Best Running Performance Of Pinoys For The Year 2017

For the first time in this blog I will be featuring an article (based from my own view and opinion) on Pinoys who excelled in running or those who have shown the true spirit of an outstanding runner, whether they are based locally or abroad for the year 2017. I will limit my story for the Marathon and Ultra Marathon distances.

Marathon Distance:

Top Award For Best Performance: Mary Joy Tabal was our First Gold Medalist in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the Marathon event with a finish time of 2:48:26 hours beating the second runner by seven (7) minutes. Her personal best time in the Marathon distance was 2:43:31 hours at the Ottawa Marathon Race in 2016, which qualified her to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In the local races, Mary Joy Tabal has in her name a record in the history of running as the First Female Champion of the MILO Marathon for five (5) successive years. Last December, she won the MILO Marathon in Cebu City with a time of 2:58:01 hours, the day after his father died.

Mary Joy Tabal
Mary Joy Tabal From Cebu City (Photo From Facebook)

Ultra Marathon Distance (Road)

Top Award For Best Performance: Rolando Espina is now the Filipino Record Holder for the 24-Hour Run finishing a distance of 210.798 kilometers (130.99 miles) in the July 2017 IAU Belfast 24-Hour World Championship held in Belfast, Ireland. He is also the Overall Champion in the 9th Edition (2017) of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race with a time of 9:26:39 hours, the second best time finish in the history of the event. He is the first and only Filipino who have finished the Spartathlon in Greece in two consecutive years, 2016 & 2017, with finish times of 33:19:33 hours and 32:30:03 hours, respectively. He is also the Overall Champion and New Course Record Holder in this year’s PAU’s West Coast 200K Ultra Marathon Race with a time of 26:45:18 hours.

Rolando Espina
Rolando Espina From Bacolod City & Based In Ireland (Photo From Facebook)

Ultra Marathon Distance (Trail)

Top Award For Best Performance (Male): Hermogines “Gene” Olvis outstanding performance at the 2017 UTMB Race makes him as the Best Male Performer in Ultra Trail Running for 2017 for finishing the race with a record finish time (among the local runners) of 35:33:54 hours. He also finished Overall 2nd Runner-Up in the 2017 edition of the KOTM’s Hardcore 100-Mile Trail Run with a time of 30:17:29 hours.

Gene Olvis
Gene Olvis (Photo from Facebook/

Top Award For Best Performance (Female): Sandi Menchi Abahan outstanding performance at the 2017 TDS Race (118K) @ UTMB makes her as the Best Female Performer in Ultra Trail Running for 2017 for finishing 21st Overall in the Female Category and 9th Overall in her Age Category with a record finish time (First Female Local Finisher in the TDS & Record Holder) of 23:27:16 hours. Being a member of the Philippine Skyrunning Association Elite Team, she won as the Female Champion for two successive years, 2016 & 2017, in the Mt Kinabalu International Climbathon Race with these finish times, 2:58:48 hours and 3:04:30 hours, respectively.

Sandi Menchi Mar Yoo
Sandi Menchi Abahan @ TDS Finish Line (Photo from Facebook)

Congratulations For Your Outstanding Performance!





There is only one word to describe what happened at the 115th edition of the Boston Marathon which was held last Monday—Unbelievable!

For the past years, I was not interested  in trying to monitor what is happening “live” during the race due to the fact that the elite runners were not so much known to me as most of them were from East Africa—Kenya and Ethiopia. After Toshihiko Sato of Japan won the race in 1987 for the 2nd time, the succeeding years up to now had been won by either from Kenya or Ethiopia, except in 1990 when it was won by Gelindo Bordin of Italy and in 2001 when Lee Bong-ju of South Korea won the race. On the women’s division, after Rosa Mota of Portugal won the race in 1990, those elite runners from Poland, Germany, Russia, and of course, Kenya & Ethiopia did not “ring” a bell in my ears. It could be that the winners’ names were hard to memorize or it could be my non-interest then of running because my sensitive assignments or it could be that I did not mind updating myself on what was happening in the running world’s events by not subscribing or buying the latest editions then of the popular running magazines.

But what caught my attention again in this year’s edition of the Boston Marathon was the fact that Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher of the USA had been featured in the runners’ magazines and other running news of their desire to win in the said race. Of course, who would not be excited to see an American/US citizen who will win this year’s edition when the last American winner (Greg Meyer) was in 1983 (almost 3 decades ago). And this is the reason why there is a lot of euphoria and expectations on the result of this year’s edition as being played by the press releases, articles published in running magazines, and other media pronouncements.

But the results in last Monday’s race proved that the Kenyans would steal the show from the rest of the elite runners. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won the race in the fastest ever recorded Marathon Finish of 2:03:02 hours. In the Ladies Division, Catherine Kilel of Kenya won the Championship with a time of 2:22:36 hours. Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop are definitely the fastest marathoners whose times were faster than the existing record time of 2:03:59 hours by Haile Gebrselassie at the 2008 Berlin Marathon. Whether Mutai’s time was not considered as an official Marathon World Record, it is considered as a New Course Record for the Boston Marathon. In my opinion, Mutai will not be affected with such decision as he is more interested in cashing in the Cash Prize he received for his efforts. A cash prize of $ 200,000 is a lot of money for a Kenyan runner!

Ryan Hall, Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher of the USA had also unbelievable results in their efforts where each of them improved their respective PRs. But there was another unbelievable show during the race which was 53-year old Joan Benoit Samuelson’s finish time of 2:51:29 hours making her the record holder for the fastest finish time in the ladies age group of 50-54 years old.

Lastly, the most unbelievable of them all is the decision of the BAA last February of this year to reduce the qualifying time for each age category for the Boston Marathon by 5 minutes. This means that I have to finish a marathon race in 3:55:00 hours by next year (as I will turn to be a 60-year old!) if I need to include joining the Boston Marathon in my “bucket list”. At this point in time, a decision to join or qualify for the Boston Marathon in the future will entail a lot of focus, patience, determination, and resources. There is a need to completely dedicate my time in this life-defining quest for excellence in running.

But, for the Bald Runner to finish the Boston Marathon that would definitely be…UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

For 2013, these are the new qualifying times for the Boston Marathon

Age Group Men Women
18-34 3:05:00 3:35:00
35-39 3:10:00 3:40:00
40-44 3:15:00 3:45:00
45-49 3:25:00 3:55:00
50-54 3:30:00 4:00:00
55-59 3:40:00 4:10:00
60-64 3:55:00 4:25:00
65-69 4:10:00 4:40:00
70-74 4:25:00 4:55:00
75-79 4:40:00 5:10:00
80+ 4:55:00 5:25:00

2011 Condura Skyway Marathon

3:30 AM February 6, 2011 @ The Fort/BHS to Skyway and Back


After my “muscle tear” injury on my left calf last December 7, I did not have any plans of training and running for another Marathon Race on the early months of the new year that is to include the 2011 Cebu Marathon. The 2011 Condura Skyway Marathon was not on my list of races for the year. I focused myself on my rest, treatment and recovery for the weeks and months ahead.

My attendance to the Fat Ass 2011 in Clark Freeport was a way for me to test and evaluate the extent of my treatment & recovery. I was very conservative during the run as the atmosphere among runners were very relaxed and non-competitive. However, I forced myself to run despite feeling some pain on the injured calf muscle. But my run at the Fat Ass had accelerated my treatment as the pain just completely vanished after 2-3 days of rest and recovery.

Since the Fat Ass Run, my runs were random and did not follow any pattern of a scheduled training program. I just ran if I felt like running. These random runs were limited to at least 1 hour & 10 minutes or 10 kilometers to the maximum. I was happy if I could run 2-3 times a week and I started to maintain an average pace of 7:00 minutes per kilometer. This pace had eventually became my training pace to build-up my endurance.


 As I was busy with my “out-of-town” trips talking and meeting with race organizers in far-flung provinces all over the country; being invited for my Running Lectures; reading a lot of Books on Running for my Book Reviews; and trying my best to update this blog, a little “hump or snafu” just came to my attention when the PR people of Condura Skyway Marathon sent me an email stating of their apology for not including me among the Runner-Bloggers they invited for a Media Release of this event. Well, I got a “free ticket” for this year’s edition of the Condura Skyway Marathon due to this incident.

Decision To Run

I really don’t need so much time to consider the “pros and cons” if I finally decide to run this event. Being a “road warrior”, I consider this as a simple setback in my quest to run an excellent race but I know I could simply finish it if I consider this run as an ordinary LSD workout as a part of my training for more “important battles” ahead. So, I conditioned my mind that this run would be a “walk in the park”—by maintaining a 7:00-minute per kilometer average pace for the run with the hope that I will finish a near 5-hour or sub-5 hour marathon. What is important is to enjoy the race, have fun, be seen to inspire others, and to “engage” any runner whom I will meet along the way. So, the decision was final, run the marathon and look like a “brave warrior”.

At The Starters Coral, 5 Minutes Before Gun Start

Race Proper

At exactly 3:30 AM, the race started with some fireworks, simple countdown, and the sound of a starting gun. The BHS area was well-lighted and there was no problem on how my feet landed on the streets as I’ve memorized every street of this place. For an increasing 1,200+ runners in the Marathon Race, the group had stretched after running at least 500 meters from the start. If I can remember right, in the 80’s, if you have at least 500 runners in the Marathon Race, such race is already a successful one! Two years ago, if you have 700-800 runners as starters, you can consider the race as a successful event already. Now, I was surprised with the increasing numbers of Marathon Runners in this race, reaching to more than 1,200+. What an improvement! More of the runners are becoming braver and more aggressive and I really like that kind of attitude! I could see new faces; hear different dialects on the conversations of the runners around me; and a lot of “newbies” which I could conclude from the attire and “gadgets” they have in their bodies! I only have one conclusion in this, if these people are bored in marathon races, they can always try to do an ultramarathon distances which PAU can offer, at least, a 50K Road Race!

 The race organizer really invested on the safety and control of the runners. Almost all the streets were properly lighted with mobile lights and generators, a far cry from the unlighted streets in my ultra road races. We, the marathon runners, became the Kings & Queens of the Roads in Makati, for the whole duration of the event and it was a good feeling for everybody. It is unfortunate that there were still a lot of drivers who were cursing and blowing their horns as they were put “on hold” along key intersections along the road. I really admire those traffic enforcers who simply ignore and patiently not being irritated with such annoying drivers. As I passed by these traffic enforcers, I always say “Thank You” to them for doing their jobs well.

“Houston, we have a situation”

The problem when I am running in a cold environment (yes, I supposed 3:30 AM in the morning’s temperature is still cold) is that I pee most of the time. In almost all the water station, I have to stop and brisk walk to take my water drinks but I have to pee, too! Damn, I was peeing every time I pass by a water station and every portalet section along the route. You could just imagine the wasted time I’ve spent peeing almost all the time. I think this is the only Marathon Race in the history of my running career where I peed more than 20 times along the route. Well, I made the history of peeing on the asphalted road of the Skyway for three times! Thanks to Condura! How I wished I could have paid for my ticket for this race!

If only this race was an ultra trail run where you seldom see a runner on your back and front, I could have simply peed while I was running! I guess, this is normal among ultra trail runners as I did this thing in some of my practices and races along the trails here and abroad!

"Gallowalking" Towards My Food Pit Stop After Coming From The Skyway


I got this term from ultra runner friend, Ben Gaetos. As a result of my attendance to a One Hour Lecture of Jeff Galloway a day before the Condura Marathon, I decided to have it as a trial or experiment. I am a “purist” in running when I train and compete with myself in road races up to Marathon distance, which means, that I don’t believe that you can improve your PR best time in Marathon Races by simply taking “walk breaks” from the Start up to the Finish.

Since I’ve decided to treat the Marathon Race as a LSD workout, I started to incorporate the Run-Walk-Run Strategy of Mr Jeff Galloway. At the first Water Aid Station, I started to walk once I was approaching the table. I picked up two glasses of water. Walked away from the Table by walking and slowly drank the water. After drinking the water, I had to count at least 30-45 strides (one stride = 2 steps) before resuming again with my run. Sometimes, the walking breaks and counting would reach up 60 strides! I did this ritual religiously every water aid station along the route.

This is not the proper way how to do the Galloway Method as he mentioned in his lecture but I wanted to experiment what was best for me with my present condition by incorporating “walking breaks” on a regular basis during the run. I really felt great doing all these “walking breaks” and “peeing breaks” during the run. The result was not a good PR but I enjoyed the run and the experience. But what is more important is that my run did not affect my “healed” muscle tear! I did not reach any “wall”. There is no “wall” after all. I did not have any muscle cramps or soreness on my leg muscles. And the best part of it, I was able to have my recovery run a day after the Marathon Race for a distance of 7 kilometers with an average pace of 6:10 minutes per kilometer! Yes, it was a fast pace for a recovery run but I did it without any pains or soreness!  

Conversations along the Way

Conversations and Greetings are the things that I like when I run in local Marathon Races. Well, you seldom “engage” in a conversation in Marathon Races in the West if you want a nice finish time. But it is a “must” if you are joining an ultra train run as it relieves the “pressure and stress” on the rate of difficulty of the course. Ultra runners have an “unwritten code” that they help each other on the trails in order to finish the race within the prescribed cut-off time. Helping each other means that you have to engage another runner that you run along the trail by talking with each other. An ultra distance of 50K, 50-Mile, 100K or 100-Mile is so boring that you need to “engage” with another runner in order to break the monotony!

In the Condura Marathon, being known in the running community, it gives me the pleasure to engage with the runners by simply waving at them, calling their names, answering and acknowledging their greetings, or simply listening some conversation among the runners.

Some of the examples of conversations were the following:

#1: From a couple of runners that I passed along the Skyway:

Runner: Hey, that is Bald Runner! He is wearing an all-black ASICS apparel

I briefly waved my right hand to them.

The other guy said, BR is wearing a nice ASICS shoes! They are nice and new!

The succeeding conversation became garbled as I distanced myself from them.

#2: From a guy who paced with me just to request something:

Runner #2: Sir, I am a runner from the Visayas and I saw you at the 1st Cebu Ultramarathon Race. You were so strong and consistent during the race.

BR: Thank you! That was a hard course!

Runner #2: Sir, I can still join and register for the 2011 BDM 102?

BR: Are you qualified?

R #2: Yes, Sir! I finished the 1st Cebu 50K Ultramarathon Run.

BR: Ok. Please send me your personal data through my e-mail. You can still register.

Then, I had to pass him for good!

#3: Conversation with a Wife of an Ultra Runner @ Km #20

BR: Angela? Are you running the full Marathon Race? (I was surprised to see her running along with the other Marathon runners. Actually, it was my first time to see her run!)

Angela: Yes! (She was running ahead of me for the past 20 kiometers! And she was maintaining a nice competitive pace)

BR: Where is Paolo? Did he run?

Angela: He did not run and he is sick. He is at home. It seems that he is overtraining himself for the BDM 160.

BR: Ok. He needs some rest and he has to taper on his mileage at this time already.

We ran together for about 5 minutes, pacing each other, until we reached a water station. She went ahead of me as I took my walking breaks after drinking my water.

#4: Conversation with Somebody in the Military

Runner #4: Sir Jovie, Whoooooaaaaa!!!

I answered him back with, Whoooooaaaa!

The conversation was done!

#5: Conversation With A Tall Runner

Runner #5: Sir, BR, would you mind if I ask a personal question to you?

BR: No, what is your question?

Runner #5: Why do you have to wear a bandana tied around your neck every time you run?

BR: It catches my sweat/perspiration from my head and the wet bandana eventually becomes a “coolant” to my nape/neck.

Sometimes, I use it for emergency purposes—as a dust protector to my nose & mouth or simply use it to tie a knot around an injured leg muscle.

Runner #5: I observed you like those with bright colored ones and with flowers printed on them.

BR: Yes, I have all the colors for all the Bandanas available in the market but I don’t have any preferences with regards to color. ( Note: I am not gay, dude!)

#6: From a Runner Wearing Tights

Runner #6: Sir, BR. It seems you are having a good time with this run. You have slowed down with your pace as compared with your past marathon races.

BR: Yes, it is because I am recovering from my muscle tear injury on my left calf muscle.

Runner #6: How many runners will be joining the BDM 160?

BR: I will be happy if there will be 40 runners at the Starting Line this coming February 26, 2011.

Runner #6: Are you preparing to join this BDM 160 as I can see your pace is suited for such an ultra distance? I have the impression that you always join your first edition of your BDM runs. BDM 160 will be in its first edition this year.

BR: No, I will not be joining the BDM 160 as competitor. I have to be a full-time Race Director on this one due to some sensitive issues. And then my answer ended it with a laugh!

#7: From Francis, An Ultra runner from Mindanao (As we met along the Skyway)

Francis: (Running after the Marathon turn-around) Sir, You are really serious with your plan to run 7 minutes per kilometer!!!

BR: (Running towards the Marathon turn-around 2 kilometers away) Yes! This is what I call “Discipline and Patience”!!!

Last 5K To The Finish Line (Photo Courtesy of Francis Chua)

Manage the Pain

The last 2 kilometers of the race was a display of managing and preventing the pain to come out from my calf muscles. The last 2 kilometers was test to increase my pace or not just to be able to finish the race in sub-5 hours. I decided not to speed up just for a simple reason of finishing a desired time. I have to be smarter this time. I want to finish the race without any injuries that will sideline me again for another two months. The better decision is to be able to manage the pain and not doing any “gung-ho” attitude on the last few meters of the race. My calf muscles are still weak due to the rest and recovery for the past two months. I have already incorporated a lot of exercises and drills to my training program just to focus with the strengthening of such muscles. I need patience and a lot of time to do this.

I was able to finish the race without any injuries or any pain or soreness on my legs. The accomplishment in itself is already a victory for me. I have treated the Marathon Race as an LSD workout that my present condition of my body could afford. I did not have any structured training schedule for this race and I ran it through instinct by taking care of my body, listening to my body, and talking to my mind that I have to stick to my race strategy of maintaining an average pace of 7:00 minutes per kilometer. There was no stress and pressure at all to finish this kind of Marathon Race. After all, finishing a Marathon Race is a personal accomplishment where there is no need to compare yourself with the finish times with the other runners.

Taking Care of the Body

In a tropical country like ours, runners need to eat some solid foods and drink some sports drinks like Gatorade/PoweAde/Pocari Sweat, etc. aside from water to replenish electrolytes excreted from the body through our sweat/perspiration. I believe that water alone could not replenish the wasted electrolytes from the body.

Early during the race, I have to eat a Power Bar and had in my palm two GU Gel packets which I ingested from Km 10-21 and then from Km 22-32. On the last 7 kilometers, I had a “pit stop” to eat one serving of oatmeal and a hard-boiled egg. However, on my last 5 Kilometers, a staff from A Runner’s Circle Store gave me a GU Gel Packet which I ingested on the last 4 kilometers of the race. Practically, I was well-fed during the race together with those ripe bananas being served in some of the Aid Stations.

But I expected that there should had been Sports Drinks equally served with the water during the race. I made a feedback to Patrick Concepcion by asking him why they preferred to serve 100 Plus Drinks which is a carbonated sports drinks instead of serving the usual and more common to runners like Gatorade, PoweAde, Pocari Sweat, Propel, and others. He answered me that Summit Water & 100 Plus Drinks were the main sponsors of the race & Gatorade was not a willing Sponsor for the sports drinks support for the runners.

On the Race Route & Race Management

As compared with the last year’s edition, this year’s race route is better and simpler. I hope that this race route will be maintained in the years to come. I consider this route as the most perfect one for a Marathon Race In Metro Manila. It is out and back. The roads are wide and the runners from other distance are not mixed with the other runners.

On Race Management, the road was not full of traffic from the runners. Moreso, with the runners coming from the Half-Marathon and 10-Mile Run Races. The lesser distance runners just came out from nowhere where they met with the Marathon Runners running on the other direction! When all the lesser distance runners left the Skyway towards the Finish Line, it was time for the leading Marathon runners to clear the turn-around point and follow the last runners of the lesser distance runners. Basically, the roads were not jampacked with a lot of runners.


I finished the race in 5 hours 3 minutes & 31 seconds based from GF 305, with an average pace of 7:07 minutes per kilometer. The registered distance in my watch was 42.61 kilometers. I was still strong after I crossed the Finish Line and spent more time standing, talking with the other finishers, and posing for pictures. Without any serious training for this marathon race, I was able to finish it without any pain or issues and of course, after coming out from an “injured” status in running.

For two months without any serious training, I could finish a Marathon Race in 5 hours or less.

Few Yards To The Finish Line (Photo Courtesy of Vener Roldan)


Bandana by Buff

Sunglass By Oakley

Running Apparel (Shorts & Singlet) By ASICS

Running Shoes: ASICS Gel-Lyte Racer

Socks: DryMax Running Socks

Body Glide

Watch: Garmin Forerunner 305

Sports Bar & Gel: Nature Valley & GU 

Lessons Learned & Violations of the “Norms”

  1. Stick to a Plan or Race Strategy and don’t get affected with the situation of other fast runners ahead of you. Do not chase any runner if you are not well-trained for the event. Never underestimate slow runners at the start.
  2. Try to “engage” any runner that starts a conversation with you. Conversation with the other runners relieves stress and pressure during the race.
  3. Run-Walk-Run Strategy works if you are not well-prepared for the event. It will not force you to get injured. However, this strategy works well if you have adjusted to it. Since I consider myself as a “purist” in Marathon Races, running is the best way to improve one’s time is such distance. However, in ultra running, the Run-Walk-Run strategy is a “must” in order to finish within the prescribed cut-off time.
  4. It was my first time to use a brand-new running shoes in a Marathon Race. I was confident that I will not be injured or get re-injured with this decision since ASICS had been my favorite and most comfortable racing shoes.
  5. I did not take any Imodium or Tylenol or Salt Sticks tablets this time and I did not have any “issues” with my stomach and leg muscle cramping.
  6. Even if I have Gatorade drinks ready to be ingested from my support staff, I preferred to take in water only during the whole duration of the race. I wonder if it would have prevented myself from going to the side of the road in order to pee if I have taken Gatorade, in alternately with Water.
  7. Those ripe bananas were great as my food source during the race. 3 GU gel packets, one Nature Valley Sports Bar, one serving of Oatmeal and lots of water were the source of nutrition during the race. I have a faster recovery after the race if I take some food during the race proper.
  8. On this race, I did not ingest any form of “pain killer” tablets, before and during the race.

Congratulations to Condura Durables/Pat & Ton for a well-organized Marathon Race in Metro Manila. More power to you, guys!

See you on the next edition of the Condura Skyway Marathon!

I am not…

1. A “real” runner. There is no such thing as a “real” runner, you are simply called a “runner” if you have finished any road race where you registered, period!

2. Your “personal coach”. I am your “guide” and try to “walk the talk” about running, so to speak.

3. Your “PR or advertiser”. I don’t advertise any road race except for the BDM 102/151 and PAU Races. Let the do it’s job. I don’t also advertise any particular brand of running shoes and apparel. I only write about what I am using and wearing during my training and races.

4. A perfect Race Organizer/Race Director. I still have to learn a lot by participating in international running events.

5. A “running expert” who completed formal studies in sports science, medicine, and physiology. But having completed such studies does not mean that you are an “expert’ in running even if you have not experienced finishing a marathon race. After almost 40 years of running, I am still learning from my experiences in my training and races. Lots of marathon and ultra distance finishes still don’t make me as a “running expert”.

6.  Against high cost of registration fees. Nobody is forcing you to join the races anyway. This is a democratic country. Pay your registration fees, run & enjoy the race, get your award/certificate/medal, and don’t “whine” about fees. Finishing a race is not for “bragging rights” or FB status purposes. Did anybody of you complain when you paid your registrations fees for your NYC Marathon or SC Hongkong/Singapore Marathon?

7. Against Race Organizers. There is a big difference between a “reponsible” Race Organizer from a “profit-oriented” one. But there is a big possibility that both could combine. “Responsible” Race Organizers are the ones who are seasoned runners who can relate to the hardships of a runner to finish the race. These ROs are the ones who can anticipate the needs of the runners and make sure that the last runner reaches the finish line. The “profit-oriented” ones, aside for obvious reasons, could be identified by their body-built—-they are fat, have protruding bellys and sometimes, old (like me!) and young alike, and you have not seen them run in a road race!  And if you see them run in road races, they are not for their personal PRs but they simply want to finish the race within the cut-off time. They could have been the most experienced ROs/RDs that the country could offer but they usually commit mistakes/lapses in every race that they conduct.

8. Against Corporate Sponsors. You can donate, in kind or in cash, or do some services if you want to sponsor or support my races. But please, don’t tell me what to do about my race.

9. For Awards and Recognition. You can have the distinction of being the most visited blog or recipient of a Blog Award or the most popular runner in the country and I think you deserve such recognition. I just want to simply go on with my advocacy to inform everybody that running is healthy and it is a way of life.

10. A politician or make my runs for political, social, and economic causes. You have a lot of government, semi-government and private entities whose job is to help solve poverty, give opportunities to other people and cure diseases. If you want to run because you want to construct a school or library, I don’t believe you! This is the job of the Departments of Education and Local Governments and they have the budget to implement it. This is the same to other causes and fund-raising benefits where your “cause” is the specific function of a particular Department of the government. 

11. Selective in my running blogs or topics. If there is something wrong about the race like deaths, casualties, cheating, and mistakes/lapses of Race Organizers/Race Directors, I will not hesitate to publish them in this blog as long as I am a participant in the said race in question. This is the best way to provide feedback and evaluate each race with the end-view of improving future races.

12. Lastly, I am not impressed on the quantity/number of runners joining our road races when the Race Organizer could not provide a good quality support services. I could not understand why there seems to be a “contest” on the number of participants in every road race. One says, they have 28,000 runners, another says that they are planning to have 110,000 runners. What is their objective? Is it to impress other countries, for the Guinnes World of Records, for profit, or for publication purposes? We should remember that our streets/roads are too narrow and runners compete with other vehicles for space. If what I’ve heard is correct, our main roads can only accommodate at least 8, 000 runners and if the ROs/RDs know this information, they should not push their luck in coming up with a bigger number of runners than the required volume/capacity of our roads.

Run For The Dolphins

Condura Skyway Marathon: February 7, 2010

I’ve never missed the Condura Run since the time such road race was conceptualized by Patrick and Ton Concepcion and you can consider me as an avid fan and supporter of this run. Even if I was injured last November’s Pasig Marathon and sidelined for almost six weeks of no running workouts, Condura Run was scheduled as my first Marathon Run for the year.

The Cebu City Half-Marathon last January 10 and the Midnight to Sunrise Run for the BDM 102 participants last January 31 were my “training runs” in preparation for the Condura Marathon. I set my mind that the objective of this run was to be able to finish it in less than 5 hours or better, in less than 4 hours & 30 minutes. Condura Marathon is my preparatory run for my incoming “adventure run”.

I checked-in at the coral area 20 minutes before 4:00 AM and I was able to meet the BDM 102 “veterans”; the “usual” faces in marathon races; Officers & Enlisted Personnel in the AFP; the “newbies”; and brothers Patrick and Ton Concepcion. Actually, it was my first time to meet Ton in person after so many exchanges of e-mails as I tried to impart some of my insights about the Condura run few months ago. I greeted most of the runners, smiled, and wish everybody good luck for the run.

First thing that I admire in this race is the punctuality of the gun start! The race started at exactly 4:00 AM after a brief “fireworks”. My plan was to maintain a pace of 6:00 minutes per kilometer for the whole run and expected to finish the race in 4:15 hours.

1st Marathon For the Year!

The second thing that I like in this race is the challenge of the race course. Everybody who finished the marathon would agree that the course is far more challenging than the race course of marathons outside the country. I think the Condura course is more challenging than the San Francisco Marathon! The course will always be in the minds and the “main topic” in the sharing of stories among the marathon finishers. The uphill climb towards the Camp Villamor/NAIA 3 Exit of the Skyway was the “killer” in this course!

The Face of a Road Warrior

The first time that I glanced my GF 305 is when I reached the 10K mark and I found out that my time was 1:02 hours. My 10K run was slower than what I’ve planned by 2 minutes but it did not bother me as I maintained my even pace. When I reached the 20K mark, my time was already 2:01+ hours and I was able to pick-up my pace. However, once I hit the turn-around at the Skyway, I made my pace faster and I was passing one runner from another.

On My Last 2 Kilometers

It was funny that whenever I join a runner or a group of runners, somebody always asked me what was my prevailing pace and I immediately told them that the pace was 5:45 minutes per kilometer (as what I saw on my watch)! But I became guilty of not telling them the accurate pace when I came to realize that after uploading the data from GF 305, my average pace on my way back at the Skyway was a blistering 5:05 minutes per kilometer!  

The third thing that I like in this race is the abundance of Water/Sports Drinks Station and long tables full of water cups. I am just happy that, slowly, the quality of races are getting better with regards to the basic support for the runners. I can consider the influence of the runner-bloggers as the main reason for this improvement. The Race Organizers and Sponsors are already “listening” and “reacting” to the basic needs of the paying runners! As for the Condura Run, they did a wonderful job on this matter. I hope they will remove those unnecessary guys who are handing those cups to the passing runners. It would be better to just simply leave those cups with water on the table and let the runners approach the table and grab their own water. With regards to Sports Drinks, I am a Gatorade-user and I am not used to Carbonated Sports Drinks during the run and so I was not able to drink the 100 Plus Sports Drinks offered at the Aid Station.

Passion, Patience, Focus & Determination (Photo Courtesy of Jaja Galvez-Suarez)

At the 30K mark, my GF 305 registered a time of 3:00 hours flat and I was happy! No cramps, no issues, no pain, and no problem about my support. I stopped briefly to eat my instant oatmeal, fresh banana, and hard-boiled eggs as these will serve as my “fuel” for the last 12 kilometers of the run.

The last 10 kilometers was a long steady run pace with my Elite Team Bald Runner who finished their respective races. My Elite Team Bald Runner lone entry for the Marathon Race, Elmer Sabal, won 1st Runner-Up with a Cash Prize of P 40,000. Other members of the Elite Team; Alquin Bolivar won 1st Runner-Up, Alley Quisay won 2nd Runner-Up, and Crifrankreadel Indapan won the 3rd Runner-Up for the Half-Marathon; and Cora Salcedo won 2nd Runner-Up in the 5K Race, Women’s Category. My Elite Team had improved a lot since I transfered their “training camp” in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

@ Kalayaan Flyover Towrads The Fort

Due to the heat of the sun, I slowed down and there was no reason to speed up my pace on the last 5 kilometers. I have to preserve my body and not to exert a lot of effort on this part of the course. I need to recover quickly after this Marathon race and be able to prepare for my “adventure run” which I intend to start in the coming days.

I finished the Condura Marathon in 4:17:12 hours (Official Time) with an average pace of 6:08 minutes per kilometer and average heart rate of 153 beats per minute. I finished #130 out of 593 finishers. I ranked #11 for the runners 50+ years old. I was able to attain my objective for this race and ready to embark on my “adventure run”.

@ The Finish Line With Macky aka Gleeman's Tale (Photo Courtesy of Macky)

To those who experienced their “first” marathon, congratulations for finishing the race, most especially to those who were trained under our running clinic and BR’s “speed training” at the ULTRA Oval Track. Our coaches, elite athletes, and staff are proud of your accomplishment. 

Lastly, my congratulations to Patrick & Ton Concepcion, Condura, sponsors and to all the volunteers for a great job!

34th MILO Marathon Schedule

This is it! This is the most prestigious marathon race in the country which everybody should prepare!

I received the list of schedule from Mr Andrew Neri of MILO/Nestle, Philippines yesterday and I tried to analyze their race schedule for this year. And the following are my observations:

1. The opening “salvo” for the 34th MILO Marathon will be the conduct of elimination race in Metro Manila on July 4, 2010. And every month, there will be a scheduled elimination race.

2. There will be only one elimination race for the month of August which will be held in Davao City. I wonder why MILO scheduled only one race for this month. I would suspect it is the month of CAMSUR’s Ironman Philippines activities (?).

3. Last year, there were 27 races to include the Finals and the elimination races. This year, MILO/Nestle, Phils reduced the number of races to 18. I suspect that less races means more “improvements” in this year’s Elimination & Final Races.

4. The early announcement of this year’s schedule is very commendable as runners would be able to have enought time to consider their training cycle and focus their preparation for the Metro Manila Marathon Elimination on July 4, 2010. A 5-month preparation or training cycle geared to qualify and have a finish time of sub-4 hours for this race is an ideal length of period to attain such goal.

5. It is not impossible if MILO/Nestle, Phils will double the cash prize for the Champions in the Final Marathon this year. A Cash Prize of P 150,000 for the Men’s and Women’s Champion and a Free Trip to a Prestigious International Marathon Race in the US would be a “quantum leap” in the development of running excellence in the country. I’ve been suggesting this idea before with the people of MILO and bring back the “glory” of MILO Champions when Champions would participate in the Boston Marathon and other international races as part of their prize. (Sa palagay ko ay wala ng mag-TNT sa Amerika ngayon basta bantayan natin ang atleta!!!)

6. Lesser races this year would mean better monitoring of runners during the conduct of races, most especially in Metro Manila. Reports of “cheating” during the Metro Manila Marathon Elimination Race had been an issue among runners as well as bloggers. I hope this bad practice will be finally eradicated in this year’s races. RFID timing devices should be a “must” to such a race with qualifying times.

7. Five (5) months to train for the Marathon Elimination Race in Metro Manila and another five (5) months to prepare for the Final Marathon Race on December 12, 2010 is a good and well-balanced spacing in between two training cycle for the marathon race. Whoever thought of this spacing of races is really a competitive runner! Thanks, Mr Dennis A and the MILO/Nestle marathon team!

Runners, what are you waiting for? It’s time to go back to the drawing board for your training program for the MILO Marathon this coming July 4! Good luck to everybody!

Running Is Like Eating My Dinner

For the month of October 2009, running and finishing road races (marathon & half-marathon) is like eating my formal dinner in a fine restaurant.

The 33rd MILO Marathon Finals last October 11 was for my Starters/Appetizer! I finished the race in 4:03:55 hours.

The Quezon City International Marathon Half-Marathon on October 18 was for  my Salad & Hot Soup! I finished the race as a “pacer & support crew” to my daughter, Jovelle with a time of 2:42+ hours

The SMART Subic International Marathon was the Main Course/Entree. The race started at 4:30 PM yesterday and I finished the race in sub-4 hours as planned with a time of 3:58:09 hours!

The ADIDAS King of the Road Half-Marathon Race early this morning was the Fruit Salad/Dessert. With barely 3 hours of sleep after coming from Subic Freeport, I finished this race in 2:01:08 hours!

The incoming Pasig River International Marathon on November 8 would be my Hot Coffee before I end my dinner!

To those who have finished the past races for this month and were able to attain their goals, my congratulations to you! And for those who will be running the New York Marathon, Pasig River International Marathon, SC Singapore International Marathon, and other Boston Marathon qualifying races in the United States, I wish you the best and injury-free finish!

See you on the road!

See You At Subic!

The SMART Subic International Marathon tomorrow afternoon will be my 5th Marathon Race for the year. After finishing the 33rd MILO Marathon Finals with a time 0f 4:03+ hours two weeks ago and completing the 1st QCIM Half-Marathon with a slow pace, finishing in 2:42+ hours, I think the Subic International Marathon will be a race to go for a faster time.

I plan to finish the race in sub-4 hours and find out if I can have chances in competing in a Boston Qualifier Race in the future.

I was requested by the Race Event Organizer to lead the runners in reciting an Oath of Sportmanship before the start of the Marathon Race. It is a good and commendable idea to remind every runner that they should run honestly and maintain the integrity of the race. I don’t want to elaborate on this issue as there are runners who could not understand what it means to be honest in road races.

To all the runners, rest well today and tonight and we will see each other at the Starting Line tomorrow afternoon. Good Luck!

Note: It should be noted that darkness starts at 5:30 PM. In the absence of street lights along the course and illumination provided by the Race Organizer, it is advisable to be ready with your head lamp or mini-maglite flashlight, just in case.