“Train As You Race”

In Special Units in the military, you always hear their mantra as, “Train As You Fight”. Among elite runners, their mantra should be “Train As You Race”.

In order to have a quick look and observation on the training & preparation of Gerald Sabal and Marcelo Bautista for the 2013 Vibram Hongkong 100K Trail Run in Baguio City, I have to personally see for myself how their training was on-going with regards to their acclimatization to cold weather environment, altitude training, and feedback about their training program & workout. I went up to Baguio City and see the progress of their training. I had a chance to join in one of their daily workouts.

On my first day in Baguio City, I treated them to a lunch and it was there that I was able to give my instructions about their schedule of training; suggested running route in the city and its environs; and gave them their running apparel/kits and their nutrition needs, courtesy of Andre Blumberg who brought the items from Hongkong to Manila during his participation in the latest edition of the TD 100 Ultramarathon Race.

Gerald, Girlene (Wife of Gerald) & Marcelo @ Good Taste, Baguio City
Gerald, Girlene (Wife of Gerald) & Marcelo @ Good Taste, Baguio City

Gerald and Marcelo were instructed to use the Hammer Perpetuum as their source of nutritional needs during the race in order to minimize spent time in stopping in every Aid Station for their food intake. And they should be used to be taking such food mixture/supplement every time they have their daily workouts until it becomes natural for them during the actual race. I clearly explained to the two runners on how to mix the Hammer Powder with water in their hydration bottles and how the mixture is being consumed during the run.

I asked them to run with me all the way to the peak of Mount Santo Tomas on the following day and be able to start using the Hammer mixture as their food intake during the run. We started at 4:00 AM when the temperature in Baguio City was at its coldest at the Marcos Highway & entry to the Green Valley Subdivision. It was still dark and we were able to use our headlights and hand-held flashlight. The two runners were using their respective Salomon S-Lab 5-Liter Hydration Pack where one bottle is full of Hammer Mixture and the other bottle was full of water. As for me, I brought a single bottle of Simple Hydration filled with water and no gels or Power Bars.

Danin Marcelo Gerald 083

At sunrise, we were already at the peak of Mt Cabuyao and it was cold and windy. We pushed, jogged and brisk-walked, for another 4 kilometers until we reached the peak of Mount Santo Tomas. Before we reached the peak of Mt Santo Tomas, I felt all my fingers were already numbed and could hardly clench my fist because of the cold temperature. The wind had become stronger, producing a distinct loud sound within the surroundings. Marcelo told me that it is always cold and windy as one approaches the top of Mt Santo Tomas. We end up on the building structures and antennae on the peak of the mountain and we had some picture taking moments.

At The Peak Of Mt Santo Tomas (2,250 MASL)
At The Peak Of Mt Santo Tomas (2,250 MASL)

After a few minutes, we started our descent towards Mt Cabuyao but my fingers were still numbed and hard! It was an easy jog in going back to Mt Cabuyao. From Mt Cabuyao, I took some pictures of the two elite runners going down towards Marcos Highway.

My run to the peak of Mount Cabuyao and Mount Santo Tomas officially started my next season of “peak bagging” feats. It is a “short” but long 24K run but it took me 4 hours & 20 minutes for the said workout.

After the workout, I had another chance to get feedback from my runners. They told me that they like the Hammer Mixture and they did not have any stomach issues. I instructed them to use it every time they have their workout until they taper down before the event.

For one of their long runs before tapering, I told them to run the Baguio City-Ambuklao Dam-Baguio City route and be able to use the Hammer Mix during the duration of their run. They were able to follow my instruction and they were able to finish the course in 7+ hours! The feedback was that they liked the Hammer Mix and they did not have any stomach issues.

A good teamwork developed between the two runners for the three weeks that they have trained together in Baguio City. The two shared their strengths and weaknesses and I could see that both runners respect each other. Practically, both runners lived together in one place during the duration of their training.

I can’t consider myself as their Coach & Manager but I think I am a “facilitator” and a “father-figure” to them with regards to their training and preparation for the “Big Dance” in Hongkong. Sometimes, I would still act as a Military Commander & General to them just to stress and give importance to what I am telling them. However, the bottom line of what I’ve been telling them is all about Discipline& Being Focused to their Goal! And impressed on them the mantra, “Train As You Race”!

As these two runners are tapering for the running event and preparing for their departure to Hongkong in one week’s time, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the runners, local & international, who contributed financial support to these two runners and to Andre Blumberg of Hongkong who is the Principal Sponsor for our Pinoy Elite Runners to the 2013 Vibram Hongkong 100K Trail Run. Thank you very much!



In almost seven (7) days, I got 11,000+ hits because of “Marcelo, The Champion”.

I was overwhelmed with the number of people/readers who shared my story/blogpost on Facebook and Twitter and for those who made their comment/s on the blog itself. Thank you for those kind words and shower of support to Marcelo Bautista, Champion of the 1st Marcos-Kennon 50-Mile Ultra Road Classic.

Mayor Bellarmin “Red” Flores of Rosario, La Union and Former Mayor Larry Flores will be bringing Marcelo to Manila to join the MILO Marathon Manila Elimination Race which will be held this coming Sunday, July 29, 2012. Wap Forbes Flores had also told me that a new complete set of running kit had been delivered personally to Marcelo in Baguio City.

Andre Blumberg of Hong Kong had also committed to support the registration fee of Marcelo to the 2013 The North Face 100K Endurance Race.

Jerome Bautista and other ultrarunners as well as marathon runners had promised also to donate shoes and running apparel to Marcelo.

I hope by this time Marcelo had already received some shower of support and became an instant celebrity as a result of my story.

Marcelo Before The Start of the MK50 (Photo Courtesy of Ryan Jucutan)

Good luck and See you at the MILO Marathon Manila Elimination Race!

Marcelo, The Champion

He arrived at the Starting Area two hours before the Gun Start. I personally don’t know the man but looking at his physique, I already knew that he is an elite runner. I just observed him walking around and within the Assembly Area of the Race inside the Rosario Municipal Plaza (Rosario, La Union) and I was trying to figure out his running kit. He was wearing the usual running shorts with an upper garment which seems to be a midrib attire usually worn by elite lady runners as well as the men’s elite. He was wearing those colourful ladies’ hose/socks whose length is up above the knees and the color on one leg is black and the other one leg is a combination of light green, pink and cream. The socks must be functional for him as a combination of the usual socks and calves sleeves! He was wearing an old shoe which I suspected to be a worn-out racer flats.

He seems to have a problematic face and trying to look a familiar face within the crowd. After few minutes, he figured out whom to approach and asked about the race. He came to me and asked me if he can join the race. I said, yes! I pointed where my staff was located to show him where he should register and get his race kit. But his facial expression showed some problem. He was telling me that he was to be sponsored by another runner and he was waiting for the said runner to arrive for him to pay the registration fee. He told me that he “hitched a ride” in one of the vegetable cargo trucks from Baguio City to reach Rosario, La Union and be able to join the race. He pleaded to me that he is interested to join the race as he knows the route and he would like to test his running capability for an ultra distance. He was showing me some folded bills of money (Fifty Peso bills) which he said is not enough for the registration fee. (I found out later that he has only 450+ pesos tucked in his running shorts) He told me that this is the first time for him to run an ultra distance of that long.

I can see on the face of the runner that he is serious. I told him to wait and he should see me before I conduct the last briefing for all the runners. (I was thinking of giving him a free race kit before the start of the race!)

Bernadette Schleuter from Guam, USA came to me and asked if I will allow her to sponsor Marcelo to join the race. I was surprised and little embarrassed to find out that Marcelo approached the lady runner to support him in the said race. I said “yes” to Bernadette. Bernadette gave him P 1,000 and I accepted the money as his registration fee (50% discount rate). I told him to keep his own money for any contingencies during the race and for his fare in going back to Baguio City.

Marcelo In Red Running Kit Bought From “Ukay-Ukay” & Eating His Food Few Seconds From the Starting Line

I allowed him to run without any lights and reflective vest. I told him to be very careful of the incoming traffic and warn him about the dangers of falling rocks and constructions being done along Kennon Road. He gave me the assurance that he will run responsibly and carefully during night time and take extra careful along Kennon Run. He assured me that he is very familiar with Kennon Road.

I was touched when almost all the runners from Baguio City offered him Gels, fruits, power bars and other bite foods before the start of the race. He was not wearing any hydration pack or “fuel” belt! He just simply tucked the gels, bars, and fruits on his running shorts and started eating and drinking some water few minutes before the start of the race.

Once the gun was fired, he positioned himself at the front and he maintained his position throughout the race. He reached the Checkpoint at the View Deck of Kennon Road in 5:15+ hours! The next runner to reach the Checkpoint was more than two hours behind him. As he predicted to finish the race in 7 hours, he crossed the finish line in 7:56:50 hours!

Marcelo At The Center Receiving His Trophy From Mayor Flores

My staff offered him some drinks and food after he crossed the Finish Line! I congratulated him for setting a Course Record for the route and told him to rest/sleep until the rest of the runners would arrive at the Finish Line. After eating, I asked one of the staff of the Mayor to bring him to the house where he left his things which is one kilometer from the Finish Line by riding tandem on a motorcycle but he refused the offer. Instead, he jogged to the house and returned to the Assembly/Finish Area after 40 minutes. He slept and later waited for the rest of the runners to arrive.

After breakfast the day after, I had the chance to talk to him together with the Municipal Mayor of Rosario. I found out that he is thirty-two (32) years old, married and residing in Baguio City without any children. He works as a “segregator” with the Waste Management of Baguio City with a monthly take home pay of P 2,500.00. He is known by the Mayor of Rosario to be a consistent winner in their annual 5K Run where the latest run/race was during the birthday of the Mayor last April. He was awarded some Cash Prize for winning the event. He is also a consistent Podium Finisher in running events in Baguio City. At present, he is among the top 5 runners of Baguio City. He won the latest Race to Mt Cabuyao from Burnham Park. Among his prizes was a new running shoes which he sold to a cheaper price due to lack of money to support his training.

When I asked about his hydration and nutrition, he told me that he only drinks when he is thirsty and eat when he is hungry during races. On a regular day, he drinks hot coffee in the morning after his early morning run and that’s it! No breakfast, lunch and snacks! He eats once a day for his dinner after having his running workout in the afternoon. He explained that he eats a lot of rice with only one viand for the dinner, his only decent meal for the day.

He works as a waste segregator from 7:00 AM up to 3:00 PM and he has time for his early morning jog and late afternoon running workout. He sleeps early in the evening after taking his dinner. He has no vices and he intimated to me that he had no running-related injuries so far!

He said that he can still run a sub-38 minutes 10K race with the proper training and preparation. He was challenged by the Municipal Mayor to run a Full Marathon with a finish time of 2:45 to 2:55 hours in this coming MILO Manila Marathon Elimination Race by the end of this month.

The Flores Family, to include Wap Forbes Flores, had promised him a new racing shoes, running apparel (shirt & shorts) and running socks for the said event. To top it all, his transportation, food and accommodation needs will be provided by the Flores Family. He promised me that he will not sell whatever running kits he will get from the Flores Family.

The Pink Reebok Shoes Was The Shoe That Marcelo Used During The Race. He Changed To Another Tattered Brooks Shoes During Breakfast & Awarding Ceremony

You might ask, why I am telling this story about Marcelo. It’s because he is your typical fast and strong Pinoy runner who is unknown from those glitzy and “very promising” road races in Metro Manila. “Very promising” because there are Race Organizers who promise some cash prizes or travel abroad to compete but nothing comes out for the winner in the end. They are unknown because they are poor and could hardly afford the registration fees not unless they are sponsored by others. These “unknown” elite runners will never land on the pages of your typical runners’ or sports magazines!

There are more “Marcelos” in the provinces who could be Champion in Road Races and Running Events. All we need is to bring the races in to the provinces and allow these unknown runners to join and prove their mettle even if there are no cash prizes. Ultrarunners have the heart and passion to help these runners, this trait makes us above than those runners who only care for themselves and their own personal interest!

Thanks to Bernadette Schleuter and to those Ultrarunners who helped Marcelo achieved his goal as the Champion of the 1st Marcos-Kennon 50-Mile Ultra Road Classic. Please continue helping these “poor & unknown” runners!

We hope to look for more “Marcelos” in the provinces throughout the country and let them join our ultrarunning events.

(Note: If you have an extra new/slightly used running shoes with size 8 1/2, feel free to contact me and we’ll give your donation of shoes to Marcelo. Thanks!)