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Race Report: 25th Jungfrau Marathon Race

21 09 2017

Race Report: 25th Edition Of Jungfrau Marathon Race

I did not know about the existence of this event not until I bought a New Zealand Trail Running Magazine at the Auckland International Airport on my way back to Manila after finishing the 2017 Tarawera 100K Ultra Marathon Race. The registration period was scheduled to be opened on the day of my arrival in Manila which was in the middle of February this year. I immediately signed in on the very first day of registration period and I was surprised that there were 800+ runners who have registered already!

I was accepted immediately as there was no lottery and the registration would be closed once the number of registered runners would reach to 5,000 runners. After 3 days, the registration was closed and it appeared in the entry list that I am the only runner from the Philippines to be registered and accepted for this year’s edition which happens to be its 25th edition. Having been not so lucky to be accepted for the CCC of the UTMB Races, I found this race to be an opportunity for me to visit, for the first time, the Europe Continent!

After a month, I registered also for the 80th edition of the Mt Fuji Mountain Race (which I saw an article also in the same New Zealand Trail Magazine I bought at the Auckland International Airport) which only takes only the first 50 registered runners from other countries. The reason why I registered in this race was also an opportunity to visit Japan for the first time!

Research & Planning

I found out that a Pinoy Runner had finished in last year’s edition of the event and I was able to read a news article on Cebu Daily News Online Edition about the feat of Dr. Yong Larrazabal, a low-key Pinoy Marathoner who goes to international cities to join marathon races and a fast runner at that. He was able to finish the race in less than five hours, having been a consistent sub-4-hour finisher in flatter marathon races. Through Messenger, I sent him some questions on how he was able to reach Interlaken, Switzerland coming from Manila. He told me that his point of entry in Switzerland was in Zurich and drove a car to Interlaken. That was all, I did not ask him about the details of the race as every information related to the event is on the English version of the Event’s Website, to include the Route Map, Elevation Profile, Cut-Off Times, and Aid Stations. From their Website, any runner would conclude that this is a well-organized marathon race. The only problems that a runner would solve would be his/her travel/trip arrangements; accommodation; and availability of money…and be healthy and prepared to finish the event.

Jungfrau Marathon Route

Jungfrau Marathon Route

Jungfrau Marathon Elevation Profile

Jungfrau Marathon Elevation Profile

Training & Preparation

On the last quarter of last year (2016), I decided to enjoy my retirement and be more focused to joining international running events in countries/continents where I’ve never been to. This was the reason why I decided to join the Tarawera 100 Ultra in Rotoura, New Zealand, a reason to visit New Zealand for the first time! After I was accepted at the Mt Fuji Mountain Race, I immediately made a scheduled plan where I would be joining these international race up to the 3rd quarter of 2017. I will still be joining local races but they will be considered as my training and evaluation races to find out if I am improving or not or if I am making good with my training and not “slacking” on my fitness condition. I maybe old at 65 years old but I know I could still find out some potentials on where and how my body strength is still capable of doing.

I decided to get the services of a Professional Coach on Ultrarunning and I started my training in the middle of June of this year. The first two weeks were more on developing my endurance but with better recovery as compared from my previous training schedules. I started to be exposed on quality training with more elevation and intensity on the 3 weeks of training leading to the Mt Fuji Mountain Race through “hill repeats” and tempo runs in my Playground. I have observed that I was getting stronger on my uphill runs and climbs and I am beginning to love faster running in some sections of my route. I may have been short of the time allocated in one of the checkpoints at the Mt Fuji Mountain Race, thus, I declared myself as DNF but I have observed a great improvement in my running on uphills and climbs! I am still in awe and surprised how I was able to continuously run an elevation gain of 4,000 feet for a distance of 10 kilometers in 1 hour & 30 minutes. Before, I would be hiking already after covering a distance of 3-4 kilometers. I knew that my preparation and training for the Mt Fuji Mountain Race was short from being perfect. But I considered my first race after being Coached by a Professional as a part of my training for my future races.

My training for the Jungfrau Marathon was very specific on the 4 weeks after the Mt Fuji Mountain Race, leading to the first weekend of September. I was again exposed to more “hill repeats” and “tempo runs” which were done on steep climbs in my Playground. And in one of my 20-minute tempo runs on a rolling terrain, I have observed that I was getting faster on my pace per mile for few seconds, little increments of improvement, but this is a good result of my training. On my peak training, I would go to Kennon Road (Zigzag Road to Baguio City) and run continuously the last 17 kilometers before reaching Baguio City which I covered in 2.5 hours. Aside from that, I spent my weekend back-to-back runs in Mt Tapulao, Palauig, Zambales and Mt Roosevelt where I would be running under the rain and cold temperature of Mt Tapulao. On my taper week towards the race, I had my one-hour recovery runs each day and fully-charged sleeps every night (7-8 hours of sleep).

Travel Arrangements

I attempted to apply a Shengen Visa with the French Embassy but I was asked to apply, instead to the Swiss Embassy since I will be staying more days in Switzerland. Since I did not bring any Passbook of my Bank accounts when I applied for the Swiss Visa (I only submitted a Bank Certificate), I was asked to submit a Bank Statement for the last 6 months. Unfortunately, my Bank could only issue me my 3 months of Bank Statement and I have to request to their Main Office and wait for 1 week for the said documents. Instead of waiting for one to two weeks, I went to AFPSLAI to get whatever the Swiss Embassy would require in order to tell them that I am capable of paying my trip and stay in Switzerland. In less than 15 minutes, I was able to get a Bank Statement for the past 15 years in only ONE page!

As of this time, I have not yet received my Bank Statement from the local commercial bank which caters to my banking needs for the past 30 years! And come to think of it, this is the oldest bank of the Philippines!

I found out that the Swiss Embassy is very strict on trying to monitor my movements/trips within their country to the point that they would like to know where I will stay for the duration of my visit in their country. I just realized the reason why when I was finally in front of the Swiss Immigration Officer when I landed in Geneva, Switzerland. The Swiss Immigration do not require their visitors to submit or fill-up an Immigration Card. They simply check your visa and mark it with a stamp indicating your date of entry in the country!

I made reservation for my flight arrangements with the Travel Agency that had been very helpful to me for the past 17 years and I was booked with the Qatar Airways with a stop-over in Doha, Qatar for 2.5 hours. My hotel accommodations reservations were personally made by me through OnLine on booking.com. And used the Google to its fullest for the trip/land travel arrangements.

I did not ask for any sponsors or made any requests from my friends in the corporate and government offices or came up with a running event to raise funds in order to support my logistical needs for this event. Joining this event is a personal choice and endeavor and I don’t want anybody to have the burden in supporting me.

Even if I am the ONLY Filipino runner in this year’s edition of the event, there is no need to brag about it. This is the reason why I don’t wave or display the RP Flag whenever I finish an international running event. I am just an ordinary and private Filipino runner enjoying my retired life!

Race Proper

My hotel, Hotel Central Continental, is 50 meters away from the Interlaken West Train Station and about one kilometer away from the Starting Area of the Race and Das Zelt, the place where the Race Exposition and Race Packet Kit Claiming Area is located, is just on the Public Park adjacent to the Starting Area. After checking-in at my Hotel, I immediately went to the Race Packet Kit Claiming area where it is located and I was able to get my Race Bib, Drop Bag at the Finish Line Tag, Event’s Magazine, and an ASICS Hydration Pack (Black).

DCIM100GOPRO

Jungfrau Mountain @ Far Background With Snow

The 5,000 runners in this race were divided into 6 groups——Elite Runners & 1st Wave and 2nd Wave to the 6th Wave. The Elite Runner and 1st Wave would start at 8:30 AM and my group, which is the 6th and last group would start at 8:55 AM. Each group would be released every 5 minutes of which was done for the first time in this event.

I was on my way to the Starting Line when the 1st Wave was released at exactly 8:30 AM. I entered my corral when the 2nd Wave was released and I had enough time to position myself with the rest of the runners in my Wave. Every time a Wave was released we would move forward nearer to the Starting Line. It was time to check my AMIHAN Go Light Race Belt for my IPod Touch, gels, light jacket, and power bars and they were all properly stashed on my waist.

At exactly 8:55 AM, all the runners in my Wave which were easily identifiable by their race bib numbers beginning with the number 6 and myself started to jog and easily claimed my spot a few meters away from the Starting Line. The runners were not crowded at the start and I simply relaxed and imagined that my first 15-20 minutes were my warm-up runs during my training. After two miles, I started to increase my pace as the course would be flat and paved. As we left the center of the City of Interlaken, it started to drizzle and the announcement before the race started that it will be rainy and cold during the course was becoming a reality. It is even anticipated that it will be foggy and very cold once we will be reaching the last 15K towards the Finish Line.

Before reaching Mile 4, I was already passing the tail-end of those runners on Wave 5 and I was surprised. Such observation inspired me to maintain my pace and steadily move forward. There are portions of the flat sections which are wide dirt road with crushed gravel which you might think that the event is a trail running event. I have observed that I would pass some runners on the uphills but some of them would pass me on the downhill. It was a no big deal on my part since these runners would look like they are half younger than my age!

Jungfrau 00

On The First Two Miles Of The Course

I reached the 6.2 Mile Mark (10K) in 56:22 minutes in the town of Wilderswil where there was an Aid Station. I took one of my GU Gels and then took at least two cups of water as I was sweating a lot even if it was drizzling. I was too nervous that I might be cut-off in this Checkpoint, thus, I was running faster than what I have planned. The cut-off time here is 9:55 AM or one hour from our Wave 6 start. So, I have less than 4 minutes as cushion as I passed this checkpoint. Based from my recorded split, I was ranked #2,832. At Kilometer #15, where the cut-off time is 10:25 AM or 1:30 hour elapsed time, I was able to gain one minute as additional cushion time where I timed at 1:25:47 hours but my rank decreased to #3,031. It could be that I slowed down or the other runners who started slower are starting to pick-up their pace at this point.

After I passed the beautiful town of Lauterbrunnen and reached the checkpoint at Km #21, my time registered at 2:11:34 and my rank decreased to #3,244 and it was due to brief walking at the Aid Station to grab some water, take in some bananas and GU Gel. But I was able to gain another almost one minute as cushion from the cut-off time of 2:17:00. From Km #21 to Km #25, it was slight uphill at the start but once you cross a river, it is almost slight flat and downhill. However, after reaching Km #25 where I timed in in 2:40:23 hours and placed #3,279, it was now the start of a steep switchbacks which are more than 15 turns going up to the mountain. However, I was able to gain a total of cushion time here for almost 8 minutes! It was raining harder at this point and I was starting to feel the air to be thin and cold that my hands were starting to get numb. I brought out my Patagonia Light Jacket (Waterproof) from my AMIHAN Race “Go Lite” Belt and zippered it all the way to my chin to keep my body warm. I would hide my palms from the sleeves of my Jacket just to keep them warm!

Junggrau Route

At The Town Of Lauterbrunnen

Before reaching the next checkpoint at Km #30, I had the urge to pee and I decided to just approach one of the trees beside the road and took my time to unload my urine. This is where I had been overtaken or passed by 50 runners! But once I reached the checkpoint, my time was 3:39:57 hours and I was ranked #3,329! But I was able to gain a total cushion time of 13 minutes!

From Km #35, it was the start of the steep uphill climb to the peak of the mountain, it was still raining and the temperature was going down to freezing cold. This is where I remember my training in Kennon Road leading up to Baguio (17 kilometers) and my uphill climb in Mt Tapulao (14 kilometers) during a rainy and inclement weather! I started to hike strongly and then jog from time to time on those steep ascents and flat portions of the course. At checkpoint Km #38, my time was 5:12:18 hours and I was ranked #3,325, an improvement of 4 slots and have a cushion time of 15 minutes. At this point, it was already a “conga line” of runners on the steepest part of the course and it was raining, foggy, and with muddy single-track trail.

Jungfrau 01

It Was Freezing Cold

I got to make my move as the other runners in front of me were too slow in their hike towards the peak. I would start to jog, get out of the trail to pass the slower ones, one at a time, until I reached the peak of the mountain. The last one kilometer was downhill and I started to run, braving the cold wind, thick fog, rain, and thin air! Finally, I crossed the finish line together with some of the runners with an official time of 6:14:17 hours!

I was surprised to find out that I was able to pass 64 runners on the steepest part of the course even if it was cold, building up a cushion time of almost 16 minutes before the the cut-off time of 6:30 hours. However, as I reviewed the official result, I found out that the Race Organizer decided to adjust the course cut-off time to 7:00 hours! Maybe, it was due to the inclement weather during the race. I am glad the race was not stopped even when it was raining hard on the last few hours of the event.

Out of 95 starters on my Age Category of 65 years old and above, I placed/ranked #60. Out of the almost 5,000 runners, I was ranked #3,261.

The Marathon Race has an elevation gain of 8,406 feet and elevation loss of 3,386 feet.

Not bad for an old 65 years old runner from a tropical country finishing a marathon race in the Swiss Alps!

To be continued.

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Podium Finishers: 70th Edition of the Mt Fuji Mountain Race (July 28, 2017)

31 07 2017

Repost From Japan Running News:

New Champs Crowned as Gorotani and Yoshizumi Win Fuji Mountain Race Titles

Celebrating its 70th running this year, the Fuji Mountain Race took place on Friday, July 28. As in past years, the first 10.8 km from Fujiyoshida City Hall at 770 m elevation to Umagaeshi at 1450 m was a gentle climb on paved roads. From Umageshi runners enter trails, and for the kilometer from Hanagoya at the 7th Station all the way to the 8th Station it becomes a very difficult 40-degree incline climb. After that runners pass through an area of rough volcanic rocks as they approach Mt. Fuji’s summit. Peaking out with a net elevation difference of 3000 m, the 21 km Summit Course continues to gain a reputation as Japan’s premier mountain race. Last year bad weather forced the race to be stopped at Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station, meaning that this year’s race would be the first time in two years that  runners would finish at the peak.

In this year’s 70th running, former Hakone Ekiden uphill Fifth Stage standout Shun Gorotani (Comody Iida) won in 2:31:34, an excellent time just 3:53 off the course record. In the women’s race, world-class Sky Running Vertical Kilometer runner Yuri Yoshizumi won in 3:01:17, the fastest women’s winning time since 1988. Both won in their first attempts at the Summit Course.

Men’s winner Gorotani is just 24. As part of Toyo University‘s ekiden team he ran the Hakone Ekiden twice, finishing an outstanding 3rd on the uphill Fifth Stage in 2016 behind stage winner Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin University). Gorotani now runs for the Comody Iida corporate ekiden team. Last year he won the Fuji Mountain Race 5th Station short course, breaking the course record by a wide margin. Having qualified for the Summit Course, Gorotani returned to live up to expectations with another superlative win. Taking control of the race early, Gorotani opened up a lead of 14 minutes over 2nd-placer Satoshi Kato, yet another runner-up finish for Kato. Gorotani was misdirected by course marshals very early in the race, but officials judged the error to have had no impact on his result.

Women’s winner Yoshizumi began running as an amateur after she began working full-time, winning the 2013 Hokkaido Marathon in a PB 2:37:56. Changing her focus to trail running in 2015, Yoshizumi won the 2016 Sky Running Japan Series’ Vertical Kilometer Series title. In December last year she won the Sky Running Asian Championships MSIG Lantau Vertical Kilometer, and in May this year she won the Vertical Kilometer World Circuit’s Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer against Europe’s best athletes. Outside of the Vertical Kilometer, she finished 13th in last year’s IAU Trail World Championships Trans Peneda Geres 85 km, competing at the world level from her home base in Osaka. Like Gorotani, she won the Fuji Mountain Race 5th Station Course last year before coming back to win the Summit Course this year, finishing 9th overall.

Source article:
http://dogsorcaravan.com/2017/07/28/fuji-mountain-race-2017-result/
translated by Brett Larner
all photos © 2017 Koichi Iwasa, DogsorCaravan, all rights reserved





2nd Week Of Training: Mt Fuji Mountain Race

30 06 2017

June 19-25, 2017

June 19, Monday, was a well-deserved REST Day for me after my weekend “back-to-back” training runs which culminated in a 10.5 mile recon run in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija & Fort Magsaysay. The heat of the sun on those exposed single-track trail put a lot of exhaustion and fatigue to my body system. I usually have a complete rest on this day by eating and having more time to sleep on Sunday and Monday evenings.

This week will be my first full week of training from Monday up to Sunday. On Tuesday, the training schedule was for me to do a 1:30-hour Endurance Run on a trail and I selected my Backyard’s Loop #2 Trail as my course. This course is what I fondly called as the “Brown Mountain” course which is a wide-dirt road and eventually turns into a single-track trail to the foot/peak of Mt Quadrante and Mt Tambong/Mt Maniwalan. I was able to cover a distance of 7.17 miles for 1:31+hours with an average speed of 12:42 minutes per mile. I observed that my run was very comfortable because of the cooler air as I started my run very early in the morning, before the sun rises.

On Wednesday, I had my first “hill repeats” or Interval Training workout. The total time for this workout, to include the warm-up run; hill repeats & rest between interval; and the cool-down run, would result to 1:30 hours. I did my “hill repeats” in a place where the housing subdivision was discontinued and the place was all mine in the early morning as there were no people in the area. It was my first time to feel the shortness of breath and the feeling of being dizzy as if I am going to have a “heart stroke” after I did my 4th repetition. I have to adjust my pace but I tried my best to push harder as I reach the highest elevation/end of my hill repeats in every repetition. I have to bring up my knees higher; swing my arms faster and wider; and breath as hard as I can. The total distance that I covered was 6.78 miles but I felt that I was able to force my heart and lungs to a higher level of exertion than I had before!

2nd Week Mt Fuji Training 00

Endurance Runs @ Backyard’s Loop #2 (Mt Tambo/Maniwalan At The Background)

On Thursday, I had my Recovery Run/Easy Run for one hour where I covered a distance of 5.20 miles. This was done on a paved road where the first half was slightly going uphill and then back to where I started.

On Friday, it was another 1:30-hour Endurance Run which I decided to have at the same course that I did last Tuesday (at my Backyard’s Loop #2). The same as of Tuesday’s run, I have to run up to the mountain for 45-46 minutes and then turn-around towards the starting line for the second-half of my workout. To my surprise, I was ahead or faster by 2:30 minutes when I reached the turn-around point during my run last Tuesday and I just continued my run for more elevation gain for the rest of my time before turning around for my last 45 minutes back to where I started. I was able to cover a distance of 7.63 miles on this workout!

On Saturday, I had my second “hill repeats” session, the same session/workout that I had last Wednesday but the total number of hours for this workout is 2:30 hours. Since it was the schedule of one of my PAU races (Mariveles To Bagac 50K Ultra Run), I have to think of a way where I can insert my training workout while I am supervising this race. Instead of “hill repeats” of going up the hill and then back down the hill, I improvised my “hill repeats” by continuously going up towards the peak or highest point of the course. So, I brought my vehicle to the highest point of the course, parked it, and then I started my warm-up run by going down the mountain for 40 minutes on an easy pace. From the point where I made my turn-around, I returned up to the mountain doing my “hill repeats”. After 1:20 hours, I continued my run and tried to catch up with the runners of my race. After 2:30 hours I was able to cover a distance of 13 miles. Since the road was not as steep as my “hill repeats” on Wednesday, I felt I did not push too hard and felt that I was still strong after the desired number of hours of my workout for the day had elapsed.

On Sunday, the goal was to practice running and hiking on a higher elevation gain for 4 hours which is a good equivalent of “double-traverse” to my Backyard’s Loop #3 (Mt Roosevelt Traverse). It was also a workout to train for my hydration and nutritional needs in longer runs with more elevation gain. I was in the company of PAU runners who just finished in the previous day’s 50K run! We had some rests and “pit stops” along the route but we were able to make it in 5 hours for a total distance of 13.3 miles. It was nice to be back on this course which I missed for the past 4 weeks. We had some delays on our uphill climb due to the growing tall grasses and plants that partly cover the trail. On our way back for our 2nd traverse, the sun was already hot as most of the trail is exposed to the sun. We slowed down due to the heat and I had to submerge myself to a flowing stream, 3 miles before the finish line! We ingested some solid foods and soda drinks at the turn-around point (Mile 6.6).

2nd Week Mt Fuji Training 01

At The Peak Of Mt Roosevelt With PAU Runners

Everyday, I have to force myself to sleep 8-9 hours every night and after my “hill repeats” sessions, I had to take a nap in the afternoon for some rest. My nutrition intake for the week consists of ordinary Filipino foods and fruits.

The following are the totals for this week:

Total Duration (Time): 13:40 Hours

Total Distance: 52.8 Miles/84.48 Kilometers

Total Elevation Gain: 21,795 Feet

Elevation Gain Per Mile: 412.78 Feet

Lace up and go run!





Mt Fuji Mountain Race

27 06 2017

The first time that I knew about this iconic Running Event held in Japan was when a group of Filipino runners joined this event 3-4 years ago and it did not create any “noise” or “trending” on the Internet. If I am not mistaken, this is a running event which popular among “Skyrunners” or maybe, among “mountaineers”. I am not even sure if these runners were able to reach the Finish Line (Summit of Mt Fuji) within the prescribed cut-off time of 4:30 hours. To add mystery to this event, nobody is “bragging” or let me say, saying that they have joined or finished this event. It could be that they are not my friends on Facebook or subscribers or readers of this blogsite.

After I have finished the Tarawera 100K Ultramarathon Race in Rotoura, New Zealand, I’ve read a story or article about a New Zealander/Kiwi Runner who won this event who happens to be a Olympic Gold Medalist in middle distance running. The said Olympian also won in one of the past editions of the Jungfrau Marathon Race in Interlaken, Switzerland. Through this Kiwi Runner, I was inspired to have a try on these two running events.

Mt Fuji Website

Photo Of The Official Website Of The Event

Through its Website, I was able to find out the details of this race. This year, 2017, it will be the 70th edition of this race which means that this running event was born 2 years after the defeat of Japan during the World War II. It was a period when the US Armed Forces had ruled over the whole country of Japan. I believe that the US had no influence on the creation or birth of this iconic running event. However, I strongly believe that the Japanese people came up with an activity/event that will boost their morale, thus, a running event to unify the Japanese people to the peak of the highest mountain in their country which they consider as their nation’s symbol & sacred place in addition to the the “rising sun” in their national color.

This running event will be held on July 28, 2017 (Friday) and I really don’t understand why this iconic event is being held on a working day and not on a weekend. There is no point in asking such question or concern to the Race Organizer, which is the Mayor of Fujiyoshida, Japan. There must be a good reason for the Japanese why this race is being held on a Friday.

It is specifically mentioned in the Website as to when will be the opening of the Registration Period which is March 21, 2017 at 9:00 PM (Japan Standard Time) up to March 23, 2017 at 9:00 PM (JST). The registration period closes after the desired number of participants is attained but only fifty (50) foreigners are allowed to join this event.

There are two (2) races: The Summit Course which is a 21K race from the City Hall of Fujiyoshida to the Peak of Mt Fuji; and The Fifth Station Course which is a 5K race from Umagaeshi (Km #10) up to the Fifth Station (Km #15) along Mt Fuji’s slope. The Summit Course has a registration fee of 15,000 Yen while the shorter course has a registration fee of 10,000 Yen.

Mt Fuji Mountain Race Schedule

Schedule Of Races

The race starts in an elevation of 770 meters and finishes at an elevation of 3,776 meters which is the elevation of of the peak of Mt Fuji. The cut-off time at the Fifth Station (Km #15) is 2:15 hours and the cut-off time at the Finish Line (Peak) is 4:30 hours.

What is the award if one finishes the Summit Course? A Finisher’s Shirt Only! This is a Finisher’s Shirt that is worth preserving in a nice picture frame!!!

Mt Fuji Mountain Race Cut-Off Times

Cut-Off Times For The Two Events/Courses

Not so fast on thinking that I would be able to finish this race! But first, one has to be quick and fast also in making sure that you are registered to this event!

I was in the United States when the registration period started and I have to wake up at 4:00 AM on March 21, 2017 (JST is +15 hours from the PST) and ring my alarm just to be sure that I would be awake before the opening time and then register immediately once the registration button turns on! At exactly 5:00 AM (PST), the registration button turned on and I immediately registered to the Summit Course Race. It was problematic at first in paying the Registration Fee because all Foreign Runners had to pay through Pay Pal. Since I don’t have any previous Pay Pal account, I had to create one on the spot! After almost 30 minutes creating a Pay Pall account and answering and filling-up some questions online, I was able to get in as one of the participants from the limited number of 50 foreign runners!

I went back to sleep after I have received a confirmation message in my e-mail that I have registered and while I was having my breakfast at 8:00 AM, I was surprised to see that the Registration for the two races was already CLOSED! The registration was supposed to be in 3 days but it closed after 3 hours of registration! I found out later that the Race Organizer usually cap this race up to 5,000 runners to include the 50 foreigners!

The most significant question that was asked on the registration form is my last 3 Marathon Races with finish times below the 5-hour limit. I mentioned my sub-4 hours MILO Marathon finish; Condura Skyway Marathon Finish (sub-5 hours); and my latest 2017 Los Angeles Marathon (4:24+ hour) a week before.

Mt Fuji Mountain Race Qualification

Qualifications To Join This Event

I was happy that I was able to get in among the 50 foreigners to join this race. And from that day, I started to browse on the Internet on posted stories and blogs of runners who joined this race for the past years. From these of stories of DNFs and successful finishes, I was able to gather some data and information on what to expect during the race. I would gather also suggestions and advise on the things on what to do during training/preparation and the things needed in order to meet the challenges the mountain have to offer to each of the runners.

Looking at the tabulated course of the event, I could not imagine how I would be able to finish this event! The only way to find out is to take the challenge and make the necessary training and preparation.

Mt Fuji Course Elevation Profile

Course Description: Mt Fuji Mountain Race

Last week, I was able to receive a Congratulatory Letter from the City Mayor Fujiyoshida for being one of the 50 foreign runners and participants in the 70th edition of the Mt Fuji Mountain Race. The letter was sent through the mail which the Race Organizer started sending to all the participants since last April 2017.

Mt Fuji Letter

Letter Of The City Mayor Of Fujiyoshida

I am on my third week of focused training and I am very positive that I am becoming a stronger and faster mountain runner! Wish me luck!

Lace up and go run!

 

 





Official Result: 2nd Mariveles To Bagac 50K Ultra Marathon Race (BDM Km 0 To Km 0)

26 06 2017

2nd Mariveles To Bagac 50K Ultra Marathon Race (BDM Km 0 To Km 0)

Start: 4:00 AM June 24, 2017 @ Bataan Death March Shrine, Mariveles, Bataan

Finish: 2:00 PM June 24, 2017 @ Bataan Death March Kilometer Post #0, Bagac, Bataan

Number of Starters: 26

Number of Finishers: 26

Percentage Of Finish: 100%

2017 Mariveles To Bagac

Starters & Finishers Of The Event

RANK         NAME                    TIME (Hrs)

  1. Nel Valero (Champion, CR/Adjusted Course) —-5:37:11
  2. Joseph Diones (1st Runner-Up, Overall) ——-5:45:01
  3. Ace Rodriguez (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) —–5:53:55
  4. June Gonzales —————-6:01:21
  5. Rod Losabia ——————-6:13:23
  6. Bryan Taroma —————6:23:36
  7. Hope Jhon Brazil ———–6:30:31
  8. Tess Leono (Champion, Female) ——–6:40:35
  9. Ray Casimero ——————6:42:15
  10. Richard Gy ———————6:43:40
  11. Felisisimo Gura ————–6:46:54
  12. Rosemarie Austria (1st Runner-Up, Female)—-7:02:59
  13. Loui Cotejar ——————-7:05:35
  14. Art Sanchez ——————- 7:27:39
  15. Adrian De Mesa ————- 7:27:53
  16. Emma Libunao (2nd Runner-Up, Female) —— 7:36:50
  17. Remy Caasi (Female) ——-7:36:51
  18. Marlon Santos —————-7:37:07
  19. Kim Jason Pinili ————-7:51:25
  20. Brady Yandoc —————- 7:53:30
  21. Jonas Olandria ————– 8:18:59
  22. Danilo Reyes —————– 8:19:14
  23. Ener Calbang —————- 8:33:46
  24. Anna Odessa Albaracin (Female) —- 8:41:25
  25. Fer De Leon —————–8:47:21
  26. Jeje Ajusto ——————- 9:07:15

Congratulations To All The Finishers!





Epilogue: 1st BR’s Quad Marathons

15 06 2017

Having known an event which was experienced and finished by an ultra running friend in one of his trips/visits in the United States, I thought of the idea that local Pinoy runners can also do such an event without even going out of the country. What is really important in this kind of event is to have a period of 4 days which are declared non-working holidays and the place where one can have a varied routes for four marathons in four days. Of course, there is also the need to have some runners who are brave enough to try and experience what it is like to run one marathon distance each day for four consecutive days.

I though of my birthplace, Laoag City, as the place to conduct this event because it has a lot of road networks that converge to the center of the city. Having been familiar to the road networks in the place, I decided to have this event held in the city. There is no harm in taking the risk of conducting this event even if there is only one or two runners.

Laoag City

Landmark Of Laoag City (Photo by May Santos)

A simple Facebook Event Page was created just to inform the “Public” and my FB friends about this event. And I did not personally contact each and every ultra running friend to be invited to join this event. As I said before, I create an event and I let runners join my event in their personal volition. It is inherent that most of my friends were excited to find out that this Quad Marathons is a new event and most of them signified to join or simply clicked the button “Interested”. But knowing the real attitude of the Local Runners and even PAU Members, who are really good friends, I did not expect much that most of these people will be joining this event. The bottom line here is, I really don’t care!

After a simple coordination with the LGU of Ilocos Norte and the Provincial PNP of Ilocos Norte, the event was a GO! And the rest is history!

It has proven once again that Local Pinoy Runners can match the endurance and stamina of other runners in other countries. The Quad Marathons can be done even in simple logistics and needs for the runners. Additionally, it is proven once again that I don’t need Corporate Sponsorship if I want an idea to be implemented and put into action. To prove a point, the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon, the event that started all these “craziness” in ultra running in the country, had survived for almost 10 years without any Corporate Sponsorship!

I would like to thank the following ultra running friends: Dondon Talosig from Tuguegarao, Cagayan; Gibo Malvar from Piddig/Sarrat, Ilocos Norte/Paranaque, Metro Manila; Rod Losabia from Metro Manila; Tess Leono from Metro Manila; Rose Betonio from Metro Manila; Kathleen Piñero from Metro Manila; and Laurice Rogel from Metro Manila who were the “Pioneers” of this event. These runner-finishers will receive appropriate Awards & Commendations for their feat during the 2018 BDM & PAU Get Together Party. I would also thank May Santos from Marikina, Metro Manila for being the Recorder/Marshal/Official Photographer of the event. I would like also to give thanks and commend the support given by Numeriano De La Cruz and Joaquin Bordado of Team Kimat Running Club of Ilocos Norte. Lastly, to my Personal Staff and the Support Crew of each runner who made sure that all the Logistics/Administrative needs were made available during the event.

As a runner-participant of this event, I was able to prove my running philosophy in order to inspire others to run—“If I can do it, then, you can do it, too!” If want to create an idea, make sure you can do it so that you are a reliable and consistent person!

Day 4 Paoay

Turn-Around Point On 4th Day (Photo By May Santos)

As per my observation on the runner-participants, I could see that each of us have that tendency to be competitive with one another even if we were having fun, enjoying the environment & scenery of the route, having a “bonding time” among friends, and with the experience of being attacked by street dogs in some of the populated areas along the route. Each runner has a different style of dealing with these street dogs—some would shout back at the barking dogs; some would simply run faster away from the attacking dogs; some would bring a stick to ward off the dogs; and some would just blind the dogs with their powerful handheld lights. However, I would simply ignore and never looked at the dogs when I would pass infront of them. But the most effective way to prevent the dogs from biting you is to NEVER use any headphone or play your music/ playlist during this kind of event. I should know because in one of my adventure runs, I was bitten by a street dog while listening to my playlist on my iPod! Also, one of the runners have learned some lessons in marathon racing where one should be light and simple if you want to have a faster time in a marathon race!

Oh, yes, I was the official “sweeper” of the event to make sure that all my runners would be able to finish each event within the cut-off time of 6 hours and 30 minutes. I am glad all the runners had successfully finished the race! I guess, in my races, that is one of the duties of the Race Director!

Personally, this is how I felt during the period of four days. I think the rest of the runners would have to agree with me on my feelings. Before the start of the event, I was not sure if I would be able to have the stamina and endurance to finish the whole event. After I finished the first day Marathon, I was exhausted due to the hot and humid weather even if it was then in the evening and early morning. I was already thinking of a reason or alibi where I would simply sit back in my car and supervise the runners for the remaining 3 marathon races. But I though that ones personality is being tested here in this event. So, I was not at all excited for the 2nd day event. However, after 1-2 kilometers of running on the 2nd day’s route, we were met by cold air and winds coming from the mountains east of Laoag City and it was very refreshing. The cooler temperature made us faster to finish the event on the 2nd day. On the start of the 3rd day, I was silent and apprehensive as I told to the runners that the course will be darker due to the absence of street lights along the route and some portions have road constructions. But the runners did not complain and they registered a faster time, too!

After we finished the third marathon, I brought all the runners for a day tour along the last day marathon course and they were able to familiarize some locations and the overall elevation profile of the route. Aside from being the last event, knowing the course on a walk/drive-through boosted their morale to finally get things done immediately! The experience running in the rain for about 10-12 minutes at Km 5-6 was really exhilarating and enjoyable! There were no complaints from the runners and we finished the event with a much faster time.

For the first two days, we used the front portion of the Provincial Capitol of Ilocos Norte as the Start/Finish area since we did not cross the Laoag/Padsan Bridge or River. But for the two remaining days,we changed the location of the Start & Finish at the LAOAG Landmark at the foot of the Laoag City Bridge. The variety of the locations of the Start and Finish gave a very nice documentation on the exposure of Laoag City and the Province of Ilocos Norte.

These are my assessment and conclusion on this event: First, it takes a veteran marathoner or an ultra runner to finish this event. Two, even considering the difficulty of the elevation on each course, the tendency of the human body to be faster and stronger as the event progresses from day one to day four. Three, since the Aid Stations are the Support Vehicles of the runners which are mobile that “leap-frog” ahead of the runners, one has to be very good in his/her nutrition and hydration strategy. And lastly, our human body is a wonderful God-given “machine” that has a way of recovering from pain & exhaustion through proper nutrition and rest & recovery within a span of 24 hours.

Baliw

Congratulations To Everybody! (Photo By May Santos)

Next edition will the same schedule as we had this year where the last day event culminates with the Independence Day of the country.

Once again, congratulations to all the runners, support crew & staff, and to our volunteers/marshals.

Lace up and run!

 





4th & Last Day: Quad Marathons

13 06 2017

We were all excited that we have reached the Final Marathon for this event. Nobody was complaining about any aches, pain, “niggles”, or any injury from the runners. At least, all the runners had a chance to conduct a walk & drive-thru along the route during the day after the 3rd day Marathon. They would know what to expect and come up with their own “landmarks” with regards to distances and where exactly the locations of those rolling elevations on the course.

The runners would start at the LAOAG Sign Landmark which is located at the Laoag City Park and then goes to the Gilbert Bridge towards San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. Once the runners cross the bridge, they have to turn RIGHT on the first intersection where the road leads to the Laoag City International Airport. Once the runners reach the new “roundabout” in front of the Northwestern University, they have to turn LEFT and run along the Laoag-Suba-Paoay Road until they reach the Poblacion of Paoay, Ilocos Norte. From Paoay, the runners would run one loop of the street block where the Paoay Church is located and then turn-around and go back to the Starting Line.

Day 4 Before The Start

Group Picture Before The Start (Photo Courtesy of May Santos)

This running route is very memorable to me because it was my training playground for my first Marathon Race in the early 80s while I was assigned in Ilocos Norte as a young First Lieutenant of the Philippine Army. I would do my daily runs from Laoag City to the Suba Golf Driving Range (now, Plaza Del Norte) and then back to Laoag City for a good 20K LSD run. For my hill workouts, I would run along the road from the Golf Driving Range up to the beach where the famous Laoag Sand Dunes are located ( film shooting locations of the movies “Panday”, “Himala”, and the “4th of July” where Tom Cruise is the lead actor).

The course is relatively flat on the first 10K (6.2 miles) until the road goes uphill in front of the Plaza Del Norte and before the Golf Course which is only about 100 meters long. This is the famous Start Area of the yearly North Start 10K Run which was discontinued in the early 90s after almost 15 years of existence. This year, I have thought of reviving this event after I made a consultation/agreement with the then Race Organizer of the event who is in his 80s! From the peak of the uphill portion, it goes downhill for about 500 meters and then goes slightly up for a rolling elevation of about 1 kilometer. Once you see the view of the Paoay Lake on your left, everything goes downhill and flattens to the next 5-6 Kilometers up to the famous Paoay Church which is the turn-around point of the course. The runners take one loop of the street block around the Paoay Church and then goes back to the Starting Line.

The last Marathon Race started at 11:40 PM of Sunday, June 11, 2017 after some reminders and group pictures. I decided this time to be the “sweeper” again to make sure that everybody would be able to finish the race within the cut-off time of 6.5 hours. As we reached the Km 5 point, it rained for about 10-12 minutes and all of us were wet but it made our running environment cooler and made our body temperature lowered. The feeling of having your body perspiration mix with the cold rain is very refreshing!

Personally, I had the feeling of nostalgia and happiness while running on this course because I could memorize every inch or meter of the road! It is that feeling of happiness that I am finally back on this course/route after 37 years that greatly contributed on my being a passionate runner up to this time. Except for the 2nd Day Marathon (Laoag-Sarrat-Piddig route which is the official MILO Half-Marathon route), I have never ran along the 1st Day and 3rd Day routes.

I have never told to the 7 runners how deeply happy and elated while I was running with them on this Quad Marathon along the route of the 4th Day Marathon. I only told them that this was my favorite route when I would run while I was assigned in the province. I never told them that I had been running with some of the runners then in the City and that I’ve been “coached” by a Project Gintong Alay athlete, who is a local resident of Laoag City, for the Marathon distance and personally massaged by him every after our LSD runs along this route. This local elite running athlete would become a Champion of some of the Marathon Races in Metro Manila but what made him very popular was the fact that he was able to break the the course record for a Half-Marathon Race in the country! So, for the six hours that I’ve been running this course, I would recall all those times and the persons that had been a part of my running life while I was in Ilocos Norte. I will tell more about the “stories” among and about the 7 runners in this event in my “Epilogue” of this event.

Day 4 Finish Pic

Group Picture After Finishing The Race (Photo Courtesy of May Santos)

The following is the result of the 4th and Last Day Marathon of this event:

RANK     NAME                TIME (Hrs)

  1. Dondon Talosig ——4:50:25
  2. Gibo Malvar ———- 4:51:03
  3. Rod Losabia ———- 5:10:12
  4. Tess Leono (F) ——- 5:22:48
  5. Rose Betonio (F) —- 5:34:06
  6. Kathleen Piñero (F)— 6:04:25
  7. Reese Rogel (F) —— 6:11:36
  8. Jovie Narcise/BR —— 6:11:49

After I have personally awarded the Finisher’s Medal and Shirt to everybody, we had our Group Picture and we congratulated each other for being the Official “Pioneers” of this event which is considered as the First Quad Marathons in the country.

Day 4 Finish Flag

Finishing The Quad Marathons Was In Time With The 119th Independence Day Celebration

What a historic way to celebrate our country’s Independence Day!

Congratulations to the Quad Marathons “Pioneers”!








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