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 – / 0917-5989510
Ken – / 0920-2439999

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