1st Marcos-Kennon 50-Mile Ultra Road Classic

This is the first official ultra marathon road race that traces the route from Rosario, La Union via the Marcos Highway to Baguio City and then go back to the starting area via Kennon Road. The route covers a distance of 50 miles or 80 kilometers. This is considered as an ultra mountain running event. The route is very popular among cyclists and it is always a part of a yearly professional cycling event in the country.

Now, ultrarunners will have to experience what it takes to travel on that route on foot!

I personally ran the route for two days—starting at 3:30 PM at the Saitan Junction and proceeded to the Marcos Highway, all the way to Baguio City and in the following day, continued my run along Kennon Road and got back to where I started. The details and pictures are described in the following posts:


For those who are interested to experience the run, they could join this event. This road run will kick-off the monthly ultra events that will prepare the 2013 BDM 102 and 160 participants to build-up their mileage in preparation for the “Big Dance” on the first weekend of March next year! Or shall we say the “Biggest Ultra Road Party” in the country! Last year, it was the Fort Magsaysay To Dingalan, Aurora 60K Ultra Road Race that started the “road to the 2012 BDM 102/160” to those who successfully finished the races.

If you ask those runners who finished the upper 50% of the field who joined the BDM Races this year about their training, they will tell you that they have joined the monthly ultra races before the D-Day, whether they were organized by me, Jonel of FrontRunner Magazine or by the ultrarunners in Visayas and Mindanao. What matters most is that you build-up those mileages for your foundation of endurance and at the same time assess the condition of your body.

Aside from these reasons, you could also start to find out the best apparel (shoes, shirt, shorts, socks, compression attire or not and others) for your ultra runs. Make sure to test them if they give you chafing, blisters or pain on your legs and joints (for the shoes). It is also in these runs that you test what is best for you in terms of your hydration and nutritional needs. Plus the need to find out how to deal with the heat of the sun during the run. For sure, after these monthly ultra runs you should have been able to adapt to the challenges for the BDM Races. This is where your running accessories, like headlamps/flashlights and reflectorized vest, will be tested.

Having said the importance of this run, the following are the details/rules and regulation of the ultra event:

1. A runner has the option to be self-supported or supported by a vehicle with support crew. Only four-wheeled vehicles are allowed as support vehicles. A support vehicle can support a maximum of four (4) runners.

2. No bandits will be allowed in the race.

3. Runners should position themselves ALWAYS at the left side of the road, facing the incoming traffic. Always be on Alert on the traffic infront and on your back. Runners should ALWAYS be on SINGLE FILE on the left side of the road.

4. The use of Ipods, MP3s and earphones are allowed as long as runners could still hear his surroundings and the sound of the incoming traffic. Always stay alert while running or walking.

5. Support Vehicle should stop always on the farthest RIGHT side of the road with the Warning Lights ON. As compared with Marcos Highway, Kennon Road is very narrow that your Support Vehicle needs an ample space to park in order not to impede the flow of traffic on the highway. In addition, most of the runners will hit this road on midnight up to the following early morning.

6. Support Vehicles are strictly NOT ALLOWED to “shadow” their respective runners. This is a ground for disqualification of runners. All support Vehicles should “leap frog” their runner depending on the instruction and capability of the runner.

7. Be extra careful, for the support crew and runner, in crossing the highway before and after “pit stops”.

8. All runners should have headlamp/flashlight and reflective vest or reflectorized tapes on their running apparel during the night run.

9. All runners must also bring with them First Aid Kit and Hydration system. Trekking Poles are allowed.

10. Start and Finish Area will be at the Municipal Plaza of Rosario, La Union. Assembly Time is at 2:00 PM of Saturday, July 14, 2012. The race will start at 3:00 PM.

11. The race has a cut-off time of 18 hours. The race closes at 9:00 AM of Sunday, July 15, 2012. There will be checkpoints along the route but there will be NO imposed cut-off times on them.

12. Registration Centers: ARC Manila c/o Perkins Briones and/or Deposit Registration Fee at BPI Savings Account #0296-0673-22 in the name of Jovenal Narcise. If payment will be made through BPI account, runner should send the scanned copy of the deposit slip to jovie75@hotmail.com and bring it to the starting area on race day.  Registration fee is P 2,000.00. The registration fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.

13. To cater to the ultrarunners coming from the North and nearby provinces, we will ALLOW On Site Registration provided they arrive at the Assembly Area earlier than the stated assembly time.

14. There will be NO Cash Prizes. Podium Finishers (1-2-3 for Men & Women) will receive trophies. Each finisher will receive Special Commemorative Finisher’s Medal and Finisher’s T-Shirt. Ranking based from the Official Result will earn points for the 2012 PAU Runner of the Year Award. (Note: Certificate of Finish will be given on later date)

15. Pacers are not allowed.

Good luck and see you at the Starting Line!

Birth Of Another Ultra Route

March 9-10, 2012

After the Awarding Ceremony & Get Together Party for the 2012 BDM and PAU Races, I had already a plan in my mind to try the initial King of the Mountain Road Race envisioned by Jonel two years ago. This is the Road Race which he dubbed as the Baguio To Baguio Route which is popular among professional cyclists and the popular cycling lap that determines who would eventually  win in the yearly Professional Cycling Event in the Country.

However, the main reason and goal of this running trip/adventure run was to be able to recon the King of the Mountain Mt Ugo Trail Marathon route which I was planning to join. Running along the Marcos Highway, Kennon Road, and Naguilian Road would serve as my easy long runs as part of the training before going to Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya.

Coming from Manila after breakfast of Friday, March 9, I drove my car without any target time for me to start my run as I planned to start at the Saitan Junction in Rosario, La Union once I reach the place and after wearing my running shoes. At exactly 3:00 PM, I arrived at the planned starting area and I was surprised to see that the structure on the said place is already abandoned and left to rot and decay. I wonder who is supposed to be responsible for its upkeep and cleanliness. Anyway, I parked the car and started to eat some cooked foods which we brought for my adventure run. We had cooked rice, pork and chicken adobo and fried fish. After my full meal, I changed to my running attire and I was ready to start my run.

My route has to take the Maharlika Highway going to the town/poblacion of Rosario, La Union and then turn right at the Junction which is the start of the Marcos Highway which is now called, “Ben Palispis Highway”. I wonder who is this guy who replaced the name of the former President of the country! From the Junction, the Marcos Highway would lead me to Baguio City. I finally started my run at 3:30 PM.

Strictly following my run-walk method of 3 minutes of run & 45 seconds brisk walk, I was able to progress my ascent to the summer capital of the country. My support vehicle would be able to “leap-frog” every 3 kilometers which is the estimated time that I would consume the water or Gatorade mix on my “Sprint” Nathan hand-held bottle. The last 5 kilometers climb to Baguio City would be the most challenging part of the route as I had to brisk walk most of the distance. I was able to run and walk the Marcos Highway going to Baguio City, a distance of 47 kilometers with a total gain of more than 6,000+ feet from the place where I started, at Barangay Saitan, Rosario, La Union. I did it in 8:20+ hours. I stopped my run infront of the Baguio General Hospital.

After an overnight rest in one of the decent hotels in Baguio City, I continued my run the following day from where I stopped and run through the famous Kennon Road going back to where I started. It was all downhill but I had to be cautious because I don’t want my quads and knees to suffer for the pounding with the distance of 33 kilometers. My trekking poles provided me with much comfort on those steep downhill portions of the route. With longer “pit stops”, I was able to reach my destination in 6:00+ hours.

After completing the 2-day running feat, I would discover that the total distance would result to 80 kilometers which is a good 50-miler route for an ultrarunning event. Thus, I decided to dubbed the event on this route as the “Marcos-Kennon 50-Mile Ultra Road Classic”. A status posted at FB gave some commitments from running-friends to help and support in the conduct of this event. Thanks to my ultra running friends!

I’ve decided not to run the Saitan, Rosario to Bauang, La Union route along the Maharlika Highway and instead, measured the distance aboard my car using my GF 305 watch. The distance registered at 53 Kilometers. Stayed overnight in Bauang, La Union. Enjoyed the food, beach and sea breeze of the place and I enjoyed my much-needed rest. From the Bauang, La Union Junction to Baguio City, the distance is 44 Kilometers up to Burnham Park. I did not run through the route but I simply observed the terrain closely as I drove towards Baguio City.

In summary, adding up all the routes of the Baguio-Baguio, the Original King of the Mountain Road Ultra of Jonel, it has a total distance of 224 Kilometers and it can be depicted on the following measured legs:

Baguio City To Saitan, Rosario via Kennon Road—33 Kilometers

Saitan, Rosario To Baguio City via Marcos Highway—47 Kilometers

Baguio City To Bauang, La Union via Nagulian Rd—44 Kilometers

Bauang, La Union To Saitan, Rosario via Maharlika—53 Kilometers

Saitan, Rosario To Baguio City via Marcos Highway—47 Kilometers

I will let Jonel push through with his plan Baguio-Baguio Route to be implimented. However, I will just take a portion of the said route as another challenging race route for interested ultrarunners to experience. Thus, the “Marcos-Kennon 50-Mile Ultra Road Classic” is born. Planning for this race route is not complete if I don’t share to you what are the detailed expenses incurred in order to discover and plan a certain ultrarunning route.

The following were my expenses incurred in the said trip:

Gasoline Expenses (Round Trip From Manila-Baguio & Back)—P 5,000

Food Expenses For 3 Days (For 2 Persons)—P 4,000

Hotel Accommodations—P 4,500

Miscellaneous Expenses—P 1,000

Hydration & Nutrition Needs For My Recon Runs—P 3,000

T   o   t   a    l ————-P 17,500

This is excluding for the Payment for the Wear & Tear/Service for the Car that I am using in my Recon Runs. And since this is my passion, I don’t give a price or costing on the time and effort/services I have to provide in order to create a safe road race for everybody. In addition, the daily salaries of my driver and assistant/support crew are not yet included in the above costs!

I hope in the future, Jonel would be able to stage a multi-day running event on his original Baguio-Baguio Route.

The Ultra Race along this route will come sooner than you think! Keep on running!