Posts Tagged ‘Botak 100

26
Aug
09

Botak Paa-tibayan: The 10-Mile Perspective

The recently completed Botak Paa-tibayan at UP Diliman could be described as an offshoot race from Botak 100 last June 28, 2009 when it was originally set but was deferred due to the Influenza A scare.  A lot of schools suspended classes then which were some of the “target audience” of the race.  Botak was aiming to discover “grassroots” talents particularly with this race so in order to accommodate participants from schools the race was rescheduled.

As expected the changes with this race was not limited to the schedule—the routes also changed.  The original 10-mile route was supposed to go through Commonwealth Ave. along with Botak 100’s route but since that route would be a management nightmare and impractical it was re-routed to the confines of UP Diliman—three loops of a more than 5K course.

Botak 10-Miler Route (3 laps)

Botak 10-Miler Route (3 laps)

Initially I was very disappointed with the route changes as I was excited to run along Commonwealth Ave. in a race.  It was the foremost reason why I joined the race originally and picked the distance.  I was basically running a totally different race than what I signed up for—different date, different route—only the name and time remained the same.  I only started feeling better when I saw how well the race was handled.

One of the most common concerns I have on races were “clueless” race marshals, and thankfully that was not the case with this race—the marshals know what they were doing so they knew how to properly guide the runners and not are not just fillers.

The hydration solution was excellent and I could say easily one of the best.  Since the race route was a loop each station would be passed several times but for the duration of the race I never saw the cups, sports drinks, or water run out.

As for the route it was just a little short of 10 miles (linear GPS measurement) but considering the terrain the difference would be negligible.  Considering the difficulty of having an exact distance within UP, it was as close as it get.

It is always pleasant to run within UP Diliman

It is always pleasant to run within UP Diliman

Pros:

  • Very well organized
  • Punctual
  • Helpful and knowledgeable race marshals
  • Good route difficulty
  • For the rehabilitation of UP oval track
  • Excellent post-race amenities with plenty of giveaways

Cons:

  • Race ended up being a totally different one because of the number changes
  • Route was a little dull because of the many loops

Overall I ended up contented with the way the race turned out.  Although it wasn’t the race I originally expected, the way it was organized made it worthwhile. I started running feeling a little “obliged” since I’m running a totally different race but because I had no issues during the race that probably pushed me unconsciously to a new 10-mile PR (with this race being only my second 10-miler).  With an unexpectedly good race and just a handful issues that were reasonable I can say that it was a Very Good race.  Truly Botak continued the good streak they re-started from Botak 100, and I hope they continue coming up with good races like this.

01
Jul
09

runningpinoy’s 2009 Midyear Report

2009 is my first full year of running and with the first half completed its time to have a look back at some of my highlights for the first six months of the year.

January

The year started with “bi-polar” races: one was well praised and the other went in infamy.  Of course I’m referring to TNF Thrill of the Trail in Nasugbu, Batangas and PSE Bull Run in Bonifacio Global City, respectively.  While people can’t stop being enthusiastic about their wonderful experience with the trails of Batulao and the race overall (including myself), it was the complete opposite on the other side of the track—I’ve never heard of so much complaints about a race and it probably had the record of the longest queue at the finish.

Thrill of the Trail, Nasugbu, Batangas

The following weekend race was probably redemption for a lot of runners with the Happy Run—another RunRio event that was one of the most organized and fun race of the year thus far.

With some happy runners

It was also during this month that I acquired my Garmin 405—just a day before we were off for Batangas for the TNF Thrill of the Trails where it had an excellent stage for a debut.  Also having a debut on this race was my first trail shoes, New Balance 811.

Garmin Forerunner® 405

Garmin Forerunner® 405

February

February was the first month since I started running that I had zero races.  This was the first of two months that I was in Ohio, USA and in spite of being race-less I was not run-less: the below freezing temperature wasn’t enough to stop me from running outdoors—an experience that I suggest everyone try at least once in their lives.  While I was “chilling” on the other side of the world the race scene in the Philippines ensued the love month.  There wasn’t much high-profile races for this month making my craving for races more bearable.

My winter gear: a runner’s beanie, windbreaker with regular white cotton t-shirt, pair of gloves, thermal tights, cushioned socks, and trail running shoes

My winter gear: a runner’s beanie, windbreaker with regular white cotton t-shirt, pair of gloves, thermal tights, cushioned socks, and trail running shoes

Before leaving for the US I managed to have my first LSD (Long Slow Distance) run along one of the dreaded routes in the Metro—EDSA, from North Ave. all the way to the SM Mall of Asia grounds.

After finishing my EDSA LSD

After finishing my EDSA LSD

March

By the time race season was starting in the US due to the arrival of spring I was unfortunate enough to be packing my bags for home thereby missing the opportunity to participate in races stateside, but on the bright side I was back for one of the most anticipated races of the year—Condura Run.  This race was one of the rare opportunities to run on the SkyWay and was also my first half-marathon and first race medal.  Also first for this event was the Carbo-Loading Party of takbo.ph which they say was a first for a half-marathon race.

Running with friends at the SkyWay

Running with friends at the SkyWay

April

This was the month of LSDs for me as there were only a handful of races set.  Among these routes were Commonwealth Ave. to Bonifacio High Street via C5; Commonwealth Ave. to SM Mall of Asia via Quezon Ave., España Ave., and Roxas Blvd.; and my first LSD on trails in Montalban.

View from the summit of Montalban

View from the summit of Montalban

Arguably the highlight race of this month was the Greenfield City Run in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.  With its free shuttle service many runners were given chance to run outside Metro Manila and experience the fresh landscape of the rural areas.

Another finishers medal courtesy of Greenfield City Run

Another finisher’s medal courtesy of Greenfield City Run

May

May boasts the longest and one of the most difficult races in the country, The North Face 100 (or simply TNF100).  Many underestimated the trails of Sacobia, Clark before they even embarked on it so it was a shock for many, even seasoned ultramarathoners, on how difficult this race was this year resulting in only a select few proud finishers.  This was my first attempt at an ultramarathon and I am very proud to be one of the few finishers of this race.  It was also my longest distance-wise at 100K, and time-wise at 30 hours (raw time that includes eating, resting, and some dozing off).

Sunrise during TNF100

Sunrise during TNF100

May also sparked my return to trekking with our initial climb to the summit of Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas.  This became a “team-building” activity for me and my takbo.ph friends and because we had taken an unexpectedly difficult trail it also served as my training for TNF100 that followed two weeks after.

Having breakfast on the summit of Mt. Maculot

Having breakfast on the summit of Mt. Maculot

The month was ended by a rivalry of two high-profile races: The Earth Run at McKinley Hill and Microsoft’s IE8 Run at Bonifacio Global City.  It was a difficult time for runners on which “side” to choose but in the end The Earth Run came out with being more competitive and having more attendance.

Medal from the Earth Run

Medal from the Earth Run

June

The month kicked off with another high-profile and highly anticipated race, the Mizuno Infinity Run.  Coming from a popular footwear brand, this race has a good set of followers which were not disappointed with the race outcome as it became the first race to have a “Time Challenge.”  This year’s participants had their finish time recorded for next year’s race where they can challenge their previous record for a chance of a prize.

Kicking off June with Mizuno Infinity Run

Kicking off June with Mizuno Infinity Run

The second week of June was the Independence Week with the 12th of the month being the Independence Day of the Philippines.  For a change I left my running shoes home and put on my trail running shoes for the first Freedom Climb—40 summits nationwide simultaneously having flag raising ceremonies to commemorate the occasion.  It was the first official climb of our takbo.ph offshoot group, the RunHikers as a group, in Pico de Loro, Cavite.

On our way to Pico de Loro during Freedom Climb

On our way to Pico de Loro during Freedom Climb

If May brags of an ultra-trail race, June is not far with an ultra and trails.  More like a month-wide split of the TNF100, June had an ultramarathon road race: Botak 100, and two trail run (and bike) races: King of the Mountain (KOM) in Timberland and Men’s Health All Terrain in Sta. Elena, Laguna.

Sunrise over Sta. Elena, Laguna during Mens Health All Terrain

Sunrise over Sta. Elena, Laguna during Men’s Health All Terrain

The All Terrain race was a good race overall especially for introducing trail runs for beginners.  The race was well-organized flawed only by the fact that the trails were a little dull.  This was salvation for Men’s Health reputation from their abysmal past races.

Finally to close the first half of the year was Botak 100—the first ultramarathon road race in Mega Manila.  Despite Botak’s attempt to salvage their reputation from the last race that plagued them, it was “A” (H1N1) viral issue that hampers their efforts.  That issue led them to postpone the side events of this race to the dismay of some runners (myself included).  Fortunately enough the ultramarathon road race pulled their reputation forward that Botak could be proud to say that they “pulled it off.”  Surely there were still a lot of shortcomings but as an “active spectator” all these issues were negligible.  Welcome back, Botak!

Pacer at Botak 100

Pacer at Botak 100 (courtesy Marvin)

Truly it was a roller-coaster ride for the first half—events fell on either side of the poles.  From the best to the worst these races and other side events really made the first half of 2009 quite remarkable.  Now that the second half is about to begin, will it be able to outshine the half that was?  Or will the race organizers sit on their laurels and stop innovation?  I guess we’ll all find out soon enough.

30
Jun
09

Botak 100: From an “Active Spectator’s” Perspective (Part 2)

After a few kilometers within UP Diliman Campus we exited on Katipunan Ave. and found ourselves running inside a very nice subdivision.  From that point everything for me was unchartered territory—I’m glad that I have my GF405 with me to keep track on where we’re going.  Eventually we arrived at Tumana Bridge that links Quezon City and Marikina City.

One of the nice subdivisions along the route

One of the nice subdivisions along the route

Tumana Bridge

Tumana Bridge

The early part of the Marikina route was uneventful until the intersections came—we were confounded by a myriad of street crossings!  At this part it felt a little like a trail run—there are hardly any directional signs, but it’s a good thing that marshals were placed and were really active at work.  The only problem was that directions were given by the marshals verbally so if you’re forgetful it may lead to getting lost.  You also need to do a lot of judgment calls because sometimes the corner that the marshals refer to is not the next corner but the last corner along the route (yes it was confusing).

Setting aside the confusing roads, the sidewalks in Marikina were excellent.  Marikina has the best bike road network in Metro Manila which also leads to excellent run-able sidewalks.

The commendable sidewalks of Marikina

The commendable sidewalks of Marikina

While the roads weren’t a problem, the route kind of felt “forcibly fitted” to obtain 100K as there was a couple of “ends”—long segments that eventually lead to a 180 degree turnaround.

After finding our way out of the streets of Marikina the route leads finally to the riverbanks—arguably the most interesting segment of the route.  It was really long—there were no water stations and stores around, and support vehicles can’t get in making this one of the more challenging areas of the route as runners have to be self-reliant—a tradeoff for having fresh air and riverside view.

The view of the riverbanks

The view of the riverbanks

At the end of the riverbanks trail below Marcos Highway was a much needed water station which was also a turn-around point.  Runners henceforth have to run back and eventually forth on the other side of the river where the takbo.ph aid station was located—roughly 78 kilometers of the race upon their return from the end of this riverside’s route.

Seeing this sign is like seeing relief

Seeing this sign is like seeing relief

Takbo.ph’s aid station was a huge relief for runners where there were lots of supplies including food and medicated ointments.  It was an oasis at the other end of the race—runners can have their rest while volunteers cater to their needs.  Even if I didn’t run the entire route leading to the station I felt relieved after seeing it, knowing that I have a place I can rest and recuperate.

Food at takbo.phs aid station (or whats left of it)

Food at takbo.ph's aid station (or what's left of it)

Pat and I parted ways after the Marcos Highway station: I went straight to the takbo.ph station to recover, while Pat continued with the route.  While waiting for Pat to arrive several runners passed (and some even stopped) by the station and I was able to see how the station volunteers worked—service from the heart!  Everyone was willing to lend a hand and foot whenever needed just to provide good service to their stakeholders, the runners.  Truly, these are dedicated volunteers in service for the sport we all grew to love, running.

After going forth, back, and forth again Pat was finally able to get his rest at the takbo.ph station where he got “spa treatment.”  I was almost envious to be an official runner of the race at that point because of the attention given to runners that went our way.

Pats spa-treatment courtesy of Marga-licious

Pat’s spa-treatment courtesy of Marga-licious

Eventually the last group of runners (including Pat) was on their way back for the final leg of the grueling 100K route—the last 12K to UP Diliman.  This time around it was Doc E, Doc Roy, and Bong Yu’s turn to pace him—time to bid last goodbyes and well wishes.  If we all could we’d all probably pace Pat all the way back to the finish.

Pats pacers: Doc E, Doc Roy, and Bong Yu

Pat’s pacers: Doc E, Doc Roy, and Bong Yu

As for me and the rest of the takbo.ph volunteers it was time to pack up and call it a day—and what a wonderful day it was for all of us.  We may not all run 100K but all of us saw a different side of running from different perspectives—and that made us know ourselves more.

Acknowledgments

To the dedicated marshals, thank you for your assistance to the runners and putting their safety first.  Any road race would fail without your support.

To the volunteers of the race particularly to the takbo.ph aid station crew, thank you very much for your services!  Just your presence on the race gives relief to the weary runners and your assistance was really well-appreciated.

Special thanks to Reinier Pacific for sponsoring takbo.phs aid station!

Special thanks to Reinier Pacific for sponsoring takbo.ph's aid station! (Courtesy takbo.ph)

To the race officials, thank you for having an effort to improving your races and to the Race Director Neville Manaois congratulations on having a great race!  Thank you for pushing the race to continue and for finding new routes for us to discover.

Conclusion

Honestly this was one of the toughest races for me to appraise.  Here are my thoughts:

  • I didn’t like the fact that there were shortages of directional signs and water stations (which are to be expected on an ultramarathon), and the route was a little confusing, but
  • I loved the fact that runners were well taken cared of: at times each runner had his own personal road marshal on scooters (Pat and I had one going to the riverbanks), the road marshals were really of good assistance, and there were good support at the Start/Finish area.
UP - Marikina leg of Botak 100 route (a bit short as my GF405 ran out of batteries again)

UP - Marikina leg of Botak 100 route (a bit short as my GF405 ran out of batteries again)

Yes this race had some shortcomings but for me the Race Director’s honest intention to provide runners with a good and safe race pulled it off in the end so I’d rate this race as Good.  I was only able to experience a good sampler of the race but I loved that experience and was at times sorry for not being an official 100K runner.  Had it not been for the “ends” all along the route and the inverted (but functional) and shortly-supplied directional signs I would’ve given this race an Excellent rating.  Congratulations Botak for choosing the right people and having a good race.  I hope you learned your lessons and I hope next time we see an “Excellent” Botak race.  Welcome back!

29
Jun
09

Botak 100: From an “Active Spectator’s” Perspective (Part 1)

Botak 100 was the first road ultramarathon set entirely in Metro Manila with routes spanning the cities of Marikina and Quezon City and being an “active spectator” I got to see this race from a different angle this time around.

I called myself an “active spectator” during this race because unlike a normal spectator that only sees the event by the sidelines I was actually participating in the race, and no not as a bandit runner, but as a pacer for one of my friends doing the 100K leg.  I guess it’s inevitable for an ultrarunner like myself to stay on the sidelines as a spectator when his 10 mile race got deferred.

“You’re a running addict if:
You run an ultra, unregistered, call yourself a pacer,
just for the fun of it.

A pacer is the nearest support person a runner could have.  Yes, aside from moral support runners do need other means of support.  In this case a pacer can serve as a courier for a runner’s basic supplies but more importantly a pacer’s purpose is to keep the runner in line with his target pace, and of course companionship during those really dull moments of the race (which is a significant amount during ultras).

Background

I am registered to run Botak 100’s 10 mile side event but due to some viral issues the side events got postponed to a much later date.  Because of this I suddenly found myself run-less for the last weekend before my Milo Marathon debut.  Refusing to call it a taper, I devised of some means of getting these frantic feet moving—and the idea of being a pacer for the Botak 100 succumb.  Truth to be told, if Milo Marathon wasn’t there the week after I would’ve probably run the ultra as well.

The idea of pacing came to me when some of my takbo.ph friends mentioned that they’ll be pacing Pat (The Running Safety Pin) for the last 10K leg of his 100K race.  Looking at the 100K route I was really curious about the second half of the route in Marikina City so I asked Pat if he wanted a pacer for the second half.  I don’t think he really needed it though but maybe he figured what’s going on in my mind and agreed with me running with him on the start of the second half from UP Diliman to our takbo.ph Aid Station in Km 80.

Based on what we agreed upon pace and the assumption that the race starts on midnight I estimated Pat to be within UP Diliman grounds by around 5-6 AM but the race actually started at 1AM, and due to some unforeseen circumstances he actually arrived in the area much later.

The vastness of Commonwealth Ave. diminutizes runners

The vastness of Commonwealth Ave. diminutizes runners

A Road Marshal’s View

I eventually found myself waiting at the Ylanan gates of UP Diliman where all 50K and 100K runners would eventually enter since the Start/Finish area which was the Km 45 for the race was just a few meters away.  Of course being a crucial spot there are marshals there so while I was waiting for Pat to arrive I got to see how a real marshal works—it’s not easy!

The Ylanan Gate of UP Diliman Campus

The Ylanan Gate of UP Diliman Campus

The marshal on this point had a difficult job of making sure he/she sees the runners approaching in both directions and leading them the right way.  While that task doesn’t seem difficult enough, he/she can’t really leave his/her post (which would occasionally be under the heat of the sun if it wasn’t for the clouds) even if there seems to be no runners arriving.  Runners arrive sporadically so there’s really not much “safe time” to leave the post unattended.  Killing time would be one of the toughest issues here since the race was an ultra and waiting time is very long.  Kudos to the marshals that do their job!

Marshals at the Ylanan gate hard at work

Marshals at the Ylanan gate hard at work

The Story

It was around 7AM when Pat arrived.  We headed off to the Start/Finish area where runners can have their rest and also eat.  You also get to see 50K runners finishing their race (after another lap around UP).  The mood was festive and I even get the chance to talk to the ultra race director Neville Manaois and hear his side of the story.  Based on the no-frills start/finish area I see this race as a straightforward as it can be—you get what need and not much of the commercial stuff (except from partners and sponsors of course) which I think was nice.

The utilitarian Start/Finish line

The utilitarian Start/Finish line

One by one some of my friends running the ultra arrived including my friends from TNF100 so I guess you can say that it’s a reunion of ultrarunners.  It was also the birth of new ultrarunners including one of my friends from takbo.ph Luis who successfully finished his first 50K race.  Congratulations!  Welcome to the club!

After a few minutes rest Pat and some of our TNF100 gang were off for the second half of the race.  It was very exciting for me that I’d be running on areas I’ve never been to, another running adventure for me that was about to begin.

(To be continued)

Don’t worry Nevs I won’t stress you with my race verdict, yet.

05
Jun
09

Botak Paa-tibayan 100K Route

Crazy for an ultramarathon?  Botak Paa-Tibayan Takbo 100K to be held on June 28, 2009 would be one of the first road ultramarathon race in the country.  The ultra race would have a 100K solo, 100K relay (2x 50K), and a 50K solo category.  Here’s the route for the 100K:

Botak Paa-Tibayan 100K Route

Botak Paa-Tibayan 100K Route

There are also sub-marathon distances like 10mi, 5mi, and 1mi.  You may register at:

  • ROX (Recreational Outdoor Exchange)
  • Fitness First, Bonifacio Global City
  • Second Wind Running Store, Teacher’s Village, Quezon City
  • Al Terra Bike Shop, Club 650 Libis, Quezon City,
  • ROC, Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman
  • Paul Calvin’s Deli, the Fort
  • Botak Sports Shop, 131 Kamuning Road, Quezon City.



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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
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