Race Report: 2016 Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Ultra Trail Run (CM50)

Race Report: 2016 Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Ultra Trail Run

The goal to attain for this race is simply to finish my fourth (4th) consecutive finish in this race. I admit I did not train well/properly for this race as compared to my previous editions. I considered this race as part of my training for next year’s Tarawera 100K in Rotuora, New Zealand where most of my training runs on the previous months were on the paved roads except for those trails runs I had in Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan last Octoder. My longest run for this race was the “back-to-back” Subic Marathon 42K on a Saturday and then a 10K run the following day which was held two weeks before this race. And since that weekend, I never had a chance to run/hike the necessary vertical distance needed for this event. In short, I did not have “consistency” in my training.

As usual, I only appear at the starting area two-three hours before the Start/Gun Start for my Race Packet Pick-Up and Mandatory Gear Check-Up. I don’t usually go to the usual Race Briefing and scheduled Race Packet Pick-Up. After my Mandatory Gear-Check-Up, I was back to my vehicle and tried to sleep for the remaining hours before the Gun Start. One hour before the Gun Start, I ate my last meal before the race with my extra “Jason Koop’s Rice Balls” with a CarboPro Drinks. I knew that this meal will last me for the next 2 hours after the race had started.

Fifteen minutes before the race started, I was at the Starting Arc and it was time to see some of the international runners and the “usual suspects” in trail running in the country. I could see new faces and younger runners among the crowd. Some would greet me and ask for group picture with me and I would also greet those runners whom I would see in other running events. After the usual “Start Briefing” of the RD, it was time to switch on my headlamp and GPS Watch!

Pak!!! The Gun Start had sounded and I was at the upper one-third of the runners. It was a fast start on the first mile and I think I was having a speed of 5.5 miles per hour and I tried to slow down! It is always the case in my previous two editions that I ended gasping for breath by the time I reached the trailhead towards the river. It was good it was a downhill that I was able to recover and slowed down with my pace.

Running along the river full of lahar was effortless as there were no water to wet our shoes for the first 5 kilometres. But on the first chance that my shoes was immersed on the river for the first time, I could sense that not much of the lahar went inside my shoes. The shoe gaiter that I was wearing was preventing those powdery lahar sand from entering my shoes! I was using a New Balance RC1400V4 which is a Racing Flat and I was happy that my shoes was very light even if it was wet and I could also feel that it would dry up quicker than my usual trail shoes. The only drawback is that if the trail is muddy and sticky, I need to be careful and slow with my footing!

With George Dolores At The Peak Of Mt Miyamit (Turn-Around Point)

At the Aid Station #1 (Km #7), I had my water refilled in my handheld bottle. By the way, I was using two handheld water bottles, one bottle is half-filled with water and the other one on my right was empty with only CarboPro Powder Mix in it. I knew that I could survive a half-filled water bottle in between Aid Stations except for the distance between AS4 and to the Peak of Mt Miyamit and back to AS4 which has a total distance of 20 kilometres. This is where I would start to fill up my bottle with a CarboPro mix and carry two bottles filled with water and powder mix. If I still lack the necessary water along this segment, I brought my Life Straw and “hope and pray” that a stream of water is still present flowing along this segment of the route where I can refill my water bottle. Every year, I would do this ritual along this segment of the route!

From Aid Station #1, I knew already what to expect——more sand/lahar filled dirt roads/trails; cemented stair; lots of steep descents and ascents; flat trails at the edge of sugar cane plantation; crossing the wide Pasig-Potrero River; the tunnel at the SCTEX; and then to Barangay Sapang Uwak. At the Pasig-Potrero River, there was not much of the flowing water but there was a very short river crossing where the depth is almost to my waist and the current was too strong that one has to grab a rope that was tied across the said river. Before reaching the Aid Station #2, I brought out a pack of my “Jason Koop’s” Rice Ball where one plastic pack container is filled with at least 3-piece equivalent of such balls and I had to eat it all for my first food intake on the race. I finished the water on my handheld bottle on my left palm as I approached the next Aid Station. It was still dark and did not spend much time in the Aid Station.

Since it was downhill from the AS2, I tried to run and maintain my pace all the way up to the center of Barangay Sapang Uwak. I did not have any problems with my Headlight as I have programmed the illumination rate or burning time to reach up to 15 hours of continuous lighting. Finally, a marshal signalled me to enter a detour part of the course which the first time it was introduced in this year’s edition. Instead of running uphill towards the Barangay Hall where the next Aid Station was located along a paved road, the RD deemed it necessary to avoid the cemented road. It was a good move to maintain the name of the event as an ultra trail run but….it made the course harder this time!

I call this “detour” as the “Stairway To Heaven” because after you pass this section, your curses and calls for all the Saints to help you while trekking on this trail, you will finally say that the Aid Station #3 as “Heaven” once you reach it. In the darkness of the night, I could feel that the distance of the detour is about 3-4 miles but in reality, it is only 2 kilometres of rolling terrain and with steep ascents that look like you are already “kissing” the ground. It was good there were diggings on the ground that resemble as stairs on this steep slope of the mountain. On the way back, one has to be very careful in going down on this slope that a misstep might bring you rolling down out of the newly built trail. I have to roll down the straps of my handheld bottles to my wrists and make use of my hands to grab anything on the ground for stability and balance.

New Balance Racing Flats

From AS3, I hiked and tried to recover from the exhaustion I felt after reaching this part of the route. I just covered a distance of 24 kilometres and I felt that my energy was completely zapped at this point. How could it be? I still have 63 kilometers to go and I felt like I was about to quit. It was good it was still dark and cold. The breeze of the air; fresh air to breath and the presence of the fog gave me the strength to push myself. While hiking, I did a lot of deep-breathing and I just thought that with the fresh air that I was breathing, I would regain my strength! That was what I did until I met the first runner from 60K race! I was amazed by these runners who were about to go back to where we started and it was still dark as compared to the previous editions that I could comfortably and clearly see the faces of those leading runners. I would have thought that there will be course record to be broken again.

Finally, I reached Aid Station #4 and knowing the names of the Volunteers and being ultrarunning friends, I was treated like a “king” where they would serve me everything that I needed. After making sure I mixed my CarboPro with water on my right handheld bottle, I was on my way to the peak/turn-around point which is 10K distance and then back to this AS4 for a total of 20 kilometres. I slowly hiked from the AS4 as it is uphill and then tried to jog on the descents and flat portions of this segment.

As I was passing on a sharp-curved and narrow single track trail, I outbalance myself and my leading foot landed on a cliff and my whole body just fell off the cliff. I was quick to make my handheld bottles as my anchor to whatever or thing that would prevent me from falling to the bottom of the cliff. I was able to stop my body from falling but I need to lift my body to a distance of about 4 feet to reach the level of the trail. Knowing that a runner was trailing me behind for about 10-15 meters, I just rested myself with my body flat on the cliff and tried to observe if there was any pain in my body (making sure I did not incur any wounds or fractures!) while waiting for the next runner to see me on the cliff. The runner stopped and he asked, “Sir, what happened?”. And I said. “I fell!!!” He immediately pointed the tips of his trekking poles to the direction of my hands and I was able to grab them. I was able to reach the level of the trail with the runner pulling his trekking poles towards him and I was okey. I thanked the runner and asked him to just go ahead of me as I would hike and try to feel if my body was okey to finish the race. I felt some numb pain on my right quads and my groin muscles were starting to have cramps! I slowed down and took some time to drink my CarboPro and take in some salt tablets while walking towards the turn-around point.

LifeStraw a.k.a. Life Saver

It took me 3 hours to reach the peak after I left AS4 with all the fall, slow pace & cramping after the fall and a brief rest at the Peak. From here, I have 8 hours to reach and cross the Finish Line. I knew I could make it with more time to spare as long as I keep on moving. Halfway before reaching AS4, I was already in need of water as I usually drink a lot on this portion of the course plus the fact that the heat of the sun was starting to be felt inside the forested areas. I had to reach that stream of water and scoop some water into my handheld water bottle. Once I reached the stream, I have to walk upstream for about 3 meters and got some from the flowing water. It was time to use the Life Straw that was tucked inside one of my shorts’ pockets. I have to use the Life Straw twice to sip the water inside my hydration bottle. The said water gave me the necessary strength to bring my body to the AS4.

At the AS4, I took some time to rest; eat my rice balls and have my bottles refilled with water before going down to the Miyamit Falls. As compared to my previous finishes, I usually go down directly to the Falls once I reach the AS4. Not this time due to exhaustion and my accidental fall on a cliff. I usually calculate at least one hour to be spent in going down; resting at the Falls; and going back to AS4…and that has happened again in this year’s edition.

Optional Pose At The Miyamit Falls

The volunteers manning the AS4 were kind enough help every runner passing or dropping by their station and they even go to the extent of giving more what was served on the table. Those “reserved” Coconut Water Drinks did wonders to my tired body that I was able to drink almost half of the bottle-pack! Thank you, guys!

From AS4, it was all downhill but the heat of the sun was on us, thus, preventing us to have a continuous run. It was a jog-walk-jog routine from this point and maintain a relentless forward motion making sure I would be able to cross the finish line within the prescribed cut-off time of 18 hours! It was a matter of time before we could reach AS3 which I call “Heaven”! At this point I joined 3 runners ( one male & two female) and I had a lengthy conversation with an ultra friend, Ariel Tuto Aquino who is also gunning for his 4th successive finish. In our calculation, we would be able to finish the race in 17 hours and some spare minutes.

At AS3, I just refilled my hydration bottles and drank some soda offered by a friend and then left the AS3 alone. It was a very deliberate hike in going down along the “Stairway To Heaven” and I was glad my NB Racing Flats had enough traction to hold me from sliding on those steep parts of the trail. However, I felt the sole portion of my feet were starting to cramp (first time to experience!) due to the very thin support on my forefoot. Once the cramps would appear, I would slow down with my pace and simply walk until the pain disappeared. Finally, I was at the cemented road inside Barangay Sapang Uwak and I continued to battle the exhaustion and pain until I saw some of the runners ahead of me having a rest/drinking ice cold drinks in one of the sari-sari stores in the barangay. I just continued with my jog as I knew I had a little “buffer” time for this race as I was thinking of those steep climbs before AS1 where I usually weaken in previous editions.

Approaching AS2 Towards The Finish Line (Km #70)

Patience to alternately jog, run and hike was the smartest things to do from AS3 to AS2 even with the heat of the sun was upon us. It was just a matter of time before we ( I was trying to catch-up with two runners in front of me) would reach the AS2 which is actually 17 kilometers away from the Finish Line. In my estimate, I had only 30 minutes as a “buffer time” which I knew would be enough for me to cross the finish line. I did not spend much time at the AS2 after I refilled my bottles. It is time to attack those steep descents and ascents before reaching AS1. I really slowed down on these portions because my hike was too deliberate using my hands as anchor to prevent me from sliding and use them too in propelling myself to go up on the steep ascents. I guess, I lacked some training on these situations during those weeks and months before this event. I hope to be smarter next time.

Upon reaching the AS1, which is 7 kilometres to the finish line, I still have 1:15 minutes to tackle such distance and I was confident to cross the finish line before the 18th hour knowing that there is only one easy ascent at the trailhead before reaching the paved roads of Clark. Unfortunately, on the last one mile with 15 minutes to go, I sped up my pace and went straight on the intersection where I should have turned RIGHT. It was too late to realise that I was lost at this point. So, I simply finished (beyond the cut-off time) and reported to the staff at the Finish Line that I got lost. I was still awarded the Finisher’s Medal and the Finisher’s Trucker Cap without the Finisher’s Shirt.

Approaching AS1 Towards The Finish Line (Looking worried!)

For sure, I will be back for my “graduation rites” next year in this event.

To be continued…

Finisher’s Trucker Cap & 4th CM 50 Finisher’s Medal

And Now This One…Love/Hate: Comment From RG

Here are the exact words from RG that he posted in one of the comments from my post about my Race Report in last Sunday’s NB Powerrace 25K Run:

Hello sir, I first ran into your blog in June. I decided to log my runs and try the 1000K challenge. I logged around 375km since June. The NB Powerace is my longest run ever 25K. I was a truly a challenge. The course layout and support (marshalls, signs, water stations) were great. It was a great feeling to make to the finish line. My wife also finished the 10K run.

Unfortunately, I was among 5 car owners whose vehicles were broken into sometime during the race. We parked at the end of street (cul-de-sac) behind the Clark Hostel and Clark Museum. I and my wife lost many valuable and important items. I reported this to the CDC police. They seemed to point the finger at the race organizer for not providing security. Another robbery victim at the police station said that he talked to a race organizer. The race organizer said that security is a police matter. Quite sad to see people pointing fingers at each other while washing their hands of responsibility.

I work at Clark and was able to borrow money from co-workers so that I could check my family out of a hotel, feed them, buy fuel and pay for toll back to Manila. The new theme/tag-line of New Balance is very appropriate for my feelings – Love-Hate running.

Hate to rain on the parade, but I think other runners should learn from this experience. Be careful where you park your car. Push organizers to improve lighting and security. There is always a better way to do things.


I’ve heard and read a lot of reports and incidents about thefts and robberies on parked cars at The Fort and other places where there were road races for the past months and these were discussed among runners in their respective e-forum and sometimes after the race.

I think I’ve heard of two separate incidents of robbery on things inside the cars parked at the Bonifacio High Street for the past few races and RG’s comment/predicament is the usual sitaution for the owners or victims—the race organizer and the Police/Security Personnel/Administrator of the place or venue of the race do not accept responsibility for your losses and they are not even liable to what had happened. Such incident ends up as part of the Police’s Statistics on Crimes Committed within the area and nothing is done about it.

What should we do to fight/catch these thieves and give a lesson to those who should be responsible for the safety of our car once we park in such places? The following are just my humble suggestions and you can add up by posting your comment/s:

1) Keep your car “clean” inside—Do not display your cellphone, digital camera, laptop, any bags, shoes, shirts/apparel, even sandals, and even towels inside you car. Place them in one bag and hide the bag inside your baggage compartment. Anything seen inside your car is a source of temptation to these thieves. 

2) Keep it simple, stupid! (KISS)—Before you leave the house, wear already your “running kit” and your race bib and after the race you should go home, if possible, with the same attire most especially if you don’t expect to be at the podium. Leave your money and cellphone at home, however, bring your ID with you (just in case, you win in your age category) and hide it in your car.

3) Stay in a Hotel With Quality Service—For races outside Metro Manila, in case you want to rest overnight near the venue of the race, you should make your reservation to a hotel that speaks well of its quality service. You can leave your valuable things inside your room’s deposit box/security steel box and leave the room wearing your running kit. Put your car key inside the pocket of your running shorts.

4) Bring your “designated” driver/”security guard”—If you are running as a group, bring somebody who could be your driver and at the same time your “security guard” who will guard your vehicle.

5) Be vigilant and observant—Security is everybody’s business and we have to cooperate each other in order to arrest or catch these thieves in the act or when they are about to do their act. There is what we call “citizen’s arrest” and anybody could implement this. I believe that these thieves “pose” as legitimate runners with the proper bibs and running kits ( and that’s the reason why they are not being observed intently or suspected by the security guards) and they run the shorter distances. Once they are finished with their runs, they pretend to be going back to their cars but instead, proceed to their “targets” whose owners are still running the longer distance races. If you observe such “runner-thieves”, report to the security guards at once. If there is a term called “runner blogger”, there is also a word called “runner thieves”, too!

6) Submit An Incident Report—Those victims of these acts must be able to file an incident report or complaint letter to the Race Organizer, Owner/Administrator of the Parking Areas, and Director-General, PNP (Attention: SAGSD-Security Agency & Guard Supervision Division, PNP) to complain on the inability of the Security Agency to provide security and protection to such installations. Such report and complaint on the inefficiency of the Security Agency will be a ground for the owner of the installation to terminate its contract with the security service provider. This will serve as a “lesson” to the security guards for them to do their job properly. You can also report the incident to the Police/PNP for documentation purposes, however, don’t expect that those stolen goods/equipment will be brought back to you.

7) Continuous Reminders and Announcements by Race Organizers Before, During & After The Race—Have you heard those continouos announcements at the airport through the Public Address System not to accept any baggage from strangers before you enter the airport or board the aircraft? In trying to imitate this, the race organizer could announce some security measures (repeatedly, too!) to warn every runner to be security concious with their belongings and be sure to double-check if their cars are locked and their things secured. The race organizer could also warn the Security Guards to do their jobs properly and efficiently during the race. Let me ask how much does a Race Organizer pay for the use of The Fort streets in every road race? So, if a Race Organizer is paying an specific amount to The Fort, the Security Provider is duty-bound to provide the best security services to each of the runners. From there, you know already who should be accountable to such incidents.

I hope such incidents of robbery in parking areas during road races will cease to exist in the near future. Remember, let us be vigilant always and cooperate with one another.

Have fun and run faster!

Pictures @ 2008 NB Power Race



Capt Espejo on his way back to the Finish Line in the 10K race.


Wayne aka SFrunner trying to catch up with another senior/masters runner on his way back to the Finish Line in the 10K race


 Maricel Maquilan of Team Bald Runner leading the way for the Overall Women’s NB 25K race before the turn-around point.


 Wayne aka SFrunner at the Finish Area. He was able to set his Asian Record for the 10K Race. Congratulations, Wayne


Philip aka The Foreign Runner passing through the Finish Line in the 25K Race. This guy is really fast!


 Not bad for me..The digital clock at the Finish Line showed 2:09:08 when I went through it but my GF 305 registered 2:09:00 as I stopped it after passing the “carpet” for the RFID.


Lester, Jeryy aka High Altitude and daughter of one of the runners with me immediately after the 25K race


A pose with Wayne aka SFrunner. Wayne, I hope you arrived safely in San Francisco.


Wayne, Jay aka Prometheus Cometh and BR after the race.


With Annalene aka The Meek Runner. “The family that runs together, stays together”. Congrats to the Bautista Family.