1st Marcos-Kennon 50-Mile Ultra Road Classic

This is the first official ultra marathon road race that traces the route from Rosario, La Union via the Marcos Highway to Baguio City and then go back to the starting area via Kennon Road. The route covers a distance of 50 miles or 80 kilometers. This is considered as an ultra mountain running event. The route is very popular among cyclists and it is always a part of a yearly professional cycling event in the country.

Now, ultrarunners will have to experience what it takes to travel on that route on foot!

I personally ran the route for two days—starting at 3:30 PM at the Saitan Junction and proceeded to the Marcos Highway, all the way to Baguio City and in the following day, continued my run along Kennon Road and got back to where I started. The details and pictures are described in the following posts:


For those who are interested to experience the run, they could join this event. This road run will kick-off the monthly ultra events that will prepare the 2013 BDM 102 and 160 participants to build-up their mileage in preparation for the “Big Dance” on the first weekend of March next year! Or shall we say the “Biggest Ultra Road Party” in the country! Last year, it was the Fort Magsaysay To Dingalan, Aurora 60K Ultra Road Race that started the “road to the 2012 BDM 102/160” to those who successfully finished the races.

If you ask those runners who finished the upper 50% of the field who joined the BDM Races this year about their training, they will tell you that they have joined the monthly ultra races before the D-Day, whether they were organized by me, Jonel of FrontRunner Magazine or by the ultrarunners in Visayas and Mindanao. What matters most is that you build-up those mileages for your foundation of endurance and at the same time assess the condition of your body.

Aside from these reasons, you could also start to find out the best apparel (shoes, shirt, shorts, socks, compression attire or not and others) for your ultra runs. Make sure to test them if they give you chafing, blisters or pain on your legs and joints (for the shoes). It is also in these runs that you test what is best for you in terms of your hydration and nutritional needs. Plus the need to find out how to deal with the heat of the sun during the run. For sure, after these monthly ultra runs you should have been able to adapt to the challenges for the BDM Races. This is where your running accessories, like headlamps/flashlights and reflectorized vest, will be tested.

Having said the importance of this run, the following are the details/rules and regulation of the ultra event:

1. A runner has the option to be self-supported or supported by a vehicle with support crew. Only four-wheeled vehicles are allowed as support vehicles. A support vehicle can support a maximum of four (4) runners.

2. No bandits will be allowed in the race.

3. Runners should position themselves ALWAYS at the left side of the road, facing the incoming traffic. Always be on Alert on the traffic infront and on your back. Runners should ALWAYS be on SINGLE FILE on the left side of the road.

4. The use of Ipods, MP3s and earphones are allowed as long as runners could still hear his surroundings and the sound of the incoming traffic. Always stay alert while running or walking.

5. Support Vehicle should stop always on the farthest RIGHT side of the road with the Warning Lights ON. As compared with Marcos Highway, Kennon Road is very narrow that your Support Vehicle needs an ample space to park in order not to impede the flow of traffic on the highway. In addition, most of the runners will hit this road on midnight up to the following early morning.

6. Support Vehicles are strictly NOT ALLOWED to “shadow” their respective runners. This is a ground for disqualification of runners. All support Vehicles should “leap frog” their runner depending on the instruction and capability of the runner.

7. Be extra careful, for the support crew and runner, in crossing the highway before and after “pit stops”.

8. All runners should have headlamp/flashlight and reflective vest or reflectorized tapes on their running apparel during the night run.

9. All runners must also bring with them First Aid Kit and Hydration system. Trekking Poles are allowed.

10. Start and Finish Area will be at the Municipal Plaza of Rosario, La Union. Assembly Time is at 2:00 PM of Saturday, July 14, 2012. The race will start at 3:00 PM.

11. The race has a cut-off time of 18 hours. The race closes at 9:00 AM of Sunday, July 15, 2012. There will be checkpoints along the route but there will be NO imposed cut-off times on them.

12. Registration Centers: ARC Manila c/o Perkins Briones and/or Deposit Registration Fee at BPI Savings Account #0296-0673-22 in the name of Jovenal Narcise. If payment will be made through BPI account, runner should send the scanned copy of the deposit slip to jovie75@hotmail.com and bring it to the starting area on race day.  Registration fee is P 2,000.00. The registration fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.

13. To cater to the ultrarunners coming from the North and nearby provinces, we will ALLOW On Site Registration provided they arrive at the Assembly Area earlier than the stated assembly time.

14. There will be NO Cash Prizes. Podium Finishers (1-2-3 for Men & Women) will receive trophies. Each finisher will receive Special Commemorative Finisher’s Medal and Finisher’s T-Shirt. Ranking based from the Official Result will earn points for the 2012 PAU Runner of the Year Award. (Note: Certificate of Finish will be given on later date)

15. Pacers are not allowed.

Good luck and see you at the Starting Line!

5th Day: Final Climb To Baguio City

1. The plan for the 5th Day was to finish the “adventure run” to Baguio City. It will take me 58 kilometers to run/walk for the this “leg”. I knew that Kennon Road covers a distance of 35 kilometers and the uphill road starts from Barangay Saitan, Rosario, La Union which is the road that intersects with the Main National Highway.

5th Day: TNF Apparel Day @ Km Post #192

2. For me to finish this “leg”, I need to have a longer time to sleep the night before the 5th day, wake up earlier than the previous days, and start the run before sunrise. The 5th leg is planned to be a continous run/walk from Kilometer Post #192 to Kilometer Post #250. So, I woke up at 4:00 AM; did the “drill” as if I am going to join a road race; and packed my things.

3. It was still dark when I started my run at Km Post #192 in Binalonan, Pangasinan at 5:45 AM. The sidewalk is still the same—full of stones/gravel and sand which made my run slower and had to use my flashlight. I was wearing my TNF Trail Running Shorts; TNF Long-sleeved shirt; TNF Hand-held Hydration bottle; Under Armour Cap; ASICS Gel-Kanbara 4; PUMA Socks; Armando Caruso Buff as headband; Oakley sunglass; and two Bandanas tied around my neck. From where I started, I had to run/walk at least 23 kilometers to the Rivervue Restaurant where I plan to have a decent breakfast with steamed rice! The restaurant is 400 meters away from the intersection of Kennon Road and the National Highway.

@ Sison, Pangasinan Bridge With Rey Jimenez
Entering The Province of La Union

4. At Km 21, Rey Jimenez of Dagupan City met me along the road and we started to run together. Rey finally believed about my description on the sidewalks of our National Highway as he had seen stones and gravel & sand. After running for two kilometers, we stopped for our breakfast and rest. I ate “tapsilog” with their native chocolate/cocoa hot drink. I really liked the hot native chocolate drink! We stayed at Rivervue Restaurant for about 45 minutes and I think we were the first customer for the day.

At The Benguet Province Boundary (Courtesy of Rey Jimenez)

5. What is good about running on the road is that you are not affected with those traffic brought about by the repair of some bridges and parts of the road where only one lane is usable by the vehicles. We have to pass vehicles which were waiting for their turn to pass the only lane for both traffic. I am sure the people inside the vehicles were talking about us that we are “crazy” running along the Kennon Road towards Baguio City.

@ Our "Pit & Pee" Stops Along Kennon Road Near The Bridal Veil Falls

6. Cyclists from the South would pass me while I was running on my first 20 kilometer and I know that they are also on their way to Baguio City. We would meet a lot of cyclists also coming from Baguio and later see them going back again to the city. I always wave my hands to these cyclists and they respond also. These “cyclists” are the real ones—they are thin, flat-chested, and with very DARK skin! I just laugh to myself when I compare those regular cyclists I always see doing their “circuit” workouts at the BHS loop. 

Walking Breaks Together With Rey
Rey Leading The Way During Our Walking Breaks

7. Running along the Kennon Road is very tricky and you need to be always on the safe side. Take advantage of the limited space at the sidewalk where you could run/walk. I don’t advise runners to use their Ipods/MP3 when running in Kennon Road or for that matter, when running along the National Highway. A runner should have a keen sense of hearing from the incoming vehicle on both lanes of the road. During this adventure run, I could guess what type of vehicle was approaching from behind based from the sound of their engines, mufflers, and tires!

"Where is the toll booth?" (Courtesy of Rey Jimenez)
Where is the roadside eatery for my lunch?

8. Rey and I ran together on single file. On the first 10 kilometers, I was leading the pace but on the next 10 kilometers, Rey was already the one who was trying to pull me along the road as he would lead me for about 5-10 meters. We had occassional “pit stops” where we replenish our water for our hydration; drink sports drinks; and ate Fita/SkyFlakes with Cloud 9 Chocolate. Each Kilometer Post along the road was a sight of relief as the number of Kilometers to my destination slowly became lesser until it bacame single digit.

Plate of Table Salt with Coke ;"Chicken Joy" & Kennon Pork Sinigang For Lunch

9. After passing the long bridge at the Toll Station, we stopped for our late lunch. Rey and I ate the available food in one of the eateries for “truckers”—home-cooked sinigang na baboy, “chicken joy” & dinuguan with steamed rice. After our lunch, Rey prepared to go back to where he parked his car in Barangay Saitan as he was scheduled for a social function in Dagupan City late in the afternoon. Rey took a ride in one of the jeepneys  and I was left alone for my last 11 kilometers to Baguio City. Thanks, Rey for the company and the pull/push for the 26 kilometers that we’ve run together! (Do I have to tell you again that I sang some songs with a Karaoke machine in that truckers’ eatery? hahaha!)

Thanks, Rey for the company & food!

10. The last 10 kilometers took me two hours to run & walk. The “zigzag road” has steep uphill climb and I have to walk and then run again along the flat area. The technique was to brisk walk on the steep climb and then run on the flat part of the zigzag road. The technique had been repeated all the way to Baguio City. On my last 5 kilometer, I was received and met by Carlos, photograper of The FrontRunner Magazine and later was greeted by the family & relatives of Jonel aka Bugobugo/The FrontRunner Magazine. Thanks, Jonel for arranging a simple but meaningful reception as I reached my destination for this “adventure run”. I was informed that you arranged for a welcome party consisting of a band and group of runners from Baguio City to join me on my run/walk from the Rotary’s Lion Head to Baguio City. Though they were not able to wait for me, thanks again for the effort & gesture.

Running Alone To Baguio Again
Trying To Look Good On My Last 10K
My Back View
Feeling Tired During My Walking Breaks
@ The Rotary's Lion Head
My Vanishing "Breasts" (I mean, "Chest")

11. Reaching the Baguio General Hospital (BGH) was a realization that I’ve finally reached Baguio City. I am glad that the “Slide” area before reaching the BGH have been fixed as this was the “headache” of motorists and truckers going to Baguio City. You always find a vehicle or truck stucked at the middle of the road on this area almost everyday and such occurence always result to a traffic on both lanes of the road. However, I was not spared on this occurence during my run as one of the jeepneys got stucked at the bottom of the steep uphill climb!

12. I finally reached the Rizal Park infront of the City Hall of Baguio at 6:15 PM as I walked entirely along Burnham Park with heavy traffic of vehicles and people coming out and going to the Park and to those who are audience to a political rally at the Burnham Athletic Ground. Practically, I was on the road for 12 1/2 hours for my last day. I ran the 58-kilometer distance for the day with a running/walking time of 9:15 hours. Finally, I reached my destination. I did it. I was able to prove to myself how far I can push my  body’s capability beyond its limits where I could run an ultramarathon distance almost everyday for 5 days. I was able to prove it also that I can inform my readers on a “near real-time” with pictorials through the Internet with what is going on with me in my “adventure run”.

Finally, At The Rizal Park in Baguio City
Reward For The Day: Pata Tim, Pancit Canton & Fried Rice
Better View of the "Soft Version" of Crispy Pata

13. This post will not be the end of my “adventure run’s” journal/diary. There are so many untold stories to tell which I experienced along the way and I will try my best to recall them and bring them to you on this blog. I did a lot of things along the way and I hope that such experiences will guide future runners/pedestrians who will embark on such challenge. The challenge is, “if I can do it (at the age of almost 58 years old), you can do it, too”!

14. My sincerest thanks to those who supported this “adventure run”. Your prayers, best wishes and words of encouragement pushed me to my limits. Lastly, my thanks to the Lord Almighty for giving me the strength and “vision” to inspire others. What is next? Keep on reading this blog for more interesting stories and surprises.