History: 1st Manila International Marathon by Red Dumuk

Finally, the then famous Manila International Marathon is being revived this year. I am not sure if the use of 30th edition of this race is proper as I know that some of the editions in the past had never been conducted. I hope my friend, Red Dumuk, shall make some adjustments on this. However, I appreciate the posting of this article on the website of the said Marathon Race.

If my memory serves me right, this was my first Marathon Race and Red Dumuk specifically mentioned my name and my finish time.

Thanks, Red for bringing back those good memories of Road Racing in the 80’s.


The First Manila International Marathon

By Red Dumuk

Running great, Bill Rogers, winner of four Boston Marathons and four New York Marathons, apprised of the race route and the weather conditions, predicted 2:20 as the winning time in the inaugural Manila International Marathon. His visit to Manila came at the heels of his dismal performance in Japan. As he was off-form, he begged off from showing his form in the MIM.

Rogers’s fearless forecast was way, way off. When East German Waldemar Cierpinski, second only to Ethiopian Abebe Bikila to have ruled back-to-back Olympic Marathons (Bikila turned in the trick in 1960 Rome and 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games while Cierpinski in 1976 Montreal and 1980 Moscow), breasted the tape with President Marcos heading the spectators, the display clock showed 2:14:27, a good 5 minutes and 33 seconds inside the expected time.

The time could have been lower had there been stronger challenge. After 5K, the MIM morphed into a battle against the clock for Cierpinski, who in 1976 frustrated 1972 Munich gold medalist Frank Shorter’s bid to join Bikila as back-to-back Olympic Marathon champion. In the 1976 Olympic Marathon, Cierpinski beat Shorter, considered to have ignited the running boom in the United States, by 49 seconds (2:09:56 against 2:10:45).

Cierpinski’s winning time which is 3 minutes and 24 seconds outside the clocking he posted in Moscow Olympics less than two years earlier can be better appreciated against the backdrop of marathon times in other parts of the world held in different seasons in 1982.

It’s no wonder, therefore, why the 2:14:27 has yet to be expunged as the all comers best in the Philippine Marathon theater. (Domingo Tibaduiza whose time was 20 seconds slower than Cierpinski’s when the former claimed the top prize in the 1982 Berlin Marathon emerged as 2nd MIM champion. He checked in at 2:25:01, nine minutes 34 seconds adrift of the existing standard in 1983.)

Runner-up American serviceman Phil Camp might have found Cierpinski out of his league but his 2:19:39 timing would have outweighed the first placers’ in four of the above marathons.

The last berth in the podium was hotly contested by Chang Ming Chen of Chinese-Taipei and Peng Jiazheng of the People’s Republic of China. There was a sideshow even. A PROC embassy official protested minutes before the cannon fired off the marathoners the display of the Republic of China’s flag on Chang’s singlet and threatened to pull out Peng from the marathon. We explained to the embassy official we were aware if Chang has to show a flag on his breast, it should be the IOC designated banner. We added we subscribe to the one-China policy of the government. Then, we convinced Chang to have the ROC flag covered with a masking tape. Had Chang not acquiesced, disqualification awaited him.

When the smoke of the conflict had settled, so to speak, Chang outstripped Peng by 59 seconds–or just about the time it took the former’s official to tape that offending flag–to claim the third position. Chang’s 2:26:49 clocking bested winning times of two 1982 AIMS events. Peng’s 2:27:48, on the other hand, beat the champion’s time of one of the AIMS member marathons.

Great Britain’s Tim Johnston (2:31:31) rounded out the top 5 finishers. He crossed the finish line two minutes and 30 seconds ahead of the first Filipino finisher, Army man Ricardo Carillo (2:34:01). Landing in the top 5 among the locals and top 10 overall were Manuel Carmelo (2:35:28),7th; Guillermo Padilla (2:37:31),8th; Ireneo Illut (2:38:01), 9th and Carlito Solis (2:38:06), 10th.

Fifty-three runners (only seven were foreigners) registered sub-3 hours clocking. By comparison, looking at the results of the recent marathons in the country, less than 10 runners with sub-3 times seems to be the current norm.

In the distaff side, only the 11-year old wonder girl Joan Laput, tops among the 11 lady finishers, broke 3:30. Laput ranked 173 overall with her time of 3:28:22. Laput’s “preys” included priest marathoner Amado Picardal (3:20:16, 195th), the Baldrunner (3:58:44, 286th) and arguably, the country’s No.1 race organizer Rudy Biscocho (4:40:02, 440th).

Of the 603 hopefuls who answered the starting cannon, only 30 did not finish–a remarkable mortality rate of measly 4.98%. The most courageous and greatest survivor was cardiac patient Teofilo Espejo, Jr. He placed 509th with a time of 5:11:16.

Asst. Race Director Colmenares running and finishing the MIM spoke volumes about the organization and management of the race. He clocked 3:47:50, good for 281st position, well in the upper half of the finishers.

It would be great seeing another Philippine President accommodating the top 200 finishers of a marathon or any road race of prestige in Malacanang and treat them to dinner after the awarding ceremonies where he would trace the history of marathon even as he extols its virtues in his address.

In another first, the country’s top sportscaster then Joe Cantada found his equal in Katherine Switzer during the coverage of the 1st MIM. Joining the fun was Zal Marte, another sportscaster of note. This would never be duplicated. “The Voice” has passed on to the great beyond.

As recognition for a job well done, Race Director Dorotheo’s peers in AIMS elected him as member of the original batch of Board of Directors. It goes without saying the Manila International Marathon was accepted as full-fledged AIMS member barely four months after its initial edition. Dorotheo was to be reelected to the AIMS Board.

And from the locals, what was the reward? The second MIM saw the size of the field doubled.

1st Manila International Marathon Statistics

Countries Represented

  • Macao
  • Sweden
  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • United Kingdom
  • Taiwan
  • Norway
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • United States
  • People’s Republic of China




95.02 %



98.08 %



1.92 %



93.53 %



6.47 %

Waldemar Ciepinski flashes the No. 1 sign more than 5 minutes ahead of the 2:20 winning time predicted by Bill Rodgers

Source: http://manilainternationalmarathon.com


Manila International Marathon?

One of the members of the Team Bald Runner-Professional Group had asked me why is it that the Philippines does not have an international marathon race which could be at par with the Standard Chartered Bank-sponsored ASEAN city’s marathon races like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hongkong, Mumbai, Hanoi, Taipeh/Taiwan and other cities around us which are considered as international marathon events?

I answered him that there was a Manila International Marathon during the late 70s and early 80s which was sponsored by the Philippine Air Lines (PAL). I could just surmised that marathon races and running events with international flavor then were supported by the government during the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos. It was during these times when the government’s sports bodies were held and administered by a single person who was under the direct supervision of the President. It was the time when Michael Keon was the President of the Philippine Olympic Committee, and at the same time the Chairman and Project Director of Project Gintong Alay (the forerunner of the Philippine Sports Commission), and also the President of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association, the sports federation for athletics. A single person holding three sports bodies, a long-distance runner and national athlete and a nephew of the President made the difference at that time.  At present, these sports bodies are being held by three different persons whom I think could not even run or jog at least one kilometer. These people are fond of asking sports reporters to “run” after them for sports media realeases with the “envelope” that goes with such pronouncements.

The one who asked me about the Manila International Marathon was surprised when I informed him that the Awarding Ceremonies and Dinner Parties for the Manila International Marathons were held at the Malacanang Palace with no less than the President as the Guest of Honor and Host. Moreso, the prize money for the winners ranged to hundreds of pesos at that time plus the appearance money for the world’s marathon elite athletes.

It was expected that sports and marathon races in the country with the attendance of international elite runners waned after the EDSA Revolution in 1986 because everything that the former administration had done for the improvement of our sports were immediately changed. However, later during the administration of former President Fidel Ramos, the Pasig River Heritage Marathon was born but it did not have any attendance from international elite athletes. And due to the abolition of the Clean and Green Foundation that manages the Pasig River Marathon, the conduct of the race was not sure of being conducted. However,  this yearly marathon is hoped to be revived later part of this year. But the problem is, it will remain as an ordinary local marathon race in the country without any effort of making it as an international running event.

The Subic International Marathon which was held last January 2008 was attended by Kenyan/African runners which gave a flavor of being an international marathon event but it fell short of its aim of being sustained as an annual international marathon event.

So, is there a way we can come up with a Manila Internationa Marathon Race? This is a challenge to those politicians, government sports bodies, and corporate executives who are active in sports like running. Maybe we can ask for those “Presidentiables” who can not even run at least one kilometer but they could easily run for the position of the President of the Republic without any sweat. Maybe, we can ask the Department of Tourism to promote such event as part of sports tourism in the country. Or maybe, ask PAGCOR/PCSO to fund such event. Or maybe, come up with a “pressure” group to ask the President to appropriate a budget from her VAT collections or from the President’s P 300-billion stimulus fund or from her Priority Development Assistance Fund (Please refer in today’s newspapers). But with my personal experience with these people, I am sure they don’t care about this “International Marathon” thing. My best bet is to wait for CONDURA and the Concepcion Family to come up with an international marathon event, maybe, by next year! 

Let me ask this last question…Why do we need to go abroad to run a Marathon Race if we can conduct an international marathon race here in the country? Is it for the “bragging rights” or you just want to spend your hard-earned money or want/need something to write in your running blog or you need something to write about in Society Pages in our daily newspapers or is it for the experience so that you could learn something on how race directors and organizers do to promote a world-class marathon event? Maybe, as a start, we can pool our respective registration fees, travel and accommodation expenses to an international marathon abroad as a “seed” money for planning purposes. Let the first volunteer come forward and leave a comment in this post.

I have the following recommended title for our future Manila International Marathon. Choose which one do you prefer….

Standard Chartered Bank Manila International Marathon?

Banco De Oro Manila International Marathon?

Bank of the Philippine Islands Manila International Marathon?

Globe Manila International Marathon?

Smart Manila International Marathon?

PLDT Manila International Marathon?

Cebu Pacific Manila International Marathon?

PAL Manila International Marathon?

Zest Air Manila International Marathon?

Figaro’s Manila International Marathon?

SM Manila International Marathon?

“Wowowee” Manila International Marathon?

Manny Pacquiao’s Manila International Marathon?

ABS-CBN/TFC Manila International Marathon?

Jollibee Manila International Marathon?

San Miguel Beer Manila International Marathon?

Vicky Belo’s Manila International Marathon?

“Witwoteryuno” Manila International Marathon?

CONDURA Manila International Marathon?

Gawad Kalinga Manila International Marathon?

MMDA’s Manila International Marathon?

Toyota’s Manila International Marathon?

Honda’s Manila International Marathon?

Mini-Stop’s Manila International Marathon?

Ford’s Manila International Marathon?

BENCH Manila International Marathon?

Guys, the challenge to come up with a Manila International Marathon, which will ultimately become our Country’s Pride, is in your hands. I’ve done my part to promote and conduct the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race and I did it with the support of “82 new brave warriors” of Bataan, those “angels wearing running shoes” and “supporters” who remain to be silent and don’t want to be identified. And this will be a yearly event to commemorate our heroes.

“There is Unity in Sports”


When I joined the 2008 San Francisco Marathon last August, the EMCEE during the race’s awarding ceremony announced that the marathon event was able to raise Five Million Dollars ($ 5M) for the past five years to support the different “causes” and benefits that the City of San Francisco had been actively supporting. Now, you do your own mathematics!

My First Marathon Race

If my recollection serves me right, I had my first marathon in 1981 after I successfully proven to myself that I could be a better competetive runner. The PMA Alumni Race where I won number 2 inspired me to plan and run for the Marathon Race.

At that time, I was assigned in Region 1 (Northern Luzon) and my work included going to all the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Abra, Mt Province, and Benguet conducting seminars, lectures and meeting local government officials. However, most of the time, I stay in Laoag City because my office and staff were located thereat.

I am a product of the “Old School of Running”—build-up enormous mileages for 3-4 months and slowly build-up and combine speed workouts for 2 months and “simulate” running the marathon distance for the last one month before the marathon race.

In order to build mileage for the week, I have to run early in the morning for 10 kilometers and another 10 kilometers in the afternoon/early evening. And I did this from Monday to Friday. I usually run from our office in Laoag City to the Ft Ilocandia Golf Course and sometimes from Laoag City Poblacion to the Ft Ilocandia Hotel. The road/course is nice. And at that time, there were less traffic and vehicles plying those routes. On Saturdays, I do my long slow runs reaching up 20 to a maximum of 25 kilometers. Sunday was my rest day. Sometimes, I do my long runs on Sundays and make Monday as my rest day, and start my weekly runs on Tuesdays. Progressively, I increased my daily runs up to 15 kilometers per session and increase my weekend long runs up to 30 kilometers.

My speed workouts were done in the athletic oval of Laoag and sometimes in the athletic oval of Teachers Camp in Baguio City (the one that was used by the Gintong Alay athletes of Michael Keon). My speed plays vary when I am in the oval but most of the time they consisted of 400-meter fast and 400-meter recovery runs by jogging slowly. I usually do 10 to 15 repeats of the speed runs. However, I became creative with my speed plays. I did my speed runs on my road runs by using the kilometer markers as my reference points (alternately, running faster in-between two kilometer markers and then doing my recovery/slow jog up to the next kilometer post). Sometimes, I use the electric posts along the road/streets as my reference points for shorter speed plays. But what made me more creative was when I discovered the “color-coded” foot trails around the perimeter-slopes of Camp John Hay Base in Baguio City (when the Americans were still running/managing that camp). In every sector of the perimeter of the camp, the trunks of the pine trees along the trails were painted with spots of dark red, green, blue, orange, and white paints. So, I alternately did my speed plays every other colored trail while running. I really don’t know if these “color-coded” trails are still there.

To “simulate” or practice the marathon one month before the race, I should be able to run at least 35 kilometers during my weekend long slow distance workout with minimum effort. I have one of my men “leapfrog” every 3-4 kilometers for my regular water intake/supply. I start my run at the same time with that of the race starting time.

I did my practice runs alone on the road, ovals, and trails.

I finished my first Marathon race, the Manila International Marathon, in 3 hours; 24 minutes; 46 seconds.

Finishing my first marathon race entails planning, hardwork, persistence, patience, discipline and commitment to finish the race. Such values and attitude I need to pursue my life and carreer in this ever challenging and unpredictable world.

Marathon race is life in itself.