iamninoy Runners Vow to Fight the Education Crisis

Sunday, 31 May 2009  |  Bullish Insights

– iamninoy Runners Group members –

Last May 28, Thursday, I donned my yellow iamninoy runners t-shirt and headed for The Philippine Heritage Library to witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between iamninoy Runners Group and our beneficiary, 5775 Reverse the Education Crisis.  This formalized the iamninoy Runners Group’s intent to help provide and improve the quality of education to the children of less privileged families.  

– MOU signing between iamninoy Runners & 57-75 –

– Jamike Lopa, Francis Macatulad, Bianca Gonzales, Drew Arellano, and Jake de Guzman –

During the press conference, Jake de Guzman gave an inspiring talk on running and shared photos of his runs. He ended his presentation with a quote from writer and runner, John Bingham, better known as the Penguin: 

“So many of us have changed our own lives through running that it makes sense we would want to change the lives of others the same way.  We can take the drive, ambition, and dedication we used to transform ourselves from couch potatoes to athletes and channel that into making a difference for someone else.”

I—together with Rapa Lopa, Jamike and Mayi Lopa, Jake de Guzman, Drew Arellano, and Francis Macatulad—make up the iamninoy Runners Group Steering Committee.  We have events lined up for the year to further drive awareness and support for 5775.  We invite runners to join our cause and help reverse the education crisis in the country. 

As members of the group, iamninoy Runners can help build schools and provide children with textbooks simply by paying a one-time P500.  In return, runners will receive an iamninoy tshirt, the official uniform/jersery that runners can wear during races and training runs.  Membership is open to all.   Click here to join the iamninoy runners group.

Click here to read a Phil. Daily Inquirer article on iamninoy Runners.


Botak Paa-Tibayan Takbo 100km Press Con

Saturday, 30 May 2009  |  Race Announcements

Isport Botak recently held its press conference for Botak Paa-Tibayan Takbo 100k Marathon at R.O.X., Bonifacio High Street last Thursday, May 28, 2009.  

The Botak Paa-Tibayan 100k Marathon will be held on June 28, 2009 with the race starting at U.P. Diliman, the beneficiary of the race as proceeds from the race will go to the rehabilitation of the U.P. Track & Field Oval.
Among the speakers during the press conference were Mr. George Tan of OlymPlus Sports, Ian Alacar of Botak, Eric Pasion of Run For Change, and Mr. Edwin Barbers, U.P. Sports Director.  Mr. George Tan shared photos and anecdotes of the adventures he shared accompanying legendary runner and founder of Botak, Mr. Cesar Guarin, as he ran across the Philippines, U.S. and Europe.  Amazing!  Mr. Tan even talked about an ultramarathon they once organized in Baguio where runners ran 1km laps around Burnham Park 100 times over!

– Mr. George Tan of OlymPlus Sports – 

– Ian Alacar of Botak –

Since the Botak Paa-Tibayan Takbo 100k will have three separate events led by three different race directors, each director discussed the route and other important details for his event.  Neville Manaois, team principal of Pinoy Ultra Runners and technical consultant of recently held TNF 100, will head the 100km race, Edmund Mangaser will manage the 5- and 10-mile races,  while Ben Alacar will lead the first ever street mile challenge held in the country.  

Edmund Mangaser, Ian Alacar, Neville Manaois, and Ben Alacar

The race directors fielded direct questions from runners, such as “Will your water stations have cups this time?” or “Will your marshals actually know the race route?” and they assured the audience that lessons were learned from Botak 42k.  I paid particular attention to Mr. Edmund Mangaser who discussed the 5- and 10-miler.  These were his comments about the route: 1) covered by trees, 2) passes through subdivisions, 3) there are short but steep climbs, and 4) there will be water stations every 2km.  The three race directors seemed to be on top of their game and we’re only hoping for their success.
To register for the Botak Paa-Tibayan 100k Marathon, visit:
– Botak Sports Shop, 131 Kamuning Road, Edsa QC
– Fitness First
– ROC, UP Diliman, Bahay ng Alumni
– Paul Calvin’s Deli, The Fort
– PATAFA Rizal Office
– All Terra Bike Shop, Club 650 Libis
– Second Wind Store, Maginhawa St. Teacher’s Village QC

 For inquiries, call 414-8892 or 921-5947 or email paatibayan100@botakphilippines.com

Condura Run 2010 Survey

Wednesday, 27 May 2009  |  Race Announcements

The people over at Condura—specifically Ton Concepcion—are currently planning for Condura Run 2010.  (Isn’t it great to know that they’re starting this early?) They want to hear your thoughts on these points:  (Go ahead and submit your answers as a comment below)

1.  When do you want Condura Run 2010 to be held?  JANUARY 17 or MARCH 7?

Update as of May 28…Other blogs may have announced Jan. 17 as final race date. Please disregard those announcements. According to Ton Concepcion, “the final confirmation whether the run will be on Jan 17 or March will depend on the survey being done by The Bull Runner…The final announcement on the final date will be made by The Bull Runner.”

2.  Your Wishlist for Condura Run

Pinoys Conquer Big Sur International Marathon

Tuesday, 26 May 2009  |  Bullish Insights

“If we were told that we could run only one marathon in our lifetime, Big Sur would have to be it.”

– Bart Yasso, Runner’s World

Last April 26, 2009, several Filipino runners made it to one of the most beautiful marathons in the world (as noted in Runner’s World): The Big Sur International Marathon (BSIM).  On its website, the course is described as “point to point, moderately difficult, with live entertainment on the course. Featuring rolling hills, Big Sur is the largest rural marathon in the world, winding through redwoods, paralleling ranches, and offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.”  I can smell the sea, already.


– Photo courtesy of Dr. Peter –

These friends have since returned to share their amazing stories about their marathons (and make us die of envy at the same time)…

Name: Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III
Age: 33
Years running: 3years
No. of marathons before BSIM: 5marathons : Pasig (2007) Milo(2007) New York (2007) HongKong(2008) Chicago(2008)
Finish time: 4:26

Name:Peter Mancao
Age: 49
Years running: 3 years
No. of marathons before BSIM: New York ’07 5:35; Hongkong’08 5:31;  Chicago’08 7:20 (it was hot!)
Finish time: 5:24

– Drs. Yong and Peter with their friend (Photo courtesy of Dr. Peter) –

Name:  Carolyn Que Pe Ching
Years running: Since Dec. 2007
No. of marathons before BSIM: 0
Finish time: 4:36

Name: Natalie Ng
Age: 39
Years running: Since Jan. 2008
No. of marathons before BSIM: None.
Finish time: 4:58.19 (Target was 5 hours. Those pacers are a life saver!)

Name: Michele Siy-Yap
Age: 37
Years running: 9 mos
No. of marathons before BSIM: 1
Finish time: 4:19

Name: Babylyn M. Tiangco
Age: 38
Years running: hmmm, don’t know, would run to warm up for badminton or when there’s no quorum, is that counted? 
No. of marathons before BSIM: 0
Finish time: 5:14:20

Name: Dorothy L Santos
Age: 37
Years running: 1 year and 4 months
No. of marathons before BSIM: Big Sur’s my first!
Finish time: 4:34:22

Name: Don Santos
Age: 36
Years running: 1.5 years
No. of marathons before BSIM: 0
Finish time: 4:34:21


– Carolyn and husband/wife team Dorothy and Don. Photo courtesy of Dorothy –

Why did you choose Big Sur Marathon? 

DR. YONG: I wanted to experience the “Most Beautiful and Scenic” marathon in the world. My goal is to complete 33 marathons in my lifetime.

DR. PETER: I read Bart Yasso’s book and he highly recommends it.

CAROLYN: My cousin in law told me to check out the website. The beautiful scenery and their website sold me. Plus I’ve never been to Carmel, CA.  New place to see and explore!

NATALIE: A friend invited us. When I looked at the website, I just loved the scenery and how organized the event seemed to be. I wanted the whole experience to be special – for that kind of distance, there is no way you can not train and just wing it so I didn’t want it to just be any run. Take note though this is not one of the big events with huge cheering crowds. In fact it is a smallish crowd (4500 runners for the marathon vs say 45,000 in the NY Marathon) with a ‘no frills’ finish. It’s you and nature in all its glory. Exactly my type of run.

MICHELE: I chanced upon it by accident as I was invited by running mates Lyn Ching and Stella Que. They also signed me up and arranged all logistics involved. The first time I seriously looked into Big Sur Marathon, it was 2 months from the run.

BABYLYN: It was more of things falling into place for me.  Ige said I still had time to seriously train when I asked him in January.  Also, my family had a scheduled trip to the US around that time so didn’t have to worry bout paying for my own ticket. Hehehe.  Then I knew a lot of people who were gonna join.  Lastly, my cousin insisted that I do a marathon abroad because it’s easier to run when it’s cold.

DOROTHY: A friend, Carolyn, told me about it. It worked with our training schedule. Heard it was a beautiful and fun marathon so we went for it. When we found about Hurricane Point it was too late, we were already registered.

DON: I was training for the March 8 Philippine International Marathon (Pasig River) before it was cancelled. We looked for a marathon that was scheduled not far from that one so as not to waste the training. Big Sur Marathon’s schedule seemed to be perfect as we had already planned to be in the US at that time. But more compelling was my running buddy’s encouragement to join it in spite of the difficulty of the course, i.e., Dorothy forced me to join…


– Photo courtesy of Dr. Peter –

What was the highlight of your race?

DR. YONG: Starting at the 16th Km and ascending 160 meters over the next four kilometers, “Hurricane Point” presents the course’s greatest challenge, typically with winds blowing down towards the runners around 50 KPH. Upon reaching this point, we were greeted by Mr Martinez playing his grand piano.

The Big Sur Int’l Marathon officially advises all runners to “plan to add 30 minutes” to their normal marathon times

DR. PETER:  The view and for the first time i joined a pace group(5h30m)

CAROLYN: So many highlights!!  The cold, the travel, the long wait before the race, the 2:30am wake up call.  The fantastic entertainment along the stretch of 26.2 miles (my Garmin read 42.7km).  We had an all girls trip doing this. It was such an adventure with my sister, Natalie and good friend Michele.  Left our husbands and kids behind and just ran! The first 10km was the easiest, the last 10km was the hardest.  I noticed that the Americans ran with this care free and let’s go out there and just have fun kind of attitude which is great! “Hurricane Point” which was halfway through the marathon was great too and not to gruelling for those who love hills.  Yes, the hills even appeared to be conquered during the very last few km to the finish line.

NATALIE: Finishing! I didn’t realize I had committed to a ‘challenging’ and hilly marathon course till after I signed up! I never considered myself a serious runner and till the actual day didn’t know if I’d finish! I was very worried I wouldn’t make the cut off time and get swept by the bus! All the way to the US to be bussed back was not what I wanted!

MICHELE: It is surprising but crossing the finish was not the highlight of the marathon for me. The highlight was at the start when the atmosphere of excited runners felt very exhilirating. It was then that I knew for sure that IT IS REALLY HAPPENING.

BABYLYN: Finishing before the cut off time, enjoying the race and the view, (oh, and I wasn’t the last Filipino to cross the line…. heehee—my friend’s gonna kill me)

DOROTHY: Crossing the finish with Don at a good time.

DON: In no particular order:
– Barely conquering the nth and final hill in mile 25+ and crossing the finish line of my first marathon with Dorothy.
– BEER at the finish
– Running on Highway 1 and enjoying the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean
– ICE COLD BEER at the fiinish
– Great fans, support and organization
– FREE ICE COLD BEER at the finish

Would you recommend Big Sur Marathon to Pinoy runners?

DR. YONG: Of course, for Marathoners, this is one marathon they should experience at least once in their lifetime.

DR. PETER: YES! It’s only an overnite plane ride from Manila (viaSFO), very manageable field (5t runners), very good support (water, gatorade, fruit, GU), perfect weather and of course the spectacular view.

CAROLYN: Yes, it’s definitely a great marathon although because of the hills and slanted roads you may want to choose an easier first marathon course! For me the scenery and experience was so worth it.  Just practice on McKinley Hills 🙂

The organizers really did a fantastic job and you can tell they are really experienced at doing this year after year. Next year it’s April 25, 2010!! The best hotel is Carmel Mission Inn because it’s across the street from the Finish Line!  I’m looking forward to more runs in the U.S knee willing.

NATALIE: There are a few things to consider before joining Big Sur:
– Cost and time
– Jetlag
– You need to check into a hotel nearby before the marathon (highly recommend Carmel Mission Inn as it is reasonable and located right across the road from the finish line)
– Challenging course. The hills are a large large part of it with one of them stretching over 3.5km! A sadistic touch – last hill was on the 41st km!
– Short cut off time: if you don’t pass 22 miles in 5 hours you don’t continue; if you don’t finish in 6 hours you don’t get a medal.
HOWEVER once you’ve done it, you know that most other marathons will be easier and few if any will be as beautiful. For this alone it is so worth it.

MICHELE: I will highly recommend it because the scenery, the people and the weather was simply beautiful. It was cool throughout the run but not freezing and the course was also challenging. I think it makes for a memorable experience for any runner.

BABYLYN: Definitely! well organized race.  The breath taking view and awesome support: lots and lots of water/gatorade, cold fruits for energy (after a while you just wanna puke out gels), bands, mile marker, at each marker someone was shouting your pace and expected finish time so u try to push yourself harder, at one point, they give hugs!!! but i didn’t avail of that.

DOROTHY: Definitely. It may be tough but having trained a whole lot in Manila worked to our advantage. The spectacular views and well-organized race was well worth it.

DON: Yes.

TNF 100: More Photos (Part 2)

Monday, 25 May 2009  |  Race Reports

More photos from the TNF 100 at Clark…

– Jay (Prometheus Cometh) running from Holiday Inn to the race venue. His way of warming up for his 20k trail run –

– Dindo (RunningDATcom), Ting, and Mesh (My Iron Shoes) accompany friend, Bards (Banana Running) to the race start. Bards was the only one who joined the TNF, the rest ran long on the roads. –

– Our running buddies, Jun & Mariel (Solemates) –

– Who cares if I looked like Olivia Newton John? Those long socks and tights protected me from scratches. And those shoes survived the mud, lahar, and river runs. –

– I wasn’t the only raging bull around. This mad cow blocked our path. –

– This young boy greeted me politely as we ran past him. –

– Taki (TechSpec) and wife Charmaine on the highway –

– with Team Go, Marga and the hubby. See that kid? This is his 2nd trail run! –

– Girl Power! with Mariel, Marga, and Charmaine –

– with Vince of Finishline. Congrats for another well-organized race! –

– Runners let their feet dry after a very wet run –

– Happy happy trail runners! –

– The trip wouldn’t have been complete if we hadn’t stopped by the Nike Factory along NLEX. Guess who we bump into there…Jun, Mariel, and Jay. Later on, I see Mesh and Ting too! Great runners think alike. –