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Dr. Gene Tiongco Brings Smiles to Kids through Chicago Marathon

Tuesday, 30 September 2014  |  Interviews + Features

Gene3Dr. Gene Tiongco (2nd from right) with friends Gene Tamesis, Rico and Karina Manuel at Berlin Marathon 

Running a marathon can take on different meanings for the wide array of people who run it. For a good friend of mine and a TBR Dream Marathon alumnus, Dr. Gene Tiongco, running Chicago Marathon on October 12, 2014 isn’t just about breaking his PR, but also bringing smiles to kids’ faces. (more…)

The Cordillera Great Traverse 2015

Wednesday, 2 July 2014  |  Interviews + Features


It’s not an ultra marathon.  Not an adventure race.  It’s an expedition!

Last week, I met with good friend and ultra marathoner Tin Ferrera about a project she was involved in. When I learned about it, I almost fell off my seat. It’s called The Cordillera Great Traverse (CGT) 2015 and, it comes as no surprise that, with such an ambitious and worthwhile project, it was initiated by an impressive group of passionate explorerer, adventurers, hikers, and, yes, runners and ultra marathoners.


The Cordillera Great Traverse (CGT) 2015 is an expedition which aims to establish the longest and the most scenic hiking/trekking destination in the Philippines by connecting the six provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Philippines.



The Gift of Running

Friday, 2 May 2014  |  Interviews + Features

In one of our previous contests, I posed this question to runners:

What is the single most important gift that running has given you?

The answers were so varied, from improved health to self-respect, yet all with equal and significant importance.  Isn’t running just so amazing?!

This little exercise reminded me to be thankful for the gift of running (especially in this heat when every single step is like 10x the effort…grrr!).  You are blessed to be able to run.  Don’t forget that!


Photo: Levi Lacandula

Sharing with you the great answers from the contest.  Thanks to everyone who sent them in!

Matet Magpantay
The most important gift that running has given me is the life full of motivation that I CAN do everything.

Linno Carlo
Running has taught me to be more patient in every challenges that comes my way.

Rina Galzote
Running gave me that positive outlook in life to be ready for anything knowing that pushing ourselves to the limits of what we think we can do is so much more rewarding.

Russell David
I never thought that running would bring back the confidence within myself because every time I’m facing challenges, my heart speak-up and always said “Nothing beats my willingness to win the race of life!”

Running made me stay healthy and introduced me to people which I can also call my 2nd family.

Joan Victoria
Runnining resuscitates every delibitated chakra within myself.

John Paul Lipardo
Running teach and gave me Indefinite Resolve!

Engels Precillas
A new perspective in life, that we should not be bound by limits if we want to be victorious in every step we take to a never ending road called life.

June Real
The single, most important gift that running has given to me is the gift of feeling alive and strong.

Joseph Nebrida
My first dead toenail was the most important gift that running had given me, it marked my entry to the 1% of the population (I am a marathoner).

Doty D.
There are three words to remember how running changed my perspective in life–Do Not Quit.

Mildred P. Jocano-Tormes
Running has given me a new definition of strength – it is the the ability to overcome any challenge with the hope that victory is waiting for me.

Marriz Agbon
A second life.

Jah Villa Santander
The single most important gift that running has given me is the true friends I’ve made and the people I’ve come across with who all share the same passion as I do.

It has given me the confidence that in whatever I do, I can go beyond my limits – to go outside my comfort zone, overcoming big goals by small, but strategic steps.

Cente Man
The single most important gift that running has given me is the incomparable feeling of satisfaction, relief and excitement after finishing a run.

Des Oquendo
Passion is the right word that gift of running has thought me, if you put your mind and heart on running everything will follow.

Calvin Lester M. Leorna
Running taught me the value of being courageous to take on life’s challenges, regardless of the outcome, instead of running away from them.

Friends and more friends…

Running’s apparent solitude gives me and my husband a deeper intimacy that surely strengthens our marriage.

Yvonne Urbina
The most important gift that running has given to me is that running teaches me how to live a healthy lifestyle and be the best version of me.

The most important that running has given me is an exciting and healthy opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.

Jharo Villaruel
To become physically fit and have a healthy lifestyle.

The most important gift that running has given me is the ability to start a small community with the sole desire to stay fit and healthy while having fun.

Joy Cerame
RUNNING gave me the truest friends i could ever be with,no faking or anything we’re just united with our passion for running and for that i would always be thankful for.

Maan Hamis
Perseverance & Self Confidence.  I’m 44 yo and was able to finish strong in my 1st 21K. I used to think that people running at 10K are such a jerk but cant believe I, myself are now running 21K.

Odie S. Cacho
Running has given me strength of heart and character.

Goldy dela Cruz
Running let me discover the beauty of life that God had given me.

Colleen De Guzman
Perseverance to finish strong, as never in my mind have I thought I would be able to run 21K continuously (now wanting to join TBR2015) from a feels-like-forever-to-finish 5K before, and (perseverance) to become a better version of myself.

Allan Gregor Bulos
Running has given me self-respect.

Dennis De Castro
Running helps me realize the greater appreciation of life.

Yñiguez Yoel Uy
Life – the further appreciation of being alive, and doing and being the most that I can for myself, family, loved ones, friends, and strangers while I’m alive.

Running constantly feeds and satisfies my competitive edge, against other runners, the clock, and especially myself!

Mike Janeo
The opportunity and privilege to bless others through running, by helping them in their journey towards reaching their goal of finishing a marathon.

Mark Cayetano
Endless supply of difficult but fun challenges to look forward to

The greatest gift running has given me is the camaraderie of the running community.

Cheryl Golangco
Confidence. Running has made me believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. Practice, training and discipline are all I need.

Joe R. Soledad
Self-assurance, running has given me more confidence in myself.

Dennis P. Mascardo

For the past 8 yrs I’ve been tied up with my kids and my work… Running has been the only thing that was able to make me leave them!!

Cyn David Icasas
There are so many wonderful things that running has given me — discipline, health, fun, friends, achievement and a few awesome medals.

But the single most important one is time with my hubby, where it’s just me and him and the distance we want to run. We’ve watched more sunrises and sunsets together since we started running together, and I would never replace those moments for anything.

Jhunie Oro
To believed in myself that I can do what I think is impossible before.

Joshua Felix Tadena
Being an offspring from both parents having hereditary diseases, running gives me a chance to live a healthy life and keeps me confident that I will not acquire those ever.

Clarissa Rebulanan Almeida
As a diabetic, the single most important gift that running has given me is a healthy lifestyle. :)

Gabriel Felix
I started running to get in shape and be healthy, BUT I kept going because I found myself and a renewed passion for life.

Marvin Tiu
I earned Respect.

Rena Loves the Queencity
The best gift that running gave to me is teaching me to celebrate life everyday and face it with fearlessness.

Jun Buensuceso
running has given me a healthier lifestyle

Sherwin Tiglao
Running made me realize that things i thought i could never accomplish in life, i can and i will with perseverance, focus, determination and a good pair of running shoes. Hehe :)

Running gave me more confidence that I can complete tasks and finish what I started, and because I am ready for anything I am traveling to Wisconsin to pursue additional training in my chosen field in medicine and running my first international Half Mary in Marathon City.

Running Groups: Puke Sessions with Jim Lafferty and the Pukers

Tuesday, 17 September 2013  |  Interviews + Features

Every Tuesday, I will be featuring Running Groups in Manila and possibly around the world. Let’s start this off with one very close to my heart as its led by my TBR Dream Marathon co-founder Jim Lafferty and started with a core group of TBR Dream Alumni.

Meet the Pukers and their Puke Sessions.


TBR: The name “Puke Sessions” is intriguing? Why “Puke Sessions” and does any of it actually happen during a run? LOL

Coach Jim Lafferty: When I formed my team in Nigeria, and started coaching the national Marathon Team, we set up that every Thursday was a SPEEDWORK session, to allow for enough recovery to follow with a Sunday long run.

In our first session, it was hot and humid and people were not used to the pace and running intervals despite being overall fit. a Couple of people had to stop and vomit in the bushes along the road where we did our speed work. We all kind of joked about it.

So, when I sent out the reminder for the following week, I jokingly called it “time for our next puke session” and the name just stuck. Even to this day, the team in Nigeria is quite large and they send me weekly updates, and they call it “Puke” and it is still on Thursdays.

So when I came back to Philippines, I targeted to replicate the magic–Thursdays, and calling in “Puke”.

That’s the story. From the first email that is what it was called!

- Coach Jim and the Pukers at a Thursday Puke Session –

Ken Mendola: When I first encountered PUKE, I myself was expecting that this 4 letter-word (PUKE) were initials that meant something more. Basically, you have to take the word figuratively and literally as it is. Puke Sessions because it’s all about high intensity training. If you followed Coach Jim’s instructions and did the drills to a T, then it’s either you feel like puking or you eventually puke.

PUKE is an attitude on how you embrace the workout to stress the benefits you can gain from it. Whether you puke or not during sessions, it really depends on the effort you put into each workout.

TBR: How did Puke Sessions start?

Ken: PUKE Session started as a vision by Coach Jim last year 19th of July. He introduced this idea of doing a regular weekly speed work session with a fellow TBR III alumnus Rio Mayuga. Then, emails were sent to 7 lucky TBR III alumni last August 12, 2012 (Vince & I included).

Before we received the email, we started our group as “Team Botchoylicious” specifically for TBR III season. We were doing fine going through our regular weekend runs in Ayala Alabang. The email basically introduced speed workout/drills in a group dynamic as a means to improve our own runs.

- The Core Pukers –

Everybody was positive and excited that the first session officially started August 16, 2012 (Thursday). Thursdays with Jim became a part of our weekly regimen that we call it now PUKE nights or simply PUKE Sessions.

TBR: You celebrated your first anniversary recently. Tell us more about it. How much have you grown as a running group the past year?

Ken: As a group, Puke Sessions have really evolved in itself. From its small beginnings of around 10 runners during its 1st Thursday session, you can expect any given night of at least 25-30 runners. As I recall, we even reached around 50 runners in one night. What makes the group special is that we started as a group divided into two: the core TBR alumni and the SRA (Snail Runners Alabang). Expect group competition every now and then. But as time bonded us together, we became a family under Jim’s selfless guidance. You can feel the positive vibes and each Puker pulling and rooting for everybody in every drill. I guess that’s the beauty of group dynamics.

- First Anniversary Run & Get Together of the Pukers –

What started as a regular once a week session, has become a twice a week assembly (weekend sessions are every other weekend though). Not to mention, the drills as well have levelled-up. After a year of its existence and the huge improvement that each Puker experienced, I can say Puke Sessions are here for the long run.

- Weekend Puke Sessions -

TBR: What is a usual training session like?

Ken: Training session starts with warm-up easy jog. This is followed with warm-up stretching exercises, then proceeded with “workout” of the night. This part gets tricky because no Puker has any idea what the workout will be. It all depends on Coach Jim’s agenda. Not knowing what to expect is probably part of the program to keep each Puker always on their toes. Always ready and prepared for the worst brutal workout of the night. Normally, workouts are purely or combinations of intervals, tempos, fartleks, and hill repeats. After the main workout, it is followed by cool-down stretching exercises before calling it a night.

TBR: What type of runner can join your sessions?

Ken: ALL are welcome to join Puke Sessions. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, a competitive runner, or even a seasoned athlete. The group is not limited to purely runners, even triathletes and ultramarathoners have started joining the group.

TBR: How can runners join your runs?

*Regular Thursday Puke Sessions

DAY: Every Thursday
TIME: Starts at 7:30PM
VENUE: Meeting place is at Lafferty’s Residence at #252 Langka St., Ayala Alabang Village

* Weekend Puke Sessions (Progessive Interval Training)

DAY: every other weekend (either Saturday or Sunday) and announced 2-3 days before session
TIME: Starts at 5:30AM
VENUE: Meeting place is at Lafferty’s Residence at #252 Langka St., Ayala Alabang Village

COST: Sessions are FREE. They can approach any PUKER they know (Vince Bunuan/Ken Mendola can also assist new Pukers through FB) to help them be included in “Coach Jim Lafferty’s Puke Session” FB Group. All the details and official announcements are all there.

Vince – vinceb4@gmail.com / 0917-5989510
Ken – kmenusrn@gmail.com / 0920-2439999

Do you want your running group featured here? Email tbr(at)thebullrunner.com with subject: Running Group Feature.

Meet a Triathlete: Gelo & Drew Arellano

Saturday, 3 August 2013  |  Interviews + Features

“Meet a Triathlete” is a series of interviews with age-group triathletes that I’ll be publishing for the next few days leading up to Ironman 70.3 Cebu.  For all these interviews, I collaborated with my Coach Andy Leuterio of Alpha Tri.  To read more interviews, search “Meet a Triathlete” in the search box.

Gelo and Drew are brothers who are into marathons and triathlons. We featured them on TBR Magazine – Sept-Oct 2012.  The photos you’ll see here are taken for the magazine by Ben Chan of Blacksheep Manila.


NAME: Angelo Arellano
Number of years in triathlon: 5 years
Age: 42
Job: HVAC Contractor / Entrepreneur

NAME: Drew Arellano
Number of years in triathlon: 6 years
Age: 33
Job: TV Host

What do you like about triathlon?

G: Triathlon keeps me focused on continuous self-improvement.

D: Triathlon steers me to the right direction in life. Conditions me to have the proper dedication, perseverance, discipline, time management, among others. It gives me an opportunity to inspire other people to get up, move and live a healthier lifestyle.

- Gelo and Drew hamming it up for the cam. Drew is just hilarious –

Why did you decide to sign up for Ironman 70.3 Cebu?

G: I wanted to see if I could improve on last year’s performance knowing that my 2013 schedule will be more challenging. I also enjoy joining races that have a vacation feel to it.

D: IM 70.3 Cebu is probably everyone’s A-race this year including mine! Besides showcasing an awesome race course with beautiful scenery, the fantastic energy during the weekend is contagious!

Give us three words to describe your training with Coach Andy for Cebu.  Please tell us why you chose those words.


  1. Flexible – Coach Andy’s program is dynamic and takes into account this thing called life.
  2. Challenging – Coach Andy’s workouts are not only based on time and distance but also heart rate, power, etc.
  3. Inspiring – There are days when things don’t go your way. Coach Andy will be there to give you just the right amount of challenge to pick yourself up again.

- Gelo is part of the Fitness First Tri Team –

Can you share what your training week looked like the past weeks?

G: My main workouts last week were a long swim and race simulation. I failed to execute on the run leg and so Coach Andy made me do a long brick the following day instead of a recovery ride. His message after my “failure to execute”: Stay Focused!!! The race doesn’t care about your problems, soldier!!!

D: Coach would kill you, if i told you. Scary noh?

- Drew is a member of Team Unilab Active Health –

What is your goal for IM 70.3 Cebu? Do you feel confident in achieving your goal?

G: The obvious answer is to improve on last year’s performance but given my SBR result last week, I admit I am a bit concerned. Hopefully, slapping Coach Andy’s butt on the run can give me the added boost I need! J

D: My goal is just to finish… NOT! haha! Will let you know once i cross the line :) Do i feel confident? I guess i should feel confident because i put in the hours. Luck would probably prevent tire punctures but hard work and dedication will get me across the finish line with a fulfilled smile on my face.

If you could only give one tip to people who want to get into triathlon, what would it be?

G: Find the perfect balance between family, work and triathlon because that is a challenge in itself.

D: Prepare to feel sexy in your spandex! Don’t worry about the unwanted bulges, they’ll soon disappear!