“Death March Ultramarathon: Running To Honor, Help Vets”

This is a news article written by Tina Arceo-Dumlao and published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s April 5, 2009 issue. It was posted on Page A4. Hereunder is the exact copy of the said article:

A RUN FROM MARIVELES, BATAAN, TO the 102-kilometer marker in San Fernando, Pampanga, 18 hours.

That is the daunting challenge that 82 hard-core runners, including eight foreigners and five women, will try to meet as they “run, endure and survice” the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race.

The “few, proud, and brave” runners would have taken off from the Bataan Death March Park at KM 00 at 1:00 a.m. today to retrace the route of the infamous “Death March” of April 9, 1942.

The runners are expected to cross the San Fernando finish line at around 7 p.m.

According to World War II accounts, over 90,000 Filipino and American soldiers captured when Bataan finally fell to Japanese invaders were marched out of Bataan. Around 5,000-10,000 Filipinos and 650 American soldiers collapsed and died from exhaustion or untreated wounds during the three-day ordeal in the scorching summer heat. Those who culd not keep up were beaten or shot. Some managed to escape; some died trying. The 54,000 who managed to reach Pampanga alive were then placed on board on a cargo train to Camp O’ Donnell in Capas, Tarlac.

Retired Maj. General Jovenal D Narcise, the brains behind the ultramarathon, told the INQUIRER that he organized the country’s first competitive ultramarathon to commemorate the dead and surviving heroes of the Bataan Death March.

“We would also like to raise some funds to support the needs of World War II veterans who are now under the care of the Veterans Medical Center,” he said.

Narcise said a similar ultramarathon is held every year in New Mexico in the United States in support of the American survivors of the Death March. He felt that it was just right to organize a counterpart event in the Philippines.

“By the number of fatalities on the side of our Filipino heroes of Bataan and Corregidor, we should be the one who should be doing this memorial service by way of retracing the route they had taken,” said Narcise.

He said the race would help imbue in Filipinos the memory of “the sacrifices that our forefathers offered in the name of defense of the country and freedom from foreign invaders.”

Man known as Bald Runner

Narcise, called Bald Runner in the running circuit, said that with the race, he hoped to put the Philippines on the world map of ultramarathons and make it part of the schedule of adventure tourists.

He said the Bataan 102K race had the potential to be as popular as the Comrades Ultramarathon in South Africa, Badwater Ultramarathon in the United States, Marathon Des Sables in Morocco, Libyan Challenge in Libya, Jungle Marathon in Brazil and Gobi March in the Gobi Desert, China, because of its historical significance.

Narcise said ultramarathons are gaining popularity around the world. A 100-km ultramarathon will be featured as a demonstration sport in the 2012 London Olympics.

Qualifying race for Olympics

“In envision this Bataan 102K as a qualifying race for our future Olympic athletes,” he said.

The 56-year-old Narcise, who boasts of having the same 29-inch waist that he had as a cadet of the Philippine Military Academy, added that he was also inspired to organize the event to get more people to embrace a healthy lifestyle through running—an inexpensive yet effective way to keep fit. 

Narcise, who retired last year as commander of the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, has been running since he was a cadet and his passion pushed him to put up the race even without government support.

No support from promoters

“Sad to say, I was not supported by those government offices which are promoting sports development. I was also not supported by those who are promoting tourism in the country. Moreso, I got negative response for help and assistance from people and politicians whom you always see telling the public that they are going to support our quest for sports excellence in the Olympics,” he said.

But far from being discouraged by the lack of support, he went into the project with even greater enthusiasm. Those who encouraged him were fellow running enthusiasts and former subordinates in the AFP who believed in his mission to celebrate heroism by running in the heroes’ foosteps.

Picture of the News Article
Picture of the News Article

My sincerest thanks to Ms Tina Arceo-Dumlao for writing this news article and have it published on the day the race event happened. I really appreciate those countless telephone calls, SMS, and e-mails between us.  How I wished this news report would have been published with www.inquirer.net. My appreciation goes also to Kim O’ Connell who took the initiative of making sure that this event would be known to everybody through her “contacts” and friends.

I had the chance to read this news article when my brother, General Samuel, met  and paced me on my last 9-10 kilometers of the ultramarathon race. I was then brisk-walking while I was reading this article and it gave me the energy-boost to finish the race.

On my way back to Manila after the race, I found out that the Chief of Staff of the Office of the President called me twice on my cellphone during the time while I was running along the stretch of SanFernando-Dinalupihan Highway, within the vicinity of Lubao, Pampanga.  I tried to return the call but it was not answered. Maybe, he was too busy attending the Birthday Celebration of the President and/or preparation for the President’s attendance to the Araw Ng Kagitingan to be held at Mt Samat the following day. 

On the day after the activities at Mt Samat, the Chief of Staff called me while I was in my hometown celebrating the 85th Birthday celebration of my late mother. He informed me that the President saw the runners and myself during the ultramarathon event. However, the main reason why he called me was because of the abovementioned news article. The President read the news article and she was touched by the objectives of the race event even without positive support from the government and personalities who advocate sports development and sports excellence. But, the Chief of Staff tried to help and appease my concern about the lack of support as more time must be neded to process such requests. I told him that I received formal letters from sports & tourism authorities and “personalities” outrightly denying my request. My friend became silent at the other end of the line after telling him that I still have those letters. So, we just talked about other things and the things I am doing to help others.

Ok. Let us move on. On the 1st weekend of March next year, it will be 2nd edition of the BDM 102 and it will be within the Election Campaign Period. I predict that these “jokers & comedians” and wannabe “actors, singers & dancers” will be looking for events where they will be known by the people. The BDM 102 event will never be used for politics and commercialism. Let this be a running event to honor our heroes and a venue for us who are “crazy” and hardcore runners to test the limit of our body’s endurance.

So, train now and have fun!

(Note: I will post the letters from Philippine Sports Commission, Department of Tourism, and some of the “presidentiables” in response for some support to the BDM 102 in due time)

Comment From A “Cavalier”

The following is a comment posted in our PMA Alumni E-Forum by one of its Members re-1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race:

“This is just to extend my personal appreciation and probably to create awareness among fellow cavaliers about this feat of a fellow cavalier, MGEN Jovenal NARCISE AFP (Ret), of organizing the first ever ultramarathon race in the country and timed to commemorate the infamous Death March in 1942. As it traces the route forced upon to the USAFFE forces by the invading Japanese Army, the distance covered 102 km.

I do not know who participated and if there are cavaliers other than MGEN Narcise himself. I guess that’s how it worked for Cav NARCISE, he just spearheaded the event without much fanfare or rethorics, uncharacteristic of some present day Filipinos who try to advocate some good or not-so-good things, especially our politicians, with all the media interviews, artistas, and even libreng pakain para lang may pumunta at masabing successful, hehehe! I believe ganon naman talaga dapat, if it is something good for mankind, you just have to do it and awareness will follow. For that my snappy salute to him!!!

I believe joining this bandwagon is good for all of us in terms of appreciating history and at the same time having a good lifestyle… running 102 kms could be very tough and gruelling indeed and it needs a lot of preparations.

So to all interested cavaliers, let’s try to be there next year and support this advocacy, kung hindi man makatakbo, probably we could lend support in some other ways!!! Sa mga nasa field, probably magandang talent ito para makapagpaalam umuwi sa Luzon and have a gruelling break from combat duties, hehehe!!!”

This was posted by a certain coblanks91 of the PnC Forum@yahoo.com.

Bataan 102: Winners

Top Overall (Men’s)

1) Eduardo Villanueva—–9:43:00

2) Jessie Ano—————10:04:10

3) Mamerto Corpuz——-10:27:47

Top Overall (Women’s)

1) Ellen Tolentino———-14:42:00

2) Odessa Coral———— 17:39:10

Age Category (Men’s/20-29 yrs old)

1) Lucas Tan—————-12:46:48

2) Andrico Mahilum——14:29:05

3) Baldwin Choy———–14:45:24

Age Category (Men’s/30-39 yrs old)

1) Mario Salumbideds—–11:04:31

2) Isidro Vildosola———11:05:43

3) Jayson Fabricante——11:27:02

Age Category (Men’s/40-49 yrs old)

1) Eric Socrates————-14:42:03

2) Albert Sama————–14:56:16

3) Nonilo Onoya————15:09:08

Age Category (Men’s/50-59 yrs old)

1) Alipio Narciso———–14:48:01

2) Bald Runner————-15:18:45

3) Felipe Nama————16:55:39

Age Category (Men’s/60-69 yrs old)

1) Victor Ting————–14:46:25

2) Norio Tanaka———–15:40:01

Race Report: Bataan 102 Ultramarathon/Part 2 (PGMA Waved At Me While I Was Running!)


This is my race report as a competitor in this event. Later, I will publish my race report as the Race Organizer and as the Race Director.

After simple ceremony before the start, the excited and nervous participants had a group picture at the very first kilometer post/obelisk (Km 00) of the Bataan Death March as a symbol and evidence of our start for a new experience and challenge in running. I knew that many passionate runners had ran the course before but this is the very first time that an ultramarathon race is being done with a cut-off time of 18 hours to finish the race. It is started as a dream..an idea..and now a reality after nine months of planning, preparation and training.

I officially started the race with a simple shout of Ready..Set..Go! and the front runners immediately ran towards to the entrance/exit of the Batan Death March Park. I immediately checked on my digital watch to register the official start of the race. The race started at 12:33 AM of 05 April 2009 after a brief drizzle of rain which I concluded as a good sign of a successful event and a blessing from the overall orchestrator of things in this world. After handing over the megaphone to Coach Salazar, I started my slow jog out of the Park and ran towards the main road going to Mariveles EPZA (Export Processing Zone Authority).

Km 1-10

 While running along the straight road towards the Bataan/Mariveles EPZA covering the 1st kilometer, I was reviewing my race strategy…finish the race with a consistent pace and prove that I can finish the race within the cut-off time. It was some sort of “Setting The Example” as one of the time-tested Principles in Leadership and applying it to this particular ultramarathon race. If the Race Organizer/Race Director Can Do It, A Runner-Participant Can Do It, Too! This was the “attitude” I wanted to impart to all the first-time participants of this race. While running on the first 3 kilometers, I was with the group of Christian Alacar who requested to congratulate me and offered his hand for a handshake. Christian congratulated me for organizing this very first ultra race to commemorate the Bataan Death March. He said that it is seldom to see a Race Organizer/Race Director joining his own race as one of the competitors, and at an ultramarathon race at that!  We shared some stories for the next 2 kilometers and I was joined by Edilberto “Nonong” Severino, Jr of the Globe Runners Club whom I’ve been seeing a lot at the ULTRA Oval Track  weeks before this race as he was running continouosly for 3 hours every late afternoon to evening. However, Christian would later slow down and Nonong and I left him after passing Km Post # 3.   At this point, the road is starting to go uphill and we are about to start a 4-Km winding road on a mountain that separates Mariveles from Cabcaben, the next town from Mariveles. The plan was to start walking on the steep portions of the road and jog on the level part of the road/mountain and I did what I planned to do. Nonong was also running beside me imitating what I was doing. Once I started walking, he walked and once I resumed running, he ran with me. It was too dark along the road that I had to use my handheld pin flashlight from MagLite to see where my feet were about to land. More stories were shared between me and Nonong. Gene Olvis, one of the hardcore runners, later joined us during our ascent to the mountain and we started sharing stories. Our discussion later went to the participation of Tess Geddes, the first and only Philippine representative to compete in the 24th edition of the Marathon Des Sables in the Sahara Desert (Morocco), a woman at that! Gene told me that he sent some messages to Tess Geddes during the race and he actually monitored the race everyday. Later, Gene had to pick-up his pace and slowly went ahead of us. I was not thinking who were following us on our backs but the first aim was to get out of those steep uphill curves and inclines from Km 3 to Km 7. After alternately brisk walking and slow jogging, we finally reached Km Post # 7 and the last inclined road towards the highest point of the mountain was already infront of us. After walking, we finally reached the peak and we started  to run again going downhill. Another downhill and slight uphill..and then repeated again until we reached the Km 10 marker. It was a very slooow 10K and allowed the CAMANAVA Runners (Atty Jeffrey Abenina, Albert Henson & Francisco Lapira, Jr) going ahead of us in a synchronated pace. My race plan was followed and I knew I was able to conserve a lot of energy by alternately walking and jogging on the said mountain.

Km 10-20

Most of the runners tried to speed up their pace after the hardest uphill climb was on our backs. I depended on the availability of the “roving/mobile” Aid Stations by asking bottled water for my hydration needs. I did not use any of my hydration belts and bladders during the race. Instead, I tucked in one bottle of water on my back and held one bottle alternately with my two hands. I had to drink one Gatorade bottle every 5 kilometers just to be sure that my body electrolytes were not depleted. I have to take a sip of water from my bottled water every kilometer and didn’t wait for me to be thirsty. Nonong Severino was still with me during the run. I knew that the Km # 20 Post is at the vicinity of the entrance from the Roman Highway going to the DND Government Arsenal and the terrain of the road is a rolling one. I always tell Nonong not to worry about the uphill climbs and try to brisk walk on them because there are more downhill portions of the first half of the race. We were at the higher level and wait till we reach Pilar, Bataan where the terrain of the road will start to be relatively all flat.  It would be better to gain more speed on the downhill portions in order to regain the loss of time we encountered in brisk walking in uphill climbs. And that was the thing we did. Jerome Cartailler, the French runner, was the one infront of us and his running style was so unique that he sways sideways but we could hardly reached him. He was fast, too in going downhill. The last two kilometers seemed to be very far but I knew the 1st Aid Station was getting nearer. I told Nonong to eat whatever food he can eat as we reached the Aid Station. I told him also that I will eat some hard boiled eggs and boiled bananas as my fuel for the next kilometers to come. Finally, we reached the 1st Aid Station at Km Post # 20 and the marshals/checkers/ and the volunteers were there cheering us and offering us food and drinks. I was happy that the volunteers got my instructions to copy what I’ve experienced while I ran the Bulldog 50K Ultra Trail Run last August 2008 in Calabasas, California. In this Aid Station, Lester and Margaret were there also to serve the runners. It was him who informed me that Jonel aka Bugobugo was still at the back aprroaching the Aid Station. Robert, the PhotoVendo Guy was also there to take pictures to every runner passing or stopping at the said Station.

Km 20-30

After a roller-coaster terrain along the main highway, we turned right to a narrow cemented road which was part of the original route of the Bataan Death March. Suddenly, Nonong Severino slowed down and asked me if there is a gasoline station near ahead. He seemed to be doing Number 2 after eating some food at the 1st Aid Station. I did not notice him as he  slowed down along the way. I was already running alone on the dark road of Limay. However, I noticed that a biker from my brother’s Light Armor Division was all the time on my back following me and one of the three (3) Ambulance Vehicles was posted on the middle of the race purposely under orders from my brother to assist/support me. At that time, my support vehicle was busy checking the preparations in every Aid Station and checking the road marshals on the critical crossroads along the way. My support vehicle became the overall supervising administrative vehicle for the whole race. It was again an undulating and rolling dark road passing along the Poblacion of Limay and then at Orion where the people were starting to get out from their houses for the Palm Sunday celebration in the towns’ churches. I was already running alone and from time to time the roving Aid Station would offer water and Gatorade. The Ambulance and the biker gave me company on those dark roads of Limay and Orion. Ralph Salvador would be my next companion along the road but he would overtake me and then stop to walk and stretch. Later, I would overtake him but he would be strongly running again. He always went ahead of me but he was always on my sight at least 50 meters ahead. It was a see-saw running with Ralph for the next few kilometer.

Km 30-40

I knew my average pace would fluctuate from 6:45 minutes per kilometer to 7:30 minutes per kilometer and my GF 305 was about to register a running time of four hours. During my training for this ultra race, I conditoned my running legs to be within this range of pace and at least have an average pace of brisk walking from 8:45 minutes per kilometer to 10:00 minutes per kilometer. At this point, I did not have any urge to speed up my pace and tried to consistently maintain my planned average pace. There was nothing wrong with my legs..no pains..no aches..my legs were on their “automatic cruise” control and I maintained my shuffling style of running, making sure to remember what Coach Titus would always remind us in our training…”be light, be quick, with the feet as they touched the ground & swing arms in a relax way”. I was using my ASICS Gel-Kinsei 2, which is almost one-year old and the heaviest among my running shoes. It is also the most expensive one but the cushioning and comfort/stability of the shoes were uncomparable with other shoes. I was confident that these running shoes will bring me to the finish line without changing to any other shoes even if I brought along my new ASICS Gel-Kayano 14 for the last stretch of the race. I was using a new pair of socks from Eddie Bauer’s CoolMax which is the same brand of socks that I used in the Bulldog 50K Ultra Trail Run and my feet were completely covered with petroleum jelly before wearing my socks. As for my racing apparel, I decided to use the Bataan 102K Shirt and my light-gray Patagonia Trail Shorts which has 3 zippered pockets. I had 2 bars of Cloud 9 Chocolates on my left front pocket; my MagLite Pin Flashlight was secured on my right pocket; and I had 3 packs of GU Roctane in my rear pocket. One bottled water tucked on my back and one on my hand. Of course, my pink bandana was tied loosely on my neck to absorb the perpiration coming from head and neck and the damped bandana acted as my coolant for my nape while running without the heat of the sun. At this point, my support vehicle was back to assist me but they got an emergency call that the volunteers at the Km # 40 Aid Station were being harassed by a drunken guy. So, I sent Maj Ed Tubiera, one of my trusted officers to find out the real situation on the said Aid Station. As I approached the town of Pilar, I knew I was nearing Km Post # 40, the 2nd Aid Station. From a distance, I saw the M-35 truck (6 X 6) properly parked at the Aid Station with the uniformed Philippine Army soldiers securing the volunteers. I knew that the emergency situation had been settled. I reached the 2nd Aid Station and started to eat the available foods on the table and drink some more of the electrolyte drinks.

Km 40-50

As I was eating, I was informed by my staff that one of the lady runners, Kim O’ Connel was transported out of the race due to emergency situation. I tried to call the source of the information but I could not make any contact with the people who are in the know. I looked at my watch and I wondered what could had been the cause of the emergency call since it was too early in the morning and the sun was still about to rise on the horizon. I immediately finished eating and resumed my running and try to reach the halfway to get more information about Kim. Captain Quilo of the Light Armored Division, Philippine Army who was the Overall Team Captain of the Medicall Team decided to pace me after eating some foods at the 2nd Aid Station. I knew he would pace me up to the halfway point where we pre-positioned one Aid Station, where we served “hot food” for all the participants and volunteers. The road was already flat and after running for 4 kilometers, we reached the city limits of Balanga. We were not able to see Km Post # 44 as it was transferred to the City Park which is one block away from the old road. After crossing some small bridges and long stretch of cemented road, I knew the halfway mark was within our reach. Capt Quilo was trying his best to keep up with my slow pace and he was starting to perspire. I tried to offer water to him but he declined as he has some water support coming from his soldiers. I tried to increase my average pace as it reached 5:50 to 6:00 minutes per kilometer. It was a nice sight to see the 3rd Aid Station where bowls of Arroz Caldo (rice porridge with chicken) were ready to be picked-up once a runner reached the said Station. Another option was for the runners to be served with “hot noodles”. The volunteers were very supportive and responsive to the needs of the runners. While I was eating, I tried to get more information about Kim but nobody could give an accurate information about her incident.

I was able to eat two bowls of Arroz Caldo and drank two bottles of Gatorade. While eating, Jonel and Dr Joe aka The Loony Runner arrived at the Aid Station. After eating, I was requested by one of the local reporters to have an interview and photo-ops for his news report and obliged to his request. In my estimate, it took me at least 15-20 minutes to stay at the halfway point.

Still Smiling at Km # 50 With Capt Quilo
Still Smiling at Km # 50 With Capt Quilo

Lots of Water To Drink at Km #50 & the Smiling Capt Quilo
Lots of Water To Drink at Km #50 & the Smiling Capt Quilo
Maj Ed Tubiera, the Acting Race Director while I was running. He just arrived from UN Peacekeeping duties from Liberia
Maj Ed Tubiera, the Acting Race Director while I was running. He just arrived from UN Peacekeeping duties in Liberia

Interview with a News Reporter at the Middle of the Race
Interview with a News Reporter at the Middle of the Race

Km 50-60

Jonel, Dr Joe, and I started the second half of the race. I was surprised that we left the place at 7:25 AM, almost the exact time when we started our “Bataan 52K Test Run” two months ago. While we were running, I told Jonel that we are running the 2nd half exactly the same time that we had our “test run”. I was sending him the message that the last half would be as easy as the “test run” as we had experienced the heat of the sun and learned our lessons. Jonel acted as the pacer & frontrunner as we ran in line with me following him and Dr Joe on my back. Our steps were synchronated, placing the same foot forward as if we were soldiers running in cadence. Almost all of the time we were running on the dirt side of the road for a softer landing/strike and lesser heat from the ground. We shared stories while maintaining a pace of 6:48 minutes per kilometer. I told Jonel of what happened to Kim and we discussed that it could had not been due to the heat of the sun. Anyway, we discussed some medical requirements and medical protocol to be applied to each runner-applicant in future Bataan 102 editions. Dr Joe suggested that each runner must be able to submit the most current medical certificate to the Race Organizer prior to competing in this race. I immediately approved the suggestion of Dr Joe. I tried also to get feedbacks from Jonel & Dr Joe as to the conduct of the race and so far, they are satisfied with the support system. After lots of discussion, we were surprised that we are approaching the next Aid Station (3rd). We were reminded of Ben Gaetos advice on mixing Coca-Cola or Mountain Dew with Salt for the last leg of the race. So, while drinking cold Mountain Dew, we were licking lots of salt grains poured on our palm and hands. I ate a lot of FITA Biscuits while drinking water and got more cold sponge to pour cold water on my head. The sun was already getting hotter and I knew this was the actual start of the race. I knew that after leaving this Aid Station, the challenge will be on more on mental attitude and fighting the heat of the sun.

Km 60-70

After passing the Municipality of Samal, we were already in Orani, Bataan and Hermosa, Bataan would be next. As we reached Hermosa Poblacion, which is Km Post # 63, I started to lead and become the pacer setter and front runner of the three of us. We agreed to reach the junction of Roman Highway and the road that goes inside Hermosa as we passed the Hermosa Church as this will boost our morale.  As we left the Poblacion, I knew we have at least 4 kilometers more before reaching the Roman Highway. I increased the pace but I was surprised that Jonel and Dr Joe made a brief stop at their support vehicle, a few meters outside the Poblacion. I slowed down my pace but kept on jogging. As I reached Km Post # 67 at the Junction, I observed that the biker-soldier was the only one on my back and I asked from him what happened to my other two companions. He answered that he could not see them on his back. Running along the Highway as I approached the Dinalupihan Crossing to Subic was a big boost afterall. I knew I could make it. I used my loose bandana to cover my nose and mouth as if I am one of those runners joining the Marathon Des Sables in the Sahara Desert while I was passing by the dusty part of the road where a bridge is being constructed with all the heavy traffic of vehicles on my left. As I reached the Layac Crossing in Dinalupihan, I knew I still have 34 kilometers more to go and at the rate I was running, I could finish the race in 14+ hours. Two more kilometers of running, I was already at the Km Post # 70.

Km 70-80

This part of the route is a straight road as far as your eyes can see. At a distance I could see the thick traffic of vehicle and thick dust where almost all the vehicles were moving very slowly and some were on full stop. The target of my run on this segment was this part of the road where there was road construction. I ran alone on this part of the road with the biker-soldier and the ambulance on my back who served as my support vehicle. Captain Quilo handed me the much-needed ice-cooled sponges, Gatorade drinks and water. I could feel that my wet hat could easily dry up because of the intense heat of the sun. I saw to it that I asked sponge every 500 meters that I covered and this became a ritual all the way to Guagua. Suddenly, a car was on my back as I was running along the wide dirt sidewalk of the highway and I was surprised to see Jonas & Sheila who offered me bottled water and took some pictures of me while running. At this point, I could still afford to smile to the camera despite the intense heat and the fatigue I was starting to feel after running for about 74 kilometers. Lester and Margaret were also in constant roving mode along this road as they offered water and sports drinks. Guys, thank you very much for those much-needed support. Since Km Post # 80 is located in the middle of the road construction, the last Aid Station was relocated at Km Post # 79. I stopped and ate some more food and drank lots of sports drinks. I asked some questions to the volunteers on their observations of the runners ahead of me and they gave me vital information. I asked them to be vigilant and alert for the other runners and advised them to immediately offer assistance and food/water to them. I did not stay long at the Aid Station and as I reached the Poblacion of Lubao, I could see a group of runners approaching the Lubao Bridge.

Km 80-90 

I started to increase my pace and I was surprised to see Norio Tanaka being paced by at least six (6) runners from Runnex, though they were already walking. I passed them as I crossed the Lubao Bridge and at this point, I just passed Km Post # 82. I knew that in about 2 kilometers, I would reach the road intersection leading to the town of Guagua. At the intersection, I was surprised that we are going on detour because of another road construction. At this point, another runner, Arman Abalos, who was already walking joined me. I started to talk to him and get more details about him. He is from Lukban and I was surprised that he is lagging behind. He said that he was too tired already. I told him to join me and pace with all the way to the finish line. I instructed Captain Quilo to extend support to Arman from the resources we still have in the Ambulance. So, whenever I ask for sponge or water or sports drinks, he would get the same treatment as with me. He was actually on my back trying to tag along with me…when I walk, he would walk..when I jog, he would jog, when I increse my pace, he would try to increase his pace. This became our ritual up to the point until we reached the Poblacion of Guagua.

At Kilometer 88, I started to notice a Motorcycle Security Escort passing and going to the direction of Poblacion Guagua. I knew that these escorts were the point guards of the Presidential Security Group’s Convoy of President GMA. Knowing where the President would actually ride in her provincial sorties, I started to wave my right hand, show my face and slightly tilted my body to my left as an Executive Bus would be approaching on my left side. I raised my head and face to make sure the President would recognize me. As the bus passed me, one of the windows opened and I saw the face of the President and hand waving back at me!!! I guess that gesture made me run faster up to the point when I reached Km Post # 90 near the Guagua Poblacion. I was thinking of the “worst scenario” to happen where the Presidential Convoy would suddenly slow down or stop and have a brief chat with the President while I was running. Yesterday, I was informed by the President’s Chief of Staff that PGMA knew that I was the one running and waving at her in her Presidential Bus.

Before reaching Guagua, Pampanga, I saw Jerry aka High Altitude and Ellen Tolentino sitting at the open baggage back compartment of their support vehicle and I asked him if he finished the race already and he said “No”. I immediately shouted at him as if I am still an active General shouting to a soldier. I shouted at him, “C’mon, Stand Up and Join Us…Let’s Go!” In a few seconds, Ellen Tolentino was already running beside me and Jerry was already trying to catch up. Slowly, Ellen and Jerry picked up their pace and they left us for good! As soon as I reached the volunteers at Km Post # 90, I stopped and asked one of our staff on my present placing/ranking and she said that I was # 29.

Km 90-102

I decided not to drop by at the Razon’s for their famous Halo-Halo and continued to brisk walk as I was looking for a place where I could hide and make a pee! In an alley, I was able to relieve myself and started my shuffle run and I was feeling already fatigued and tired. More sponges..more water to drink..more sports drinks…and more Cloud 9 to chew. I opened my 2nd to the last GU Roctane and I was confident to slow jog and brisk walk up to the finish line. After I passed Km Post # 92, my brother, General Samuel met me aboard his service vehicle together with his security and joined me with my brisk walking. We brisk walked all the way up to the Km Post # 100 and shared stories. He informed me of a news story featured in the day’s Philippine Daily Inquirer on page 4 about the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon. I immediately asked for the newspaper and it was true about the report that I was reading the newspaper while I was on my way to the Finish Line. I enjoyed brisk walking with my brother and personally thanked him for the support he provided for the success of this very first Bataan Death March Ultramarathon Race. Moreso, of the personal attention and support provided by his Medical Team and biker-soldiers.

From Km # 100, I forced my legs to shuffle with shorter strides and brisk walked and shuffle again until I reached the alley leading me to the last 100 meters towards the Finish Line. My brother and I practically brisk walked for almost 8-9 kms for about one hour plus and it was my subtle way to cool-down for the ultramarathon race. There was no point to force myself and set a faster time. I knew I have proven something worth to remember and savor in my running career. I knew that finishing this race would start a new beginning in the history of running in the country.

At the Finish Line

I was awarded by Maj Ed Tubiera with the Bataan 102 Finisher’s Medal with the inscribed ranking of # 30 with an unofficial time of 15 hours and 15 minutes and I got my Finisher’s Trophy and T-Shirt. From here, I awarded the Finisher’s Medal, Trophy, and T-shirt for the next 33 Finishers who arrived within the cut-off time of 18 hours.

As my son, John would say in his SMS he sent at least 12 hours before the start of the race—” A new era is dawning…” Yes, a new era is dawning in the history of running competition in the country. And I was able to prove it…I did it…we did it…and we were able to prove to the world that we can do an ultramarathon race on the very exact place where history happened.

What’s next? I will be the full-time Race Organizer and Race Director for the 2nd Edition of the Bataan 102K Ultramarathon Race and other Bataan 102K Race Events. Let us help our surviving heroes who experienced the infamous Bataan Death March which happened 67 years ago and revive the awareness to the younger generation and other generations to come that our forefathers had to sacrifice their lives in the name of freedom and independence.

Start training now!!!

More Stories With My Brother Samuel After The Race
More Stories With My Brother Samuel After The Race
My Brother and I Were Already Planning For the 2nd Bataan 102 At The Finish Line
My Brother and I Were Already Planning For the 2nd Bataan 102 At The Finish Line

All “Systems Go” For Bataan 102

I had been receiving and reading a lot of information about the Bataan 102 and most of them are apprehensions from the participants. As much as possible, I just laugh and try to relax myself and stay “cool” as I am supposed to be the one who is apprehensive and nervous about this plan/idea of mine which is becoming a reality. As the Race Organizer/Race Director and a Competitor in the race, the fate, welfare and safety of the 82 runner-competitors are on my shoulders. As everything in place through the support of volunteers, Team Bald Runner members, friends/relatives,  and my former subordinates in the AFP/Philippine Army, the Bataan 102K Ultramarathon is set to “GO” on D-Day!!!

Ooopps…I did not realize that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) will be celebrating her 62nd Birthday in her hometown on the day of the Bataan 102K. Her hometown, Lubao, Pampanga is one of the towns along the route of the race. I happened to know her activities in the area last week when I coordinated with the security support along the route during the race. I was assured that lots of security forces will be deployed on Sunday & Monday along the route for the PGMA’s Birthday and her attendance  of the “Araw ng Kagitingan” Day at Mt. Samat, Balanga City as the Guest of Honor & Speaker the following day. Let us leave politics behind us for the meantime. Anyway, I did not get any support from the government’s sports and tourism offices for this event.

The Weather Forecast from PAGASA for the next days up to Holy Week will be cloudy with overcast sky with rains and thunderstorms. This is a good news for the runners as it will bring a lower temperature during the day. But it does not mean that each runner would relax in its hydration strategy during the race. I would like to emphasize again to encourage runners without support vehicles to bring with them their hydration system for contingency purposes even with the presence of the roving/mobile aid stations and stationary Aid Stations. Find time to drink water. sports drinks, and eat the foods available on each Aid Station. Remember to eat something sweet and salty as we prepared boiled sweet potatoes, boiled bananas, fresh fruits, boiled eggs with salt, salty biscuits & crackers, Mami Soup, Arroz Caldo, and chocolate bars!

On whether this event will land and will be printed on the daily newspapers. I really don’t care if news reporters or sports writers would write about this event. Basically, ultramarathon races spread by “word of mouth”, not unless I want to get profit out of it in terms of popularity and monetary considerations. I am doing this event because it “pains me” to know that other countries are using the name of Bataan Death March in races where it is becoming a worldwide event. There should only one Bataan Death March and that is supposed to be in our country. I encourage all the participants to come up with their own Race Report on this event and e-mail them to the publishers of ultra running magazines and to ultra running websites in the USA or other countries.

On the discipline of some of us. Some of the runners who would like to participate in this event thought that there is an extension for the registration deadline. These runners could not believe what they heard from me that the registration was closed last 16 March except for the foreign runners who made reserved slots. Yes, even if you double the registration fee for you to register after the deadline, you are firmly denied and wait for next year’s race. Many runners had been calling me as late registrants but I declined them. I think this is one way to discipline our runners.

My race strategy? Finish the race within the cut-off time of 18 hours and have fun and explore the limit of my body’s endurance as this will be my first 102Km Ultra Race.

Thanks for those who supported me to make this plan/dream a reality. You know who you are!

To The Bataan 102 Warriors, see you at the Starting Line and Think Positive to reach the Finish Line…Good Luck!

What’s my next ultra race?…Blue Canyon 100K Ultra Trail Run in Santa Barbara, California this June 2009.

Lessons Learned: Bataan 52K “Test Run”

1) Race Strategy—The only “goal” in running an ultramarathon race is to be able to finish the race within the prescribed “cut-off time”. Depending in one’s training and preparation, a runner must be able to determine his average pace and factor in his time for his rest in every Aid Station and time for brisk walking and other interruptions along the race route. In my conversation with Jerry aka High Altitude, I told him about the differences between running a marathon and an ultramarathon race. I would like to share my insights about such differences to my readers. In a marathon race, a runner has a target time goal to finish whether it is sub-3 hours, sub-4 or 5 hours while in an ultramarathon race, the runner has only one thing in his mind—to survive the distance and be able to finish within the prescribed cut-off time. A marathon runner talks and tries to satisfy his programmed split times whenever he reaches the following points—10K, 15K, half-marathon, 25K, 30K, and 32K for his last 10K distance before the finish line while a runner in ultramarathon does not follow any split times along the way. In a marathon race, it is an embarrassing experience if you walk along the route as you need to finish your race within the targeted goal time while in ultramarathon race, incorporating walking in between runs along the route is a “wise move” for every runner. In a marathon race, a runner is expecting to reach his “wall” after running a distance of 32 kilometers for the simple reason that this is the longest distance he had reached in his long steady runs during his training while in ultramarathon, a runner does not force himself to reach his “wall” but instead tries to prevent that “wall” from coming to him.
2) Hydrate and Eat—It is important to drink water or sports drinks along the way. During the “test run”, I always make a habit to sip water from my bottled water every kilometer marker that I reach or pass making sure that I will not experience being thirsty along the way. However, once I reach the Aid Station, I see to it that I drink at least one cup of water or half of the bottled water. During the test, I always eat one boiled egg and one boiled banana every time I stop at the Aid Station making sure that I have a source of energy during the run. Gatorade and Propel Drinks had been helpful for my replenishment for electrolytes and I regularly drink them in every Aid Station. I observed that by eating something, whether it is a boiled banana, boiled sweet potatoe (camote), Sky Flakes Crackers, Cloud 9 Chocolate Bars, boiled eggs, or sports gels/sports bars in every Aid Station, I can run without any feeling of being tired and sluggish. I believe that by regularly eating some solid foods and drinking water in every Aid Station, it prevented me from reaching my “wall” and I did not experience any cramps or soreness on my body for the whole duration of the run.
3) Listen To Your Body—I perspire a lot during my runs and it gives me a warning to drink more water/sports drinks if I observe that I am no longer perspiring. Sometimes, the color of my urine would also determine if I need to hydrate myself. A yellowish color of my urine would warn me to drink more water along the way. If you can’t urinate and perspire for some time during the run even if it hot, it is a sign that your body needs more water and there is a need to drink more water/sports drinks. If you feel some pain in any part of your body, try to observe by slowing down. And if the pain persists, you better walk and observe if the pain will go away. If something happens to your stomach and you need to take your crap, immediately drop by in one of the gasoline stations and use their toilet. If you feel a hot sensation on your head and starting to have a slight headache because of the heat of the sun, take a water-soaked foam/sponge and drip some water on top of your head and let your runner’s cap to be damped/wet as a coolant..
4) Rest But Keep On Moving—You can rest in the Aid Station but keep on moving your legs. You can sit but don’t take so much of your time sitting as your legs would become more stiff after standing from the chair. Try to rub or massage part/s of your legs where there pain or soreness while resting. Also, try to stretch the muscles which you think had contracted in the course of running for some time.
5) Respect The Sun—It was surprising to observe that the sun was on our backs while we were running from Abucay, Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga. The heat of the sun was our main “enemy” during the run. I had to use my special “bandana” which have some “crystals” in it that expands when soaked in water and have it soaked in cold water every time I reach the Aid Station. I usually tie this “bandana” around my neck when I run with the heat of the sun. Aside from the bandana, I place a water-soaked foam on my upper back to cool-down the effect of the sun’s heat on my back. My running cap with a cover for my nape had also helped me a lot. On the last 15 kilometer of the “test run”, I also use another water-soaked foam to put water on top of my head by slowly squeezing the foam. The cold water doused my head made me more relaxed and focused with a “cooler head”. The use of a sunglass is a must to protect the eyes from the glare of the sun and the road. It also protects the eyes from dusts and debris caused by wind and vehicles passing along the road. The sunglass was also helpful in protecting our eyes when we passed by a burning field where the embers were scattered by the wind and were moving towards the runners.
6) Running Apparel—When dealing with the sun and running in longer duration, I usually use any white long-sleeved performance T-shirt. I have such shirts from NIKE, The North Face, and Patagonia. However, I chose the Patagonia shirt because it is soft and it would easily dry up while I am running. The running cap with a cape on the nape is a must. It was my first time to use a tight compression shorts for an ultra distance and it worked well during the run. However, it was my first time to experience a “burning” sensation on my crotch while I was seated inside the car on my way back to Manila. I guess that my crotch was not fully ventilated while I was running the distance with the use of the tight compression shorts. I never experienced such “sensation” or feeling whenever I use my TNF or Patagonia Trail Running Shorts. I hope to have more time to run under the heat of the sun with the use of my trail shorts in order to validate my observation that such shorts is better when running an ultramarathon distance as it promotes more ventilation to the body. During my dinner-conversation with Ben Gaetos, he observed that some of the runners during the “test run” were wearing dark-colored shirts and some were wearing tight compression pants up to the ankle underneath a running shorts. He advised that runners must be wearing light-colored long-sleeved shirts that do not absorb much heat from the sun and running attire must not be layered. On Running Shoes, for the entire run, I used the ASICS Gel-Kinsei 2 for the comfort and stability of my running feet and it passed the test. I’ve been using this shoe in my long runs, “runabouts”, and midnight to sunrise run and I am satisfied with its performance. I was surprised to see lots of melted asphalt on the outsoles of my shoes which shows how hot the sun was during the run. As for the running socks, my local PUMA thick socks protected my feet from blisters.
7) Safety, Potable Water, Medical Assistance, Manpower, and Logistics Support—As the race organizer, these are the things that should be taken cared of for the benefit of the runners in an ultramarathon event. The race organizer must be able to feel and experience what the participants are experiencing while running the race so that he can predict and anticipate the needs of the runners. There are no frills and festive mood at the start and finish areas of an ultramarathon race. There are no Emcees, no festive music and loud speakers, no balloons, no late registrations and walk-in participants during race day, and no politics involved. What is more important is to support the needs of the runners in terms of food, water, medical support, safety, and motivation to finish the race..
8) Ultramarathon Support Costs A Fortune—Whether you are a runner-participant or the race organizer, managing and running an ultramarathon race event cost a lot of money, time and resources. The participants in last Sunday’s “Test Run” could attest the degree of logistical support given to them just to be able for everybody to successfully finish the run. It is my objective and overall interest to help each one of the participant to finish the ultramarathon event within the required cut-off time of 18 hours on D-Day. Even if I announced that runners must be able to support their own participation for the “test run”, I also prepared the basic support for those runners who did not have any support vehicle just to make the run as orderly and efficient as possible for everybody.
9) “Lapses” and Other Concerns Identified—It was through this “test run” that we were able to identify some lapses and problems in the conduct of the ultramarathon race. We are making some corrections and adjustments to make the needs of the runners more responsive during race day. Much to my desire to require each runner to monitor their weight before, during and after the race to determine if they are losing more water from their body and needs to be hydrated but I was advised by experts that there is no need to monitor each runner’s weight in a 100-Km race. Such medical protocol is usually done in 160-mile or more endurance runs. But just in case, there will be a simple and brief check on the weight of each runner at the starting area and at the finish line to determine if a runner is a victim of dehydration. A reduction of 3% of the runner’s weight at the finish line means that the runner is dehydrated and he needs to drink more water or sports drinks.

43 Days: Runner-Applicants For Bataan 102


1)      Jerry Karundeng (Indonesia)

2)      Kim O’Connell (US/Singapore)

3)      Norio Tanaka (Japan)

4)      Hiroshi Takei (Japan)

5)      Jerome Cartailler (France)

6)      Lucas (Singapore)

7)      Baldwin (Singapore)

8)      Andy Ho (Singapore)

9)      Henry Yang (Singapore)

10)   Constante Mendoza

11)   Jonathan Babsa-ay

12)   Albert Salazar

13)   Jonnifer Lacanlale

14)   Christian David Alacar

15)   Jeffrey Abenina

16)   Albert Henson

17)   Caloy Nobleza

18)   Norberto Mortel

19)   Gem Padilla

20)   Ronald Declarador

21)   Jun Jaranilla

22)   Mighty Mike (???)

23)   Coach Jo-Ar Calvadores

24)   Enrico Tocol

25)   Odessa Coral

26)   Martin Lorenzo

27)   Arman Fernando

28)   Jay Lee Cu-Unjieng

29)   Bald Runner

30)   Isidro Vildosola

31)   Reynaldo De Los Reyes

32)   Ellen Tolentino

33)   Francisco Lapira Jr

34)   Regidor Samar

35)   Ralph Jerome Salvador

36)   Hermogines Olvis

37)   Dionisio Potonia

38)   Regie Boljoran

39)   Marlin Bongcaras Marilag

40)   Vincent Tongson

41)   Boyet Bernardo

42)   Fernando De Lara

43)   Mario Salumbides

44)   Jayson Fabricante

45)   Ruel Enerio

46)   Dennis Enriquez

47)   Felipe Nama

48)   Ernie Ledesma

49)   Michael Sudario

50)   Ivy Macainan

51)   Cesar Abarientos

52)   Glendell Tanag

53)   George Dolores

54)   Rene Abacan

55)   Eduardo Navarette

56)   Eric Socrates

57)   Roberto Manzano

58)   Charlie Chua

59)   Filomeno Duterte IV

60)   Richard Poquiz

61)   Albert Sama

62)   Robert Quibado

63)   Noel Hernandez

64)   Edilberto Severino Jr

65)   Roel Ano

66)   Vicente Cuerez

67)   Benjamin Garcia Jr

68)   Edizon Ticzon

69)   Darry Bado

70)   Genea Padilla

71)   Larry Luciano

72)   Lawrence Trinidad

73)   Susan Maglaya

74)   Pepito Deapera

75)   Melchor De Lara

76)   Alan Giba

77)   Jose Mari Javier

78)   Arman Abalos

79)   Don Ubaldo

80)   Edwin Bien

81)   Ezekiel Mangune

82)   Ricardo Cabusao

83)   Willy Suarez

84)   Raiza Tulan

85)   Regie Boljoran

86)   Eric Alvia

87)   Bonifacio Dalisay

88)   Aniceto Grimaldo

89)   Victor Ting

90)   Alipio Narciso

91)   Jessie Ano

92)   Rey C Antoque

93)   Rodolfo M Tacadino

94)   Romeo M Marquez

95)   Alvin Canada

96)   Mamerto Corpuz

97)   Adonis Lubaton

98)   Andrico Mahilum

99)   Cresenciano Sabal

100)           Esmeraldo Ondoy

101)           Randy Gumahit

102)           Bowen Montecillo

103)           Elmer Sabal

104)           Alley Quisay

105)           Leomar Mirasol




1)      Constante Mendoza

2)      John Frederick “Jeffrey” Abenina

3)      Albert Henson

4)      Francisco Lapira Jr

5)      Jonathan Babsa-ay

6)      Kim O’Connell

7)      Coach Jo-Ar Calvadores

8)      Regie Bolljoran

9)      Dionisio Potonia

10)   Roel Ano

11)   Ricardo Cabusao Jr

12)   Norio Tanaka

13)   Arman Fernando

14)   Aniceto Grimaldo

15)   Jessie Ano

16)   Henry Yang  

Feb 22, 2009: Bataan 102 “Test Run”

This is the first pre-requisite for each participant for the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race to undertake and complete and as such, this will be a “test run” for everybody. A “test run” in the sense that it will determine if each of the participant has the endurance, will-power, and attitude to finish a 52-kilometer distance run under the heat of the sun. For those who had been training for this ultramarathon event since last year, you will be running along the last half of the distance of the ultramarathon event on the very exact place or route of the race.

The assembly time will be at 6:30AM on 22 February 2009. The meeting place or assembly area will be at the Bataan Death March Kilometer Post # 50 located along the old National Highway in Abucay, Bataan. To be specific, the assembly area will be at the vicinity of the GAZ Xpress Gasoline Station and the Abucay Mega Market in Abucay, Bataan. If you will be coming from Balanga, Bataan, just take the old National Highway from the City Plaza and proceed towards eastern direction for about 6 kilometers and the Km 50 Post would be visible on the right side of the road. The “test run” will start at exactly 7:00AM. Why? This is estimated time that most of the runners/participants must have finished the first 50 kilometers of the race, from Mariveles to Balanga or Abucay, Bataan.

The finish line of the “test run” will be at the Old Railway Station in San Fernando, Pampanga  which is the same finish line during race day. The Bataan Death March Kilometer Post # 102 is located near the old building of the railway station and near the National Historic Institute’s Marker which is a red-painted big rock.

For those runners who have the capability to have their personal support vehicle/crew and pacers, they could bring such support with them during the “test run”. However, they are discouraged from riding to their vehicles and “leapfrog” from one place to another up to the finish line. We will adopt a “honor system” during this run. Better yet, as agreed, this will be a “group run” where the faster runners would wait for the slower runners up to the finish line. The purpose of this run is to acquaint yourself with the terrain, weather, and the actual route of the race. 

There will be road marshals on specific road turns most especially when the runners reach the towns of Lubao, Guagua, Bacolor and the City of San Fernando. Extra safety precaution will be observed by each runner while running along the route as there is a limited space along the sidewalk. Runners are encouraged to run on the left side of the road, facing the incoming traffic.

With the benevolence of some of the runner-participants, free water and sports drinks will be available along the route. If plans permit, boiled sweet (camote) potatoes and boiled bananas will be available also to all the participants along the route. However, for contingency purposes, participants are encouraged to bring with them cash as there are available convenience stores along the way.

Ladies & Gentlemen, treat this “test run” as one of our Sunday’s “runabouts”. Good luck & see you at the Assembly Area this Sunday.

Advise From The Expert: Ultramarathon 101

To my readers and participants in the Bataan 102K Ultramarathon Race to be held on 05 April 2009, I am posting the comment of Ben Gaetos, a Pinoy Ultramarathoner based in Los Angeles, who joined us in our 12-6 “Midnight To Sunrise” Run last Sunday.

Greetings to all,
I had a blast running with all of you. I arrived Friday night and still getting my body to adjust. Shazam…found Run2DMoon run. It’s nice to know that ultramarathon has arrived in the Phils. I was thrilled all the way talking/running with everyone. You’re all on the right track. It’s not the distance that would kill you, it’s the pace that kills. My strategy has always been to start slow (even start my walk early), then slowly pick up my pace.  I also try to divide the distance of the ultra race in 10K segments and finish the race 10K at a time. Ultra is 2/3 physical. The other 1/3 is purely mental toughness. Expect down times. Your mental prep will get you overcome this. Just remember once you enter the dark world of ultras, it would be on your veins forever. It’s difficult but the feeling is priceless at the finish line.


Ben, thanks for the comment/”tips” and we hope to see you again soon. You are invited to join us for the 52K “test run” on February 22 which will start in Balanga, Bataan. It will be nice for the participants to hear some “tips”, advise and experiences from you before we finally start the run.   

(Note: Details of the 52K “test run” will be posted in this blog soon)