“State of the Nation Address (SONA)” On Ultrarunning

“Walang matuwid na daan sa ultramarathon. Matutuwid na tao lang ang  mayroon at sila ang mga mararangal na nakakatapos ng ultramarathon” (There are no straight roads/trails in ultras. You have “straight people” in ultras who honorably finish their races)

Good day to all Ultra Runners!

Let me first congratulate our friend and ultra mentor Benjamin Gaetos for being the FIRST Filipino Ultrarunner to have successfully finished the Badwater Ultramarathon which is considered as the “toughest foot race on Earth”. Let me take this opportunity also to greet and congratulate Simon Sandoval who have greatly improved on the two successive two years of performance of Local Ultrarunners at the prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race.

From the day the first 82 “tough and brave warriors” finished and shared their stories on their experiences for finishing the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race four years ago, it was a “leap and bound” phenomenon on the rise of the number of ultra runners or ultra marathoners in our country. It gave rise also to different and unique ultra running Race Directors in this country. With more ultra runners and Race Directors, it gave us the opportunity to join a never-ending list of ultra running races almost every month. More races are being held and organized in the different regions in the country.

Not only we have monthly races, the distance of our ultra running events are getting LONGER, too! Our Race Organizers/Directors and our Ultra Runners have breached the 100-mile single stage/solo run distance and reached up to the 250-Kilometer distance with a cut-off time of 48 hours. And soon, more multi-day stage running events on the roads and trails will be held in the coming years!

Whether it is good or bad, you can say that it is only in the Philippines where there is ultra running season all-year round! More Ultra Running Races, More Fun In The Philippines!

There is nothing fancy about such races. Whether it is a trail ultra or road ultra, everything is kept to its simplicity. It is simply a race between the runner and the ground where his/her feet would land from the starting line up to the finish line. Simplicity, that our races are not sponsored by big corporate companies; the government; or any private foundation. Simplicity where we don’t broadcast or print them on the mass media publications and broadcast networks. We simply want our races to be known through the “words of mouth” from one ultra runner to another.

Do not complain if the registration fees in joining ultra events are rising. You have a choice and we are not forcing you to join our races. The Race Organizers are happier if they can manage only a handful of runners because Ultra Race Event Management is a “bad and losing” business. It is only the dedication and passion of each Race Director that keep the race being held every year.

We adhere to the highest standards for the safety of our runners. We make sure that our “first-timers” would be able to finish a Full Marathon Race (42K) and submit to us their respective Medical Reports/Clearances. And participants must be able to strictly follow our Rules and Regulations. Fortunately, we don’t have any record of death/s in our races. It is good that we only receive reports on dead toe nails; dead skin; and blisters!

Forty-Five years ago when I was in College, I would go to the University Library to research on a Subject or Topic that would interest me. Today, you can simply research on anything in the comfort of your bedroom by just simply having a cellphone or a tablet/laptop connected to the Internet. We started as ultra runners through the World Wide Web or the Internet and we learned from the experiences of ultra runners here and abroad through their personal websites; on line publications; and blogs. The knowledge and vast of information within the grasp of runners are endless and readily available.

On this age of high-technology, all you have to remember, when you want to research or get information on subject/topics you are interested in, are the words, “google it”! Or simply register and get a Facebook account and then ask anybody from the members of the Pinoy Ultra Marathoners Group (PUMAG)! Members of this Facebook Group are the Ambassadors of Ultra Running in the country.

We have a great and promising future for our ultra runners to be known worldwide. Let us discover more “talents” in the country side/”grassroots” level through our regional and provincial ultra racing events “sorties”. Strictly guided “younger talents” are needed if we want better performance in our participation in ultra running events abroad. We need “young yet matured, dedicated, and passionate” ultra runners for our quest to perform our best and be able to place our country among the best of ultra running nations.

Discovering and training for these “talents” for a “high profile” international ultra running event is just one-half of the story. The support and resources needed to send and support such runner is the more complicated second/last-half of the story. But with the generosity of our ultra runners and friends, everything will push through as planned. We were able to send and bring our elite ultra runners in international events in the past through this scheme. And we will continue to do so.

We need to exert more diligence and determination in our effort to attract and motivate private corporate entities as well as the government to support our sports and our future participation to international ultra running events. Let us send our “best, fastest, and strongest” ultra runners to such events.

If we have a hard time getting the support of the broadcast and printed media, we have to continuously support our FrontRunner Magazine as well as our local Runners World Magazine. These published Magazines had been instrumental in spreading our sports of running and ultra running.

After Ben Gaetos’ finish at the Badwater Ultramarathon, I have received a reminder of commitment from Joe Matias of A Runners Circle Specialty Store in Los Angeles, California that he is willing to support any of our local elite ultra runner once he/she arrives in the USA to participate in any ultra running event in any part of USA. Thank you, Joe for that commitment of support to our elite runners.

As my parting words to this SONA, let me go back to my introductory statement.

Once again, we warn you that we abhor “Bandits and Cheaters” in our Ultra Races! We will continue to expose these shenanigans in our races and disqualify them in our future race races.

True Ultra Runners are those that are silent, simple, calm, kind, supportive, and always see to it that their feet are always pounding on the ground, whether it is a trail or a paved road!

Mabuhay ang mga Pinoy Ultra Marathoners dito sa Bansa at sa Buong Mundo!

Salamat po sa lahat at Pagpalain sana kayo ng Diyos Maykapal!

Support Your Ultrarunning National Federation
Support Your Ultrarunning National Federation

4 thoughts on ““State of the Nation Address (SONA)” On Ultrarunning

  1. tony jimenez

    well said sir Jovie. God bless the works of your hands, God bless all the TRUE ultra marathoners and God bless our country.

    Tj Jimenez

    Sent from my iPad


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