint runner and turned into a long distance runner because of my influence to him as he served directly under me for 5 years. These two Colonels are classmates in the Philippine Military Academy.

While we were having breakfast, I told them about my primary purpose for the visit—to soak my body in the hot spring water of the famous Mambukal Spring Resort which happens to be one kilometer away from the Headquarters. My secondary purpose for the visit is to request to the two senior officers for the road measurement of the route from San Carlos City to Bacolod City passing through the Don Salvador Benedicto Town. The two officers knew already what was in my mind when I asked them about the distance between these two cities. I told them that I missed doing these two things while I was the Division Commander in the area before I retired from the active military service—soaking my body at the Mambukal Resort & running an ultra distance in the area.

On My First Visit & Soaking At Mambukal Hot Spring

Anyway, I had 4 hours at the Mambukal (Mild) Hot Spring Pond and I enjoyed the water and the place. I had company of Balikbayans from Canada; foreigners from the Middle East; and from Southeast Asia. This place is very popular to the locals as well as from foreigners visiting Negros Island.

After 4 hours, I dropped by at the Headquarters of the Brigade and I was back in Bacolod City for my Super Ferry trip back to Iloilo City to catch up my flight back to Manila. I was completely relaxed as a result of my hot spring experience that I was able to sleep during the ferry trip.

In a few hours later, I was back in Manila.

A day after, I received a message from Colonel Aying telling me of the exact distance from San Carlos City to Bacolod City’s Provincial Capitol—it’s 87 Kilometers! I told him that I was asking for the distance up to the Old Bacolod Airport only which he replied that the distance would be shorter by 5-6 kilometers. And I said, it would be fine for me. I thought, 5-6 kilometers is just a “cool down” distance for an ultra runner. I was surprised with the immediate feedback.

After a week, I received a call and message from Colonel Lactao that he is officially inviting me to conduct a recon run and lead a group of runners from San Carlos City to Bacolod City as a part of a program to observe the Month For International Peace in the month of September and specifically stated that the event will be held on the 21st of September, in time for the 40th celebration of the Declaration of Martial Law. I immediately approved and accepted his invitation as he offered his outmost support for my accommodation and needs for the ultra run.

September As The Month For Peace

I immediately bought my round trip to Bacolod City the day after I received the invitation and started my training and preparation for the said run. I spent a lot of hours of swimming drills at the Philippine Army Swimming Pool reaching up to 2.5 hours and then another 1-2 hours of running at the Philippine Army Grandstand/Parade Ground Jogging Lane under the heat of the sun. I usually start my swimming drills at 9:00 AM and then go to running at 11:30 AM up to 1:30 PM. I did this routine for almost 3 weeks! I focused on my endurance to last for the distance of 87 kilometers and then hill workouts during weekends in my peak bagging activities. I knew I did not need so much speed on this run as I would be running with a group of pacers in a formation. This is the reason that you could see my legs to be almost black in color in my pictures for the actual run.

A lot of my running friends had observed that I am “burned” as seen from the color of my skin and had reduced to almost 136 pounds during the Guimaras PAU National Championship. But I did not mention anything about this run as I knew nobody would dare to spend a Friday with me running an 87 Kilometers in a very challenging terrain that crosses the Island of Negros from East to West. There will come a day that my ultra runners will have to experience this route in one of my future PAU Races.

From East To West (San Carlos City To Bacolod City)

As the days passed and the event getting nearer, I received specific and detailed planning instructions about my run in Negros. I have to finish the event in about 16 hours as depicted in a graph prepared by Colonels Lactao and Aying. It appears that this is a simultaneous run of THREE GROUPS; one group is coming from the North of Negros; one group is coming from the South; and one group (my group) is coming from the East and our group has the longest distance to run. The rest of the groups had to run 12-16 kilometers from a certain point and my group has the longest distance to run! As planned, all the groups would converge to the Pond/Capitol Grounds at exactly the same time (6:00 PM on D-Day) to offer a Torch of Peace to the Provincial Governor & Leaders of Peace Groups in the Area from each of the running groups. These 3 torches carried by each group will be made to light a Big Torch as a Symbol of Peace and Unity for the Island of Negros.

Schedule/Time Plan of my Run

What makes the event more meaningful is the reception of the schools and school children; the populace; and the local government units where the run would pass. Each of these institutions along the way had to commit themselves for peace in short program/ceremony in a brief stop in front of the municipal hall of every town that we passed.

Since my group will be running the farthest distance, the plan was to proceed to San Carlos City a day before D-Day and be able to start the run at exactly 2:00 AM on D-Day.

Knowing about the plan of the event, I instructed my host to prepare and make available the hydration and nutrition that I will be needing during the run—-boiled eggs, boiled bananas, Gatorade, Water and Coca-Cola/Mountain Dew. On my end, I prepared my running kit, equipment, and personal hydration mix and system. Additional nutrition consisting of Chocolate Bites (Cloud 9) and Butterscotch from Biscocho Haus will have to be personally procured at SM Bacolod City.

I prepared ASICS Gel-Tarther Racing Flats as my shoes; Drymax Socks; Salomon Running Shorts; Under Armour Compression Shirts (One Short Sleeve/White and One Long Sleeve/Red); Oakley Sunglass; Black Diamond Spot Headlight; 2XU Compression Calf Sleeves; “Sprint” Nathan Handheld Bottle; and ASICS Runner’s Cap. As for my electrolyte needs, I prepared 4 packs of my Succeed Amino Acid to be mixed with water.

After the Guimaras 110K PAU Nationals, for one week more to go, my preparations and strategy had been implemented and perfected. I made sure that I had enough sleep on every day of this last week prior to the event. Sometimes, my night sleep would average to 8-9 hours! I also did some “core exercises” and leg strengthening exercises at least twice a week. I knew my left knee pain will hold and would not bother me during the run, especially on the downhill part of the run, from Don Benedicto Salvador to Murcia. I was prepared to finish the run!

Fast Forward. I arrived in Bacolod City on the early morning of the 20th September, Thursday and I had a breakfast with Colonels Lactao and Aying in their Advance Post Headquarters in Bacolod City. Final Briefing was conducted after the breakfast and everything was ready. I asked my hosts that I need another 3-4 hours of body soaking at the Mambukal Hot Springs before lunch and finally for our trip to San Carlos City. It was granted and I enjoyed every minute of relaxation in the said hot spring pool.

At exactly 2:00 PM, we departed the Brigade Headquarters for San Carlos City. Before we reached Don Salvador Benedicto, I was already sleeping. I was glad I did not see the detailed description of the route I was about to climb from San Carlos City to the town of Don Salvador Benedicto (but I knew it already as I passed on this route when I visited this place while I was in the active military service). At 4:00 PM, we were already at the Hotel/Pension House/Inn where I would rest and sleep before the start of the run.

Pose With My Host, Colonel John Aying, Infront of the City Hall of San Carlos

We were invited by one of the City Board Members (Board Member Renato Bustillo) for dinner and a tour of the city before we went back to the hotel at 9:00 PM. Wake up time was set at 1:00 AM and departure from the hotel was at 1:45 AM. The scheduled time for us had been strictly followed! At 1:50 AM, I was in front of the Catholic Seminary where a group of soldiers, CAFGU, police, and volunteers were waiting for me.

Final Briefing Before The Start of the Run At 2:00 AM

The group of soldiers and police who would be running with me in a group were divided into 3 groups. These three groups would conduct a relay run in every 5 kilometers which means that after a group would run for 5 kilometers, they would be replaced by another group who would run with me for another 5 kilometers, and the 3rd group would replace the 2nd group after 5 kilometers. This rotation of runners would be done repeatedly until about 2 kilometers from each town where the whole 3 groups would be running behind me.

One Of the Groups Pictures With My Runners

And I was running the whole distance without any replacement!

So, in every 5 kilometers, I have to replenish and refill my hydration bottle and grab one egg or one boiled banana, while walking, to feed myself. This was done religiously throughout the course of the event. We had to brisk walk on steep inclines and later resume our run on plain and downhill roads. But what made this more enjoyable and refreshing was the continuous “chanting” of the soldiers while running. Oh, I missed this part of running! I could run forever if there is somebody leading a chant where I could follow the chant. This is one of the secrets of running, you should be able to chant on your own to bring out your hidden strength in you. If you are not a soldier or never had an experience in military training, you will not appreciate what it takes to run with a military chant.

Running In Formation

The run started at exactly 2:00 PM in front of the Catholic Seminary where the 1st group of soldiers, police and volunteers were behind me after we had a simple prayer led by one of the officers of the Brigade. The group has formed as a platoon with a 3-man frontage where I was positioned at the middle. On my right was a soldier who was holding a flaming torch which is the symbol of peace being carried throughout the run and whole distance of the route. I was the one who was controlling the pace.

Rear Portion of the Run

The next group who would relieve the group who were running with me would ride in an Army truck to “leap-frog” to the next 5 kilometers and wait for the running group. The third group would be aboard in an Army truck which was positioned at the back of the running group. The soldiers, police and volunteers who would run with me had a chance to drink their water and eat their food once they are aboard the truck that would carry them to the next 5 kilometers. However, once we reach the last 2 kilometers before the Poblacion of a certain municipality. The 3 groups of runners would join me until we finish the run to the Municipal Hall or Municipal Hall’s Plaza.

With our fans during the run!

As we reached the Municipal Hall, the Municipal Mayor and his staff would run with us for almost 1 kilometer and stop for a simple program/ceremony. The Municipal Mayor would talk about bringing peace and unity for the municipality and for the whole province. The program usually takes about 30 minutes. In Don Salvador Benedicto, we were received by the Municipal Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and some of its Councilors and some speeches were made. The same program was made in the Municipality of Murcia with the presence of the Municipal Mayor, Vice-Mayor and its Councilors.

School Children Are Lined Up Along The Highway Cheering Us

What was so touching to see was the overwhelming support of the people along the way who would greet us and to wave us. What was most touching and memorable was the presence of school children lined up along the street/highway fronting the school with their flaglets raised and waving to us, shouting “PEACE” on top of their voices! It would had been more memorable if the “enemies” of the government and the Armed Force/Police were running with us! How I wished they were there along the highway observing what was happening and could have seen the reaction of the local people and the children. The teachers were out also from their classrooms with their school children waving their hands and shouting “PEACE”. They even had a picture pose taken with me and the group of runners.

A schedule or time plan was made for my run. My group and I had to reach the Provincial Capitol, the finish line for the run, in 16.5 hours from the time we started the run. This is to include the ceremonies/programs that we made in every municipality and those brief rests that we had in changing the running groups. We arrived in Don Salvador Benedicto one hour ahead of schedule but we did not waste any time to spend this buffer time to rest some more. Even if the course was already downhill towards the Municipality of Murcia, we still managed to maintain our running pace where the group was intact.

Program/Ceremony Was Held In Every Municpality (In Don Salvador Benedicto)
Program & Ceremony At The Murcia Municipal Hall

After the Program & Ceremony at the Municipality Plaza of Murcia, we still have 30 minutes as our buffer time for our time plan. However, we still maintained our jogging and chanting. On the last 5 Kilometers as we entered the Poblacion of Bacolod City, we re-formed our group and allowed the three groups to run with me until we reached the Provincial Capitol.

From Murcia To Bacolod City

It appeared that our group was ahead of schedule than the two groups who started their respective runs from the South and from the North. Our group had to wait for about 20-30 minutes from a block away from the supposed meeting place in order to monitor the coming of the other two running groups. Finally, three groups entered the big compound/Pond Area of the Provincial Capitol with my group entering from the East; one group entering the North Gate; and the last group entering the South Gate.

Finally Entering the Premises of the Provincial Pond/Capitol in Bacolod City

I had the privilege to give the symbolic torch of peace which our running group carried to the Provincial Governor. The rest of the torches were given by the PNP Provincial Director and the Head of Peace Advocacy Group in the province to the rest of the VIPs in the ceremony. The rite culminated with the three torches (held by the Provincial Governor and the VIPs) lighting a big torch at the center of the stage symbolizing peace and unity for the whole province of Negros Occidental. The rites were followed by a program where all the stakeholders of peace and unity for the whole province had a chance to deliver their respective message.

My Last Few Moments In The Run For Peace Event
Provincial Governor of Negros Occidental Receiving My Group’s Symbolic Torch of Peace & Unity. Mission Accomplished!

As for me, as soon as I was able to hand in my group’s torch, I was out of the Provincial Capitol Grounds and on my way to the Mambukal Hot Spring for Dinner; a Cold Bath and Hot Body Soaking in the Hot Spring Pond, in that order. The Body Soaking for 2 hours after dinner was heavenly!

I did not realize the gravity and importance of what I’ve done for the 87-Kilometer Run For Peace in Negros Occidental not until I was back in Manila about to have my night sleep, a day after the run!

I received a lot of feedback from text messages and calls wherein I was the “talk of the town”, so to speak, from the Provincial Governor, the VIPs, the Municipal Mayors and their Staffs, Officers and Men of the Philippine Army Brigade and the Philippine National Police down to the people of the Municipalities we have passed, about the feat that a 60-year old retired Major General of the AFP and a Senior Citizen at that, for having been able to run the said distance of 87 kilometers, from Don Salvador Benedicto to Bacolod City, for 16 ½ hours.

The only words that I could say to reply to these feedbacks was, “Thank You”. It was a good ride, an experience of a lifetime, and a wonderful journey with the men in uniform and peace in the Province of Negros Occidental. My special thanks go to Colonel Oscar Lactao, Brigade Commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, Colonel John Aying, and to the rest of their staff. These guys were the organizers of this event and they did a very splendid job. My salute and congratulations to you for an amazing success of the event!

May peace and unity come to every province in the whole country!

To the people of Negros Occidental, I will be back!

Postponed: 3rd Mt Pinatubo 50K Trail Challenge

The 3rd MT PINATUBO 50K TRAIL CHALLENGE to be held this coming Sunday, October 14, 2012 in Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac is POSTPONED to October 21, 2012, Sunday due to the conduct of the on-going Phil-US Amphibious Landing Exercise which started last Monday. The Military Exercises between the US Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the said area will terminate on October 19, 2012.

The Crow Valley (covering the whole course of the race) will be closed to private individuals, tourists, and other visitors as it is being exclusively used by the Military Exercises. This is a HUGE Military Exercise where all the Major Services of the AFP are involved.

The Registration to this Event is extended up to October 19, 2012, Friday.

The same Rules and Regulations/Details of the Event will be followed and strictly implemented. For those who opt to hire 4 X 4 jeeps for their friends and family, the same rates as of last year for the hiring of these vehicles still stand. Please coordinate with the Barangay Hall/Staff if you intend to hire such vehicles.

We are sorry for the postponement.

For the 2nd edition’s results, please click here. (I hope HINGS will defend their course record!)

For the Rules and regulations and other Details of the Event, please click here.

Convoy of Light Armor Vehicles Going to Sta Juliana/Crow Valley
US Marines’ Armored Humvee
The Open Space Before The First River Crossing Is Now a Military Camp!
Adjacent To The Camp Are Mini-Restos Where The Troops Can Eat & Hang-out

See you in the early morning of October 21, 2012, Sunday, at the Barangay Hall of Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac. Good luck!

On Finisher’s Medals

When I started joining road races in the early 80s, you can only receive a Finisher’s Medal if you finish a FULL Marathon Race. As for the lesser distance races, like 5K, 10K and Half-Marathon/21K, a finisher received then a Finisher’s Certificate and that was it! Joining a road race then was purely very simple and easy—pay your registration fee and you immediately get your race bib, instructions of the race, and a simple drawing/sketch  of the route! Once you cross the finish line, you get your medal and/or Finisher’s Certificate and you go home happy and fulfilled.

It is also in FULL Marathon Race that you get a Finisher’s T-Shirt or Race Singlet. But in the lesser distance races, you seldom get any finisher’s t-shirts.

Only the Podium Finihers (1,2, & 3 runners) received Medals for the lesser distance races. Sometimes, there are prizes, cash or gift certificates, for the winners.

Nowadays, even 3K and 5K runners try to find out if there is a  finisher’s medal before they join/register in a certain road race. Some of the finishers would also demand for a finisher’s medal for these short distance races.

I think we should bring back those days when only FULL Marathon Race Finishers deserve to be given a Finisher’s Medal.

What is the significance of a finisher’s medal in running? It is your badge of accomplishment and your prize/reward for finishing the race.

PAU Events’ Finisher’s Medal

When I was in elementary, high school and college, ONLY the top 3 in the class received Medals and all the rest of the graduates received a rolled piece of paper tied with a ribbon which we call the Diploma. If I relate this observation during my learning days to a road race, it is best to consider also bringing back this tradition to the awarding of the best top 3 runners with medals and the rest of the runners with a “rolled” Finisher’s Certificate.

But for the FULL Marathon Races, it is a must that all Finishers be awarded with Finisher’s Medal and let the Podium Finishers be awarded with appropriate trophies.

If Race Organizers would follow this suggestion (going back to the old days of running), I think runners will have to pay less amount of money for their registration fees.

This will bring my topic to the “economics” of finisher’s medal and the runner’s responsibility to know the details of how they are ordered and where our finisher’s medals are manufactured.

Today, we have 5-digit numbers of runners from all the distances, from Marathon to the short 3K Race, and our Race Organizers would attract more runners by offering finisher’s medals to everybody.

It’s a big money!  But the money to be used to purchase the medal is coming from the registration fee! But there are corporate entities that would subsidize the cost of the medal resulting to a cheaper registration fees from the runner. MILO/Nestle Philippines is noted in this blog as the only corporate entity that subsidizes the cost of its Finisher’s Medals in its yearly nationwide road races.

The size of the medal is directly proportional to the cost of the product. Which means that, the bigger the medal, the more expensive it is. You should be happy that you have the biggest medal for finishing a race. Your money was used to order and buy that item…and you really wanted that medal to show to the world that you have accomplished something which others have yet to do.  It is fine and fair because you earned it by honestly finishing the race.

But for me, I am sad if these Finisher’s Medals are ordered and manufactured from another country. Oh, yes! Most of the Finisher’s Medals nowadays are ordered and manufactured in another country. You might say that the art work is better and the price is cheaper but your money which you paid for the purchase of this medal as part of the registration fee is going to improve the economy of another country. Not for the economy of our country, my friend!

I would not mention “big ticket” road races here in the country that order their Finisher’s Medal in another country which happens to be saturating our markets with consumer goods which are very cheap. And even saturating our markets with fake & cheap versions of any Popular/Signature Brand from jewelries, clothing, accessories, and even tools and equipments. I would say that this country is robbing us with the economy that is supposed to be ours!

If you are patriotic/nationalistic and have that duty to help the economy of our country, and as a paying and registered runner, you have the RIGHT to ask from the Race Organizers where your Finisher’s Medals are ordered and made. You can even ask how much is the production cost for the Finisher’s Medal you are going to receive once you cross the finish line. I am not telling you to refrain from joining such races where the finisher’s medal is made outside the country but I just want you to be aware where your hard-earned money is going to end up to.

By the way, all BR Events’ and PAU Races’ Finisher’s Medals and Buckles are made by Bernal’s Metalcraft & Engravers in Pasig City and Suarez Brothers in Cebu City, respectively.

In my small way, I am helping the economy of our country!

The BIGGEST Finisher’s Medal Exclusively For the Finishers of the 1st WC200

Repost: The 2005 Leadville Trail 100 Mile

The 2005 Leadville Trail 100 Mile

Digging for gold in Leadville


I was bitten by the Leadville bug while pacing a friend to a 22:28:26 14th place finish in 1990. I was used to races that dealt in hours and minutes—not days and nights. I was drawn in by the pre-race planning, the in-race suffering and the post-race feeling that somehow the runners were a little different than when they started. Someone explained that you don’t know who you are until you run 100 miles. I knew that someday I would run the “Race Across the Sky.” I set 2003 as the year because it seemed so far off and would allow me to concentrate on the shorter stuff for quite a few more years. It would also be a great race to do the year before I turned 40.

I paced Leadville 5 more times through 1998. I viewed each one as an opportunity to learn the course and the tricks of the trade. On some of the slower years what I saw scared me. People sleeping next to rocks on Sugarloaf Pass, others shaking uncontrollably at aid stations and almost everyone looking a few shades of pale on the wrong side of healthy. Then there was the almost sick ritual of cutting wristbands from runners—some of whom begged for more time while others were just as adamant that they had had enough. I was glad I had a few more years.

Matt Carpenter (Photo Taken From Marathon & Beyond Magazine)

As always, the years flew by and before I knew it I was blowing out candles on cakes that were more candle than cake. I had spent 8 years as a sponsored runner—dare I say a professional runner—whose job was to travel the world and run up mountains. It was the best gig in the world but it came to an end for various reasons but mostly because I had done what I had set out to do. Soon I started a family. Just as soon my running languished in “no man’s land.” I was not as fast as I used to be—but unwilling to admit it—and not as dedicated as I needed to be—but more than willing to justify it. A Pikes Peak Double victory in 2001 left me with a back injury that crippled me to the point that I was crying during most of my runs. It seemed like a good time to call it a career. Then, I remembered my goal of running Leadville.

As if hit by lightning my fading spark was turned into a flame. An almost unhealthy fear of the unknown would have me training like I had not trained in years. Leadville ’03 was out of the question because of my back. I set a new goal of having Leadville be my first race as a master. I reincorporated sit-ups and other core specific exercises into my training. In a matter of weeks I healed an injury that had plagued me for two years. Even more amazing was that most of the speed that I thought age had stolen returned to my legs and I felt stronger than ever! I picked the 2004 Lake City 50 miler as my first 50 because it had terrain and altitude similar to Leadville.

Lake City unfolded like a dream and other than some spoiled fuel I had no real issues. Indeed, I took 43 minutes off the course record. I have a race report here: Soon after the race my family began the almost weekly ritual of driving the two plus hours to Leadville to train on the course. Things immediately took a turn for the worse. I found that I could no longer run much more than an hour without getting sore quads and if downhill running was involved I would end up sore for 3-4 days. I cut back on my training and as Leadville approached things were shaping up. Unfortunately, the writing was on the wall.

I will again take the easy way out with regard to writing much here about the 2004 LT100. If you want some of the gory details head to Suffice it to say that after I finished I was reminded of a scene from Rocky where he tells his wife that he thinks he broke something deep down inside. For me it was my pride. Paul DeWitt, Scott Jurek, 10 other guys and yes, even a female, had run by me while I was doing a 30 plus mile walk of shame. For a year I would be “that guy whose wheels came off at Leadville.” I took comfort only in the fact that I did not quit.

The day after the race I began implementing a plan for redemption. It started with three weeks off because I could not walk. With the 2005 LT100 now history it may seem a cop-out to say that it all went to plan but the simple fact is that for the most part it did! I went under 16 hours, broke the record, finished before dark and most importantly to me I did not walk a single step of the race other than the creek crossings. Instead of writing a more traditional race report I thought I would share the answers to some of the questions I am getting about the race.

The most frequent question is what I did different between 2004 and 2005. Fact is I pretty much used the same plan both years with one major difference—I took doing another Ultra out of the equation! You don’t hear from the best marathoners very often but when you do it is often fairly spectacular. It only stands to reason that the same principle should apply to Ultrarunning—if not more so. I left my Leadville in Lake City last year and learned the hard way that one Ultra was all my body could take in such a short timeframe.

Training Philosophy
The main reason I had put off doing an Ultra for so long was because everyone said they make you slow. I now believe that is bunk! Instead, I think it is the way people train for them that makes them slow. I found that I could not do 30-50 mile long runs like most Ultrarunners and still be able to do quality speedwork. One of my other goals was to win the US 10K Trail Running Championships in Vail, CO two months before Leadville. The only way I could pull that off was to run fast. I decided if I was going to error, I would error on the side of speed!

In place of super long runs, I did back to back long runs. Both days I ran faster than I could had I just done one longer run. I also felt the second day better simulated the later stages of an Ultra because I was already tired. I took this concept even further in my day in/day out running. Heading into Leadville I went five months running 2 hours or more every single day and then another two months where the only days under 2 were the few days before my shorter races. All the while I was putting in two quality speed workouts a week—one in the flats and one in the hills.

In short, just like on the roads and in the mountains, there is a direct correlation in how fast we can go in an Ultra and how fast we are. Sure, food and other issues come into play, but there is no hiding from the clock when it comes to speed. That’s why I set Vail as a goal—it kept me from turning my back on my speed. For more on this concept check out Ultra legend Buzz Burrell’s piece at

I hit the weights this year concentrating on my quadriceps and hamstrings. To build up the strength in my feet I ran about an hour a week barefoot on grass so they would not get as sore after 50 miles like last year.

I had a list of Leadville runners who had also run Lake City. Most run Leadville right at 2X their Lake City time. This let me know that a sub 16 was possible. I also compiled a spreadsheet of split times for Leadville runners who had gone under 20. All but one had second half times an hour or more slower than the first half. I felt that running the two halves more evenly would result in a better time. I knew there would be some slowdown however, as those that know Leadville can attest things get nasty heading up Sugarloaf at 78 miles. The final three miles are all uphill as well.
13.5 Split
13.5 FH
23.5 Split
10 HM
30.5 Split
7 TL
39.5 Split
9 HP
44.5 Split
5 WF
50 Split
Carpenter 2005 1:41 1:41 3:07 1:26 4:02 0:55 5:21 1:19 6:33 1:12 7:35 1:02
Old Record 2004 1:41 1:41 3:07 1:26 4:03 0:56 5:35 1:32 6:59 1:24 8:06 1:07
55.5 Split
5.5 TL
60.5 Split
5 HM
69.5 Split
9 FH
76.5 Split
7 MQ
86.5 Split
10 FIN
100 Split
13.5 2nd
50 50
Carpenter 8:52 1:17 9:39 0:47 11:06 1:27 12:00 0:54 13:45 1:45 15:42:59 1:57 8:07 (0:32)
Old Record 9:36 1:30 10:22 0:46 11:59 1:37 12:59 1:00 14:56 1:57 17:16:19 2:20 9:10 (1:04)
For splits of other past winners or runners who broke 20 hours go to:
While I had quite a bit of experience as a pacer I had none at being paced. Last year I outran one of my pacers and another was not at the transition area on time. More importantly, I noticed that for the first 50 miles I was internalizing and concentrating on me. After I picked up my pacers I started externalizing and worrying about them. This year I only had myself to worry about. When the second half came and it was time to dig down I was able to do so without any distractions.

This is the number two question I am getting as it seems the number one Ultra issue for most people is fuel. Note: I call it fuel, not food! True, we are all different but I believe there is a misconception that an Ultra can’t be done on energy gels and sports drinks alone and that we have to eat solid food. However, those gels and drinks are designed for easy and rapid absorption which is just what we need! The key is to practice in training what we will do in the race.

I practiced my fuel regime about five times a week almost year round right down to the number of sips I take per hour. Yes—18 sips an hour is what I need to stay hydrated. More if it is hot, less if it is cool. I get those 18 sips by taking 3 sips every 10 minutes. Further, I dump Carb-BOOM energy gel and Gatorade Endurance Formula right into my bottle or CamelBak so that I get about 50 calories every 10 minutes. My energy levels stay constant and I am never shocking my system like what would happen if I ran an hour or more and tried to take in the same number of calories at one time. As an added bonus, I can minimize the weight I carry based on the time it takes to get from one aid station to the next. Fish Hatchery to May Queen? 24 sips…

To come up with these numbers I had to experiment with what works for me. If I lost weight, I added sips. If I peed too much, less sips. Etc. But the point is I spent a good deal of my training time working on my fuel systems because I think it is the biggest factor between success and failure in an Ultra.

Aid Stations
In reviewing tapes of previous LT100s (the 1994 race with Herrera and Trason is an epic on par with any Hollywood production) I was amazed by the amount of time runners of all abilities spent in the aid stations. Bottom line, 5 minutes at an aid station means having to run 30 seconds a mile faster over the next 10 miles just to break even. Impossible! Since I was getting my fuel with every sip, the aid stations became nothing more than exchanging empty CamelBaks or bottles with full ones. This year most of my transitions were 30 seconds or less with a few done without breaking stride.

Mind Games
The hardest part of the race for me was the mental aspect. Countless times before the race I thought about how much easier it would be to go for another win on Pikes Peak—especially since it was celebrating its 50th running. However, when it came right down to it the reason I was doing Leadville was because it was not easy. It terrified me, gave me butterflies and caused me to lose sleep. At the same time it made me feel alive! Thinking about it also got me out the door on many cold winter mornings. Something that Pikes had long stopped doing.

Physically I never even had what I would consider a bad patch. While on the edge, I felt in control the whole way. But I am not used to pushing so hard for so long and by 60 miles my mind was fighting bouts of paranoia. I was feeling so awesome and yet I was scared that things could hit the fan at any moment. I was actually thinking, “This is great but people blow up in a marathon and I have 40 miles to go!!!” It was almost getting to the point of being paralyzing so I did something I have never done in a race before. I cranked up the tunes!

I had put together a playlist of music to keep me going. Mostly hard-edged rap—Eminem. I had a song for the road, one for the climb up Sugarloaf and even one for when I crossed the railroad tracks. I had picked them over the course of the year based on their “stand-my-neck-hairs-on-end” factor. I was not using them to escape but to keep me in the here and now. They allowed me to concentrate on things like my breathing, my cadence, my footstrike and not worry about time or distance. One song I played six times in a row because it kept me in the zone.

My crew and others who saw me in the last 40 miles said I was “somewhere else.” This is true in that I was somewhere between fear and euphoria. I did not dare crack a smile until the final aid station when I knew that the deed was all but done. Then I just ran while the song in my ear asked, “Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?” I had captured it four minutes into the race when I took the lead and started running for more than a win and more than a record. I was running for redemption.

Finish line
Like the 2004 Lake City 50, the 2005 Leadville Trail 100 unfolded like a dream and there is very little I would change. I have the awesome feeling of inner peace that comes from obtaining a long-term goal that did not come easy. I am trying to enjoy it before the inevitable post race “what’s next” crash comes. Other than recovery, I do not know where my running will take me. I was so focused on Leadville that I literally did not even plan on there being a Sunday!

Finally, I am not saying what I have outlined above is the best way or the only way! Indeed, there are many ways to get to the same finish line. That being said, I do believe that the sport of Ultrarunning is undergoing a transition and things like the Montrail Ultra Cup have made some of the races more competitive and on some levels more professional. Sure, there will always be those whose only goal is to finish. There is nothing wrong with that! I know I was greatly inspired by the last runner at Leadville who crossed the line with only one second to spare. But for those of us that want to go as fast as we can go I believe that better planning and focused training is the key—no matter the distance!

(Note: Matt Carpenter’s CR Time of 15:42:59 hours in this event still holds up to the present. For more information about the past results of this event, you can click here. For more Biodata about the runner, you can click here.)

Result: Tacloban City’s BEER Mile Run

August 18, 2012/Tacloban City

1.  Edrick Nicdao—————10:59 minutes

2.  Jojo Yu————————11:12      “

3.  Vanz Camannong———-14:26     “

4.  Mary Ann De Ere (F)——16:13      “

5.  Benj Termulo—————17:37      “

6.  Nap Ocampo—————-20:15     “

7.  Ronnel Go——————-24:07     “

8.  Joseph Pineda————–25:53     “

9.  Jinky Yray (F)————–27:09     “

10. CJ Escandor—————-30:45     “

11. Hazel Arnaiz (F)———–35:03     “

1st Batch
2nd Batch
The Thrill & Excitement
A Lady Beer Drinker In Action
The Aftermath

Next BEER Mile Run will be in Baguio City!

“Babies” In Running?

A guy in white compression long-sleeved shirt and black compression shorts entered the race processing area and tried to look around and see if the people around are familiar to him. Our eyes met and he smiled.

He approached me while I was waiting for the other runners to arrive in the designated area for the processing of participants in the 1st PAU National Championships in Guimaras. He reached out with his hand and we had a handshake. And we immediately went on a conversation mode as we got to sit on our own chairs.

Our conversation went this way (Note: The conversation was in Pilipino/Tagalog and I have it translated to English):

Runner: So, I’ve finally met in person the Bald Runner

BR: Oh, thank you! Nice to meet you, too!

Runner: I am Demosthenes Limbaga and a resident of Guimaras. I am the contact person of runners and cyclists from neighboring islands who would like to do their workouts here in Guimaras.

BR: So, you must be very popular here! You are also a photographer and a fit athlete? (I’ve seen him sporting a SLR Camera with a pair of sports sunglasses)

Runner: Yes, I try to document the athletes who are practicing their sports here in Guimaras.

BR: How long have you been running? Also an ultrarunner?

Runner: I’ve been an athlete of the Project Gintong Alay during the time of former President Marcos and I was a middle distance runner then. Through the years, I continued to be a long distance runner and I am proud that I am only the ultra runner who is from this island.

BR: That’s good! So, maybe we are at the same age.

Runner: I am 57 years old

BR: Oh? I am 60 years old and a Senior Citizen. But I think you are a stronger runner than me.

Runner: I am glad you brought the Ultrarunning National Championship here in Guimaras so that the “Babies” will have a taste of the REAL long distance running.

BR: What “Babies” are you talking about?

Runner: “Babies” are those runners who would be asking and looking for Water Aid Station every one or two kilometers during the race.

BR: mean “newbie” runners?

Runner: No, these are the runners who have not yet experienced finishing an ultra distance race.

BR: Ha! Ha! Ha! So, you are a bad ass ultra runner and a hardcore one!

Runner: Yes, you can call me anything as long as I am not a “baby” in long distance running.

BR: (Change Topic!) It seems you have all your toe nails painted with nice, dark & shiny nail polish.

Runner: Oh, yes! I’ve painted them all with nail polish to hide my dead toe nails!

BR: Very impressive. I might as well adopt your style so that I can hide also my dead toe nails! Oh, can I have your bank deposit slip so that my staff can process you already.

Runner: (He gave me his receipt). Please mention my name to the Governor  that I am only the runner from Guimaras joining this ultra race.

BR: Of course! I will see to it that your name will be mentioned to the good Governor!

Runner: Thank you, General!

The guy finished #12 among the 110K Finishers with a finish time of 14:24:05 hours.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Congratulations, Demosthenes!

Demosthenes Limbaga of Guimaras Placing #12 in the 1st PAU National Championship 110K Ultra Marathon Race.

(Note: Photo Courtesy of J. Avellanosa Photography)