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Official Result: 8th TANAY 50K Ultra Marathon Race

11 06 2018

2018/8th TANAY 50K Ultra Marathon Race

Starting Area: Intersection Sampaloc Road & Manila East Highway, Tanay, Rizal

Start Time: 4:00 AM June 10, 2018 (Sunday)

Finish Area: Sierra Madre Hotel & Resort, Marikina-Infanta Highway, Tanay, Rizal

Finish Time: 1:00 PM June 10, 2018 (Sunday)

Cut-Off Time: 9 Hours

Number Of Starters: 18 Runners

Number Of Finishers: 18 Runners

Percentage Of Finish: 100%

Starters/Runners @ Starting Area

RANK      NAME            TIME (Hrs)

  1. Anselmo Cruz Jr (Overall Champion, Course Record)—4:27:04
  2. Thomas Combisen (1st Runner-Up, Overall)—4:51:35
  3. Ronnel Valero (2nd Runner-Up, Overall)—5:58:07
  4. Bong Dizon—6:06:00
  5. Jeneth Silvestre (Female Champion)—6:07:24
  6. Wacky Delleva—6:30:15
  7. Roberto Vocal—6:39:58
  8. Glenn Rosales—6:48:18
  9. Rod Losabia—7:10:42
  10. Tess Leono (1st Runner-Up, Female)—7:13:14
  11. Kristian Caleon—7:13:17
  12. Efren Olpindo—7:19:15
  13. Edwin Fernandez—7:28:41
  14. Jovenal Narcise—7:34:07
  15. Ma. Mercedes Lou Castro (2nd Runner-Up, Female)—8:14:30
  16. Kelvin Dela Torre—8:14:31
  17. Bien Alcala—8:19:07
  18. Jonas Olandria—8:20:36

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

 

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Race Report: 1st Sarbay Festival 50K Ultra Marathon Race

4 06 2018

Race Report: 1st Sarbay Festival 50K Ultra Marathon Race

This is the second ultramarathon race in Mindanao that is requested by the Race Organizer to be sanctioned under the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU). The first one was the Zamboanga Ultra Mountain Race in Zamboanga City which had been sanctioned by PAU for the past three years. As promised to the Race Organizers, I have to join their events as a runner and be able to compete with the other participants. And fortunately, I just did what I wished with these ultra running events.

Sarbay Festival 50K Logo

Introduction

Dionam Basco, Finisher of the 2nd Edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race (2010) and a good neighbor then in Manila while working in a Real Estate Company, contacted me on the first week of February this year informing me of organizing an ultra marathon event during the Sarbay Festival in Sarangani Province to be held on May 25-26, 2018 and inviting me to grace the event as a guest and runner. I immediately approved of it as I did not have any conflict of schedule of trips and races during those days. He informed me that this Festival is a project/tourism program under the Office of the Provincial Governor and his wife, Michelle Lopez Solon, as the Festival Organizer. There was a time also that a personal meeting in Manila was supposed to be scheduled with the Festival Organizers in February but due to my race, Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra Race, the meeting did not materialize. However, through Personal Messenger and Facebook, Dionam and I communicated each other even up to the details of the said event. And the rest is history.

Dionam Basco Finishing The 2nd Edition BDM 102

Few Days Leading To The Race

I just supervised being the RD of the North Coast 200-Mile Endurance Run from May 16-20 from Laoag City to Santa Ana, Cagayan and then returned to Manila on May 22 and had at least two days to rest before going to General Santos City on the early morning of May 25, Friday. With less than the amount of hours to sleep on the night of Thursday, I took a chance to sleep during the flight from Manila to General Santos City. Dionam was in the Airport waiting as it took so much time waiting for my luggage to get into the Airport’s Luggage carousel. Lesson learned: When travelling to General Santos City, your luggage should all be hand-carried!

General Santos City is already a totally different place since the first time that I visited the place. In 1976, when I was a Company Commander of an Infantry Unit of the Philippine Army located in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, I was tasked to “retrieve” one of my soldiers who was placed in a stockade of a Military Police Unit in Davao City due to indiscriminate firing under the influence of liquor. I was able to have my soldier released and gave him another 3-day leave before reporting back to my unit. He happens to be from one of the towns of Davao. With my driver and two security personnel aboard a Kennedy Jeep, we proceeded to General Santos City and slept overnight. I can still remember that my soldiers brought me to the only 4-story, white-painted Hotel along the ONLY road of the city. That’s all that I can remember about this city.

Wow! After 42 years, General Santos City is totally a different place! Knowing that this is the southernmost city of the country (1,600+ kilometers away from Luneta Park), this place is a lot better than some of the cities in Luzon, having wider roads and sidewalks, less traffic, lots commercial establishments/eateries, and better air quality. I was treated with a brunch at Dionam’s Resto, “Have Sam Thai” that offers a fusion of local and Thai cuisine! This is where I have tasted the best broiled Tuna Belly in the whole world! About 300 meters from his Resto was my accommodation at the Sun City Suites which has a nice restaurant (Free Breakfast Buffet) and strong free Wi-Fi. Just to prove how nice the hotel was? I was able to sleep for straight 6 hours after I dropped my luggage on the floor!

Sarangani Provincial Capitol

Race Proper

The race starts in front of the Sarangani Provincial Capitol which is located in Alabel, Sarangani, a few minutes drive from General Santos City. If I am not mistaken, a good 10 kilometers of wide paved road from GenSan City. At the Provincial Gymnasium, few meters from the Capitol Building, is the location of the Race Pick-up, Race Briefing, and CarboLoading activities.

Inside The Sarangani Capitol’s Gymnasium

When I arrived at the Gymnasium, everything was set already for the event’s pre-activities. I could see a lot of runners waiting for the CarboLoading and the Briefing. The Program started at 8:00 PM and everybody could eat what was served up to 10:00 PM. The variety of food served was a lot as compared of the usual Pancit & Fried Chicken combination/stuff that I am familiar of. The food served was too grand and excellent where you have a choice of pure carbo (Pasta dishes), pure protein (Fresh Tuna, Chicken, Beef) or pure fats (Two Whole Pork Lechon) and lots of fruits! Well, I cheated on my Whole Food Plant Based diet for tonight only! Hahaha!

Carbo Loading With All The Participants & Race Officials/Staff

I was requested by Dionam to talk on the Rules and Regulations of the Race. I emphasized on the importance of Integrity in joining/finishing the race, as I had bad experiences and personal observations (with my own eyes) of cheating among runners. Secondary to this is my emphasis on the Safety of each of the runner. I have observed that most of the runners were not using reflectorized vests during the race and I hope this will be one of the improvements we have to implement in the next editions. Since this event has Aid Stations in every 8-10 kilometers, I suggested Dionam to disallow the use of Support Vehicles and Motorcycles to “shadow” runners in the next editions, to minimize traffic along the road and remove the suspicion or temptation of runners riding on motorcycles in the dark places along the route.

Briefing On The Rules & Regulations

The race promptly started at exactly midnight of Friday with 200 starters in front of the Provincial Capitol of Sarangani. I was at the back of the pack and patiently warmed-up on the first few minutes of the race. Runners had to go around the Capitol until everybody goes out of the Gate of the Capitol Compound and turned left along the Highway going to Glan, Sarangani. After 20 minutes of warm-up, I started to pass some runners. The route felt like it was flat but there were portions which were hilly in nature that one could not see because my headlight could only illuminate what was in front of me. Based from my Garmin GPS Watch, I started passing runners when my speed was 8 kilometers per hour. Before I reached the Km #10 Aid Station, I was going on 9.8 kilometers per hour! That’s insane! I could not believe it. It could be because of the cooler air during the early morning plus the breeze coming from Sarangani Bay and of course, maybe from my training!

Prayer Before The Start Of The Race

Event’s Race Map Route

Event’s Elevation Profile

I tried to overtake or pass some of the faster and younger runners but they always asked me the same questions——How old are you? How many times have you finished an ultra distance race? I would be successful in passing some of them but they would pass me again when I refill my bottles at the Aid Stations. My pace did not change until I reached the 32K or more point. This is where successive small hills appeared and where some bridges are located. Moreso, when I reached the Marathon distance of 42.2 Kilometers in 5 hours and 11 minutes!

As warned by Dionam, the last 6 kilometers will be the “killer” signature of the route and it’s true! I had to refill my bottles and ate a lot of solid foods/fruits at the Km 45 Aid Station in order to have those strong legs for the ascents. I slowed a lot but I maintained to jog (not hike) these ascents until the descending portion towards the Finish Line.

Crossing The Finish Line

Finally, I crossed the Finish Line in 6:18+hours with RD Dionam meeting and congratulating me. This could be my fastest PR on a Road Ultra, better than my time at the Tagaytay To Nasugbu 50K which is almost 80% downhill five years ago in 6:35:38 hours! I was finisher #47 out of the 200 starters in this race.

Nutrition & Hydration: GU Power Gel in every one hour; One Tablet of NUUN mixed with 16 oz of water in my Simple Hydration Bottle in every Aid Station; and ate lots of bananas & watermelon bites in the Aid Stations.

Running Kit: Lupine Headlight; Hoka One One Headband; Eyecatcher Reflectorized Shirt; NIKE Challenger Shorts; Darn Tough Sports Socks; ADIDAS Adizero Boston 6; GARMIN GPS Watch Forerunner 310XT; and Compressport Race Belt.

Here is the Official Podium Result of the Event:

Sarbay Ultra Marathon

GLAN, Sarangani (May 26, 2018) – One of the highlights of this year’s Sarbay Festival is the 50K Ultra Marathon in which participants will begin their run from the Provincial Capitol in Alabel to the main venue in Gumasa, Glan. Arnie Macañares from Kapatagan, Digos City is the over-all champion and the first to finish the 50K run with a time of 3 hours and 52 minutes only. Next to him in the male category is Dante Baay with a time of 3 hours and 57 minutes, and Roberto Cain with a time of 4 hours and 9 minutes. In the female category on the other hand, Arriane Deocadez wins the 1st place with a time of 5 hours and 53 minutes, followed by Sheriel Balabat with 5 hours 57 minutes time, and Giegs Castillo with 6 hours and 4 minutes time. According to Arnie, his secret to winning the marathon is determination, perseverance, and courage. (From the Sarbay Communications Service)

Congratulations to all the finishers and see you next year!

BR With The Race Director Dionam Basco





Official Result: 3rd NORTH COAST 200-Mile Ultra Run

23 05 2018

3rd NORTH COAST 200-Mile Ultra Marathon Race

Laoag City To Santa Ana, Cagayan via Aparri, Cagayan

Starting Area & Time: Laoag City, In Front of the Provincial Capitol, Ilocos Norte/00:01 AM May 17, 2018

Finish Area & Time: Northern Pearl Beach Resort, Santa Ana, Cagayan/00:01 AM May 20, 2018

Cut-Off Time: 72 Hours with 10 Hours Cut-Off Time Every 50 Kilometers.

Number Of Starters: 4 Runners

Number Of Finishers: 4 Runners

Percentage Of Finish: 100%

Starters/Runners With The Race Director

RANK       NAME            TIME (Hrs)

  1. Ian Piza (Overall Champion/New Course Record)—-60:44:19
  2. Gibo Malvar (1st Runner-Up, Overall)—-63:59:36
  3. Rod Losabia (2nd Runner-Up, Overall)—-69:31:20
  4. Kevin Luna—-71:53:00

Champion & New Course Record Holder Ian Piza

1st Runner-Up & 2nd Time Finisher Gibo Malvar

2nd Runner-Up Finisher Rod Losabia

4th & Last Runner Kevin Luna

Congratulations To All The Finishers!





Official Result: 4th West To East 280K Ultra Marathon Race

9 04 2018

4th West To East 280K Ultra Marathon Race (Road/PAU Grand Slam Event 200+K)

6:00 AM March 29, 2018 To 2:00 PM March 31, 2018

Starting Place: Ramos Beach Resort, Patar Road, Bolinao, Pangasinan

Finish Line Area: Seaside Resort, Barangay Tanguigue, Dingalan, Aurora

Course Cut-Off Time: 56 Hours (Intermediate Cut-Off Time: 10 Hours Every 50 Kilometers)

Number of Starters: 7 Runners

Number of Finishers: 3 Runners

Percentage of Finish: 42.85%

West To East 280K Starters @ Bolinao Beach

RANK          NAME                FINISH TIME (Hrs)

  1. Gibo Malvar (Overall Champion) — 52:52:01
  2. Roberto Vocal Jr (1st Runner-Up, Overall) — 55:16:34
  3. Rod Losabia (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) — 55:40:29

Champion Gibo Malvar

Overall 1st Runner-Up Roberto Vocal Jr

Overall 2nd Runner-Up Rod Losabia

Mandatory Ritual @ The Finish Line (Pouring Sea Water From The West To The East Coast)

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

Note: Pictures By Dhan Punsalan





Race Report: 2018 Old Spanish Trail (OST) 50K Trail Run

23 02 2018

I was registered to join the Four Lakes 100K Ultra Trail Race and I was ready and trained to finish this race within the cut-off time of 30 hours. I did finish this race two years ago with a time of 26+hours when the cut-off time was then 28 hours. Mentally and physically, I was prepared to finish this race as this was considered as one of my training races in preparation for the 2018 Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT) Race in Madeira, Portugal to be held in April 28, 2018.

In addition to finishing the BDM 102 Ultra in 15:20+hours three weeks earlier, the Four Lakes 100 Race would be a follow-up training race for me leading to the MIUT Race. In between these two races, I had my daily recovery runs and a Mountain Repeats workout in my favorite Mt Roosevelt’s Loop #3 in my Playground two weeks before race day.

Halfway towards Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, I received an information from one of my nieces that my Father died from his sleep in the morning of Friday, few hours before the start of the race. As I travel to the venue of the race, I called my brother and sisters and made some suggestion about the schedule of Viewing and Funeral for our Father as most of our plan, in case of his untimely death, had been finalized long before while he was still alive. The plan was immediately implemented hours after our Dad’s death and I just kept peace and silence to myself and focused mentally to finish race where I had registered.

The race promptly started at 3:00 AM of Saturday and I started the race at the back of the pack. Knowing that 100K is a very long race and that Four Lakes 100’s race route is new to myself and everybody, I thought of being conservative on the first half of the race with the intention/objective of arriving each Checkpoint/Aid Station within the prescribed cut-off time. My smart strategy for the first half is to conserve my legs’ energy by using my Trekking Poles on the first ascent of the course with the hope that I could still run on the descents of the 2nd half of the course.

I was happy to have reached the summit/peak of Mt Ugo earlier than the first time I joined this race. I would start to run on the descent from the peak of Mt Ugo and alternately, hike and jog until I reached the Domolpos Aid Station. I ate two pieces of local “Suman” and refilled my Hydration Bottles with water and electrolyte powdered mix which was enough to provide me the much energy to reach the first Checkpoint at Kayapa East Market. I took my time to eat some food and refill my bottles even if I still have 25 minutes of buffer time from the cut-off time of 8 hours.

I was not in a hurry to reach the dreaded ascent at Amelong Labeng as I made up my mind not to stop or take a very long rest in one of the 3 waiting sheds along the said route. On my first finish in this race, I had a lot of rests and stops along this route that I had to engage in a very long conversation with some of the runners then, not knowing that they are participants in the shorter Old Spanish 50K Trail Run. For this year, I had to maintain my slow trek on this route using my trekking poles with some 5-10-second rests to catch up my breath. On the last waiting shed, I had to sit and ate some rice balls stashed in my Race Belt but I did not stay long as more runners were seen coming up to my direction.

Digging Deep @ Amelong Labeng (Photo By GlairoldRecella Photography)

Finally, I reached the Elementary School where I had to refill my bottles and make my Electrolyte Mix drink. As the heat of the sun was too hot when I was in this area, I had to douse my head, neck, arms and upper body with the cold flowing water coming from the faucet and it was refreshing and invigorating. I had to leave the place immediately as most of the runners were approaching my position. It was a repeat of my first finish when going up to the Tower Antenna at Amelong Labeng with the intense heat coming from the sun. I had to persevere and trust my training at this point where I would “power hike” with the aid of my trekking poles until I reached the peak of the mountain where the Tower Antennas are located. I started to run and jog on my way down to the Highway but along the way, I would here some mysterious sounds behind me as if somebody was trying to pass me but I could not see anybody. As I ran faster on the descents, such sound would never leave and then suddenly, I hear somebody calling my name “Ben” as the wind blows behind my back. I could not believe experiencing this as I don’t believe in “ghosts” or paranormal activity throughout my life. I knew I was neither dehydrated nor “bonking” on my nutrition needs at this moment. As I continued my running, I remember those stories we shared each other with my brother about our Father on the early portions of the race. We were both laughing about these stories while were were running. (Note: My brother was one of the runners of the OST 50K Trail Run). I felt guilty that here I was in the mountains running a race while my Dad was being prepared for viewing. At this point, I started to think and decide to shorten my race and be with my Dad.

Having Fun @ The Old Spanish Trail (Photo By GlairoldRecella Photography)

Two kilometers before reaching the 2nd Checkpoint in Castillo, I called the RD and requested him that I am going to downgrade to the OST 50K Race because of the “paramdam” I’ve experienced on top of Amelong Labeng. The RD approved my request. I reached Castillo in 12:15 hours which is almost 2 hours ahead of the cut-off time in this Checkpoint for the Four Lakes 100 Trail Run. From Castillo, the route is all descending 4+kilometers to the finish line.

I finished the OST 50K Trail Run in 13:08+hours without any pain in my legs and body.





Official Result: 4th Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra Marathon Race

13 02 2018

2018/4th Manila To Baguio 250K Ultra Marathon Race (Solo, Single Stage)

10:00 PM February 8, 2018 to 12:00 Midnight February 10, 2018

Start Line: Rizal Park, Luneta, Metro Manila

Finish Line: Rizal Park (Burnham Park), Baguio City

Course Cut-Off Time: 50 Hours with Intermediate Cut-Off Time of 10 Hours Every 50 Kilometers

Number Of Starters: 18 Runner

Number Of Finishers: 11 Runners

Percentage Of Finishers: 61.11%

RANK        NAME                     TIME (Hrs)

  1. Rolando Espina (Overall Champion & New Course Record) —35:43:11
  2. Ronnel Valero (1st Runner-Up, Overall) —42:48:18
  3. Jivee Tolentino (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) —42:48:37
  4. Elmar Bob Tolete — 48:06:22
  5. Frederick Peñalosa — 48:13:01
  6. Sam Maniaul — 48:48:34
  7. Jeremy Blas — 48:50:51
  8. Gibo Malvar — 48:55:02
  9. Kristian Caleon — 49:00:34
  10. Reden Rodriguez — 49:40:51
  11. Oliver Cavinta — 49:42:28

Overall Champion & New Course Record Holder Rolando Espina

Overall 1st Runner-Up Ronnel Valero

Overall 2nd Runner-Up Jivee Tolentino

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

 





Race Report: 10th Edition Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race

5 02 2018

“Enjoy Every Step”….From Coach John Fitzgerald, CTS

I am proud to say that I am the only Race Director and Organizer of Ultra Marathon Races in the Philippines who runs its own event. It started with my “Pilot” Event then which is now the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race (BDM 102). I would think then that running beyond a Marathon Distance was impossible and crazy to think among the local runners. It was like breaking the borders and exploring the impossible when I thought of having a solo and single stage running event of the historic Bataan Death March route from Mariveles, Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga. But the hard-headed in me and making my dreams possible, everything was planned out and implemented and the rest is history. But for all the local runners to see and prove that such event can be done, I have to “set the example” and run the first edition of this race with the rest of the participants.

Fast Forward. While I was in Europe after I finished the Jungfrau Marathon Race last year, I received an e-mail from the John Medinger, President of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run stating that the 10th Edition of the BDM 102 was selected as one of the 2019 Qualifying Races for the Western States 100- Mile Run. I was shocked and amazed that a Road Race in Asia is considered as a qualifying race in the most prestigious 100-mile Trail Race in the USA and in the whole world. It is for this main reason why I decided to join this event after nine years older than when I first ran it. The second reason why I decided to join the race is to find out the present state or condition of my running body after being under the watchful eyes of a Professional Coaching Service in the USA which is the CTS (Carmichael Training System) for the past six months. And lastly, as a part of my training to “kickstart” my 2018 Ultra Racing Season in preparation for my first international event for the year, the Madeira Island Ultra Trail Race (MIUT) in Portugal on the last weekend of April.

Planning for the 10th Edition of the BDM 102 had started since the months of April & May last year. And I firmly believed that my Race Staff and Volunteers would be there to administer and supervise the race while I was running the race. Slowly and surely, everything was in place and ready to be implemented on Race Day. Everything that can be controlled during the race was properly attended to except for the some surprises to include the assistance of the Local Government of Mariveles, Bataan in providing us with Public Address System and Lighting System for the whole Starting Area which is the BDM Shrine where the BDM Km #0 is located. Such assistance contributed to a “Party” environment for all the Runners and their Support Crew. It also made me more relaxed and comfortable in calling the attention and delivering my last detailed briefing to everybody before the Gunstart! The best surprise of them all was the weather during the night and day as most of the runners were covered with clouds and overcast sky. It even drizzled in some parts of the route and it was the first time to have experienced a rain at the Finish Line! I knew somebody up there was also with us in celebrating the 10th edition of this historic Bataan Death March Ultra Marathon Race.

Opening Ceremony & Short Program

I was asked by the local Police to delay the start by 30 minutes as most of the workers in the factories within the Mariveles Export Processing Zone will be leaving their respective factory/place of work at exactly 10:00 PM. The delay of 30 minutes will enable our runners and Support Vehicles free from traffic on the first 7 kilometers of the route as most of the workers traveling with their personal vehicle on this section of the Highway should have cleared the roads. The Zigzag Road from Km 2 to Km 7 is too narrow and the only long ascending portion of the route and with Big Cargo trucks, Commercial Buses and Private Vehicles on the road, extra safety was needed. The PNP made sure that only the runners would be on that section until the last runner had passed when they would open it again to regular traffic.

20 minutes before the Gun Start, we had our simple Opening Ceremony which consisted of a Prayer, Singing of National Anthem from the Main Actor-Countries of the Historic Bataan Death March and my usual Last Briefing and reminders on the Rules and Regulations of the Race. The short Prayer was done by Ronnel Go, one of my trusted and loyal PAU ultra runners; the Star Spangled Banner was sang by our US runners—Ann Sweat; Kim Travella; and Philip Bouve, all of whom are Veterans in their respective US Armed Services. Nobody from Japan was present and my Filipino ultra runner who teaches the Japanese dialect did not join the race, thus, we did not sing the Japanese National Anthem. Obviously, everybody sang our National Anthem proudly and loudly. I have also acknowledged the presence of 3 runners who came from Singapore—Wai Thing Law; Yang Wai Yee; and Jonathan Suerte. After some group picture at the BDM Km Post #0, the countdown started and all the runners were excited to start the journey.

Mandatory Group Picture @ BDM Km Post #0 (Photo By Dhan Punsalan)

At exactly 10:30 PM of Saturday, January 27, the race started with 244 runners with 48 Female Runners. I started the two Race Timing devices on my hand and waited for the last runner to leave the Shrine before I started the run. I was the last runner to leave the Starting Line.

With all those excitement, conversation with the runners, “photo-ops” or pictorials with individual runners and running groups, briefing, opening program, and giving instructions to my staff and volunteers, I forgot to prepare myself for those detailed things that I have to do minutes before the start of a race when I am a runner. I felt hungry immediately as soon as I had my first step of the race! I brought out one of my Power Bars from my Race Belt and started eating and walking on my first kilometer. No worries as I planned to hike on the ascending portion/s of the route.

As the event was getting nearer, I would review my notes and my thoughts and I thought of what would be my outcome goal in this race. When my Coach sent me a message two days before the race, expressed in three 3 simple words, “Enjoy Every Step”, I smiled and conditioned myself mentally that I will Finish the race and enjoy every step along the course. And that what I was expected to do from Start to Finish—Enjoy Every Step! However, at the back of my mind, a warrior’s voice aka “Devil’s Voice” would say, “Pass as many runners as you can!” So, from the very start, it was a fight between my Coach words aka “Angel’s Voice” and the “Devil’s Voice” in me!

I always advise the “newbies” in the BDM 102 that they should hike the first 7 kilometers of the route. Not heeding to this advise would compromise of what would be their running condition and ranking on the last 25-30K before the Finish Line and ultimately, on what kind of Finisher’s Medal they will receive as soon as they cross the Finish Line. After jogging the first 2 kilometers of the route which is flat, I started to power hike up to Kilometer #7. As I hiked, I was able to pass the slower runners and I would greet them and converse with them for encouragement.

Started As The Last Runner

An arrangement was made that I would be supported during the race by two Support Vehicles and Crew of two of my PAU Lady Ultrarunners. They would alternately provide me with the necessary food and hydration aside from their respective dedicated runner. Everything went fine and perfect on this kind of arrangement during the race.

From Km 8, everything was downhill and I took advantage of maintaining my “endurance run” pace with a relaxed, comfortable and steady speed and leg turn-over. I made sure that I was running with a speed of 5 miles per hour or 8 kilometers per hour. I was thinking that I should reach the first Checkpoint (Km 14) in less than 2 hours and not faster than 1:40 hours. Finally, I reached Km 14 in 1:44:44 hours and I was ranked #142. I was able to pass, at least, 100 runners as I came from behind in less than 2 hours!

After 2 kilometers from the first checkpoint, it was already a “roller-coaster” on the elevation of the course along the Roman Highway, you have hills and ascending portions of the course but you will be rewarded with some descents until you reach the second checkpoint at Km 23. I was surprised to know that I was ranked #66 with a time of almost 3 hours. At this point, I was having a speed of 5 to 5.3 miles per hour and I knew I was going faster as I tend to have the desire to pass every that runner that I see in front of me! The devil was really taking over into my mind!

Along The Km 68-83 Stretch

From this checkpoint, the next 9-kilometer stretch of this route is free from any vehicles except for the Support Vehicles parked on the right side of the road and their Support Crew waiting for their runner waiting on the left side of the road. Most parts of this stretch is well-lighted with street lamps, most specially in the center of each municipality or town one has to pass. I would pass more runners on this stretch until I came out to the Roman Highway at Km 31. At the 3rd Checkpoint in Km 32, I was ranked #58 with a time of 4:12:25 hours! I was able to catch up with the Singaporean Lady Runner Wai Thing Law and her Filipino companion, Jonathan Suerte and told them that there will be no more hills to climb up to the finish line. I guess, I lied because I did not take into consideration on those ascending approaches of bridges to cross up to the Finish Line.

After the Km 32 Checkpoint, it seems there are no longer runners in front of me as I was running without any “target” or reference point in terms of determining if I was going fast or slow on my pace/speed. This was the time that I thought the race was becoming boring. Not until I was in the company of Gibo Malvar, one of PAU’s candidate for the PAU Grand Slam Award for 2017 and it will be his second time to get such an award. He could be the ONLY PAU Runner who will have the distinction of coveting this Award in two successive years. Gibo and I paced with each other until I told him to get ahead after 5 kilometers. I would later catch him again at Km 45, eating some egg pie with Aldrin Pallera, another strong and consistent PAU Runner. These two runners caught and passed me before reaching Km 50 Checkpoint.

I finally reached Km 50 Checkpoint with a ranking of #42 with a time of 6:28:34 hours. I could see a lot of runners resting, eating, and having their massage with their Support Crew. This is where almost all the Support Vehicles wait for their runners. I did not stop as the my Support Vehicles were still few kilometers behind me taking care of their respective runner. One of the Support Vehicles/my Support Crew was able to refill my hydration bottle and I was able to stash some food in my Race Belt before reaching Km 50.

I was in the company of Wai Thing Law and Jonathan Suerte after passing Km 50 with few meters ahead or sometimes few meters behind me. It was a “see-saw” race between us until they left me for good at Km 57 when I started to incorporate power hiking with my run. Another runner in an orange shirt passed me before entering the town of Hermosa, Bataan and even if he was fast, I could still see him from a distance and use him as my reference point of my pace/speed. It was already daybreak and it started to drizzle when I was in Hermosa.

BDM 102 Never Gets Easier

I could still see the orange shirt of the runner ahead of me when I finally reached again the Roman Highway at Km 67. A PNP Checkpoint personnel was there to make sure every runner would be able to cross the Highway safely. I started to run again once I was on the left side of the road from this point. I knew the iconic BDM Km 68 post at the Layac Junction in Dinalupihan, Bataan was just one kilometer ahead of me.

I knew what to expect on the road stretch from Km 68 to Km 83. It is a 15-kilometer stretch where you meet every kind of vehicle on the fast highway of the San Fernando-Olongapo route. During the first edition, all of the runners had to cover their nose and face to prevent the dust from getting into your face/eyes and into their lungs. This stretch of road was under construction and being cemented at that time. The strategy to maintain your sanity in running on this section is to jog, run, and hike with a rest of power hiking! But with the heat of the sun, it will slow you down tremendously if you don’t be friends with ice water, wet small towel with ice cubes placed on top of your head or ice bandana tied around your neck or regular dousing of cold water on ones head, face, neck and upper body. However, in this year’s edition, the weather was so kind to everybody that I could feel a cold breeze coming from the East (in front of me) until I reached the commercial district of Lubao, Pampanga. It is just a matter of time that I would reach the Lubao Bridge (Km 82). It was on this stretch that some of the runners would be able to pass me and I would console myself with a reason that these runners are half younger than my age.

Enjoy Every Step On The Last 2 Kilometers

I finally reached Km 83 Checkpoint with a ranking of #53 with a time of 9:58:15 hours. My speed had decreased tremendously as I started to hike longer than jogging. From 5.3 miles per hour, I would estimate that I was averaging a 4-4.5 miles per hour speed at this point. One runner was on sight in front of me and I tried to use him as my reference point but to no avail. He just disappeared after a few minutes. At Km 90, fatigue and some tightness on my legs started to slow my pace and I knew more runners would be passing me. It was good that these runners are my PAU regular runners that they were kind enough to share their support-logistics to me aside from the designated Support Vehicle and Crew for me.

The plan to finish the race in 14 hours or less than 15 hours was nowhere in sight when I reached Km 100. The “angel voice” in my mind returned and reminded me to enjoy every step up to the finish line. I started to jog, run, and power hike on the last 2 kilometers and on the last turn towards the Finish Line, I saw the Finish Line Arc and some energy brought me back to jog all the way to the waiting crowd.

Approaching The Finish Line

I finished the 10th edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race with a ranking of #60 among the 212 finishers with a time of 15:20:08 hours. At first, I was sad that I was not able to improve my time of 15:18:45 hours when I was 9 years younger but I realized that with every year that a person gets older, his body mass and VO2 max deteriorates or decreases making him slower and weaker. But with my performance in this race, I would conclude that I have not aged or never got older since the day I first ran this event.

The first thing that I did when I reached home was to immediately send an e-mail to my Coach and told him of my performance. He replied immediately with the following:

“For you to run the same time as you did at the 1st edition of BDM shows your fitness right now. More focus on quality efforts over quantity has helped improve fitness. Not placing such a high emphasis on hard workouts and just as much focus on the recovery process (rest days) has allowed you to be more fresh and rested for workouts. As you age, you lose muscle mass and your aerobic capacity is lowered. Focusing on high intensity intervals and consistency with a strength routine is required to continue to make improvements.

I’m beyond excited to see what else you can accomplish this season!”

Thank you, Coach John. I really enjoyed every step along the course as I finished the 10th edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race!

Congratulation to all the Finishers and a greetings of “Good Job” to all my BR’s/PAU Staff and Volunteers for yet another successful edition of the BDM 102.

2019 QUALIFYING RACE








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