There had been some new construction and repair jobs being done along the course route of the BDM 102 & 160 Ultra Races. The first construction site is located after passing the BDM Kilometer Post #86 which is located in Lubao, Pampanga. It is a repair job of a small bridge.
The runners can proceed to the construction area and they can cross the bridge by running or walking along a pedestrian bridge located at the right side of the construction site. It is shown on the picture below. However, the Support Vehicle are advised not to push through towards the construction site as the detour is located on an intersection before the bridge. One has to turn left and follow the road that goes back to the San Fernando-Olongapo Highway. On the first intersection along the said Highway, turn right and follow the road that goes to Guagua, Pampanga.
The second construction site located in the Poblacion of Guagua, Pampanga before reaching the BDM Kilometer Post #91. Once you pass the Poblacion of Guagua, Pampanga and the elevated bridge, the first road that turns right is now under construction. The runners can still walk through and pass this construction site in order to reach the BDM Km Post #91 but the Support Vehicles should be able to follow the Detour Route that would bring them back to the BDM Route.
The last construction site is a replacement of a culvert near the vicinity of BDM Km Post #101. There is a pedestrian wooden bridge located at the right side where the runners could cross the canal or construction site. Support Vehicles can take the detour route which the last crossing before reaching this construction site. Vehicles should turn left and follow the road that would bring them to the San Fernando-Olongapo Highway. Instead of going to the overpass, vehicles should stay at the rightmost lane for them to turn right on a road that would lead them to the BDM Km Post #101 and to the Provincial Capitol of Pampanga.
Runners should take extra precaution on these construction sites as most of the average ultra runners will be reaching these areas or locations on nighttime.
The art and long tradition of reading books among the youth and among most of us is already lost and forgotten. We tend to be industrious in reading books during our academic and schooling days as they are requirement in our daily lessons as required by the Subjects being taught by our Professors/Teachers. We were also made to submit “Book Reports” as part of a literary exercise for us to be able to write and make some critical analysis on the message or concept or lessons learned taken from the book that we have read.
With the advent of the Internet; Social Media; and Laptops/Cellphones/Ipads, seldom that I would see persons in planes, buses, trains, cafes, and public parks reading a book or a magazine or a newspaper. What is worse than not seeing people around us not reading any book in such traditional places is that our public libraries are almost forgotten to have existed.
Let me ask these questions to those who have finished their college studies and now working as professionals?
1. When was the last time that you visited our Public Library or your Workplace Library, if there is any?
2. Can you mention to me the title of the latest book and the author that you have read and tell me how long did it take you to finish reading the said book?
When I was a Member of the Promotion Board of the Philippine Army and later, as the Chairman of the Promotion Board to the Rank of Colonel in the Philippine Army, I had only ONE question for each of the candidates during the Interview (Final Part of the Process)——“What is the latest book that you have read and tell the Promotion Board the Synopsis and Lessons Learned you gathered in it in 5 Minutes?” If the candidate can not answer the question, he is told to leave the room and has to wait for another Promotion Cycle which equivalent to One Year!
This is not to say that I am going to do this with the other runners that if you have not read any running-related book, you are not meant to be accepted as one of my “friends” on Facebook or would allow you to join in any of my ultra races. This is a Challenge where one has to be motivated to re-start the good habit of reading any book for that matter. I could not over emphasize the importance of reading a book as it has a lot of advantages and reasons for us to improve as a human being.
Last week, I started to create a Facebook Page Group which has the same name as the title of this post. Each member of the group has to post the picture of the book that they are presently reading with the tag as to what number of such book. Once they finished the book, the member can make a brief synopsis of the book and post it on the Page. Some members would post the picture of books which they highly recommend for the other members to read. To make the effort more challenging, the books that should be submitted or posted on the Page are running-related books or books that has some running in it or if the character or characters of the story are runners or had adopted running as one of their sports or hobbies. I also encourage hiking books and other inspirational stories that has running in it.
On my part, I have two books that I would finish within the week. I have just finished the book “Anatomy For Runners” and about to start the book, “The Running Revolution”.
If you have access to the Internet and be able to buy books through Amazon, you can buy them in Kindle format. If you have access to bookstores, you can also buy them on hardbound or paperback edition and you can establish your personal running library. In your visits to another country, try to visit their bookstores in their shopping malls as such books can be purchased with the same price printed on the cover jacket of such book. In the United States, most of the books offer some discounts.
My next post will be a brief book summary of the books that I have to finish reading within this week.
When everybody was still sleeping on the early morning of the First Day of the Year 2015, a “low-key” ultra marathon race event was about to start in Hongkong. The ultra event is called the “Hongkong Four (4) Trail Ultra Challenge” (HK4TUC) which had been founded and organized by Andre Blumberg, a German executive based in Hongkong who is a “par excellence” ultra trail runner who lately had finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in the USA and the Lake Tahoe 200-Mile Endurance Run, the first 200-mile trail run done in the United States.
Andre Blumberg, five years ago, had to run the four famous Trail routes in Hongkong for four days, running each trail course each day. The following are the trails: MacLehose Trail with a distance of 100 Kilometers; Hongkong Trail with a distance of 50 Kilometers; Wilson Trail with a distance of 78 Kilometers; and the Lantau Trail with a distance of 70 Kilometers. The total course distance is 298 Kilometers. The total elevation gain is 14,500 meters!
Andre’s feat in running these trails gave him the idea for the other ultra runners to experience the challenge, thus, the birth of the HK4TUC. To make the event more challenging and exciting, he imposed a cut-off time of 60 hours and runners have to run through the trail courses on a reverse direction. If the books or publications about the Hongkong Trails are presented on chronological Stages, from 1-10 or from Start to Finish, as the case maybe, the race event starts from the FINISH area and ends at the START area or from Stage 10 to Stage 1. The clock does not stop when the runners had to be transported from one trail course to another, by land or by the sea ferry.
The event’s rules and regulations are very simple. There is NO Registration Fee, No Medals, No Finisher’s Shirt, No Aid Stations, No UTMB Points, No Competition or Rankings, and No Checkpoints. However, runners can take advantage of the convenience eateries/stores and vending machines along the route for their food and drinks. This is simply a “self-support” event. Bragging Rights is the only Prize for Finishing this Event.
After four years of its existence and with an average of 4-5 participants each year, there are only four (4) finishers in this event since January 2011.
Jag Lanante is the FIRST Filipino to make an attempt on this most dreaded ultra running event and he is one of the four ultra runners who were brave enough to toe the line at the Starting Area in MacLehose Trail. I happen to know him by his name only through Facebook and had never seen him in person. But I have so much respect in him as I found out about his running accomplishments which I gathered from his Facebook Wall from the time we became as FB “friends” since the middle part of last year.
I was sick with Flu (cough and colds) and I was bed-ridden for the duration of this event from Start to Finish but I would be able to glance and peep through my Laptop if my Internet connection is strong from time to time, most specially during midnight and early morning. It was through the HK4TUC Facebook Page that I was able to monitor the progress of the event. Four ultra runners——Two Lady runners from Singapore (Jeri Chua, the favorite one to finish due his previous finishes in the Tor Des Geants and UTMB and Janelle Seet who would take numerous trips from Singapore to Hongkong to train and recon the trails for the past two years; One local runner from Hongkong (Paul Wong); and One Pinoy who is based in Bangkok, Thailand who happens to be Jag Lanante.
Jag was considered as the “underdog” and the “weakest” among the four runners as he comes from a “flat and plain” Bangkok elevation whose training consisted of 500-meter loop course in a Parking Area in a Private Hospital in Bangkok where he works as a Nurse and he does his running in between his 9-hour work shifts, most of his running workouts are done in the early morning. He would also sneak in and secretly pass through their Security Guards if he needs to use the building’s emergency stairs for his “stair climbing and hill repeats” just to put in some elevation gains in his routine. On his “off days” and weekends, he would go to a nearby Public Park which has a 2.5K loop (flat again!) and do his runs in loops where he would only take note of the number of hours he would run, however, his longest running time would be at least 6 hours. Worst information about him is that this trip for the event is Jag’s FIRST trip to Hongkong! He is not accustomed to the cold weather environment of Hongkong and the hilly terrain of the course. He was equipped with his Salomon Hydration Backpack where he stored his food (all bread), water and extra clothing/jacket; a $7.50 worth of Casio Watch which he was using for the past 8 years; and a borrowed HOKA One One Tarmac Shoes! Initially, Jag did not have with him a trekking pole! He would later borrow the trekking pole from one of the runners who DNF’d midway at the MacLehose Trail (1st trail course of the event). Right from the start of the course, he was already a complete picture/description of a “failure” of an ultra runner who would attempt to finish this dreadful and brutal event, a simple example of a DNF runner!
And for this reason, my attention would be focused on the progress of Jag Lanante as to where he was during the event. I would make a bet to my “inner self” that Jag would “throw the towel” once he finished the Wilson Trail course (2nd Trail). So, I decided to close my laptop, took my meal, ingest my medications, and went back to bed. I said to myself, “there will be No Finisher” in this year’s event.
I guess, I have to eat my words and committed a mistake of an early misjudgment on the capabilities of Jag!
I found out that while I was sleeping on the first day of the year (due to the effect of my medications), the four runners started the event with a perfect Hongkong weather, blue skies and the sun shining hot providing a perfect running weather for the participants. Jeri Chua from Singapore took an early lead from the other three runners and she was ahead of the expected time of arrival in every stage of the MacLehose Trail (in reverse, of course!) but surprisingly had to deal with her recurring knee injury which became very painful on her part and could hardly maintain her targeted pace. She declared herself as DNF after running and hiking on the course for about 14 hours. She was not able to complete the 100K MacLehose Trail course. Jag Lanante and Paul Wong finished the MacLehose Trail together with a time of 21:30+ hours. The last runner, Janelle Seet finished the 1st trail leg in less than 27 hours but she was already complaining of blisters which made her to register a slow finish time to complete the first trail course.
Jag and Paul were together in their land transport (Taxi Ride) to the next staging area for the 2nd trail course which is the Wilson Trail, a distance of 78 kilometers. They were able to take a nap while being transported to the starting area of Wilson Trail and that was equivalent to a 45-minute power nap! After being served with Hot Soup and some foods at Nam Chung, Jag and Paul started together for the 2nd trail leg, Wilson Trail. However, being a local runner of Hongkong and thorough knowledge of the trails, Paul Wong started to run faster than Jag Lanante that resulted him to pull away for the lead starting at Pat Sin Leng and finally finishing the Wilson Trail in less than 50 hours. He was already on the third day and barely 10 hours more to go before the cut-off time.
What happened to Jag Lanante after Paul Wong left him on the early start along the Wilson Trail? Jag would tell me that he got at least, two “lost moments” at the Wilson Trail——the first lost moment was when he was left alone by Paul when it was so cold and was sleepy to be more focused on looking for the trail markers. He missed the trail marker in going to the 8 Immortals of Hongkong as he was “sleep walking” for 2 hours going down along the trail only to realize that he could no longer see any trail marker. He would go back up again to finally locate the trail marker; the second lost moment was when he reached Taipo (village) as he could not determine from the map provided by Andre as to where the Wilson Trail would re-start again after hitting the village. Jag’s problem was exacerbated when he impulsively asked a Chinese lady who can speak and understand a little English as to where the Wilson Trailhead is located. Jag was instructed by the Chinese lady to go to the end of a river but Jag was frustrated to find out that the lady gave him a false/wrong instructions. Jag started to panic as he went going around the village trying to find out where the Wilson Trail Marker is located. He tried to compose himself, prayed, and relaxed at the same point/location where he entered Taipo. He decided to wait for the arrival of the last runner, Janelle Seet, knowing that the lady has a lot of friends cheering her along the route who are familiar with the route. Finally, Jag joined Janelle for the final push to finish the Wilson Trail leg. Jag’s total “lost moments” time would add up to almost 7 hours! Jag and Janelle finished the Wilson Trail in 54 hours or 2:00 PM actual time on the third day!
The transition or travel time from the “finish line” of Wilson Trail to the “start of the Hongkong Trail (3rd leg) is very brief/short as both locations are very near to each other. Paul Wong was already ahead despite of the 10-hour remaining time before cut-off time and Jag and Janelle were barely on a 6-hour time before the cut-off time. All the remaining three runners decided to still push through with the event but it was already a “Survivor Challenge” as to who would last to finish the event and be able to kiss the green Mail Post in Mui Wo, Lantau Island.
Obviously, Paul Wong was the first runner to start the Hongkong Trail and he was leading for some hours. Jag Lanante and Janelle Seet started later for the 3rd leg of the event. From the very start of the Hongkong Trail, Janelle had to beg off and allowed Jag Lanante to get ahead of her. Jag regained some energy despite numerous and countless “low moments” after finishing 178 kilometers with a very small amount of time to rest and sleep. He was determined to finish the event but he has to reach Victoria Peak and be able to catch up the earliest ferry ride to Lantau Island for the last 70K of the event.
It was only when he was on the last 6 kilometers of the HK Trail course that he knew that he was already the leading runner among the three “survivors”. He was met by Vic So (2014 HK4TUC Finisher/“Survivor”) along the course to cheer him and informed him that he was able to pass Paul Wong at Km #25 when he went inside a market to eat. Jag finished the HK Trail at Victoria Peak before midnight on the third day and he was able to catch the ferry ride scheduled to leave HK for Lantau at 12:30 AM/Midnight on the 4th day. Paul Wong arrived at the Victoria Peak at 1:00 AM of January 4 while Janelle Seet finished the HK Trail later in the evening. Unknowingly from Jag, the two runners finally decided to “throw the towel” and cease from taking the ferry ride to Lantau. The reason? Extreme exhaustion and sleep-deprived conditions!
Jag Lanante was able to know that Paul Wong and Janelle Seet finally decided not to push through with the Lantau 70K leg from Andre Blumberg who escorted him to Lantua Island. The information was sent through Andre’s cellphone. Jag had already spent 65 hours since the start of the event and he was on the starting line for the Lantau 70K leg!
I was thinking that Jag was able to sleep during those transition/transfer trips from one leg to another but I was wrong! He told me that he was able to sleep for three times only——first was at the end of Km #33 along the Wilson Trail when he slept while waiting for his order in a Noodle Shop/Eatery; the second one was during the 30-minute ferry ride from HK to Lantau Island; and the third one was a 5-minute nap he requested from Andre while he was experiencing some leg cramps at the Lantau Trail.
Knowing that he was the ONLY runner left in the event and way, way beyond the cut-off time of 60 hours, he asked Andre if he is still be a part of the event and considered as a Finisher in the history of the event. Andre would reply him that this event is not a race and therefore, there are no DNFs, however, if he decides to survive and finish this event, he will get the much-needed support from him no matter how many hours would it take him to reach and “kiss” the green Mailing Post at Mui Wo. Paper, the wife of Andre who is a Thai, informed Jag that the his co-workers in Bangkok are rooting for him to finish the event as he unknowingly seen the cheers and words of encouragement posted by his friends in Thailand through the HK4TUC Facebook Page.
These words of encouragement from Andre and Paper drove and fully motivated Jag to finish the event. Lantau 70K Trail Course is a hard one with 3,300 meters of vertical gain, Jag has to be focused and be able to endure the pain, exhaustion, hallucinations, sleep deprivation, blisters, distractions and there is no room for him to get lost along the course. He has to finish this event.
But there is a more pressing situation and uncompromising reason for him to finish the event! He and his wife have to catch a flight back to Bangkok and he has only 19 hours before his plane leaves at 8:00 PM on the evening of January 4! He thought, at all cost he has to be in that plane with his wife no matter what happens!
With pure grit and determination despite some doubts for him to finish the last 70 kilometers of the event, Jag was able to finally kiss the green Mail Post in Mui Wo with Andre waiting for him with a Champagne Victory Spray of Moet Rose that served as an informal “body shower” to mask the smell of dirt and perspiration from Jag’s body before proceeding to the Airport. Jag finished the Lantau 70K Leg in 16:30 hours which was in actual time at 5:30 PM of January 4, 2015, 4th day of the event, finishing and surviving the whole event with an official time of 81:30 hours.
After a quick informal conversation/congratulatory greetings and picture-taking among the runners and the RD’s team friends and volunteers, a taxi was waiting for Jag and his wife to bring them to the Airport in order to catch their flight back to Bangkok scheduled to leave at 8:00 PM that evening. I am sure that the 3-4 hours flight time from HK to Bangkok was the best sleep that Jag experienced in his lifetime!
After making sure that Jag had fully recovered from his “brutal but inspirational” finish at the 2015 edition of the Hongkong Four Trail Ultra Challenge, I sent him a Personal Message on Facebook to congratulate him for being the “FIRST Pinoy Ultra Runner to Finish” the said event. This Facebook conversation led me to ask some questions about him and his experience during the event. Thus, this story is posted as an inspiration to all the readers of this blog, most specially to our Pinoy Ultra Runners.
To answer the mystery on the toughness, pure grit and determination of Jag to finish the event as I am not convinced that his one year training on a “flat, plain and boring” loops in his Hospital’s Parking Area and Bangkok’s Public Park prepared him for the event. There could be more information about this humble and ever-smiling runner as to why he has a “strong heart and a positive mental attitude” to finish this most feared ultra running event among the locals of Hongkong and other ultra runners in nearby Southeast Asia, despite the fact that the event is free; a chance to tour the nice scenery of Hongkong on foot; and a good reason to shed off those accumulated calories brought about by the Holiday Season.
My fellow ultra runners would be able to read “between the lines”, so to speak, as I mention the following facts about Jag and his “running career” and background:
1. Jag is 29 years old, a native of Davao City and had been an OFW as a Nurse in Bangkok, Thailand for so many years. He started to train and run for the past 4 years. He is married to Kathleen Faith who works also in the same hospital with Jag. They don’t have any kids.
2. He finished his primary and secondary schoolings in Davao City but decided to finish his BS in Nursing at Mountain View College in Bukidnon after his parents would not allow him to be admitted to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
His best finish time for a Marathon Race is 3:10+ hours which was held on his Birthday, four months after his Boss introduced him to running.
3. His first ultra was the 2013 TNF 100 but four months later, he finished as #10 in a 50K trail run event, both were held in Thailand. And since then, he tried his best to run everyday and prepare for the HK4TUC.
Lastly, I would ask him what would be his next ultra race. He replied to earn his FIRST 100-Mile Buckle in one of the ultra races in the Philippines if his work schedule’s leave would match the scheduled date of his choice of event. But he gave me a 100% assurance that he will be back for a repeat with a better performance at the 2016 edition of the HK4TUC.
I replied back to him immediately, “It will be a honor running with you on the First Day of 2016 HK4UTC on the early miles of Stage 10 of the MacLehose Trail!” His silent answer is depicted on the picture below!
Congratulations Jag, the FIFTH Finisher in the history of the Hongkong Four Trails Ultra Challenge!!! My snappy salute to you and from the rest of the Pinoy Ultra Runners here in the Philippines and abroad!
Three years ago on July 31, 2011, I made my Personal Record Time to reach the peak of the famous Hill Taklang Damulag from Fernandez Hill inside the “Molave Complex” of Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City. I was able to record a finish time of 52:37 minutes where the highest peak has an elevation of 409 meters with a route distance of 2.7 kilometers. I started to record my Garmin Forerunner 305 once I departed the marker at Fernandez Hill until I was able to touch the white-painted Cross on top of the peak of Taklang Damulag. My hike was only one-way as I was able to descend on the northeastern part of the hill towards Sitio Baccao.
In this post where I stated about my experience in this blog, I mentioned that that such distance as a race course is very short and the elevation of the mountain/hill is very low but if one thinks of running up and down to this mountain for four times in a single event, then you have a workout like you have hiked or run to the top and back in a high mountain.
A year after my hike from Fernandez Hill To the Peak of Hill Taklang Damulag, I invited some of my running friends to join a formal race which I called “FKT @ Taklang Damulag” which I consider as the FIRST Fastest Known Time (FKT) Trail Run In The Country which was attended by only five (5) runners. The Course Record for the Event was made by Dannin Arenzana with a time of 59:32 minutes! The following is the story about it: https://baldrunner.com/?s=FKT+%40+Taklang+Damulag
On the first day of this year’s Taklang Damulag 100-Mile & 50-Mile Endurance Runs which happened last December 13-14, 2014, I thought of having my training run by doing some “hill repeats” from Fernandez Hill Marker to the Peak of Taklang Damulag and back. On this day, I was scheduled to finish a distance of 10 miles or 16 kilometers.
I carried one hand-held bottle with the intention of making my refilling of water at the Fernandez Hill Complex where the Aid Station of the Race is located every time I finish one repetition of the hill repeat which is equivalent to one FKT (Fastest Known Time) route. I also used my ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 shoes for the traction I need for the downhill run back to the starting area.
I started slowly and tried to peak up my pace whenever there is a flat portion of the route. I continuously jog my way up along the trail as I passed the usual three (3) streams on the first kilometer of the route. The trail was slippery due to damp brought about by a light shower of rain the night before. It was no problem to my trail shoes. I was surprised that I was tirelessly going up along the trail and breathing heavily but I could not feel that I was getting tired. I felt fine and my HR Monitor showed that I was on the mid-130s of my Heart Rate. I said there is no way that my heart rate is too low despite the intensity of my pace.
The trail route became more challenging due to the presence of rocks which were eroded as part of the widening and improvement of the trail few years ago. A simple mistake of stepping on these rocks would make someone trip or fall on the ground due to imbalance of one’s footing. One has to be careful to land each foot due to the unevenness of the single-track trail. I knew that I would be able to reach the first Rest Station which is a concrete “waiting station” after making a sharp left turn/switchback and I was still maintaining my jog.
After a few minutes, I was able to reach the Second Rest Station and I readied myself for the start of the steepest portion of the trail. Two years ago, there was a Bamboo Hand Rail standing and supported by two bamboo posts where one could hold as you plant your feet higher and higher towards the peak. All I could see was old wooden cross along the trail and it warns me that I was only 300 meters away from the peak of the Hill. Slowly, the steep part of the trail became lesser in incline and I know that I was about to reach the marker telling all the hikers that the Peak of the Hill is very near.
Finally, one has to get his satisfaction of reaching the peak of the mountain when you see a pathway made of rocks. These pathway of rocks leads to the Concrete White Cross on the Peak of the Hill. As soon as I reached the White Cross, I had to touch/tap it and I was on my way back to the trail where I came from and back to the Fernandez Hill Complex. I glanced on my Garmin Watch and it registered a time of 31:32 minutes!!!
I was excited to find out how fast I was even if I did not recall what was my recorded time on my first timed ascent to this hill 3 years ago. I knew that I was faster than my first attempt. So happy about my performance, I tried to stay focused on my run back to my starting area. I took time to avoid those rocks and not to be very aggressive on the downhill run. My ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 was very responsive and I did not have any slip or slide on the damp surface of the trail and on the rocks. I did not hike or stopped along the way except when I had to slowly approach and cross the three streams along the route. I was very attentive to my footing and I could not afford to break my ankles or trip my foot or fall on the ground due to some mistakes.
I still had water in my hand-held water bottle as I got nearer to the finish line. It was still cold in the early morning when I started my run but I would take some sip of water as soon I started sweating during my uphill climb to the peak of the hill. Once I reached the flatter sections of the trail, I would sip again some water from my bottle and this ritual was repeated every 5 minutes until I reached the starting line. After I crossed my imaginary finish line at the Fernandez Hill, I glanced at my Garmin Forerunner Watch and it registered a time of 1:11+ hours! Not bad!
I think I was able to rest for about 2-3 minutes by refilling my hand-held water bottle and by walking to the location of the Water Hydration Point at the Aid Station located at the View Deck of Fernandez Hill and back to the starting line. It was time to go back again to the Peak for my 2nd Repeat.
Prior to my start of my first run to the peak, a group of soldiers from the Special Forces Regiment were dropped by a 6 X 6 Military Truck by about 400 meters ahead of my starting area and they were ahead of me by almost 15 minutes. On my last 500 meters before reaching the Peak of the Hill, I was able to pass them one by one. They were carrying their backpacks, some carpentry tools and digging tools, too! Aside from the soldiers who are stationed at the Peak of the Hill, I have also those soldiers whom I have passed along the trail as my witnesses for my run towards the Peak.
I just took my time and maintained my jogging for my second repeat of my climb to the peak of Taklang Damulag. The soldiers stationed at the peak of the hill were surprised to see me back to their location as I immediately proceeded back to the starting line after I tapped the White Concrete Cross. Once again, I was very slow and focused to my footing as I descended from the hill and I was bale to avoid those rocks scattered on some portions of the trail.
My ritual once I arrived at the Fernandez Hill area was the same—walk to the View Deck; refill my water bottles; and walk again back to the starting line. I was already on my third repeat back to the peak of the hill as the sun was coming out from the clouds. It was starting to get hot as I was running on my first kilometer of my third ascent to the hill. I had to drink more water from my hydration bottle as I progressed to the peak of the hill. Five hundred meters from the peak, I started to meet those soldiers who have finished their job/task as they descended back to Fernandez Hill. They greeted me and surprised that I was back again towards to the peak of the hill. I just thanked them for their greetings and smiled at them as I continued my jogging.
For the third time, I made a tap to the concrete white cross and asked one of the soldiers for some water to douse my head and face as I could feel already the heat of the sun. It was already 11:00 AM. I took a sit on a chair while the soldier got me a half liter of water. I immediately doused the water on my head and on my buff and it gave me some comfort and relaxed feeling. After saying “Thank You” to the soldier, I was back on the trail back to the starting line.
One kilometer away from the starting line, I started to meet the first two runners of the 50-mile race and then the third runner on my last 500 meters. I had to side-step and stand still on the side of the single-track trail as I wait for the runner to pass me. I would greet and cheer them as they continue their climb.
I was thinking of doing my fourth repeat to the peak while I was on my last 200 meters to the starting line at the Fernandez Hill. I finally decided to take some time to rest and then eat some solid food at the Aid Station before I would decide to continue or not for my 4th and last climb for the day.
After I ate my lunch, I looked back on my watch and found out that I was able to run a total of 10+ miles and my programmed schedule for the day was already attained and complied. So, I finally decided to end my run for the day and made already a plan to do another “hill repeats” on the following day.
I know that this “crazy” effort that I’ve done is spreading from one soldier and Officer to another in Fort Magsaysay and by this time, it is already well-known for the entire Philippine Army. I consider this feat as a record for me (62 years old) and as a Retired Major General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. And I will be coming back to improve this record in the coming years, whether it will be the fastest time for the climb to the peak and back to Fernandez Hill or for the number of times that I could do on the “hill repeats” in one day/setting.
Who knows, this could be the birth of another challenging trail running event in Taklang Damulag—-“Taklang Damulag FKT Challenge” (6 Hours & 12 Hours Timed Event) where the one with the most number of “hill repeats” wins the event.