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.
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!
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.
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!