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Epilogue: 1st BR’s Quad Marathons

15 06 2017

Having known an event which was experienced and finished by an ultra running friend in one of his trips/visits in the United States, I thought of the idea that local Pinoy runners can also do such an event without even going out of the country. What is really important in this kind of event is to have a period of 4 days which are declared non-working holidays and the place where one can have a varied routes for four marathons in four days. Of course, there is also the need to have some runners who are brave enough to try and experience what it is like to run one marathon distance each day for four consecutive days.

I though of my birthplace, Laoag City, as the place to conduct this event because it has a lot of road networks that converge to the center of the city. Having been familiar to the road networks in the place, I decided to have this event held in the city. There is no harm in taking the risk of conducting this event even if there is only one or two runners.

Laoag City

Landmark Of Laoag City (Photo by May Santos)

A simple Facebook Event Page was created just to inform the “Public” and my FB friends about this event. And I did not personally contact each and every ultra running friend to be invited to join this event. As I said before, I create an event and I let runners join my event in their personal volition. It is inherent that most of my friends were excited to find out that this Quad Marathons is a new event and most of them signified to join or simply clicked the button “Interested”. But knowing the real attitude of the Local Runners and even PAU Members, who are really good friends, I did not expect much that most of these people will be joining this event. The bottom line here is, I really don’t care!

After a simple coordination with the LGU of Ilocos Norte and the Provincial PNP of Ilocos Norte, the event was a GO! And the rest is history!

It has proven once again that Local Pinoy Runners can match the endurance and stamina of other runners in other countries. The Quad Marathons can be done even in simple logistics and needs for the runners. Additionally, it is proven once again that I don’t need Corporate Sponsorship if I want an idea to be implemented and put into action. To prove a point, the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon, the event that started all these “craziness” in ultra running in the country, had survived for almost 10 years without any Corporate Sponsorship!

I would like to thank the following ultra running friends: Dondon Talosig from Tuguegarao, Cagayan; Gibo Malvar from Piddig/Sarrat, Ilocos Norte/Paranaque, Metro Manila; Rod Losabia from Metro Manila; Tess Leono from Metro Manila; Rose Betonio from Metro Manila; Kathleen Piñero from Metro Manila; and Laurice Rogel from Metro Manila who were the “Pioneers” of this event. These runner-finishers will receive appropriate Awards & Commendations for their feat during the 2018 BDM & PAU Get Together Party. I would also thank May Santos from Marikina, Metro Manila for being the Recorder/Marshal/Official Photographer of the event. I would like also to give thanks and commend the support given by Numeriano De La Cruz and Joaquin Bordado of Team Kimat Running Club of Ilocos Norte. Lastly, to my Personal Staff and the Support Crew of each runner who made sure that all the Logistics/Administrative needs were made available during the event.

As a runner-participant of this event, I was able to prove my running philosophy in order to inspire others to run—“If I can do it, then, you can do it, too!” If want to create an idea, make sure you can do it so that you are a reliable and consistent person!

Day 4 Paoay

Turn-Around Point On 4th Day (Photo By May Santos)

As per my observation on the runner-participants, I could see that each of us have that tendency to be competitive with one another even if we were having fun, enjoying the environment & scenery of the route, having a “bonding time” among friends, and with the experience of being attacked by street dogs in some of the populated areas along the route. Each runner has a different style of dealing with these street dogs—some would shout back at the barking dogs; some would simply run faster away from the attacking dogs; some would bring a stick to ward off the dogs; and some would just blind the dogs with their powerful handheld lights. However, I would simply ignore and never looked at the dogs when I would pass infront of them. But the most effective way to prevent the dogs from biting you is to NEVER use any headphone or play your music/ playlist during this kind of event. I should know because in one of my adventure runs, I was bitten by a street dog while listening to my playlist on my iPod! Also, one of the runners have learned some lessons in marathon racing where one should be light and simple if you want to have a faster time in a marathon race!

Oh, yes, I was the official “sweeper” of the event to make sure that all my runners would be able to finish each event within the cut-off time of 6 hours and 30 minutes. I am glad all the runners had successfully finished the race! I guess, in my races, that is one of the duties of the Race Director!

Personally, this is how I felt during the period of four days. I think the rest of the runners would have to agree with me on my feelings. Before the start of the event, I was not sure if I would be able to have the stamina and endurance to finish the whole event. After I finished the first day Marathon, I was exhausted due to the hot and humid weather even if it was then in the evening and early morning. I was already thinking of a reason or alibi where I would simply sit back in my car and supervise the runners for the remaining 3 marathon races. But I though that ones personality is being tested here in this event. So, I was not at all excited for the 2nd day event. However, after 1-2 kilometers of running on the 2nd day’s route, we were met by cold air and winds coming from the mountains east of Laoag City and it was very refreshing. The cooler temperature made us faster to finish the event on the 2nd day. On the start of the 3rd day, I was silent and apprehensive as I told to the runners that the course will be darker due to the absence of street lights along the route and some portions have road constructions. But the runners did not complain and they registered a faster time, too!

After we finished the third marathon, I brought all the runners for a day tour along the last day marathon course and they were able to familiarize some locations and the overall elevation profile of the route. Aside from being the last event, knowing the course on a walk/drive-through boosted their morale to finally get things done immediately! The experience running in the rain for about 10-12 minutes at Km 5-6 was really exhilarating and enjoyable! There were no complaints from the runners and we finished the event with a much faster time.

For the first two days, we used the front portion of the Provincial Capitol of Ilocos Norte as the Start/Finish area since we did not cross the Laoag/Padsan Bridge or River. But for the two remaining days,we changed the location of the Start & Finish at the LAOAG Landmark at the foot of the Laoag City Bridge. The variety of the locations of the Start and Finish gave a very nice documentation on the exposure of Laoag City and the Province of Ilocos Norte.

These are my assessment and conclusion on this event: First, it takes a veteran marathoner or an ultra runner to finish this event. Two, even considering the difficulty of the elevation on each course, the tendency of the human body to be faster and stronger as the event progresses from day one to day four. Three, since the Aid Stations are the Support Vehicles of the runners which are mobile that “leap-frog” ahead of the runners, one has to be very good in his/her nutrition and hydration strategy. And lastly, our human body is a wonderful God-given “machine” that has a way of recovering from pain & exhaustion through proper nutrition and rest & recovery within a span of 24 hours.

Baliw

Congratulations To Everybody! (Photo By May Santos)

Next edition will the same schedule as we had this year where the last day event culminates with the Independence Day of the country.

Once again, congratulations to all the runners, support crew & staff, and to our volunteers/marshals.

Lace up and run!

 

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4th & Last Day: Quad Marathons

13 06 2017

We were all excited that we have reached the Final Marathon for this event. Nobody was complaining about any aches, pain, “niggles”, or any injury from the runners. At least, all the runners had a chance to conduct a walk & drive-thru along the route during the day after the 3rd day Marathon. They would know what to expect and come up with their own “landmarks” with regards to distances and where exactly the locations of those rolling elevations on the course.

The runners would start at the LAOAG Sign Landmark which is located at the Laoag City Park and then goes to the Gilbert Bridge towards San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. Once the runners cross the bridge, they have to turn RIGHT on the first intersection where the road leads to the Laoag City International Airport. Once the runners reach the new “roundabout” in front of the Northwestern University, they have to turn LEFT and run along the Laoag-Suba-Paoay Road until they reach the Poblacion of Paoay, Ilocos Norte. From Paoay, the runners would run one loop of the street block where the Paoay Church is located and then turn-around and go back to the Starting Line.

Day 4 Before The Start

Group Picture Before The Start (Photo Courtesy of May Santos)

This running route is very memorable to me because it was my training playground for my first Marathon Race in the early 80s while I was assigned in Ilocos Norte as a young First Lieutenant of the Philippine Army. I would do my daily runs from Laoag City to the Suba Golf Driving Range (now, Plaza Del Norte) and then back to Laoag City for a good 20K LSD run. For my hill workouts, I would run along the road from the Golf Driving Range up to the beach where the famous Laoag Sand Dunes are located ( film shooting locations of the movies “Panday”, “Himala”, and the “4th of July” where Tom Cruise is the lead actor).

The course is relatively flat on the first 10K (6.2 miles) until the road goes uphill in front of the Plaza Del Norte and before the Golf Course which is only about 100 meters long. This is the famous Start Area of the yearly North Start 10K Run which was discontinued in the early 90s after almost 15 years of existence. This year, I have thought of reviving this event after I made a consultation/agreement with the then Race Organizer of the event who is in his 80s! From the peak of the uphill portion, it goes downhill for about 500 meters and then goes slightly up for a rolling elevation of about 1 kilometer. Once you see the view of the Paoay Lake on your left, everything goes downhill and flattens to the next 5-6 Kilometers up to the famous Paoay Church which is the turn-around point of the course. The runners take one loop of the street block around the Paoay Church and then goes back to the Starting Line.

The last Marathon Race started at 11:40 PM of Sunday, June 11, 2017 after some reminders and group pictures. I decided this time to be the “sweeper” again to make sure that everybody would be able to finish the race within the cut-off time of 6.5 hours. As we reached the Km 5 point, it rained for about 10-12 minutes and all of us were wet but it made our running environment cooler and made our body temperature lowered. The feeling of having your body perspiration mix with the cold rain is very refreshing!

Personally, I had the feeling of nostalgia and happiness while running on this course because I could memorize every inch or meter of the road! It is that feeling of happiness that I am finally back on this course/route after 37 years that greatly contributed on my being a passionate runner up to this time. Except for the 2nd Day Marathon (Laoag-Sarrat-Piddig route which is the official MILO Half-Marathon route), I have never ran along the 1st Day and 3rd Day routes.

I have never told to the 7 runners how deeply happy and elated while I was running with them on this Quad Marathon along the route of the 4th Day Marathon. I only told them that this was my favorite route when I would run while I was assigned in the province. I never told them that I had been running with some of the runners then in the City and that I’ve been “coached” by a Project Gintong Alay athlete, who is a local resident of Laoag City, for the Marathon distance and personally massaged by him every after our LSD runs along this route. This local elite running athlete would become a Champion of some of the Marathon Races in Metro Manila but what made him very popular was the fact that he was able to break the the course record for a Half-Marathon Race in the country! So, for the six hours that I’ve been running this course, I would recall all those times and the persons that had been a part of my running life while I was in Ilocos Norte. I will tell more about the “stories” among and about the 7 runners in this event in my “Epilogue” of this event.

Day 4 Finish Pic

Group Picture After Finishing The Race (Photo Courtesy of May Santos)

The following is the result of the 4th and Last Day Marathon of this event:

RANK     NAME                TIME (Hrs)

  1. Dondon Talosig ——4:50:25
  2. Gibo Malvar ———- 4:51:03
  3. Rod Losabia ———- 5:10:12
  4. Tess Leono (F) ——- 5:22:48
  5. Rose Betonio (F) —- 5:34:06
  6. Kathleen Piñero (F)— 6:04:25
  7. Reese Rogel (F) —— 6:11:36
  8. Jovie Narcise/BR —— 6:11:49

After I have personally awarded the Finisher’s Medal and Shirt to everybody, we had our Group Picture and we congratulated each other for being the Official “Pioneers” of this event which is considered as the First Quad Marathons in the country.

Day 4 Finish Flag

Finishing The Quad Marathons Was In Time With The 119th Independence Day Celebration

What a historic way to celebrate our country’s Independence Day!

Congratulations to the Quad Marathons “Pioneers”!





1st Day: Quad Marathons

10 06 2017

Seven of my ultra running friends registered for the First Edition of the BR’s Quad Marathons which is held on June 9-12, 2017 with start and finish in Laoag City (Ilocos Norte). A day prior to the start of the event, I decided to join the runners as a runner-participant and at the same time the “sweeper” for the event. However, at the back of my mind, I did not want anybody among from friends to DNF this event.

The four daily marathon events is scheduled to start at 1:00 AM every day but with only a handful of participants, I advised all the runners that we might start earlier as soon as all the runners are already at the Start Area. Except for one runner, the remaining seven runners stayed in our house for easier control and management.

Each of the marathon events has a cut-off time of 6 hours and 30 minutes. If a runner finishes a marathon event beyond the cut-off time, the runner is declared DNF and could not join the succeeding events. Every official finisher each day will receive a Finisher’s Medal and Shirt. If the participant completes or finishes the four Marathon Events, he/she will receive a Finisher’s Trophy and a Finisher’s Certificate.

1st Day Quad Marathons

Group Picture Before The Start Of The Race

The first marathon event started at 12:30 AM and the course covers the 21K distance from the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol in Laoag City to Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte and then back to the Starting Area. The route goes north along the Maharlika Highway passing the towns of Bacarra and Pasuquin. The turn-around point is at the Highway Kilometer Post #508 where a Marshal is located. The Marshal must take a picture of the runner once they reach the turn-around point before going back to the Starting Area for the Finish.

1st Day Quad Marathons 00

21K Turn-Around Point

For the logistics support of the runners, there are two roving Support Vehicles which could provide water, soft drinks, Gatorade, and bite foods for the runners. Usually, these support vehicles are located every 3 kilometers. In this edition, these support vehicles are also individual support vehicles of some of the runners.

The course is relatively flat with a few elevation gains at Kilometers 4-5 and on the way back, Kilometers 37-38. However, on this particular night, it was hot and humid with no wind even during the early morning.

All of the 8 participants were able to finish the Marathon on the first day within the cut-off time. The following is the result:

RANK          NAME                  TIME (Hrs)

  1. Dondon Talosig ———- 5:03:40
  2. Rod Losabia ————— 5:12:17
  3. Gibo Malvar ————— 5:37:27
  4. Tess Leono (Female) — 5:37:29
  5. Rose Betonio (F) ——— 5:45:04
  6. Kathleen Piñero (F) —- 6:11:50
  7. Reese Rogel (F) ———– 6:26:52
  8. Jovie Narcise/BR ——— 6:26:54
1st Day Quad Finish

Group Picture After The Awarding Of Medals & Shirts

After the awarding of Medals and Shirts, we had some group pictures taken. After breakfast, we went to the beach for a swim and had some sight-seeing; and have some fun!

1st Day Quad Finish Beach

Having Fun After The 1st Marathon Event

We hope that we will be ready again for the 2nd Marathon Event before midnight!

(Note: Pictures Courtesy of May Santos)

 

 





Official Result: 1st NORTH COAST 200-Mile Ultra Marathon Race

17 05 2016

1st NORTH COAST 200-Mile Ultra Marathon Race

Gun Start & Starting Place: 12:01 AM May 12, 2016/Laoag City (Ilocos Norte)

Finish Line: La Perla Inn, Santa Ana, Cagayan

Finish Time: 12:01 AM May 15, 2016

Cut-Off Time: 72 Hours

Number Of Starters: 9 Runners

DSC_0205

Pioneers Of The NORTH COAST 200-Mile Run

RANK              NAME                            TIME (Hours)

  1. Thomas Combisen (Overall Champion, CR) —–64:37:41
  2. Dondon Talosig (1st Runner-Up, Overall) —— 65:55:31
  3. Jonathan Moleta (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) —– 67:05:57
  4. Allan Sabado —————————– 70:16:30
  5. Roberto Vocal, Jr ————————– 70:45:23
  6. Benedict Meneses ————————- 71:41:25
  7. Jocel Lanas***—————————- 73:14:49

***Beyond Cut-Off Time

DSC_0250

Thomas Combisen, Overall Champion & Course Record Holder

Congratulations To All The Finishers! Thank you for your support.

See you in the next edition (2017)!

 





Taray Pamulinawen

14 02 2011

I seldom endorse a running event other than the BDM and PAU Races. The Taray Pamulinawen is a unique race where you can experience running along the sand dunes on the beaches of South China Sea, the paved roads made to connect the barangays, and the hills and rice field trails of Laoag City. Practically, this is my “playground” whenever I spend my vacation in my hometown which I even extend up to a distance of 20-25 kilometers just to inspect my real property on the hills of Barangay Salet. However, on this particular running event, the race organizers came up with a distance of 16 kilometers or 10 miles to have a glimpse on a particular side of the city.

Due to the 1st BDM 160K Ultra Run on February 26-27, I will be missing this one. But for those who would like to visit Laoag City and the tourist spots of Ilocos Norte, this will be a good reason to have fun and taste the local foods of the province before and after the run!

Those who are interested can register at A Runner’s Circle Specialty Store along Roxas Boulevard (at the Aloha Hotel Building) which opens at 12:00 Noon. Look for Perkins!

The following is the Route Course Description of the race which was sent by Dr Chester Puno, an ultra runner who is one of the organizers of the event:

TARÁY PAMULINAWEN 16K ROUTE DESCRIPTION

The 16km run  starts in front of the basketball court of Barangay Talingaan.  After about 200mts of concrete, the run turns to Ventura Highway (nothing to do with the song) and dips into the famous sand dunes of Barangay La Paz.  This is where the challenge begins.  The sand varies in consistency from hard to soft (shoes may get buried).  Gaiters are proper if only to minimize sand and pebbles getting inside your trail shoes (But if your feet don’t mind these intrusions, no need to buy/improvise gaiters). Undulations are given.  In which case gradients and elevation of the dunes are also inconsistent.  Walking poles are allowed.  (Although during our test run, nobody brought any, and we still managed to navigate; some of us on all four extremities : ).  There are sections where no trail is visible/available and the only guide is a flag.  One may take any route towards the flag, if he/she thinks it’s the easiest/fastest way to reach it (the shortest distance between 2 points may not necessarily be the fastest because the terrain is very irregular).  On top of the dunes,  the scenic view of the sea, sand and the rising sun is best appreciated (for non-competitive runners, it’s the best time to feast your human and mechanical lenses on the beauty of Laoag sand dunes; just be mindful of the 2 ½ hr curfew). There are dried grasses/weeds that dot the dunes in variable heights.  Leg abrasions are a possibility; at the least, legs may get itchy from contact. Lower leg protection is suggested (ankle low tights, knee high socks, lower leg sleeves).  A water aid station will be available in this stage.  The dunes run distance is approximately 3kms, before your feet finally hit concrete in front of the sisters’ convent.  (We had to stop at this point, remove our shoes and empty the load of sand within). 

The next three kilometers course through the barangay streets of La Paz, Navotas and Dibua.  Runners will be greeted by curious barangay folks, a stark contrast from the seemingly empty, unpopulated  desert experience.  Since these are rural barangays, fields of corn and palay flank the roads.  From previous sights of light gray, the eye starts to meet hues of green.  At the top of Dibua hill, just before reaching BR’s house, the road turns right into an insconspicuous trailhead.  It signals the next stage of the race: 8 kilometers of hills and trails traversing Barangays Dibua, Pila and Vira.

Vegetation gets thicker in this leg of the race.  Naturally, the ground becomes uneven and technical at various points.  Descents, inclines and gradients are likewise erratic and sporadic. Needless to say, the runner must watch his step.  One has to be wary of his/her surroundings as he/she may run smack  into low hanging/lying branches and trunks. There are single tracks and double tracks. As these barangays are into farming, an irrigation snakes through the route.  A portion of the race requires the runner’s agility as he navigates through wet and muddy fields.  (This runner miscalculated and landed straight into  mud. Take comfort in the thought that it may at least make you look more hardcore.  Think of BR’s picture on the cover of frontRUNNER).  Be vigilant as well to cow/carabao dung and horse manure (which I fondly refer to as “teller mines”) that occasionally adorn the paths.  The organizers will make arrangements  in order to put canine attacks and chases to a minimum.  Bovine exposure, however may not be as limited.  So far, there has never been any reported snake bites on trailrunners/walkers/bikers in this part of town, although sightings of these crawling creatures  (mostly non-crawling since they are often seen dead-flat) are not unheard of.  In any case, the runner is advised to take caution, let these wildlife creatures pass in peace and never antagonize them.  

As soon as the runner reaches the Marcos Stadium, more popularly called “grounds” by residents, the route is down to its last 2kms of pure concrete, which exposes him to Laoag City proper where cheering city folks will be lining the streets.  Now is the time to accelerate and gut it out to make up for time lost enjoying sand and trails.  Taráy Pamulinawen will officially finish in front of the festive Laoag City Hall. . .  A post-race recovery tour around the city is strongly recommended later in the day. 

Good luck and enjoy the run and trip! 





No More Laoag MILO Elimination Race

21 05 2010

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Mr Andrew Neri of MILO/Nestle Phils with the following message:

“Due to the recent change in the political environment, we’d like to inform everyone that we will be transferring the 34th National MILO® Marathon Laoag Elimination race to Dagupan slated on July 11, 2010.”

Being a native of Laoag City, I was surprised to receive such information. Although, I don’t have plans to join this MILO Elimination Race in Laoag City, I am “intrigued” with the reason stated why MILO had to transfer the race from Laoag City to Dagupan City.

As a result of the May 10 elections, former Senator Imee Marcos won over the incumbent Governor Michael Keon for the Governor of Ilocos Norte. I could only surmise that the change in the leadership of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte has made some changes in the “organizational” preparations for the said race. With the limited time between the assumption of the new provincial administration and the date of the event, the organizers of the race do not want to compromise the preparation and conduct of the race with another coordination with the new administration.

However, in my own experience in attending this Laoag Elimination Race two years ago, I found out that there was a dismal turnout on the number of runners for the 21K elimination race. Despite the fact that you have a Governor who was a former Director of the Project Gintong Alay, POC Chairman, and PATAFA President, I could only see few runners (less than 30) who competed for the half-marathon distance. I guess, this could be the actual reason why MILO has to transfer the venue to Dagupan City.

This is a good chance for the people of Pangasinan to shine in long distance running. 





196 Days: Laoag City Milo 21K Elimination Race

21 09 2008

6:00 AM 21 September 2008 in Laoag City

Instead of starting infront of the Provincial Capitol (as published in the newspapers), the Milo Run started along the Ablan Avenue near the Provincial Sports Complex. About 40 runners for the 21K waited for the arrival of the Governor of Ilocos Norte, Hon Michael Keon, the former Director of the Project Gontong Alay and President of the Philippine Olympic Committee as he was late for almost 40 minutes for the 6:00 AM scheduled start of the 21K Race. Anyway, the race started without any problems and the road marshalls were all posted in key intersections as the race proceeded to the main street of Laoag City, Rizal Street, going all the way to the east, towards the direction of the Municipality of Sarrat. Read the rest of this entry »








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