2020 Virgin Money London Marathon Race Highlights


Months before the conduct of the 2020 London Marathon Race, it was announced that the scheduled April event will be held despite the Covid-19 pandemic situation and it will be held on October 4, Sunday, with the participation of selected world elite athletes coming from selected countries. Most significant in the announcement was the participation of the two of the fastest marathon finishers in the world: Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya who is the reigning world record holder in the marathon with a time of 2:01:39 hours in the 2018 Berlin Marathon and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia who is the world record holder and Olympian record holder in the 10,000-meter event with a time of 26:17:53 minutes and second fastest time in the marathon with a time of 2:01:41 hours which he set in the 2019 Berlin Marathon, two-second slower than Kipchoge’s time.

Aside from the World’s Men’s Elite runners, the World’s Women’s Elite runners were invited to join the race. This is to include the Elite Marathon Runners from Great Britain. The rest of those who are supposed to participate and had been picked in the lottery to join the 2020 London Marathon had been asked to join in a virtual run and be able to complete the run within a period of 24 hours. Unfortunately, I registered for the third time in this marathon event and as usual, I was not been able to be picked up in the lottery.

In the months, weeks, and days before the London Marathon, there were so many information on the social media and printed media about this “duel” of the two fastest marathon runners in the world; Kipchoge and Bekele. With its hype, I tried to research on the Internet on the past competitions where these two great long distance runners had joined and competed with each other. Bekele was already a World and Olympic “Star” in the 2000s while Kipchoge was trailing behind him in the Oval Track Competition Races. However, during the 2010 and later years, both runners had shifted to road running on marathon races. Kipchoge started to shine and perform consistently in Marathon Races in Europe. However, Bekele had also his winning races on the road until he was sidelined with some injuries. Bekele is 38 years old while Kipchoge is 35 years old. But, these two runners had been always pushing the bar for the world record in marathon up to this time. The sub-2:02-hour time in the Marathon Race are being held by these two greatest runners in the world.

Kipchoge & Bekele Poster (From Google/Facebook)

In my past blog, I posted and predicted that Eliud Kipchoge will win over Kenenisa Bekele in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon. However, I was still confident to predict that the winning time will be within the 2:02-2:03-hour range knowing how the place looks like when I had the chance to visit London in 2018. The London Marathon was held along the streets surrounding the St James Park near Buckingham Palace which is a loop-course covering a distance of 1.33 miles for each loop. Runners have to complete 19+ loops to finish the Marathon distance of 26.2 miles while is completely flat.

Two days before the race, Bekele announced to the media that he was withdrawing from the race because of an injury on his left calf muscle which he got two weeks before on a sprinting session. With this news, I was confident that Kipchoge would win the said race.

I watched the LIVE coverage of the London Marathon in the evening of Sunday, October 4, 2020 (Manila Time) after I found out that Brigid Kosgei of Kenya won the Women’s Championship with a time of 2:18:58 hours. She is the current Marathon World Record Holder with a time of 2:14:04 hours which she achieved in the 2019 Chicago Marathon Race. Worthy to note in the women’s race is the “sprint run” of  Sara Hall on the last 50 meters to pass Ruth Chepngetich to the finish line winning the race as the First Runner-Up in 2:22:01 hours. This is Sara Hall’s Personal Best in the Marathon.

Kitata & Kosgei: Overall Champion & Women’s Champion (Picture From Google)

On the last loop of the Marathon, Eliud Kipchoge could not react on the blistering pace of the faster runners and he did not win as I had predicted. Tola Shura Kitata of Ethiopia won as the Overall Champion of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon with a time of 2:05:41 hours. He was the First Runner-Up in the 2018 London Marathon where Eliud Kipchoge won as the Champion. Eliud Kipchoge finished the race in 8th place with a time of 2:06:49 hours and he said in his post-race interview that his ears got blocked during the last loops that he could not concentrate and focus with his run. However, he was gentleman enough to accept the result of his performance. Kipchoge and Bekele will be back!

Thank you for reading. Have a good day and week ahead of us.

Gilbert Gray: Finisher Of The 2020 “Last Annual Vol State” 500K Race (LAVS)


Gilbert Gray finishes the 2020 Last Annual Vol State 500K Race (LAVS 500) last week in 7 days, 19 hours, 40 minutes and 57 seconds which started on July 9, 2020 in Dorena Landing, Missouri, USA and with the Finish Line located in Castle Rock, Georgia. He finished this race without any support crew and  he registered for this race as Uncrewed or popularly known as “Screwed” runner. This is his second time to finish this race as a “screwed” runner where he improved his finish time by one day, from 204: 48+hours (or 8 days & 12 hours) in the 2015 Vol State Edition. In this year’s edition, out of the 66 runners who started the race, 49 runners finished the race and 17 runners declared as DNF.

The Last Annual Vol State 500K Road Run (LAVS 500K) is one of the road ultra races which is organized and directed by Lazarus Lake of Barkley Marathons, held during the summer months of July every year. One month before this race, another Ultra Race called The Last Annual Heart Of The South 500K Road Race (HOTS 500), was also held which is also organized and directed by Lazarus Lake. These road races usually traverse the State of Tennessee, USA from the western boundary with Missouri, USA or Arkansas, USA to the Northwest part of Georgia, USA. These two ultra races were held despite the Covid-19 situation in the USA. These two races had an identical number of starters which was 66 runners.

The LAVS 500K and HOTS 500K has a cut-off time of 10 days to finish where every runner has to inform the Race Director/Organizer on his/her location every 12 hours through SMS. Each runner does not carry any “tracker” along the way and there are support crew of the other runners who would update the location of the runners by posting pictures and videos on the Facebook Group Page of the event, this is to include the so-called “angels” along the route of the race. These “angels” are the ones that give voluntary aid or help to the runners in terms of allowing them to rest and eat in their front yard or in government/state facilities like Fire Stations and Parks.

Gilbert Gray, a Retired Airman in the US Air Force, lives in Maryland, USA and he is married to a Filipina Lady with two daughters. He now works with a US Airline Company. At 58 years old, he had finished a number of Ultra Races to include being the Overall Champion in one of the Ultra Races in Europe. He is a two-time BDM GrandSlam Awardee; Finisher of the Prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race; and a yearly Finisher of the JFK 50-Mile Race. You can see the Ultra Races that he finished here.

Although he comes regularly to the Philippines with his wife for a visit, the last time that we saw each other was in the 2014 edition of the Bryce 100-Mile Endurance Race in Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA, together with Paul Encarnacion, a Filipino Ultrarunner who also lives in Maryland, USA and multi-awarded 100-mile finisher. During his training for the 2013 edition of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race (WS100), he visited California to recon the route of the WS100 and then a day later, he joined me and other Pinoy Runners in the LA area in the 2013 edition of the Bandit 50K Ultra Trail Run where we finished at the same time.

Finishing The Bandit 50K Ultra Trail Run

Gilbert Gray With Badwater Ben Gaetos

Gilbert will always be a good friend of the local ultrarunners in the Philippines, most specially with the PAU runners. He is very kind, very helpful, and very simple and silent about his ultrarunning accomplishments. I just hope I would be able to meet him again in the future.

In our local races, PAU had also conducted its first 500K+ road race last June 2019 with the First Edition of the Manila To Pagudpud 580K Ultramarathon Race which had a cut-off time of 135 hours or 5 days and 15 hours. This race is officially considered as the longest road race in the country now. The result of this event could be seen here.

For additional reading about the the LAVS 500, you can read it here.

July 15, 2020: First Day Of The Great Maharlika Highway Virtual Run 3,517K


Two weeks ago, I have created a Facebook Group where interested persons or runners can join a virtual run/race which covers the distance of the Philippines’ Maharlika Highway’s 3,517 kilometers from Laoag City (Ilocos Norte, northern province of Luzon) down to the southern Mindanao City of Zamboanga. However, runners have the option to run in the reverse direction, from the Southern tip of the Highway up to the Northern City of Laoag. There is no required limit of distance or mileage that each runner can cover in a single day but I put up a Challenge that any runner can finish it in one year or in 365 days. As such, a runner should be able to run at least, 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles per day. For the slower or recreational runners, they have the option to finish the distance in 2 years or 730 days, with an average daily mileage of 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles a day.

Maharlika Highway 3,517K Poster On Facebook

To make the event more interesting, this event is FREE and anybody in the Social Media can join the said event by simply joining the Facebook Group Page that I have created. At this time, there are now 144 active members. Additionally, I have created an Event’s Club on Strava where anybody can post their Strava Data on the said Club and for their runs to be posted and each runner is ranked among the members of the Club. There are now more than 160 Strava Members who are part of this event.

I have only one objective in creating this virtual event—I just want people to be motivated to run each day during this present time as we deal with the Covid-19 situation that is happening worldwide.

Stay safe and stay healthy!

Video: How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon


This video is presented in Taglish (combination of English & Tagalog/Filipino Dialect) which I posted in my You Tube Channel. I just revived this YT Channel which I created in 2014 (6 years ago) where I posted my first two videos using my newly-bought GoPro then. Due to the Covid-19 Lockdown, I revived it and I am now trying to post more videos about my running experiences.

It may not be as good as the other Videos you see on You Tube but I have tried my best to share with you the things that led me to be a Boston Qualifier with my Qualified Finish Time based on my Age. I hope you will be inspired with my story and apply those workouts and tips that I have mentioned in this video.

Thank you for watching. Please subscribe to my You Tube Channel for more informative tips on running.

Filipino Finishers Of The UTMB 106-Mile/171K Ultramarathon Race (2011-2019)


2018 Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Trail Race Photo Video


Hereunder is the Photo Video of my trip to Turkey to join/participate in the 2018 Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Trail Race which was held in October 2018. This training running event is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour Event. I have published a Race Report of this event in this blog.

Thank you for watching.

2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Race Documentary


I had the chance and opportunity to have been up close to the runners and crew in this particular edition of this iconic Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Race in 2018. I was surprised to see this documentary film which was posted on You Tube in September 2018 and this is the only time that I learned about the fight for the Podium Places among the Elite Runners. I have seen how close these runners are who composed of what they call, “The Badwater Community”. My participation in this race as a Crew and Pacer will remain memorable as one of my best experiences as an ultramarathon runner.

Who would think that a Local Blogger who exposed this race to the minds of the Local Pinoy Runners through this blog and be able to copy its rules and regulations for his Bataan Death March Ultras and PAU Races, would be able to experience to be in the race and “rub elbows” with the past and present Champions of this race dubbed as the “Toughest Footrace In The World”. This video will explain what it takes to join and finish this race.

I hope you will enjoy watching this video. Thank you!

Video: Filipino Finishers Of The UTMB 106-Mile/171K Ultramarathon Race (2011-2019)


This is a Photo Video that I posted on You Tube with the objective to document the past accomplishments of our local trail runners in international trail running event like the UTMB. This video will be also an instrument for others who will be inspired to join this event in the near future. Thank you for watching.

 

 

 

 

 

Filipino Finishers Of Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc 106-Mile/171K Ultramarathon Race (UTMB)


In the history of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), the race started in 2003 but only after eight (8) years (2011) when Ultra Trail Runners from the Philippines started to join this iconic trail ultra which is considered as the “Holy Grail” of Ultra Trail Running In The World. Hereunder is the list of Filipino Runners who finished the race with their Official Finish Time and their year’s edition:

  1. Jonnifer Lacanlale—–44:00:57 hours (2011)
  2. Simon Sandoval—–45:19:06 hours (2011) & 20:25:13 (2012/shortened) & 40:25:11 hours (2013)
  3. Christian Vicera—–45:16:26 hours (2013)
  4. Aldean Philip Lim—–44:57:22 hours (2014)
  5. Deo Encarnacion—–43:55:17 hours (2014)
  6. Miguel Antonio Lopez—41:10:48 hours (2015)
  7. Roland Wangwang—–41:10:48 hours (2015)
  8. Aleksis Capili—–43:38:16 hours (2016) & 39:55:54 hours (2018)
  9. Hermogines Olvis—–35:33:54 hours (2017) *Fastest Time
  10. Miguelito Carranza—–37:01:00 hours (2017)
  11. Conrado Bermudez Jr—–40:18:29 hours (2017)
  12. Maria Josephine Liao—–42:15:14 hours (2017) *Female
  13. Donald Hermoso—–44:18:53 hours (2017)
  14. Benjamin Ramirez—–39:33:43 hours (2018)
  15. Patrick Hervic Aquino—–43:41:48 hours (2018)
  16. Felmer Hiponia—–44:53:06 hours (2018)
  17. Manuel Magbanua Jr—–45:59:25 hours (2018)
  18. Joseph Sibal—–46:04:59 hours (2018)
  19. Ronnel Valero—–39:29:59 hours (2019)
  20. Marc Conrad Molina—–41:07:23 hours (2019)
  21. Magno Rafael Gabotero—–44:10:00 hours (2019)
  22. James Tellias—–44:34:14 hours (2019)
  23. Mark Itol—–45:00:41 hours (2019)
  24. Thumbie Remigio—–45:27:15 hours (2019)
  25. George Javier—–46:18:16 hours (2019)

UTMB Official Logo

How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon (Prologue)


It was an accident or spur of the moment when I decided to register for the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race after I DNF at the 2017 Javelina Jundred 100-Mile Endurance. I was mentally and physically devastated when I was driving from Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona to Los Angeles, California on October 29, 2017 after the event. It was supposed to be my first 100-mile race with the CTS Coaching Service which I started to enroll in the middle of June 2017. I was too confident that after 4 months of training under my CTS Coach, I would be able to finish the Javelina Jundred. However, at Mile 38, I started to have a “stomach problem” and that I had to “throw-up” my ingested food and the fluids that I have taken few meters after I left the last Aid Station. It took me 34 minutes to finish Mile 38 and walked all the way to the end of the 2nd loop at the elapsed time of 10:42+ hours. I rested in my tent for almost 16 minutes to recover and find out if I can still take in some fluids and food. However, my body took a lot of beating due to the heat of the day. I decided to DNF with the elapsed time of 10:56+ hours at 42 miles with another one hour of buffer time to rest some more. But on hindsight, while I was thinking on my way back to Los Angeles, I should have slept and spent the whole one hour for my body to recover and just in time for the heat of the day to cool off as it was already early in the evening.

Training Peak’s Data On My Javelina Jundred Run

Reviewing my data on Training Peaks during the said event, I had 4 Peak Performances and an Average Pace of 14-15 minutes per mile which I consider to be above average from my past performance considering that it was too hot that time. My recurring problem with my gut due to the heat  really zapped my body physically and mentally. As a consolation, I would think also that the elapsed period (4 months) that I was with CTS Coaching Service was not enough for me to moulded as an ultrarunner at the age of 65 years old. I talked to my Coach and I told him what really happened and he gave me advises and suggestions on how to manage my nutrition problem. He suggested for me to take some rest the following week and do some easy runs for my recovery.

The day after I arrived in Los Angeles, I don’t know what came into my mind when I tried to browse for any race to be held within the Los Angeles area in the coming days and weeks. Surprisingly, I came across the Revel Canyon City Marathon Race which is to be held on November 4, 2017,  six days after I DNF at the Javelina Jundred, and I registered with the aim to finish the race. I immediately called and informed my friend, Rowell Ramos, to monitor me during the race and if he has the time, meet me at the Finish Line. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon was never in my mind to be my goal when I registered in this race. I just wanted to run and finish a race!

My Peak Performances In The 2017 Javelina Jundred 100 & My Best Performance In An Trail Ultra Race

And the rest is history. I have to photo grab the data which I retrieved from Training Peaks where you can see the Ten (10) Peak Performances that I did in the said Marathon Race which are self-explanatory.

Will I ever go back to Phoenix, Arizona, USA to finish this race? Why not?

Unfortunately, the Revel Canyon City Marathon Race that I joined was the last edition of the said race. It is now being held in Big Bear, California. This year, I am registered to join this year’s edition with the hope that the Covid19 restrictions will be lifted soon.

There are two things that you would think with this story. Is the CTS Coaching Service where I have enrolled and subscribed was the main reason why I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon? Or Was it the Downhill Elevation of the Revel Marathon Course contributed to my faster time for an Old Runner with the age of 65? Neither of the two were the main reasons why I started my journey to the Boston Marathon. It is the “Man In The Arena”!

Thank you for reading!