Robberies & Thieves In Running Events

…And Also In Other Outdoor Sports & Activities

Whether you like it not, being robbed by somebody is a part of ones life. If you have not experienced being robbed, then you are an insignificant person. Try to remember your childhood days; your schooling years, from elementary to college/university days; at work; and your relationships with your own family, siblings, relatives and friends, and you will know what I really mean.

Robberies in Sports Events had been very rampant in the past years. And most of these robberies are done in cars/vehicles being parked in Parking Areas near the Venue of the activity. In running events in Metro Manila, there had been many reports of robberies for the past years and these incidents were not openly discussed by the Race Organizers to the Running Community. Whether you are parked in Bonifacio High Street, MOA, McKinley Complex or at the CCP Complex or Luneta Park, the cars of runners parked on designated parking lots are not safe from these thieves. There had been an instance when a trail running event outside Metro Manila with few runners was marred with reports of robbery of things left in cars of some of the runners/support staff of the event. Up to the present, I have not yet received any progress report or information as to what happened to these robbery reports in the past running events.

Lately, I just received a report from one of my runners that he and together with some of my running friends were victimized by these robbers in a running event that was held in one of the neighboring provinces from Metro Manila. Their car was parked in a designated parking lot for the runners in the said event and when they returned to the car to change their attire after finishing their race, they found out that their things were gone! I have yet to know the progress of the investigation being done by the local police in the area if they have already arrested or have identified probable suspects to this incident.

A Thief Trying To Open A Locked Car (Picture From Google)
A Thief Trying To Open A Locked Car (Picture From Google)

Why do we have such robberies in our running events? Why do thieves “disguise” themselves as legit runners and do their business of stealing one’s property left in their cars in running events? I think the answer is very simple, “It’s the economy, stupid!” The more we have running events and more runners, the more we have dumb runners who don’t think about “security” and become super excited to toe the line and be together with friends at the Starting Area! They eventually become the targets of these thieves in running events. Of course, everybody is excited to show to everybody their individual fashion statement in running——new shoes, new tights, new compression shirt, new compression socks/calf sleeves & arm sleeves, new GPS watch, iPhone 6 with BOSE earbuds, new Head Visor, and Oakley Sunglasses. Wow! That is an impeccable form of a runner ready to be posted on Facebook! Most often, this is the reason why we are very lax in terms of securing what we left behind in our respective vehicles when we run. In short, the more runners in running events, the more targets of opportunities for the thieves!

Other sporting events and outdoor activities are not spared from these thieves. In the past, I’ve received reports of stealing/robbery incidents in Duathlon, Triathlon, MTB rides and even in Camping/Backpacking/Mountaineering events.

What should we do to solve or prevent these robberies from happening in our running events? I have the following suggestions/advise and I would like to entertain your comments if you have additional advise or suggestion to what I will mention in this post:

  1. Prevention Starts With Us, The Runners!——If you are using your car/vehicle in going to the running event, make sure that there is NOTHING seen inside the car from the outside. Hide your things in the trunk/baggage compartment! Better yet to hide your things in the compartment before you leave your house or place of residence. Thieves (among your co-runners) would observe your move in transferring your things from your car’s seats to your compartment if you do it in the designated parking area for the running event. Make sure also that you have parked your car in the designated parking area for the running event. If you have the luxury of a driver, let him stay in the car if you have “diamonds and gold bars” stashed in side your car. Remember that your Finisher’s Medal and Shirt purchasing costs would be cheaper than the salary of your driver per hour!

    Nothing Should Be Seen Inside Your Car (Picture From Google)
    Nothing Should Be Seen Inside Your Car (Picture From Google)
  2. Carpool——It is nice to see public transport vehicles, like Jeepneys, SUV Express and buses being used by running teams coming from other provinces and cities/suburbs around Metro Manila area. Since these transport vehicles have drivers, instruct these drivers to secure and look for the things of his passengers instead of going to the Start/Finish Area as an spectator. If you belong to a Running Team or group, it would be wise and practical to carpool to the venue of the running event, provided there is a driver to look for your things.
  3. Multi-Event vs. Single Event——There were suspicions in the past robbery incidents that these thieves are also legit runners but they join the shorter distance events, like 3K or 5K races. After they finished their race, they go back to the designated parking areas or any parking area with their running attire, race bib, finisher’s medal and shirt and then take the opportunity to do their acts to the cars of those who are running longer distances like, half-marathon or full marathon. If you are 4-hour finisher or more of a full marathon and these runner-thieves would finish their 5K race in 30 minutes, then they have enough time to select their targets and do their acts. In selecting a running event to join, one of the factors to consider if you want to eliminate the possibility of being robbed with your properties in your car is to select a single event race. However, this is not a 100% solution or prevention technique because the runner-thieves could also “drop or DNF” on the first few miles and then go back and have access to the parking areas while the rest of the runners are still out there on the road. Actually, these runner-thieves do not train to improve their endurance capability but they would rather train better on how fast they can open your car and run faster carrying their loot towards their vehicle. In road ultras, there are no cases of robberies because the runner’s car is used as support vehicle with a driver and support crew in it. As far as I can remember, I have not yet received any reports of robberies in road ultra marathon events in the country.
  4. Get A Driver/Personal Assistant——If the Parking Area of the event is not guarded, then get a designated Driver or a Personal Assistant to guard or stay in your car. Before you register to a running event, make sure to make the necessary planning as to who would be your driver/assistant. Better safe than sorry!
    Commute or “Walk Instead”——If you reside 3K radius distance from the Event Venue, you can walk or jog and make it as your warm-up exercise to get yourself to the Starting Area before the start of the race. Take the Bus, Taxi, or Uber in going to the Event Area. Sleep early the night before the race and wake up early making sure you have a buffer time for adjustments in case of some traffic delays.
  5. Belt Bag & Other Related Running Bag Accessories——I remember my ultra running friend, the late Cesar Abarrientos with regards to using such running bag accessories. He usually comes to a race (coming from his work) in his running attire with a “drop bag” used as a mini-backpack where his things are stashed. He would run with the said backpack throughout the race. What was good about it was that the bag that he was always using was the “drop bag” that I gave to all the “pioneer” participants of the 1st Edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race. At present, there are running shorts with multi-pockets, runner’s belts with pockets/slots, compression apparel with pockets, and even hand-held bottles with zippered pockets where one can stash his things during the run.
  6. Operational Security On Social Media——Most of the runners are in the Social Media for so many reasons. Obviously, the runner-thieves are also there to find out their probable targets. Without you knowing it, these thieves would be able to know your personal profile, your lifestyle, your race schedules, running times, and other “bits & pieces” about your daily life, to include the plate number, model and type of your personal vehicle. In a matter of time, even if it will take them years to follow your posts, there will be a time that you will regret what you had posted in your Social Media’s personal account. Believe me, they are out there lurking every move and status you post on your FB Wall. So, always think Operational Security, keep to yourself about your activities, plans and schedules!
  7. Race Organizer’s Security Responsibility——Do we still have a lot of “bouncers” with big muscles dressed in tight-fitting black T-shirts in our BIG Running Events? If so, then I suggest that Race Organizers would redeploy them to our Parking Areas and patrol in tandem or in addition to the thinly spread force of the Security Guards. They need to walk around at the Parking Areas and not just to stand at the Starting Line/Starting Arc as a “fence/wall” as if the runners are there to make a stampede before waiting for the Race to start. In big running events, additional marshals should be deployed to patrol the designated Parking Areas for the event to deter these thieves from doing their acts. They should be trained also to detect and make a quick profile to runners who just finished the race. They should know the signs and body language of a runner who just finished a race even if he/she is wearing a finisher’s medal and/or shirt. And they should be ready to ask questions to these runners as to what happened along the way or ask about the route just to test if they really joined the race.
  8. Simplify——Be simple. Do not brag. Do not announce to the world about your running achievements and plans, not unless, you are an elite and sponsored athlete of a big corporation or establishment.

    Not The Best Way To Steal A Bike (Picture From Google)
    Not The Best Way To Steal A Bike (Picture From Google)

Let this post serves as a wake-up call or warning to every runner, athlete, or outdoorsmen & women to be security-conscious and aware of their surroundings and their actions.


on publicity & marketing

I admit that I am known within the running community in the country through this blog and from the newly-published Front Runner Magazine and I did not spend much except for my yearly URL fee for WordPress. My advocacies are well-known to everybody and many runners as well as ordinary citizens have benefited from them. Despite these undertakings, the Bald Runner had never been featured in any broadsheets’ lifestyle & sports sections. Even if I know personally some writers, they don’t dare to write about me without them asking permission from me. In short, I don’t need publicity and shy away from  public relations outfits as they ask some exhorbitant fees for them to give you a good image and “market” you as a good product. I would like to state it once again, that I am not running for an elective office/position or I am not trying to transform myself into a politician. I just love to run and inspire others to adhere to a healthy and active lifestyle.

Many runners had been asking me why the Bald Runner is not featured in the TBR Magazine; Men’s Health; or Multi-Sport Magazines and even the annual publication last year after they have published and featured their “stars” in the running community. These runners should ask the publishers of these magazines why they are not featuring me. I am glad my friend & ultra runner, Jonel, published the first running magazine in the country, The Front Runner Magazine!

As I said, this blog is already a good platform for people to know what the Bald Runner is doing to promote running and at the same time sustain its advocacies. I have also projects being the President of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) in promoting the sports of ultramarathon in the country. And the most significant project of this Association is the conduct of the yearly Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race, simply called “BDM 102”.

In my personal point of view, ultramarathon is still an “underground” running sports event in the country. It is better known by “word of mouth” from one runner to another. The lesser the number of runners, the better as most average runners would not dare to challenge themselves to go beyond their endurance limits. In short, ultramarathons are for those who are “crazy, have the “balls” & hardcore” in running.

So, if a media or PR outfit would ask me to be an Official Media/PR partner for the BDM 102, I would say “NO”, most especially if the media outfit would ask me material things in return for their services of advertising and covering the event. I believe that these media outfits should be the one who should be giving material things, like support funds/sponsorship funds/banners, for the event and support for the advocacy of the running event.

The Marketing Staff of RunnerSpeak  approached me on the early part of January 2010 and made a schedule to meet me for two occassions but their staff would not make it and had these meetings re-scheduled until the meeting was put on hold. Instead, the Marketing Staff of RunnerSpeak sent me an e-mail on their proposal/offer to cover the BDM 102. Below is an excerpt of a proposal from RunnerSpeak of Q TV to advertise, promote & cover 2010 BDM 102. 

RunnerSpeak will assure that BDM 102KM will receive the following mileage:

  • A full exposure and coverage for BDM 102KM
  • Placement of event announcement and updates on the show
  • Interview of representatives and organizers
  • Extra media values:
    • Inclusion of updates and links in our sites eg: Facebook, Website 
    • Bumper and CBB

In exchange for this, RunnerSpeak is requesting the following:

  • Inclusion of the show’s LOGO as Official TV Partner
  • Install banners on race day (max. of 3 banners)
  • Singlets/ Shirts for the team (at least 10pcs)
  • Complimentary registration of at least 2 participants for the race
  • RunnerSpeak to be acknowledged as the Television Partner

Okey, they are requesting me for such & such but definitely, my answer is “NO”. I am not a marketing-trained “son of a gun” but just for curiosity sake, I just want to know if this is the “protocol” in advertising/marketing. I have the impression that whatever this media outfit would cover in the BDM 102 event and have it shown in Q TV, they will be paid for every second & minute in their TV program. Am I right or wrong?

Or it would be better if the media outfit would pay the Race Organizer (Director & Producer) and the runners (Actors & Actresses) as we are their “talents”?

To all the BDM 102 runners, good luck!

When I am Not Running…

1. I had time to relax and wait for the pain to disappear from my Peroneus Longos on my left leg. After two weeks, there is still pain and there is no need to visit a doctor. I am afraid he’s going to prescribe a “pain reliever”.

2. I just need regular massage to my legs and complete rest. Two weeks of no running makes me sluggish and a feeling of getting more weight. More cross-training at the gym and water immersion in the hot spring are needed!

3. My deepest appreciation and thanks for those who started to donate cash & “in kind” support to the 2nd BDM 102. Your benevelonce and generosity will return to you in a thousand fold!

4. We intend to make the 2nd BDM 102 more memorable and “cheater-free” ultra running event. A “test run” is in order as coordinated by Team Hardcore under the leadership of Jonel aka Bugobugo85. Details will be announced in Jonel’s Blog. My staff will test and apply the new rules and regulations.

5. If South Africa has its “Comrades Marathon”, with 20,000 runner-applicants for 2010 on its 85th Edition, Philippines has its BDM 102 on its 2nd edition with 200 limited slots.

6. Comrades Marathon (90K) started in 1921 with 34 runners but it was uncertain how many finished the race within the cut-off time of 11 hours. BDM 102 started this year with 82 runners and 63 were declared finishers within the cut-off time of 18 hours.

7. I met Mr Amado Castro, Jr and requested him to be a part of the newly-established PAU. It resulted to his approval for his office, Reinier Pacific, as the “meeting place” of all ultrarunners. Thanks, Capt Amado!

8. I will be meeting a lot of ultrarunners and interested members of PAU to come up with protocols for the members, race organizers, sponsors, and club/team leaders to follow. Parameters and Standards of Races (to include Registration Fees) and Proper Scheduling of Races will be discussed and implemented. If you have suggestions, feel free to post your comment/s. In short, no ultrarunning event will be held without the approval of the PAU.

9. For the past days, I’ve been going around to my friends in the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines asking them to support (again!) my DBM 102. So far, I got positive commitments from them. This effort is better than going to those Senators and Heads of Sports Institutions in the country. Anyway, the Senators are busy thinking what Party they will join and our sports leaders could not still agree on the number of delegation to the 2009 ASEAN Games.

10. I have more time to add more Friends to my Facebook account. I found out lately that it took 15 years for the Transistor Radio or Radio to reach a population of 50 Million people; 13 years for the TV; 5 years for the Computer; 4 years for the Internet; 3 years for the Ipod; and ONLY 2 YEARS FOR FACEBOOK!

11. I was able to reconnect with my friends (through FB) when I was a member of the 1911 Gun Club and PPSA in the 1990’s. Yes, I was also a Combat/Practical Shooter then! At one time, I was ranked as 1st Runner-Up in the Military/Police Category in a National PPSA Open Competition where hundreds competed.

12. While watching the TV News last night, I found out that my comment on FB about our CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida was one of the questions asked by the reporters from the Assistant Spokesperson of Malacanang Palace. It is something to the effect that the award is “an slap on the face of the government…”.

13. It is always the case, before your country reconizes you, you have to be recognized first by an international outfit/event or the United States.

14. If Senator Pia Cayetano is riding a bike with other cyclists and triathletes from MOA to COMELEC to file her candidacy as Senator for the 2010 Elections, how about us who are runners? Remember, Senator Pia Cayetano is a regular runner in our weekend road races.

15. For those who have completed 1,000 Kms in their mileage counter or running log, you can approach me after your run/race during weekends and I will award your Finisher’s T-Shirt. In return, I will be asking P 100.00 for your donation to the Elite Team Bald Runner Distance Project. Leave a comment as to your Shirt Size. I will be at the New Balance Race this Sunday.

16. Have you noticed our Elite Team Bald Runner Distance Project’s new running uniform? It is provided to us by MILO/Nestle Phils. Thanks, MILO/NESTLE for believing in our advocacy to be a part in our country’s sports excellence in long distance running.

17. This is the 2nd week that my Elite Team Project had established their “training camp” in the Sierra Madre Mountains. My “boys” are seriously preparing for the Cebu Marathon. “Cebu, here we come and we got our plane tickets two weeks ago!!!”

18. I don’t mind about the remaining Kenyan runners left in the country. “Let them play!”

19. I’ve been receiving a lot of suggestions of PAU Logo from our runners. Albert, Sam, Six Wings & Rick, thanks for the suggestions. I am impressed! The deadline of submission is December 31 of this year.

20. RIZAL DAY Run will push through on December 30, 2009 inside Camp Aguinaldo. Instead of 30K, it will be a 32K Run. This is a nice long race run for those who are preparing for the 2010 CONDURA Marathon and 2nd BDM 102. Registration will start on December 1, 2009. Race packet will be given as soon as one registers. Race packet includes Race Bib, Race Route & Instructions, and a Souvenir T-Shirt. The registration fee is P 300.00. All finishers are entitled to a “Baldie” Finisher’s Medal and Lots of Beer & Ice Cream courtesy of Team Hardcore and HING’s Running Club, respectively!