6:18AM I arrived at +Km 50 and Sam a few minutes later. We were feeling excellent for the next half ahead, but first it was time to load up some carbs and change outfits. Unfortunately there was no hot coffee there when we arrived but my ultra-support Ross got me one including a breakfast meal, and as much as I’d like to finish it all, my tummy wasn’t up to the task.
My teammates were so excited to leave +Km 50 and after doing the necessities we started moving, except for Sam who had to stay for personal reasons. Since the pace plan was scrapped and by that time we were already ahead of our “just to finish” target we just ran/walked our way as efficient as possible. Due to impending battery drain of my GF405 I had to leave it with our support to charge so I had no idea how fast we were. I was only reunited with it at around +Km 62.
I don’t remember where it started but I started feeling “something” on my right knee, particularly when I stay stationary for long. When our support told me that my running idol Vener (run unltd.) was just ahead of us that time I told my teammates that I’ll go on ahead (to keep moving). While our team was doing a decent pace I noticed that we were spending so much time with our support vehicle wasting our good time. In my “devious” plan to encourage them to lessen the time “hanging-around” I did went ahead hoping they’d be pulled. At that time it didn’t seem to work, but at least I was able to catch up with Vener.
Doing ultras, putting it bluntly, can be very boring. Those moments are the times you’d want company and I was glad that I was with Vener as he kept me “occupied” while we were moving under the scorching heat. He had an excellent support crew and vehicle, and his stops were minimal, just as I wanted for our group (I knew that my teammates can catch us anytime but giving them perception that we were far away may help pull them I thought). He was complaining of some foot problems at the time so we weren’t running but amazingly he handled our 10 minute walk pace well. Idol ka talaga Vener! I was a little concerned with my right knee then so walking was just perfect.
Around +Km 85 was where we had our lunch, at 1PM. It was just after the doubly splitting roads. As expected my teammates Tina and Glen was able to catch up with us and together we consumed our lunch and had a short break. Sam was having a difficulty of his own since his deferred recommence from +Km 50 so he was farther away from us than we wanted. Nonetheless our ultra-support crew handled the situation well and was able to service our group well despite being split into two locations.
With the staggering heat (which was always my kryptonite) Vener and I continued our walk as Tina and Glen resumed their easy run. I admit at that point I wanted to try to “run” to test my right knee, but as Vener kept me company earlier on I don’t think its proper to leave him alone just to satisfy my “need for speed”—after all I came to this race with “just to finish” goal. I don’t mean to sound conceited, I’m just being honest.
Around +Km 87, 1:30PM, the heat was approaching its peak. Vener and I had a break with his support as he looked like he was having heat exhaustion. I honestly was afraid for him that moment when he stood up and looked like he’s going to collapse. I was just glad that his support, particularly Christy, was there to attend to him. It was good that he knows how to listen to his body so he was able to get support when it was available, not push so hard that you’d just be in more trouble.
Vener was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to go ahead (I probably looked like I wanted to hehe). As much as I’d love to stay and keep him company I knew there was nothing more I can do and that he’s in the best care available, so I said yes. It was hot and very discouraging to “run” alone but I knew that my teammates would just be up ahead so I just went on—easy and steady jog—I’ll get there, eventually.
Knowing your body is vital in ultras. While I had accumulated energy from our steady walk pace earlier, my right knee wasn’t getting any better. It was correct after all that I walked with Vener as staying in place to rest and jogging later to catch time would not work with my right knee. I had to do several experiments to make myself as comfortable as possible and apparently landing on my heel was the most comfortable solution (I had to learn heel striking, but the catch was heel striking only on the right foot). I eventually caught up with Tina and Glen which was now joined by Ric.
Ric likewise knew of Tina’s prowess so like my “devious” plan earlier we set up the pace hoping that Tina and Glen would be “pulled.” You can just imagine how horrible my knee felt whenever we jog (but of course I did not make it obvious so as not to ruin our pace). Unfortunately the plan didn’t work, but it was worth a try though.
At +Km 90 my hydration supplies were running out. You can’t make me run until I get hydration assurance. As our support vehicle was now servicing three locations (Sam at the back, Tina and Glen middle, and me up front) it would take some time before they reach me. As such I had to learn a technique wherein I won’t increase my heart rate (and “thirst”) but still keep a decent pace. My solution—power walk! Well, sort of. I don’t really know how power walk is really executed but mimicking that of what I saw done much earlier by another BDM participant worked. From my fast walk of 8:00-8:30 pace I was able to walk consistently at a pace of 7:28! And yes, without increasing my heart rate.
Somewhere around +Km 93 was where our support caught up with me and really gave me a boost. All my hydration bottles were practically dry and seeing them and refilling my stock gave me an outburst of motivation! It was like SIM all over again wherein I got my energy back just by having enough hydration! After completing my refill I told Ric “tara” (let’s go) and with so much energy I actually didn’t notice that he’s no longer behind me (my bad).
Since jogging was really a pain I only resorted to it during downhills. For everything else it was my “power walk” that saved the day, cruising at 7:30-8:00 pace. Apparently this pace was good enough to overtake a lot of participants who at this time were mostly walking. At the same time I was keeping my strength allowing me to jog at around 6:30-6:45 pace occasionally. If my knee wasn’t an issue perhaps I could even run.
During the last two kilometers of the race I had my “power trip.” As I had worked hard (make that “walked hard”) to overtake runners and gain my position I won’t allow anyone in front of me to get their place by effortlessly walking. I spotted two targets, and so with my power walk I eventually overtook them. This eventually motivated them to run (and they really did run to pull way ahead of me, but I was still able to cut their lead) and finish strong, as should be. They ended up less than a minute ahead of me, more than a minute than the one they followed (had my knees weren’t an issue I would’ve loved to put on a real challenge, hehe), while the next finisher after me arrived more than 11 minutes later.
I jogged as fast as I could the last few hundred meters to the finish (as I was hoping to make a really close gap with those ahead of me) and of course I always wanted to finish strong as much as I could. Seeing my support personnel, friends, co-participants, and the lively and supportive crowd was just overwhelming—the journey of a hundred and two kilometers is about to conclude—my dream is being realized!
I honestly don’t know what to feel that time; perhaps I was numb with too many emotions. All I know was that I was happy, proud, and hungry! And I’m glad that I was never dehydrated thanks to our excellent support crew Ross, RJ, Ellen, Cel, and Kuya Gener, as I was never inimical during the race. I was even crankier before the race when I had a headache (which was cured mysteriously by the magic of running).
In the end I was able to finish 102 kilometers in 16 hours, 2 minutes, and 19 seconds, 40th overall as stated in my medal (but the official race results says 41st). With all that I had experienced it was definitely a surprise finish time, about an hour ahead of “plan.” (The veterans were right, our plans were “ideal” but it doesn’t necessarily get followed.) Tina, Glen, and Vener respectively arrived about an hour later (to my teammates: just as “planned?”) and I could’ve been more proud of Sam as he finished the race despite his injuries 40 minutes later. Way to go team!
To all my running family that helped me accomplish this dream I am very, very thankful, particularly to Ross, RJ, and Ellen. Your hard work helped us a lot more than you can ever imagine. Thanks as well to all that gave their encouragements, prayers, and moral support. Thanks to Runnr for providing us with visors and socks; Jonel of FrontRunner Magazine and Team Hardcore for the overflowing water supplies; Takbo.ph Support Group for helping everyone in the race not just forum members; and the friendly residents of the cities and municipalities of Bataan and Pampanga we met en route, many of which were quite supportive and cheered us on. Thank you Sir Jovie Narcise (Baldrunner) for founding this wonderful event which I could say is one of the best experiences of my life, and most of all to the Almighty that kept us safe and allowed us this achievement.
The “survivors” of the 2nd Bataan Death March Ultramarathon 102:
Alvin Canada • Randy Bumahit • Jonnifer Lacanlale • July Oconer • Hermogines Olvis • Jusell Laya • John Frederick Abenina • Armand Fernando • Eric Bullena • Junrox Roque • Gregorio Ocampo • Albert Salazar • Muhammad Sallehan Zainuddin • Don Ubaldo • Audax Cantero • Bonifacio Dalisay • Albert Sama • Carlo Bacalla • Oscar Sañez • Constante Mendoza • Francis Jay Nacino • Charlie Chua • Mark Peralta • Enrico Tocol • Graciano Santos • Rhoderick Guieb • Wilnar Iglesia • Christopher Iblan • Ben Gaetos • Rayman Delos Angeles • Edilberto Yonzon • Felipe Nama • Albert Henson • Francisco Lapira • Patrick Winceth Alcomendas • Julius Oliver Giron • Romeo Erivera • Whreachelle Cordova • Red Samar • Cesar Abarientos • Dennis Ravanzo • Dionam Basco • Glenn Romualdo • Ricardo Cabusao, Jr • Raiza Tulan • Ralph Jerome Salvador • Jerry Guiao • Alvin Adriano • Joshua Suarez • Maria Myrna Emelyne Buenafe • Anecito Grimaldo • Paolo Osmeña • Jael Wenceslao • George Dolores • Ronald Rei Declarador • Fernando De Lara • Charles Fletcher • Armando Queza • Ellery Ho • Kelly Lim • Maria Cristina Narvaez • Glendel Tañag • Vener Roldan • John Nikko Nolasco • Lemuel Narcise • Carlo Nobleza • Ramon Gillego • Jose Maria Galauran • Dennis Enriquez • Abiegayle Jocson • Artemio Ladia • Francis Andrew Santiago • Rodel Cuaton • Caesar Callangan • Gregorio Torres • Jose Arturo Virata • Odessa Coral • Michelle Estuar • Francis Randy Hortelano • Jag Irasga • Blas Ople Tiangco • Jeremy Go • Frederick Chaneco Gabriel • Luis Arcangel • Ria Go Tian • Sherwin Tommy Botabara • Niño James Ramos • Mark Adrian Hernandez • Haide Acuña • Joseph Adrian Soriao • Joseph Cu Unjieng • Junar Layug • Ronaldo Sulapas • Sammy Deleña • Rosgar Apolinario • Marco Christopher Montaos • Mel Severino • Wilfredo Parcon, Jr • Ramoncito Carreon • Delmo Sullano • John Jeffrey Avellanosa • Marlin Marilag • Emerson Go Tian • Manuel Macrohon
The official results of the race can be found here: Official Result: 2010 BDM 102K International Race
Special thanks to our support:
Ross Cristal • RJ Bumanglag • Ellen Encinares • Cel Alarcon • Carina Manansala • Gail and Noy Consolacion • Tin Sayson • Joyce Morrison • Cindy Sevilla • Lorie and Ayette Padua • Raffger Sese • Julie Perez • Earl Quero • Tito Caloy and company • Bea Hernandez • Cristy Roldan • Vic Viola • Leynard Gripal • Emil Ancheta • Marvin Pangan • Teresa Gangan • Irish Manandic • Pepsi Gutierrez • Cherry Bautista • Tracy Capena • Zinnia Villarin • Mark Fer Castillo • Allen Gaspar • Brando Losaria • Let Guieb • Alpha Montaos • Joni Lopez • The volunteers • The organizing committee and staff • Our takbo.ph family!
To all the participants, cutoff finishers or not, congratulations! This feat was definitely a task of ultra-proportions that not many are able and willing to do. Let us keep in mind that the ultramarathon that we did was so much easier than what our war veterans had to forcefully endure, in which many gave their own lives. For them arriving in San Fernando, Pampanga was not the end of their suffering or any sign of relief—it was just the start of their nightmare. Let us continue to pay homage and remember our history, and support advocacies that promote it.
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2nd BDM Ultramarathon 102: