Category Archives: runners Runfest 2014 Race Report

(Photo courtesy of I Love To Do This)
13 July 2014 — When I looked at my mobile phone clock it said it was 3:24 AM and I have a race at 4 AM. Failed to set the alarm.  Yikes!  Luckily, I had everything readied the night before.  That was the quickest dress changing ever done by me! Whew!
I arrived at the race venue with just 10 minutes to spare. From afar I could see the start arch where frontrunners have congregated.  I was finding people I knew who were running but couldn’t see any familiar faces except the ones on stage.  A lady marshal approached and instructed me to have my bib checked.  When all of a sudden, I heard my name being called.  It was Jez D., my choirmate.  Beside her is another familiar face, that of Ferdie from the earlier batch of runners whom I’ve met years before.  Didn’t even know they knew each other.  What a surprise!
My goal for this race is “to run by feel” since I intentionally didn’t wear my Garmin watch. Then the countdown begins… 
I have run this race route quite a number of times already.  More or less, it was familiar.  A much preferred route actually.  After the first turnaround point along Buendia near the South Superhighway, a runner said to me, “I think I know you.”  It was Patrick Concepcion aka Running  Shield or PatCon to us, Happy Feet.   We’ve known each other from the forum site called Impromptu Runners way back in 2007. Suddenly, I found myself running with PatCon.  Unbelievable! Running Shield is a fast runner.  No way could I run with him. Yet here I am, running with him.  And we conversed.  Epic!  Thank you Running Shield for the opportunity.  Eventually, I had to slow down a bit and let him go ahead.  We saw each other again along Lawton Avenuenear McKinley Road, did a high five and cheered. Him done with the second turnaround point. And me, still on my way there.  

Impromptu pacing with Tagumpay Bros/Triabetics Reggie S.
(Photo courtesy of Flat Ironman)
With a few remaining kilometers, approximately 7 KMs to go…it was here that I chance upon again with another founding forum members and now an accomplished sports person himself, Reggie or Rej to his teammates. It was just a spur-of-the-moment decision to run/pace together.  Rej is an ultra distance runner. He finished the Bataan Death March 160 (BDM) ultramarathon recently and is also into multisport events. I had the chance to run with him in past races and LSDs (long slow distance) especially during training runs prior to my Bataan Death March 102 ultramarathon race in 2011.  
We attacked the remaining kilometers by combining power walk and running, and targeted each hydration station as a good break or rest.  The last kilometer where the new overpass to C5 northbound from Bonifacio Global City, we tackled it by walking the uphill, stopping at the last water station, and running all the way to the finish line. Just a few meters ahead, we bumped into another Team Boring ultra runner, Doc Topher on his bike, who exchanged jokes with us and was kind enough to hand us a bottle of energy drink which we gently declined.  The finish line is not too far, anyway. Then there it was, the Finish Line right before our eyes.  Done!  What a great half-marathon running! 

A personal congratulations to Jinoe and Queenie Gavan of, and the rest of the crew of the Leadpack Team for organizing such a good race yesterday.  It was my first time to run the new overpass to C5 and to me, a best feature of the race. Two thumbs up! There was no problem with hydration, bananas are a plenty, energetic cheerers and volunteer marshals.  I had a blast!  One of my favorite organized races I have done so far.  

Until next time! RUNFEST 2014, July 13

Regular registration starts on May 23, Friday at select Chris Sports branches and at 100 Miles Café, Fort Strip,  Bonifacio Global City (BGC).  For the regular registration, registrants will get their race kits at once which include the race bib, timing chip, and the singlet. Singlet sizes are available on a first come, first served basis. Race bibs are NOT PERSONALIZED.  

Current available slots for the following distance categories are: 5Km – 350 slots | 10Km – 350 slots | 21K – 500 slots.  Meaning, only limited slots are up for grabs!  For details, please click here.

Urbanites Ran the Rhythm of the Night

As soon as I received an SMS from a friend that the race route was out, I was not surprised. I’ve run the same course more than a couple of times before. The only difference was that the race will be held at nighttime. Part of the route was inside the Heritage Park, a cemetery. I’ve imagined runners doing their best run ever in this part of the route.

However, later that night, I received another SMS from a fellow runner who will be running her 15k distance and I felt her fear. To appease her, I sent her a text telling her not to worry for I’ll pace with her during her last three-kilometer run. And to myself I said, “You really need to finish fast and do what you’ve told her.”

What was your goal in this race fellow urbanite runner? Me? I just wanted to conquer the hills, finish the race probably beat my previous 15k times, and pace with Marga of That was it.

This was taken during the carbo loading party better known as CLP which sounds like a prayer meeting to me at Joey Pepperoni along McKinley Avenue at the Fort.

Too dark to be seen. That’s me and Team Logan at the starting line.

From the start, it was already an amazing night for me. Ruth and Master Mon offered to pick me up. When I reached the venue, I’ve noticed familiar faces—be they acquaintances, friends, fellow runners, new recruits in the running world, friends from NGOs and la la la.

I had a nice time with the seemingly endless photo shoots with runners not discounting the fact that a number of us wore the knee high socks.

After reaching the finish line, I passed by booth and told some of them that I would be running back to pace with Marga as promised. I was so glad that Gab a.k.a. Dirty Sanchez told me that he was coming with me. Together we ran back, scanned the faces of runners who we passed along until we reached McKinley. I told Gab this is the point Marga and me agreed to meet. But as the minutes ticked by no Marga yet. We both decided to run downhill. It was only nearing at the last water station past McDonald’s that we saw the familiar gaits of our running buddies. Marga was too tired.

I didn’t know what came over me, I just started to sing any song that came on my mind just to encourage her to run and reach the finish line. While slowly pacing with Marga, I recalled during the Globe Run for Home, Sir Roger, my pacer, hummed to relax me so that I wouldn’t be pressured with time.

Coming out from my reverie, I did the same thing. The first song that I’ve sung was “Kung kaya mong isipin, kaya mong gawin. Isa-isang hakbang lang ay makakarating…” Until one song was followed by another. To keep the beat going, I had to clap and chanted some rhyming cheers. I enjoyed seeing pacers running a bit faster as we hummed together the Hawaii Five-O movie theme song. It was the first time I’ve sung while racing.

A few meters from the finish line, I suddenly told the group to let Marga go ahead and form the V-shape as in volt in like the Voltes V or that of the flying geese.

Marga sprinted the last few meters and finished her first 15k.

Why I was so happy in this race? It was not only reaching the finish line but realizing nothing beats the gift of friendship, support, and encouragement one gets from fellow runners. To the guys who paced with Marga … you guys rule! You know who you are.

As for me, I thank God for the opportunity to pace with a fellow runner during her most difficult quest for self mastery.

Seeing each other after the race. Yeah, that’s Marga a.k.a. Margalicious.

That night, I ran a total of 21km and finished the race beating my previous same route 15k PR even under different running condition.

Thanks to BenChan a.k.a. Photographer on the Run and fellow Happy Feet for these photos taken at the finish line.

That’s Rodel a.k.a. Argonaut, one of the photographers who patiently took pictures of the runners.

Back to Reality

You can’t ignore this guy. He’s quite popular. He’s the poster you always see wherever you are in Metro Manila. I even promoted the poster on my blog. You have seen him on TV and he did well during the Amazing Race Asia edition. Guess what? Just one of the lucky runners to have a rare photo op with him.

That’s Marc Nelson in flesh and blood. One of the hosts of the recently concluded Kenny Roger’s 2009 Open Urbanite Run.

(Photos Courtesy of Pio, Edu, Rodel, and Photovendo)

Hilly Personal Milestone, 24 May 2009


The word reminds me of a VSO friend’s funny experience as a volunteer in Zambia, Africa. In her blog, she related how she, as Filipino, was mistakenly identified as Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, Irish, Russian, etc. There were some who used Filipino (finally!) but spelled as Philippino. The worst case was when she was called as Philippian. I really find that so funny.

She was fortunate though to meet a couple of friends who knew about our country but they pronounced the name of our country as PhilipPINES, the trees of which Baguio City is famous for.

The word also reminds me of hills. I visited Baguio the first time in the summer of 2002. It was disappointing to note that Baguio wasn’t the same anymore. Gone are the hills rich with pines.

Hills—the very word evokes fear. Yet after conquering Antipolo Hills and McKinley Hills (Fort Bonifacio), knowing the right form as suggested by one of the Masters, I learn to love them. It was for this reason why I went to Baguio—to enjoy the run and conquer its hills.

The Trip

In the bus, while I was looking for my seat number, someone recognized me. She was a schoolmate of mine during my high school years whom I haven’t seen since 1989. After we exchanged pleasantries, they decided to come with me since, just like me, they too didn’t have any hotel reservation yet. However, to our disappointment, the hotel where I stayed the last time I was in Baguio, was already full. Together with her Mom and younger brother, we looked for a hotel in the city and ended up staying in an affordable transient house recommended by the kind taxi driver. The place was comfortable enough but not conveniently located near the city proper. Transferring to a hotel was our main goal the next day. That night, it was also the time for me to meet some of the runners for the “carbo loading” hosted by Craig Logan and family.

Before Race Day

I spent the day touring great sites in the area. An early swim in one of its hot springs made it a fine day! I bought some woodcarvings along Upper Asin Road and got a good deal. Strawberry farm in La Trinidad was OK but I enjoyed scouting some of its stores nearby. Baguio Botanical Garden showcased the best outdoor environment. Took some photos at the Mansion House, official summer residence of the President of the Philippines.

Tam-Awan Village, home to many works of art, authentic Ifugao huts, crafts and souvenir shops, cultural shows, and eco-tourism was the best site I’ve ever visited.

Another worthy of notice is the former Diplomat Hotel believed to be a haunted place. It used to be a rest house and a seminary in 1911 before it was developed into a hotel. A number of religious persons were beheaded during World War II and it was for this reason some people claimed seeing headless apparitions and hearing strange sounds at night. The last site we visited was Mines View Park before we parted ways and went to our respective hotels.

Later that night, I met Master Mon, Sir Ipe and Ver, a veteran runner for dinner. My treat this time.

I couldn’t sleep well the night before the race. Was disturbed with the loud music coming from the hotel’s restaurant turned-into-a-bar for the Saturday gimmick night. Sigh…

Race Day

I woke up earlier than possible and slowly ran from the hotel to Burnham Park, the venue for the race. There were not too many runners. The biggest delegation came from the police group. Mostly police trainees. Since most of them ran the 21k event, there were just a few of us who did the 10k race. Surprisingly, though we didn’t agree among ourselves nor talked about it, we wore the singlet. As if we were another delegation from Metro Manila! There were also three children who participated the 10k event. The race wouldn’t be complete without the photo sessions with fellow runners.

The Route

21k route was really a difficult one. Thank God I didn’t register for it! First five kilometers (for 10k) were mostly up hills and after the turn around point, they were mostly down hills. Not a legitimate 10k, approximately 9.6 km. But who cares? Reached the finish line not a PR but still considered a good time.

Post Race

I left the park with enough time to check out from the hotel, eat breakfast and hear mass. And what a mass it was! I came out from Baguio Cathedral not understanding any single word uttered by the priest except when he spoke in English for the service was said in Ilocano. Hahaha!

Later that morning, while in the bus on my way back to Manila, I received a text message from Queenie informing me that she accepted a medal on my behalf for I won 13th place, top 15 Women Division. Whooa! Number 13 can be lucky, eh?

What a way and a gift to celebrate life!

Yes, I raced on my birthday!