Posts Tagged ‘Baldrunner


Ilocos Norte 2010 Revisit Preview: In Photos

I just returned from one of the best experiences of my life, in one of my favorite places in the Philippines.  I sure have a lot of stories and pictures to share, but for now here are some select few photos that I could share while I cook up my narrative:

NAIA Terminal 2

At Terminal 2 (Manila), bound for Laoag International Airport (August 27)

(Continue reading…)


runningpinoy: Season 3 Preview

Goodness gracious!  I didn’t realize that my second season (anniversary) of running had just passed last August 17!  And as of that date I accumulated a total of 2,012 kilometers (since August 17, 2008, my first ever race).  I’ve no idea though how much of it was earned during the last 12 months, but it’s at least 1,000 kilometers.  So I guess that wraps up my second season of running!

(Preview: Season 3)


2nd BDM Ultramarathon 102 (Part 5: Bonus Stage)

Last night the awarding ceremony and get together party of the 2010 BDM 102 was staged at the AFP Clubhouse for all event participants composed of runners, support group, marshals, etc.  Sir Jovie “Baldrunner” Narcise also presented to all of us his observations and assessments of the race.

BR presenting his observations from the recently concluded BDM 102

2011 BDM

Next year’s BDM would introduce a new longer distance and new caps on the number of participants.  Here are some particulars:

BDM 102
March 5-6, 2011
Cut-off time: still at 18 hours
Limit: 100 runners (excluding AFP/PNP), by invitation only

BDM 150
March 5-6, 2011
Cut-off time: 24 hours
Limit: 50 runners, by invitation only

Application starts March 15, 2010 via

The top three men and women of 2010 BDM 102


Sponsors were also given tribute with smaller versions of the finisher’s trophy and a certificate of recognition.  As for finishers we were also given a treat: a “dog-tag.”

Certificate of Recognition awarded to

A smaller Sponsor’s trophy (left) with a Finisher’s trophy (right)

Have you heard the telltales of runners finishing the entire 102 kilometer course despite being beyond the cutoff time of 18 hours?  Well BR was quite generous and rewarded their hard work with a Finisher’s trophy and medal, although their medals don’t have rankings at the back.  Great job guys!

It really was a great night of celebration with overflowing food, drinks, and beer!  It was a great way to conclude this year’s events and of course for most of us our thoughts are going “150.”  24-hour support?


2nd BDM Ultramarathon 102 (Part 4: Conclusion)

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.

Arriving at +Km 50, courtesy Brando Losaria

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.

Our team and support at +Km 50 (Ross behind camera)

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.

At +Km 70 around 10AM, still feeling good

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.

Vener and I on our very long walk, courtesy Cristy Roldan

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.

Lunch break! Courtesy Cristy Roldan

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.

Bards (BananaRunning) found us en route in the middle of the day to give us some very nice encouragement (although it looked like an interview :)) and some spray of water (for me). Courtesy Mesh Villanueva.

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.

+Km 62 – 101 route (GF405 ran out of batteries just before reaching the finish)

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).

My ultra-support “pakner” Ross

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!

102 kilometers complete!

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).

Receiving my finisher’s trophy from Sir Jovie “Baldrunner” Narcise at the finish, courtesy Brando Losaria

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!

Our team (runner and support): Glen, Ellen, RJ, Sam, Me, Ross, Cel, and Tina

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; 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

My BDM race bib, finisher’s trophy, and medal

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 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.

2nd BDM Ultramarathon 102 Index:

  1. Background
  2. Ultra-SPF
  3. First Half
  4. Conclusion

2nd BDM Ultramarathon 102 (Part 1: Background)

Like many Filipinos, I don’t know much about the real forced death march our forefathers went through during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II.  All I know was that it was one of the darkest chapters of human history, and it should be remembered so that we are not bound to repeat it.  Sadly as one by one our war veterans depart, so too are their memories—all that’s left are symbols and monuments which not many cares so much for.  Bataan is arguably more commemorated in the United States than here in the Philippines as in New Mexico an annual marathon event is staged in memoriam whereas in the Philippines where Bataan is, nothing remotely close is done!

The dilapidated and seemingly forgotten old railroad station of San Fernando (not in service)

Last year was the first time the Bataan Death March (BDM) Ultramarathon was staged—in line with the Day of Valor (Araw ng Kagitingan) which also served to help commemorate our history.  It was the first time I encountered the word “Ultramarathon” (even our favorite word processor’s dictionary is not versed with the word) and I was fascinated by such feat.  I thought then that the marathon was the apex of distance running!

Bataan Death March historical marker near the old railroad station of San Fernando, Pampanga: “At this railroad station of San Fernando, the Filipino and American prisoners of war who had been marched all the way from Bataan to Pampanga, in one of the ghastliest forced marches in history, were loaded like cattle on boxcars where, because every compartment was packed to the limit, many suffocated or were crushed to death during the trip to Capas.”

I really wanted to join then, not because of fame, fortune, or anything similar but for its historical significance.  Upon looking up how to prepare for such feat all I got was “months of training” is “required”—much more than all the time then that I was running so I said to myself “one day I’m going to run BDM”—thus a dream was conceived.  Little did I know then that a year hence I’d be able to, and my dream would be realized.

Old San Fernando railroad station (translated): “Erected in 1892 as part of the Manila-Dagupan line of Manila Railroad Company. José Rizal alighted here during his visit to San Fernando. Also in this railroad station, in April 1942, prisoned soldiers included in the Death March were loaded on trains bound for Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, to be incarcerated.”

Several races, an ultramarathon, and six marathons later (yes, all that in just a year) just about everything was ready.  BDM would set the record for my longest distance race at 102 kilometers, fastest ultramarathon with 18 hours cutoff and most expensive ever!  (My Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon technically is still my most expensive in terms of total cost only because of airfare, cost of living, and side trips)

Death March Km 102 marker

During the holidays of 2009 I had a series of “runner’s low” spanning two months wherein I had absolutely no motivation whatsoever to run. Fortunately I had already signed up for BDM earlier before this lethargic episode.  When I got the invitation email from Baldrunner I really was in a pathetic state as far as running was concerned—I even considered skipping the race!  Yes, even runners that regularly join races get “those” moments as well.  What did I do to break this spell? I recalled my “dream.”  I called upon my “old self.”  I rejoined the company of my “running family.”  Somehow their energy is contagious (running fever?) and little by little I started getting back into running and eventually racing.  After snapping back to “reality” I admit I still wasn’t 100% of my old self but it’s a start—and I had a deadline!  You can’t come to BDM unprepared—and you can’t do it alone!

2nd BDM Ultramarathon 102 Index:

  1. Background
  2. Ultra-SPF
  3. First Half
  4. Conclusion

Bataan Chronicles: The Test Run

Friday night, I was all set for my first trip to Bataan and while my things are ready I still was anxious about this test run since I had no decent run since returning from Singapore.


Bataan Death March (BDM) 102 Ultramarathon was a dream race for me since it started last year.  I was running for only a few months then so I had to wait for another year for my turn.  Now that it’s finally here, I was in ruins—I just lost all urges to run!

For some weird reason, the invitation letter I got from Baldrunner about the registration and the test run “kicked in” and spurred some sense onto me.  The “old” me that signed me up for the BDM was speaking to the lazy “new” me, and I realized that there were only a select few that are willing and able to do this, and I was one of them.  It’s not instantaneous as I still wasn’t running as much, but the “fire” is back.  The test run would mark my return to running—this is my evangelion (rebirth).

Wouldn’t you be inspired to run an historic route like the Bataan Death March?

A Family of Runners

Up until the last day I was clueless how to get a support vehicle for this test run.  Fortunately I was in a family of runners known collectively as, and they made what I thought was impossible, possible!  Who needs Santa Claus if you have a family like this?  Not only did we who’d be running have our support vehicle, we also had supplies, pacers, and morale boosters!  Thank you Gail, Marga, and Tere for all these!  You’re all Godsend to us “test runners.”  Thank you as well Carina for accommodating me before our trip to Bataan, and of course our “ultra-drivers” Angel and Kuya Eric. (courtesy Carina)


At around 2AM I and the rest of my running family were off for Bataan.  It was a good chance to meet new faces, and re-acquainted with old ones.  Not before long we were all dozing off and before we knew it we were in Bataan.

Cool and very windy, that’s how Bataan greeted us early dawn.  It was much cooler than Metro Manila even though it was practically just on the other side of Manila Bay, and the strong winds made sure that we felt it.

The BDM Test Runners (courtesy Vener)


One by one, as the sun slowly rises, runners gradually arrived.  We were in the presence of veteran ultramarathoners which was a bit humbling as a newbie (to BDM at least).

Great views from Mariveles, Bataan

We were assembled in front of +Km00 (I’ll be prefixing a “+” sign to reference the Death March’s marker) and after some important instructions we were off at around 6:35AM.

Bataan Death March Marker Km00

The Test

As a BDM newbie I had no idea what to expect but I did have an idea on where we’d be heading as we passed Death March markers on our way to +Km00 in Mariveles, Bataan—and it wasn’t good!

The start of the ascent

The first 7K was pure steep climbs on zigzag roads which was really challenging.  After reaching the top, the strong winds were the challenge as it blows against us forcing us to slow down.  What a test! Afterwards it was gradually downhill and alternating rising and declining elevation.  While the wind had gone by that time, a stronger element, the sun, replaced it.  Despite being still in January the sun of Bataan was unforgiving.  Bataan was showing its other side—while it was pleasantly much cooler than the Metro at night, it was much hotter at daytime!  Suddenly I wasn’t a fan of blue skies.

The most difficult segment of the test run

Look for the Ribbon!

For the sake of first time BDM participants who weren’t able to join the test run, there are three critical places to watch out for: +Km14, +Km23, and +Km32.  At these points runners must turn right, and at these points ribbons will be placed (as with the test run) and marshals on race day.

Unbelievable Markers

As part of our lessons learned, don’t rely too much on the Death March markers as many of which is inaccurate, starting particularly with +Km21 which was actually +Km24 or 3K off (based on both GPS and odometer readings).  Most markers following it are at least 1K off but at +Km45 it gets corrected (only a few hundred meters off) and at +Km50 it is incredibly GPS-exact.  I had asked for my support at “+Km23” based on my GF405 as no markers were in sight.  My support was actually “there” but we didn’t saw each other and to my surprise I passed by +Km21!  Looking at my GF405 it was +Km23.98 already and thankfully my support also realized this based on their odometer so they returned for me.  If you were to ask your support to wait for you with certain intervals it would probably be best to use your odometer/GPS devices as reference.

A very challenging terrain


I can safely say that this test run for me was soda-powered.  Because of the heat anything cold is a pleasure, and since ice cold bottled water are a rarity in rural areas the next best thing that’s widely available would be sodas (a.k.a. softdrinks).  I consumed eight bottles of sodas for this run, both the typical and the clear from the two leading brands—all of which having an “interview” portion before I was able to get my change, the most common were “from where did you start?” and “where are you headed?”.  You can just imagine how much time I spent for each one, and that didn’t include “futile” attempts.

Last Two

The last two kilometers of this race was one of my longest—it was hot, I was hungry, and it was lunchtime!  I was thankful that there wasn’t any fastfood during this segment or I may have stopped to eat!  My motivation was simple—“get it over with so I may have lunch!”


Markers from +Km45 were about 300 meters off so I was surprised to see +Km50 at exactly where it should be.  I was planning to sprint the last hundred or so meters but since it came early I didn’t finish as I wanted (but was instead seen walking hehe).

Sir Jovie “Baldrunner” with some of the gang at +Km50 (courtesy Carina)


Doing the test run brought me back to my senses, and it gave us first timers useful lessons how well to survive the “Death March.”  It may not be the real thing but it’s anything but easy.  I was glad to have joined as it was fun, at the same time dreadful.  I was able to witness the veterans and hardcores in action, and it also gave me a glimpse of our past.  With Sir Jovie’s guidance I know that this would be an exciting and memorable race.

With some of our loving support crew (courtesy Gail)


I noticed that most Death March route markers are not well preserved and some are really dilapidated (not to mention off-distance).  I sure hope that there would be good Samaritans out there that will help improve these reminders of our heritage, particularly +Km00, +Km50, and +Km102 (which I haven’t seen yet but is possibly in the same situation).  We need these markers so we won’t forget our history, or do we want to repeat it?

Not even halfway of the full 102K! Hanging out at +Km50 (courtesy Vener)

Special thanks to Carina, Vener, and Gail for some of the photos featured here.

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