How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon (Prologue)


It was an accident or spur of the moment when I decided to register for the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race after I DNF at the 2017 Javelina Jundred 100-Mile Endurance. I was mentally and physically devastated when I was driving from Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona to Los Angeles, California on October 29, 2017 after the event. It was supposed to be my first 100-mile race with the CTS Coaching Service which I started to enroll in the middle of June 2017. I was too confident that after 4 months of training under my CTS Coach, I would be able to finish the Javelina Jundred. However, at Mile 38, I started to have a “stomach problem” and that I had to “throw-up” my ingested food and the fluids that I have taken few meters after I left the last Aid Station. It took me 34 minutes to finish Mile 38 and walked all the way to the end of the 2nd loop at the elapsed time of 10:42+ hours. I rested in my tent for almost 16 minutes to recover and find out if I can still take in some fluids and food. However, my body took a lot of beating due to the heat of the day. I decided to DNF with the elapsed time of 10:56+ hours at 42 miles with another one hour of buffer time to rest some more. But on hindsight, while I was thinking on my way back to Los Angeles, I should have slept and spent the whole one hour for my body to recover and just in time for the heat of the day to cool off as it was already early in the evening.

Training Peak’s Data On My Javelina Jundred Run

Reviewing my data on Training Peaks during the said event, I had 4 Peak Performances and an Average Pace of 14-15 minutes per mile which I consider to be above average from my past performance considering that it was too hot that time. My recurring problem with my gut due to the heat  really zapped my body physically and mentally. As a consolation, I would think also that the elapsed period (4 months) that I was with CTS Coaching Service was not enough for me to moulded as an ultrarunner at the age of 65 years old. I talked to my Coach and I told him what really happened and he gave me advises and suggestions on how to manage my nutrition problem. He suggested for me to take some rest the following week and do some easy runs for my recovery.

The day after I arrived in Los Angeles, I don’t know what came into my mind when I tried to browse for any race to be held within the Los Angeles area in the coming days and weeks. Surprisingly, I came across the Revel Canyon City Marathon Race which is to be held on November 4, 2017,  six days after I DNF at the Javelina Jundred, and I registered with the aim to finish the race. I immediately called and informed my friend, Rowell Ramos, to monitor me during the race and if he has the time, meet me at the Finish Line. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon was never in my mind to be my goal when I registered in this race. I just wanted to run and finish a race!

My Peak Performances In The 2017 Javelina Jundred 100 & My Best Performance In An Trail Ultra Race

And the rest is history. I have to photo grab the data which I retrieved from Training Peaks where you can see the Ten (10) Peak Performances that I did in the said Marathon Race which are self-explanatory.

Will I ever go back to Phoenix, Arizona, USA to finish this race? Why not?

Unfortunately, the Revel Canyon City Marathon Race that I joined was the last edition of the said race. It is now being held in Big Bear, California. This year, I am registered to join this year’s edition with the hope that the Covid19 restrictions will be lifted soon.

There are two things that you would think with this story. Is the CTS Coaching Service where I have enrolled and subscribed was the main reason why I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon? Or Was it the Downhill Elevation of the Revel Marathon Course contributed to my faster time for an Old Runner with the age of 65? Neither of the two were the main reasons why I started my journey to the Boston Marathon. It is the “Man In The Arena”!

Thank you for reading!

How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon (Introduction)


Starting today, June 16, 2020, I will be starting a series of posts/blogs on the topic, “How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon”. The objective of these series is to inspire and motivate other runners to qualify for the Boston Marathon, most specially, to the local runners in the Philippines. Qualifying For The Boston Marathon means through their Qualifying Time Standard and not through their Charity Entry.

When I started running seriously in the early 70s for my First Marathon Race in Metro Manila, I started to know about the Boston Marathon when I decided to buy old copies of the Runner’s World Magazine in Dau, Angeles City. Every single issue of the magazine had the Boston Marathon mentioned in most of the articles and stories. Later, I found out that it is the Oldest and Most Prestigious Marathon Race in the US, and to some, in the entire World.

In the early days of the “running boom” in the Philippines in the 70s and early 80s, there were Winners/Champions of the MILO Marathon then who were brought to the USA to join the Boston Marathon as part of their Prize. But apparently, it was stopped. I am not sure how many of our past MILO Marathon Champions who were fortunate to join this prestigious Marathon Race.

As I trained and joined in my first Local Marathon Races in Manila, I have always thought of comparing my Finish Times with the Qualifying Times of the Boston Marathon then. I was frustrated to find out that the Qualifying Time for my Age Bracket/s then (25-29; 30-34; and 35-40) were too fast as compared to my Finish Time/s in local Marathon Races. There was a time when I was assigned in PMA, Baguio City (1986-1989) and thought of improving my running performance because of the challenging terrain and elevation as I continued running with my subordinates. This was where I introduced the “500-Km Club” among my Unit’s/Office Personnel where we would run along Kennon Road and around the PMA Compound and Vicinity on a regular basis. Unfortunately, on those days, there were no longer Marathon Races being organized in Metro Manila. After being transferred to Mindanao for a few months and then later to the Headquarters Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City in the late 80s and early 90s, I completely forgot my goal  to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Fast Forward. Not until I started this blog in the late 2007 that Boston Marathon kept coming back into my mind. However, with the birth of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race, Boston Marathon was completely forgotten as I slowly drifted to the world of Ultramarathon and Ultra Trail Running. To tell you the truth, it was completely accidental that I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon when I joined and finished the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race and surprisingly, I got the First Place in the 65-69 Age Category Bracket with a time of 3:46:06 hours which is 14 minutes faster than my Boston Marathon Qualifying Time for the same Age Bracket.

Finisher’s Medal & Certificate Of Award @ 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon

After I finished the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race, it took me days, weeks, and months to digest, collate, assess and make a conclusion on what went right before and during the race. Up to this time, I am still trying to recall the factors that contributed to my successful effort to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Through this blog, I will share to you the details of this journey. It is very easy to say that it takes determination, discipline, consistency, patience, and focus to be able to attain your goal in our lives and these attributes apply also to being qualified to the Boston Marathon. But the details that you have to do under these attributes will be challenging, and to some, are very frustrating.

If you are attempting or have the goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon, brace for the worst, and prepare your body physically and mentally. Financially, will come later! So, join me in this journey in recalling my story on how I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon (The Legit Way).

Thank you for reading!

Boston Marathon (BAA) Logo

Revisiting Maffetone’s Training Method (2020)


Sometime on the first week of August 2011, I have written on this blog about the Maffetone’s Training in Running and it was very effective then during my training days in preparation for my running races. For the whole month of August 2011, almost all my blogposts were devoted on my personal application of the MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) Test and the Carbohydrate’s “Two-Week Test”. You can revisit and review these posts by clicking the links. All of these posts were my personal experience and application of such training method after buying the Kindle Edition of the book, Dr. Phil Maffetone’s “The Big Book On Endurance Training and Racing” which I bought then at Amazon.com.

Book Of Dr Phil Maffetone

Fast Forward. Two weeks ago, I came across, by accident, a book by Stu Mittleman entitled “Slow Burn: Burn Fat By Exercising Slower” and I recalled my past posts about the Maffetone’s Training and reviewed them again together with the Kindle Edition of Dr Phil Maffetone’s Book. On the following day, I started applying the Stu Mittleman running method and after a few days, I realized that I have to go back to the Maffetone Training Method. And that is now what I have been doing for almost 3 weeks, as I am now on my third week.

I have been following the “180 Formula” which means that to come up with a Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF), my Hear Rate should be, 180 minus my age of 68 which is 112. But since I am more than 65 years old and had been regularly running (without any injuries) for the past years, I can add 10 beats per minute to 112, making my Maximum Heart Rate to 122 beats per minute using the MAF Method. I have been using my SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch as my Heart Rate Monitor.

For the past weeks, I have been diligently following the MAF Heart Rate in my easy and recovery runs where my HR Average ranges from 111 to 117 beats per minute. However, what is very unique in my application of the MAF is that I am using it in my daily runs within my Backyard Loop. My Backyard Loop is 95% single track trail with uneven ground with some feet of elevation which has a distance of 480 meters in one loop. As compared when I was doing the MAF in 2011, my runs were done on paved roads and my monthly MAF Tests were done in an Oval Track (Remy Field in Subic Freeport). I was running faster then because the conditions of the road and oval track were very ideal.

On my third week since Monday, I have been registering an Average of 112 to 117 beats per minute in my daily runs within my Backyard Loop with an Average Speed of 3.6 to 3.8 miles per hour. On the paved road, with the same average of HR, I could get an Average Speed of 4.6-5.0 miles per hour or faster.

I plan to conduct my first MAF Test using my Backyard Loop as the venue next week (4th week) instead of going to the Oval Track. Another option would be to conduct the MAF Test along the paved road where I could determine a distance of One Mile. We will see if I would be able to do two sets of MAF Tests next week, one for trail and another for the road.

If you are interested to learn more about the Maffetone Training Method, you can simply buy the book or go to the website of Dr Phil Maffetone as you can download the MAF Method for FREE. You can also get many information about everything about Nutrition and Training.

If you have a YouTube account, please visit and subscribe to my YouTube Channel as I will be posting Videos about my training using the Maffetone Method.

Thank you for reading this post. Have a good day!

 

2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Official Video


A few weeks after I finished the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race, I received an e-mail telling me that my Official Pictures and Video are ready to be uploaded. I was surprised to receive such message, most especially, when such documentation service from the Race Organizer had provided such to all the Finishers for FREE! This is the beauty and advantage of the Revel Races being held in the US. Most of their races are downhill, lesser in number of participants, Boston Marathon Qualifier, cheap as compared to others, no lottery, and free pictures/videos. They have also high quality “swags” like Finisher’s T-Shirts and Medals. At one time, they gave a Free Pair of Goodr Sunglasses.

The following is the video of the Race and it is personalized for me as a souvenir for the race. It is unfortunate that the 2017 edition was the last edition of this Marathon Race in Azusa, California. The Race Organizer had transferred the venue to Big Bear, California and I missed to join it last year.

Thank you for watching this short video. And thank you for dropping by.

Have a nice day!

I am A Legit Boston Marathon Qualified Runner!


I am posting this video taken by my friend, Rowell Ramos, on the last few meters before the Finish Line of the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race. At the age of 65 years old, I have finally realized to qualify to join the “Holy Grail of Marathon Races” and the World’s Most Prestigious Marathon Race, The Boston Marathon Race. I got the First Place in the Age Category of 65-69 years old in this event with an Official Finish Time of 3:46:06 hours which is 16 minutes faster than my Age Qualifying Time.

Thank you, Rowell for taking the initiative of taking this video as it means a lot to me as a Runner. I will always be inspired to continue my daily runs as I watch this most important and memorable video in my life.

As for my readers and friends, I hope you will be inspired to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I have yet to write a post about my experience in joining and finishing the 2019 Boston Marathon in this website. It will be an epic adventure to read it, for sure!

My next post will be the Official Video sent by the Race Organizer of the Revel Canyon City Marathon Race.

Thank you for reading this short post and watching this video. Have a good day!

 

What Is Success In An Ultra Race?


As I was browsing on my past posts/stories in this blog yesterday, I came across with this “insight” which I have written on February 14, 2014 (Valentine’s Day) and never was able to publish it in this blog. I was wondering what could be the reason why I was not able to post this as this post answers the BIG “WHY” I have been to ultramarathon and thus, creating an iconic Ultramarathon Event in the country which is the “Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race”. And this is my insight as an ultra marathoner (road and trail) and a Race Director and Organizer of Ultra Running Events which up to now is still true and applicable up to the present.

It is almost SIX years when I started to float the idea of conducting an ultra marathon race in the country and in this year of 2014, it will be the 6th edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race. On hindsight, I have been thinking why I organized this kind of road running event and slowly made it as something to be proud of among runners in the country.

It all started when I saw a website of a marathon event that is named after the Bataan Death March which is being held in the desert of White Sands, New Mexico, USA. I saw this website when I was still in the active service in 1999. After a year, I implemented the same concept of the race among the units of the Philippine Army and made it as a Team Competition to include the US Army & Marines contingent based in the country. Although the race covered only 25 kilometers of the Bataan Death March Route, it became a success even if we did not ask for any Registration Fees from the Team Participants. It was simply sponsored by the Philippine Army, through my Office as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Training and Education, G-8. In simple terms, I was the Chief Trainor & Educator of the Philippine Army nationwide!

If I can still remember it right, I only gave Trophies to the Top Three Teams and there were NO Finisher’s Medals and Finisher’s T-Shirts. Our office and my staff gave packed lunch to all the participants and we parted ways as happy competitors and runners. In the same manner, our civilian guest runners were just treated with the said packed lunch at the finish area.

Sadly, when I got transferred to Mindanao for a Combat Commander position, my BDM efforts just died and forgotten.

Fast Forward. Retirement and the Freedom to Run in any place and time of the day gave me a more focused attention to the Ultra Races that I’ve organized in the past. Of course, my being a Retired Major General of the Armed Services had also helped me in my coordination with the AFP, PNP, and the Local Governments. And whenever any of my ultra races is being concluded with all the finishers enjoying their triumph and victory, I always get a heart-warming feedback of “Congratulations For a Successful Event!” from the other runners, friends from Facebook, and from the thousands of followers of my blog.

It is a very humbling feeling when I get such feedback and it is already enough “compensation” for the preparation, coordination, risk, sleepless and tiring moments just to be able to monitor the safety of the runners and the progress of the race.

Personally, success to me in every race, is NOT in the number of registered runners. I would be happier if I have lesser in the number of runners whom I personally know and who would stick to follow my Race’s Rules & Regulations. Furthermore, I would be happiest when I hear stories among my runners on how they help each other in order to finish the race. These ultra runners whom I usually call “the usual suspects” are aware that the registration fee that they have paid to join the event is NOT enough to pay for my “Talent Fee” for seeing to it that they are safe and secured during the event.

But, most of the reasons for a Successful Event is attributed to the Competing Runner himself/herself. In ultra races, a runner can not “fake’ his performance backed with lackluster training and preparation. It takes a lot of pounding on the ground, discipline, determination, positive attitude, and critical problem solving if an ultra runner wants a decent finish in a race without any injury or “issues”. So, if a runner registers a Course Record Time for the event, it becomes a motivation for the others to work harder in their next training & preparation. Success for a runner is being able to overcome one’s inner demons, pain , suffering, and other personal challenges!

Success does not mean profit or money that a Race Organizer would earn from each event. Since I am not being backed up or sponsored by any Corporate Entity, a runner’s registration fee would be spent for the Podium Finisher’s Trophies, Finisher’s Medals, Finisher’s Shirts, Certificates, Race Bibs, Tarpaulins, Payment For Marshals & Event’s Staff,  Ambulance/Medical Team Services, Planning & Coordination, Timing Services, Food For Runners at the Finish Line, and Travel Expenses. Sad to say, I am not being paid for being the Race Director!

To tell you the truth, I am getting richer from my “tax-free” monthly pension and “tax-free” interests of my investments and rentals to my properties. Even without organizing or directing ultra races, I will be happy and contended sitting on my rocking chair while listening my music from my Bose Sound System and scrolling/reading your Facebook status on my MacBook Air and Apple iPhone!

Success, therefore, to me in races is developing friendships and maintaining those friendship so that in every race, a runner would learn something for him/her to be a better person. Better would mean stronger, healthier, more matured, more friendly, and have a better outlook in life.

The highest level of success is when ones experience as a Runner and Race Director/Organizer is being shared to others and such experience becomes an inspiration to emulate. And this blog has that main objective to share my experience to everybody.

Success Is Being Healthy At The Age Of 62
Success Is Being Healthy At The Age Of 62

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and have the motivation to challenge yourself to run and adhere the outdoors for the greater good of a healthy lifestyle. Please subscribe to this blog for more updates and stories. Thank you!

Cancelled Races & Trips Due To Covid-19


After finishing the 2020 Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon (BUTM) 106K Race in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia on March 15, 2020, the Philippines was put on strict Lockdown due to Covid-19 upon my arrival in Manila in the early morning of March 17, 2020. From the Manila International Airport, I immediately went directly to my Playground, driving my personal vehicle, in the Province of Bataan which is 110 kilometers away northwest of Metro Manila. This is the place where I spent those “Lockdown” period/days as imposed by the Government due to the pandemic brought about by Covid-19.

Having surrounded with hills and mountains in my Playground and with a “Backyard Loop” once I step out of the door of the house, I maintained my daily training with the hope that the races where I registered would still be held as scheduled.

Sacrifice Valley Ridge Trail

A new ultra trail race of KOTM (King of the Mountains) series in the Cordillera Region, Pulag 100K Ultra Trail Race, would be in its first edition on April 18-19, 2020, was supposed to be my next race for the year. But because of the prevailing situation in the country, the Race Director deemed it to be cancelled for safety reasons. Despite this situation, I did a “virtual run” on the date of the event in my Backyard Loop where I finished 50K in 11 hours and some minutes!

For the month of May, I was supposed to go to California, USA and join the 2020 Western States 100-Mile Memorial Day Training Runs for the said weekend. I made already my accommodation reservation and I was glad I was not charged for it. Also, I was glad that my travel reservations were not scheduled before the Lockdown was imposed.

By the end of this June, I was supposed to go to Europe as I was accepted in a lottery to join the 2020 Mont Blanc Du Marathon 42K Race in Chamonix, France but it was cancelled by the Race Organizer/s. I guess, I opted to have my registration on a “roll-over” for the 2021 edition.

Before the end of May, I was able to request for the refund of my registration fee for the Eiger Ultra Trail Race 51K as the Race Organizers announced on the earlier part of May that this event is also cancelled. It was supposed to be my second time to visit the Jungfrau-Interlaken-Grindelwald Region in Switzerland.

So far, those are the four Trail Races/Events which are cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation. I was fortunate that I did not plan ahead and spend some money in advance for my travel arrangements.

Stay Home and Stay Safe!

Virtual Run In My Backyard Loop

New Direction, New Features, And More Categories


Starting today, I have thought of giving new direction to this blog. It will be a blog with new features, new adventures, and more categories. It simply means that this blog will not be purely about running and my adventures in ultrarunning. It will feature more of my daily life and activities, to include my thoughts and insights, and those things that are happening in the environment. I will also feature some information that are worthy of being shared to my followers and readers. Such information could be coming from the books and articles that I have read in published materials and as well from the Internet or Social Media. As a warning, Politics is not my cup of tea but I could write and post some of my thoughts on this matter based from my own perspective and opinion.

For the first time in history of writing blog in this WordPress site, I will be creating my posts and publishing them with the use of my IPhone. Which means that I could post an article or story in any place where I am, attach a picture from my Photo Album, with the least time possible! Maybe, I could post more stories everyday and make this blog like a Twitter or Facebook posts! I guess, it will be more exciting and fun writing blogs in a spur of the moment. And also with this kind of arrangement, I could immediately reply to the comments of my subscribers/readers.

See? I just tried to post the picture I have taken of myself after my running workout yesterday! Wow! I need to post another story to describe this picture in my next blog post. That is how fast and convenient in writing my blog/story for the day!

It will be exciting in writing about my future posts in this blogsite and I am already enjoying it. It is now time to go out for my daily running workout and thanks for reading this “heads-up” post for what to expect in the revival of this blogsite! Thank you and Stay Safe always! 

Expenses @ The 2020 Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge


Expenses @ The 2020 HK4TUC

This is the most sensitive part of my story about Thomas participation in the 2020 Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge. Most of the Local Runners who are joining International Running Events never post or mention how much they have spent to join a particular event. To give justice to what Thomas had accomplished in this year’s HK4TUC event, it is proper for the Team to be transparent with our finances with the following reasons: (1) to provide future participants the information on the financial aspect of the said event for planning and preparation purposes; (2) to account for everything that the Team had spent before, during , and after the event; (3) to give the impression to my readers that the Team was NOT sponsored by any individual, corporate brand, or the government, and as such, the whole Team did its share to contribute on this matter with the money coming from our pockets. We did not ask for funds from the other runners or conducted any fund raising activities in relation to Thomas attendance or participation in this event.

Amount Of Pocket Money:

At the exchange rate of P 7.00 per HK$ 1.00, I bought the equivalent of P 50,000.00 as the Support Team’s “baon” for the duration of our stay in Hong Kong. However, I still have an amount of 1,000.00 US Dollars as a “reserve” cash to be converted to HK Dollars just in case we will be lacking with our financial resources. My LANBANK Debit Cards will be our “Last Line Of Defense” for any Contingency.

Coming from Thomas’ pocket, on the other hand, he bought HK Dollars at the Airport’s Exchange Facility amounting to P 50,000.00.

Cathay Pacific Fares:

Thomas paid his own RT Fare amounting to P 9,500.00 which included the usual Travel Tax. I paid my RT Fare with two others who composed the Team as members of Thomas Support Team. It costs me P 28,500.00 (Travel Tax included) for three passengers. Our Taxi Fares and Expenses for our Early Breakfast at the Terminal 3, NAIA can be estimated to about P 2,000, of which I paid for it. An additional cost of “Pasalubong” of about P 1,500 was paid in one of the Souvenir Shops at Terminal 3 as our gift to the RD’s wife, being a close friend since I started blogging. This brings to a total of P 41,500.00 for the Team Thomas expenses before leaving Manila.

Upon Arrival @ Hong Kong Airport

Thomas bought a Local Sim Card for almost HK$ 200 and loaded HK$ 300 into his Octopus Card. The money he used came from his personal fund. I bought a Local SIM Card on my own for the same price (HK$ 200) with that of Thomas, and loaded HK$200 into my Octopus Card and loaded HK$100 to each of the two members of the Support Team. 

Total Expenses Upon Arrival: 

Thomas——HK$500; 

BR——HK$600

Chari Sevilla, a Filipino working in Hong Kong, offered her Apartment for the Team Thomas as a place to stay during the duration of the Event. This was a big savings for the Team, instead, of paying for our accommodation in the hotel where we usually stay during our visits in Hongkong. (Note: A “savings” for us estimated to be the equivalent to P 20,000.00)

Estimated Expenses For Our Two-Day Recon Runs (Transportation Fares Were Deducted From Our Octopus Cards):

The following estimated expenses for our Food and Drinks along the Trails (MacLehose & Wilson) and in Sai Kung Town.

Thomas——HK$200

BR——HK$200

Initial Groceries/Food For The Team Expenses (To include Logistics for the Event): HK$2,000.00

Additional Expenses For Groceries/Food To Be Cooked During The Duration Of Our Stay In Hongkong: HK$2,000.00

Additional Expenses For Food Spent In Restaurants: HK$1,000.00

Additional Loads To Our Octopus Cards: HK$ 500.00

Total Transportation Expenses During The Event: TAXI Fares To Ferry Thomas From One Trail To Another & TAXI Fares In Going Home To Chari’s Apartment:

BR——HK$ 1,600.00

Chari——HK$ 1,600.00

Team Thomas was treated to a Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner & CarboLoading Party for Thomas the night before the event by the sister and nephew of Thomas who came all the way from Canada to cheer for Thomas.

Before we left to the Hong Kong Airport on our way back to Manila, Team Thomas was treated to a lunch by the Family of Jurg, Irene, and Ida Montemayor as a celebration for Thomas “finish” in the 2020 HK4TUC.

Hong Kong Dollars: What Was Left With Our Pocket Money

Bottomline:

The amount of P 50,000.00 that I exchanged for HK$ currency was all gone except for the remaining HK currency in the picture. To include our RT Tickets and other miscellaneous expenses spent in Manila and Hong Kong, I spent a total of P 100,000.00

I am not privy to what happened to the P 50,000.00 that Thomas had exchanged to HK Dollars at the NAIA before leaving Manila but I would guess/estimate that he was able to spend 2/3 of the said amount for his expenses in connection with his participation in the said event. 

With this detailed accounting of our expenses, we will be able to plan and prepare for the next year’s event. Thanks to Chari for her hospitality in allowing us to stay in her Apartment with the hope that she will offer again her place for the Team in next year’s edition and for those emergency financial needs in support to Thomas success in this event. Thanks also to Team PAU for cooking the food for Thomas; preparing and packing the logistics/needs for each Leg of the event and for washing the dirty clothes of Thomas.

My personal thanks go to Jurg, Irene and Ida Montemayor, the Original Team Thomas Support, for their unwavering support and concern to Thomas’ welfare throughout the event. Jurg’s presence in Lantau to cheer and wait for the finish of Thomas means a lot to the Team. Thank you also to the sister of Thomas, Marina and nephew John for being with Thomas during the event.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank Tha Na and Josephine Austria for their company and support (food & drinks) at the Stanley Gap Road as we waited for the arrival of Thomas at the end of the Wilson Trail. Thank you also to Christian Viloria, an OFW in Hong Kong and a fast/strong trail runner, who prepared a lot of Filipino Food at the Shek O Road Bus Stop and for his support to Team Thomas.

There are still untold stories about our experience in terms of finances and logistics in supporting Thomas’ finish in this year’s Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge. The other half of the story is with Thomas. In due time, if time permits, I will be able to have more time talking to Thomas and relate his personal story in this blog.

Running Kit Of Thomas Combisen @ The 2020 HK4TUC


Running Kit Of Thomas Combisen @ 2020 HK4TUC

The running kit of Thomas in last year’s (2019) HK4TUC did not change in this year’s edition except for his Hydration Vest and Shoes. Even for his nutrition and hydration, they had been the same but there are some things that we need to add.

Thomas decided not to use the Salomon S-Lab Sense 5-Liter Hydration Vest that he used in last year’s HK4TUC because it was already loose for him and wanted to use the one he always used in his trail and road ultras in the past which is the Mountain Hardwear Fuel 3-Liter Hydration Vest/Pack. If I remember right, I bought the same Hydration Vest three years ago at the Columbia Store in SM Megamall and it is still with me except that the zippers in the pockets are stuck and non-operational already. As I googled this item while writing this post, this particular model is no longer in the market and the brand had already stopped making them.

As compared to the Hydration Vests and Packs that the other runners used in this event, Thomas hydration pack/vest was very small in capacity but I was surprised that it was able to accommodate the Salomon Waterproof Jacket, his food, cellphone, a Windbreaker Jacket, Hydration bottles, handy water filtration unit, Headlights, and other miscellaneous things that Thomas needed in every trail leg. It is surprising to see the big back pocket with zipper could expand to accommodate everything. Since the hydration pack/vest has two mid-rib belts which are not stretchable, Thomas can tighten them to be always snugged on his body. Thomas did not use those Race Belts with pockets which is very popular among trail runners nowadays.

Thomas With His Mountain Hardwear Fuel 3-Liter Hydration Vest/Pack (Photo By Photo Guava)

Thomas shirts during the event are our PAU Shirts By Bluprint (Imported Brand) but the Logo is printed locally. He used 3 PAU shirts (white, dark gray, & black) during the event and a shirt from Kalenji/Decathlon. He did not change his NIKE Running Shorts with PAU Logo Patch and RP Flag Patch throughout the event but he always change his underwear with the Decathlon’s Kalenji’s Under Shorts every time he starts a new trail leg. Throughout the event, he was consistently using the Injinji Socks and changed them every time he starts a new trail leg.

The day before the event, Rowell Campos brought us to Cam2Sports Store in Mongkok to buy a new pair of running shoes for Thomas. He was looking for an ALTRA Lone Peak 3.0 which he intends to use for the event. Thomas was lucky to find the remaining one pair of ALTRA Lone Peak 3.0 shoes  available in the store which was ON SALE at 50% discount. This is the shoes that Thomas used for the 2 Trail Legs of the event (MacLehose & Wilson Trails). It was only in the Hong Kong and Lantau Trails that he used his old ALTRA Lone Peak 3.0 shoes. It was at the Hong Kong and Lantau Trails that Thomas started using his Compressport Compression Calf Sleeves. He did not use any shoe gaiters along the course.

Thomas With His New ALTRA Lone Peak 3.0 Shoes, Kalenji Shirt, & Salomon Jacket

As for his headlamp, Thomas was using a LedLenser Headlamp and another extra one which I could guess to be a regular Black Diamond Headlamp. He used his headlamp at the MacLehose, Wilson, and Hong Kong Trails. In his Lantau Trail, I gave him my Lupine Headlamp which he wore from the start until he reached the lighted portion of Mui Wo Road, near the Finish Line. The rechargeable battery was drained when Thomas gave it back to me. He could have used its High Beam which is 700 Lumens throughout his run/hike along the Lantau Trail. Thomas did not have any negative feedback on the use of his headlamps during those nights that he was on the trails.

Water Dispenser Near Public Comfort Rooms/Country Park

As for his hydration needs, Thomas did not have any problem where to replenish his hydration needs, in terms of water or sports/cola drinks. He used his portable filtration unit in places where he can get water in streams in the mountains and in Public Comfort Rooms/Toilets’ faucets. He uses also his Octopus Card to get or buy what he wanted in those Vending Machines available in the vicinity of the Comfort Rooms in each Country Park Facility that he passes. There are also Free Source of Drinking Water which he observed as new additional structure within the vicinity of each Comfort Rooms/Toilets along the trail. And there are commercial establishments in the villages along the trail that Thomas can stop and order some hot food. Thomas can also stop to buy or order some solid foods in commercial establishments in the MTR Stations. There is always a 7-11 Store or Convenience Store in these MTR Stations. It is necessary that a runner in this race has some some Cash and Octopus Card with him during the event.

Picture I Took With Thomas & Photo Guava Before The Start Of Lantau Trail

His food in his pack consisted of “Tikoy” (Rice Cake) from Bicol which we personally ordered for him, “Rice Cakes” (Chinese) from the 7-11 Store, Sky Flakes, Snickers, Yakult, Springs Gels, and Apples. All of these were packed inside the Hydration Pack of Thomas!

Thomas had been alternately using a Visor Cap (during day time) and a Running Cap (during nighttime) to cover his head. However, I have never seen him use any Buff/Neck Gaiter in all his runs in the past and in this event, to include last year’s HK4TUC. 

Before he started the Lantau Trail, I gave him my GIRO Cycling Gloves which I know will give him warmth for his palms/fingers during the night and as he approaches the freezing winds of the Lantau Peak and Sunset Peak.

After the event, Thomas and I discussed the things that we should improve on and the things we should learn from his experience this year. He told me that he slowed down significantly at the Hong Kong Trail due drowsiness that brought him “hallucination” moments and the cold/freezing winds during the night. The strong, cold and freezing winds at the Lantau Trail had also slowed him down that he had to stop and take a nap, only to be awaken that he was already lying on the floor in one of the Pagodas/Rest Huts along the trail.

After a thorough discussion, I recommended him some solutions for his problems and we will use them in next year’s Thomas participation in the 10th edition of the HK4TUC.