Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Afterthoughts on a Sunday run

This is going to be an easy Sunday run on a not-so-easy 20-kilometer running route. Two ascents in the first four kilometers are followed by five straight kilometers of climbing with only one serious dip which is actually no more than a short prelude to the final climb to my set turnaround point.

Why am I doing this on an early Sunday morning when I can be in bed sleeping until God knows when? More than that, why do I run every single day of my 6-and-1 weekly routine like my whole life depended on it? And those races, why do I join them when a podium finish is always a far possibility for a runner of my age and ability? It is not often that those races have age group competitions, and it is a fact that others in my group are faster than me being seasoned runners in their younger years.

I was never athletic in high school. I was too small to play basketball with the bigger guys, and neither was I strong enough to hit or throw a baseball far. It was a replay of sorts in college, except for a short foray I had into archery to represent my school at a local meet because no one else was interested to. I had a two-week crash course on the sport before the week-long games. As expected, we were demolished by the competition and I finished a mediocre 5th among seven participants. In that short-lived romance with the bow and arrow, I've learned to love archery. And I think I now know why. It gave me a sense of accomplishment.

Running this seemingly endless chain of ascents gives me that same feeling. Here, pushing myself to keep a steady pace climb after higher climb, the cold wind chilling me to my inner muscles, I conquer. I conquer the road, I conquer the hills, I conquer my weakness, my old un-athletic self, and emerge a renewed person capable of achieving that which to others may seem unachievable.

Over the past four years since I got my second wind in running following a brief hiatus spent riding bikes, I have felt myself grow stronger. I feel I have transcended my previous limits both physically and mentally. My training runs have taken a bit more variety and structure. I can keep pace better with some age-group runners who used to outrun me by minutes four years ago. I have grown less fearful of pushing myself and running faster. I have learned to be more confident in myself and my abilities while remaining mindful of the limitations set by my ageing body.

Four years ago, I had a silent loathing for running these hills. I always faced them with a fear of the suffering they would cause my legs and lungs. There were times I wished I didn't do them. And the truth is I didn't have to, much the same way I didn't have to do it today. But I chose to then as I choose to now because I know I can transcend the suffering and emerge a better man.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Condura Skyway Marathon on National Geographic Channel

I was pleasantly surprised to see an email from the renowned Patrick Concepcion in my inbox three days ago.

Why would this famous dedicated runner, successful entrepreneur, the man behind the running blog Runningshield and the Condura Skyway Marathon which is one of the country's biggest running events be sending me an email? Curiosity urged me to check that particular email first.

It was all about the Condura Skyway Marathon 2011 being featured in the National Geographic Channel. And with enough reason. More than just being big, the event held last February 6, 2011 and dubbed "Run for the Dolphins" was organized with just that particular advocacy - raise funds to help save the dolphins of Bohol. Yes, each of the 15,000 runners in the Condura Skyway Marathon 2011 put their share in that kitty while enjoying what they love to do most - run.

I would love watching this first locally-produced feature at 10 pm tomorrow, March 27. I am sure other runners out there feel the same way.

Please watch the Condura Skyway Marathon at NATGEO TV
The first locally- produced material for National Geographic channel.

Definitely something to be proud of.

Date: March 27, 2011
Time: 10 pm

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NCCC-P&G RUNFEST 2011 set on Sunday

Another run which promises to be a regular event in Davao City kicks off this Sunday, March 27.

RUNFEST 2011, co-presented by NCCC and Safeguard, starts and ends at the People's Park with three featured race distances: 3K, 5K and 10K. 

Cash prizes will be awarded to top finishers in all three race distances.  

The 10K champion will receive P5,000, the runner-up will pocket with P4,000 and the third-placer will go home with P3,000.

In the 5K race, the top three finishers will win P3,000, P2,500 and P2,000 while the top three placers in the 3K will get P2,000, P1,500 and P1,000.

Winners of the footrace will also receive freebies from Procter and Gamble, makers of Safeguard.

Registration fee for RUNFEST 2011 is P250 which includes a race singlet, P&G sample products, raffle coupon and food and beverage. Registration centers for RUNFEST 2011 are all NCCC Supermarkets, Holiday Gym and Spa, and RunClub Davao. 

Visit the RUNFEST 2011 event page on Facebook for more information. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

LuntiRUN registration extended until March 27

Registration for the UP-IE LuntiRUN has been extended until race day, March 27.

If you are one of those green-minded runners or environmental cum health advocate with nothing on your schedule for March 27, and would have no problem chipping in a few hundred pesos for a cause close to your heart, LuntiRun would surely be a good way to spend Sunday morning. The event is organized to benefit Isko Cleans UP, a project to implement solid waste management in UP Diliman.

Registration fees are Php300 for the 1.5k run for kids 12 years old and below, Php350 for 3k, Php400 for 6k and Php450 for 12k. The LuntiRUN race kit includes your event singlet, race bib and stub for a 20% discount on regular priced New Balance items.

LuntiRUN starts and finishes at Filinvest Corporate City in Alabang.

For further details you can check out their Facebook page at http://facebook.com/luntirun or visit their event page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164548446930739.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rogate Run 2011: Celebrating the cause of children and education

If you don't believe running is on a roll in Davao City, consider this.

Probably less than 6 hours after the last runner in the Dark Knight Run on March 19 crosses the finish line at Roxas Avenue on what could very well be already March 20, another run kicks off at the Carmelite Monastery grounds in Bajada.

Rogate Run 2011 is the first-ever fun run organized by Rogationist Academy, a school run by the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus (RCJ), a Catholic religious congregation for men founded by Saint Hannibal Mary di Francia.

The event which features 3k, 5k and 10k distances will benefit the children of Saint Anthony’s Boys Village, an orphanage in Baracatan, Toril. Recipients of the proceeds will be the orphans themselves who will be present during the race.

Top three finishers in each of the race distances will receive cash prizes.

The event will kick off with simple rites at 5 a.m. at the Carmelite Monastery grounds and end with a celebration of the Holy Mass. I would say that's a first, at least for me, having heard about a running event ending with a mass only now.

Registration fee is P250 which covers race singlet, race bib, certificate and snacks.

Being a charity run, people who find children's charities close to their hearts are encouraged to register just the same even if they cannot run. They will still receive their race kits which they can keep as souvenirs. Topping that is the heart-warming feeling one gets knowing that he or she has helped make a young orphan smile.

Will anybody doing the Dark Knight Run the night before also do the Rogate Run 2011 the morning after? Not a crazy far-fetched idea for some runners. Running can be addictive, and that runner's high has a way of keeping you going like the Energizer bunny.

Visit the Rogate Run 2011 event page on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coming to Davao on Saturday night – the Dark Knight Enervon Run

Runners who haven't experienced an evening run will be treated to one on March 19 when the Dark Knight Enervon Run hits the streets of Davao City at 10 p.m.

Why Dark Knight? Perhaps you can find the answer to that question in these facts about the race.

It is presented by the Fraternal Order of Saint Thomas More (Saint, knight, Lord Chancellor of England, author and martyr according to the Catholic Encyclopedia), Enervon-Unilab and Splash in coordination with the Smash Ville Fitness Center and Matina South Health Studio.

It is for the benefit of the bat sanctuary of the Monfort Bat Conservation Park in Samal Island (bats, the Batman, the Dark Knight, familiar connections?), a fitting advocacy for nature lovers in this Year of the Bat.

Dark Knight Enervon Run features male and female 3K, 5K, 10K and 16K categories, each with cash prizes and medals for the winners. All 16k finishers will also receive medals.

This being a night run, the issue of the runners' safety is among the top concerns being raised. FOSTM's Dolf Esparagoza assured participants through the local media that they need not worry about security.

"We assure them that they will be taken cared of during the entire race. TMC (Traffic Management Center) personnel and marshals will be stationed in every intersection," Esparagoza, also of Davao Runners, said.

Energizer Philippines which is also supporting the event will sell headlamps at discounted rates while Tau Mu will sell inexpensive blinkers at Roxas Avenue on race day.

Dark Knight Enervon Run will be managed by veteran race director Kenneth Sai of Vantage Sports Promotions, an added assurance that security concerns will be given due attention.

This is not the first time that an evening footrace is being held in Davao City, and having run a couple of the Davao Sunday Runners Club Inc. organized Midnight Marathon in 1996 and 1997, one thing I know based on experience is there are less vehicles out on those roads at night than there are during the end part of daytime races. Drivers won't intentionally hit you with their vehicles, unless they're crazy or driving under the influence. Still, taking precautionary measures is the best thing to do.

Among defensive running techniques one can employ are using reflectorized running wear or attaching reflectorized tabs on your running vest and shorts, and running no more than two in a row.

Registration fees for the Dark Knight Enervon Run are P350 for 16K, P250 for 10K and 5K and P200 for 3K. The registration centers are Run Club Davao, Sports Depot Victoria Plaza, Matina South Health Studio and Smash Ville Fitness Center. Registration fees cover singlet, race bib, finisher's certificate, water and food.

You may also visit the Dark Knight Enervon Run event page on Facebook.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Looking back at the Araw ng Dabaw Phoenix Run

Araw ng Dabaw Phoenix Run was projected to be one of Davao's biggest races ever.

In an interview, Race Director Kenneth Sai of Vantage Sports Promotions said they originally targeted only 3,000 participants. Four days before the race, some 3,500 were already in the official entry list and more were still joining going into the March 10 deadline. All indications pointed to the race overshooting the 4,200 record set in last year's Kadayawan Festival Run.

The Phoenix Run did just that. On race day, some 4,500 runners filled the start/finish area at Roxas Avenue, the biggest ever gathered for a road race in Davao City.

Part of almost 300 runners in the 21k
(Photo by Zosimo Co) 

The Kenyans came and they conquered.

Benjamin Kepkazi led Davao's Anthony Nerza by almost a minute at the finish with his 1:08:30 clocking. Nerza came in at 1:09:24 followed by Rafael Paliquit in third with a time of 1:11:52.

Susan Jemutai led the women's side of the event with a 1:28:24 effort. Davao's top finisher was Jaro whose time of 1:30:09 was good for third place.

21k women's race winner Susan Jemutai of Kenya is interviewed after receiving her award
(Photo from the Phoenix Run Davao Facebook page) 

Cebu's local elite also came and showed their class on Davao's roads. Mary Joy Tabal clocked 1:28:42 in placing second to Jemutai in the women's 21k race. Tessie Escasiñas took eighth place with her 1:52 clocking. On the men's side John Philip Duenas finished fourth with 1:13 and Mendel Lopez took fifth 1:14.

Mary Grace Delos Santos, originally from Alicia in Zamboanga Del Sur but is now based in Cebu, ruled the women's 10k with a fast 40:31.

All had their share of the more than P400,000 worth of prizes at stake in the event, the biggest so far for a footrace in Southern Mindanao.

Sen. Pia Cayetano sadly wasn't able to make it to the event but her Pinay In Action team was there.  Dubbed "Takbo Para Sa KinaBOOKasan," the Phoenix Run was organized to support the advocacy of Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Foundation to provide books to students of the company’s adopted schools and to other pre-school, elementary, and high school students in chosen public schools in Davao. It is an advocacy close to Sen. Pia's heart whose agenda is topped by education and health as well as upholding the rights of women and children and environment protection.

Davao's now legendary barefoot runner Manuel Vizmanos again took on the challenge of the 21k route unshod with his YS (for "wa'y sapatos" or "no shoes") crew of Aldo Pecson, Jonifer Bagayo, and Boni Vizmanos, Manuel's younger brother who topped the 60-64 age group. Joining them in his first ever 21k barefoot run was young Dean Macavinta of the Davao Runners. Speedy Jun Biroy from the island city of Samal also conquered the 21k route unshod. No VFFs or huaraches for these guys. Yes, hardcore barefoot running is alive and well in Davao City.

Davao's now legendary barefoot running master Manuel Vismanos
(Photo by Zosimo Co) 

The sponge and energy drink stations, the fire trucks at key points providing runners with a welcome shower on the 21k route, the drum and lyre bands dishing out lively beats all added up to make the Araw ng Dabaw Phoenix  Run nothing less than a superb event. Race Director Kenneth Sai of Vantage Sports Promotions has again raised the bar on Davao road racing, and runners can't be anything but happy with that.

Me? I got my revenge on this 21k route, the same one used for the 34th Milo Marathon Davao Elimination Race last year. From a 1:51:27, I lowered my time for this course to 1:41:31. To top this, I finished first in my age group.

Going up that stage to receive my award was sweet. It would have been sweeter perhaps if it came after an effort against the fastest Davao-based runner I know in my age group, but flu got the best of him. He was there at the finish though, the  first to give me a handshake when I went down the stage.

My Araw ng Dabaw Phoenix Run was definitely more than good enough for me.

The latest addition to my running booty - Araw ng Dabaw Phoenix Run Race Bib 2250, Finisher's Certificate, and 21k Finisher's Medal. Something's still missing - my age category top finisher's medal which couldn't be located during the awarding rites. But I can wait.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

From the UP IE Club - LuntiRUN: Make every route greener

It was a pleasant surprise to receive a comment on one of my blog posts inviting me to join a run in Metro Manila. That doesn't very happen often. In fact, if my memory still serves me right, this is the first one I got.

Organized by the UP Industrial Engineering club and backed by Asia Brewery and Rexona, "LuntiRUN: Make every route greener" is a fun run for the benefit of Isko Cleans UP, a project to implement solid waste management in UP Diliman.

The run scheduled on March 27 at Filinvest Corporate City in Alabang features a 1.5k run for kids 12 years old and below, a 3k and a 6k run, and a 12k for those who feel a bit more hardcore and require a little more challenge.

Registration fees are Php300 for1.5k, Php350 for 3k, Php400 for 6k and Php450 for 12k. The LuntiRUN race kit includes your event singlet, race bib and stub for a 20% discount on regular priced New Balance items.

UP students may register at the UP IE Club Tambayan (3rd floor Melchor Hall). You can also register online at http://runnersrunner.com/luntirun.

Other registration sites are:

  • Secondwind running specialty stores at 45 Malingap St. Teachers Village, QC and Ortigas Home Depot, Pasig City
  • New Balance shops at Festival Mall, Alabang and Shangri-la Plaza (Saturdays and Sundays)
  • Bike King Philippines at Bonifacio High Street
  • MJ46 Factory Outlet in Bicutan
  • The Village Sports Club at BF Homes Parañaque

Registration is until March 20 only.

For inquiries, contact MIMI LUCAS at 09178158227 or email the organizers at luntirun@gmail.com. You can also check out their FACEBOOK page at http://facebook.com/luntirun.

My thanks to Marielle Belen for the invite.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sunday's Big Event: Araw ng Dabaw Phoenix Run

The Araw ng Dabaw Phoenix Run is Sunday's Big Event for Davao City's running community.

More than 3,500 runners are expected to take to the streets on March 13 to tackle the out-and-back course which starts and ends at Roxas Avenue. The race will feature a 3K Kiddie Run, 5K Fun Run, 10K run and the centerpiece 21K Half Marathon.

The event promises to be bigger than all other Araw ng Dabaw runs held before especially with the backing of Phoenix Petroleum Philippines. Race Director Kenneth Sai of Vantage Sports Promotions said over P400,000 worth of prizes are at stake in the event making it perhaps the biggest footrace in terms of prizes in Southern Mindanao.

New innovations like the use of timing shoe tags for the 10K and 21K categories will also be introduced.

The Kenyans are coming!

Causing the biggest buzz perhaps is the reported participation of  two Manila-based Kenyans in the 21k race.

In an interview with Sun.Star Davao recently, Sai said he is not sure if these Kenyan runners were the same ones who dominated most marathon events in Manila and in other parts of the country. Sai believes though that the presence of the Kenyans will level the playing field in both male and female categories of the 21K event where Anthony Nerza and Mona Liza Ambasa are Davao City's top bets.

Nerza and Ambasa are expected to give the Kenyans a good race having had the experience of running against the East African runners vaunted for both their speed and strength. Ambasa ruled the women's race in the Cebu City Marathon in January this year, finishing more than a minute ahead of Kenyan Susan Jemutai Chepkwony who landed in third after second placer Mary Joy Tabal of Cebu City.

Nerza was the best-placed Filipino finisher in the men's race coming in a fourth after top finisher Benjamin Kipkazi and two other Kenyan runners but ahead of another Kenyan, Eliud Kiprugut Kering.

Pia is coming too!

A huge crowd is expected to gather around Sen. Pia Cayetano who will be joining the event dubbed as “Takbo para sa KinaBOOKasan” with her Pinay in Action team.

In a recently released press statement, Sen. Cayetano said "Takbo Para sa KinaBOOKasan" is close to her heart since education and health as well as upholding the rights of women and children and environment protection top her agenda.

"It is my pleasure to be a part of this run. I share in the advocacy to promote a healthy lifestyle and encourage everyone to do their share in spreading knowledge to underprivileged children by donating books," Cayetano said.

Araw ng Dabaw Phoenix Run is organized to support the advocacy of Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Foundation to provide books to students of the company’s adopted schools and to other pre-school, elementary, and high school students in chosen public schools in Davao.

Also supporting the event are Adidas which will give away P1,000 worth of gift certificates to the top age-group finishers in both 10K and 21K categories, Pioneer Insurance, Isuzu Philippines, Cebu Pacific, and Summit Natural Drinking Water.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What makes a run fun?

There are fun runs and there are fun runs. The former is your regular running event, the latter, an eventful run. Certain things make your regular running event an eventful one. Following are the ones which made my RunClub Davao Asics Run last February 20 something worth reminiscing. Yes, even this late.

1. Seeing friends and running with them again.

Running in Davao always made me look forward to seeing the now so familiar faces of running acquaintances. We see each other at the starting line, ask which event the other one is doing, and wish each other good luck. These running acquaintances that I've had over the years were not that many and most were in my age group. Until the Davao Runners.

Davao Runners, living and running by the tenet: Train or Stay the Same

Born out of a common love for running and Facebook, Davao Runners started as an FB group. I got acquainted with the group after I had the opportunity to run side by side with two of its main men, Jette Roy Sanchez and Jay Salvaña at the St. Peter Life Run 10k last December. I traded paces with Jay shortly after the start until the climb up the Buhangin flyover at Dacudao. Jette and I ran shoulder to shoulder later at the Diversion Road. We got in touch through Facebook after.

Davao Runners is now more than just an FB group. They have organized a series of group training runs tackling routes as challenging as the ascent from Toril to Eden Nature Park. They celebrate members' birthdays with runs as well.

With Davao Runners out there, running in Davao has become definitely better and more fun. There's nothing like a vibrant running community to keep the sport going strong.

2. Something new.

I was focused on maintaining a steady pace going up the winding ascent of the Buhangin flyover, passing a couple of runners as I did. I knew I would see the turning point marker for the 4k runners at the end of the ascent with the usual volunteers handing out water to the race participants.

What I wasn't expecting was a group of pretty young ladies in yellow shirts waving motivational signs. It was something I haven't yet seen in my years of racing in Davao. They cheered runners on, and they were all throughout the race route in groups of two or three, with their world-famous radiant Filipina smiles. If that doesn't make you feel good on a run, I don't know what else would.

The pretty RunClub Davao cheering ladies. Wouldn't you love seeing those smiles while you're running?

3. A challenging route.

The Diversion Road is one of Davao's most daunting running routes. Its hills just seem to come endlessly at you, with each climb seemingly higher than the one that just burn your lungs and legs. Except for the pre-2011 Davao Sunday Runners Finishers' Marathons, not too many races pass through this route.

Last year, Vantage Sports Promotions' Kenneth Sai decided to veer away from the traditional and had the St. Peter Life Run 10k tackle a part of this challenging route. Directing this year's RunClub Davao Asics Run, Ken again upped the challenge for runners by mapping a route that again featured the daunting Diversion Road hills.

After the winding climb to Buhangin via the flyover, the 21k runners went through a relatively flat road towards the Buhangin Milan exchange where they were greeted at the turn by a welcoming downhill, prompting a faster pace. A couple of guys I caught up with did just that, picked up the pace and tried not to be outrun. But a couple of climbs come just after the descent, and the pace at the downhill before could burn you out, just as it did them.

The road flattens out again going into the turnaround at the Davao Crocodile Park and once more runners find a little bit of comfort. Until going out of the park area, the climbs back to Buhangin, coming one after the other, greet your heaving lungs and churning legs yet again.

This route is not for the faint-hearted.

4. Doing better than you hoped to.

I finished my run in 1 hour 10 minutes 14 seconds. It's the best I've done for a 15k. Given a route with four (or was there one more?) freaking' climbs, I can't be happier with that time... for now.

                                                                                                               (Thanks to RunClub Davao for the photos.)