Adidas’ Dennis Kimetto Sets the New Marathon World Record

Wednesday, 8 October 2014  |  Gear + Gadgets


Berlin Marathon, held just last Sept. 28, will always have a special place in my heart. I ran it back in 2012 and even if I had to relieve myself in bushes (gasp!) during the race and tripped and flew unto the ground in front of a pretty good-looking runner (gasp again!), it was still a pretty memorable race for me.

Berlin is the world’s fastest marathon with marathon world records usually set in this race because of its flat and fast course.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Dennis Kimetto set the newest world record with a time of 2:02:57. Kimetto shattered the previous world record by an astounding 26 seconds wearing the super lightweight adizero Adios BOOST at the 2014 Berlin Marathon. (Hey, I can run that fast too…for my half marathon! Tsk tsk)



Obviously, our friends at adidas are pretty proud of Kimetto’s achievement. Adrian Leek General Manager of adidas Running said “Dennis’ world record breaking performance while wearing adidas BOOST demonstrates the result of elite athletes using industry leading innovation to achieve unprecedented feats. We continue to push boundaries by working closely with our athletes to develop the best products running has to offer.”

Interestingly, adidas BOOST was also on the feet of second place men’s finisher Emmanuel Muthai who joined Kimetto in breaking the previous world record. The top two female finishers Tirfi Tsegaye and Fayse Tadese were also wearing Adios BOOST as they triumphantly crossed the finish line in Berlin to provide adidas with a dominating presence at the podium.



So, do you think if I wear my BOOST at Chicago Marathon this coming Sunday I have a chance at coming in first? Okay, okay, don’t answer that.

Click <LINK> for my previous post on adidas boost.

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…)

Part 5: Berlin Marathon – Prague and Our Recovery Run…to McDo!

Sunday, 14 October 2012  |  Bullish Insights

The day after Berlin Marathon, we packed our bags and took a 5 hour train ride to Prague.

– We could’ve worn our Berlin Marathon medals, but no point in carrying the extra weight around our necks; our luggage was heavy enough –

– Berlin Marathon in the papers! Finishers’ names were published –

We arrived safe and sound to view the beautiful sights the city of Prague had to offer!

– Team Berlin in Prague! –




That evening, we feasted on Italian cuisine to celebrate Ton’s 20th (ehem) birthday.  Who said carbo loading has to end after a marathon?


What do marathoners normally do the evening after marathon day? Certainly not anything close to what we did. We booked ourselves to a Prague Ghost Tour!

– Old Town of Prague. The venue of our Ghost Tour –

– Turned out to be more of a horror/historical tour than a creepy ghost tour…much to my relief! Here’s Lit and Miriam listening intently to our guide –

– We survived the marathon! Thank God we survived this ghost tour too! –

All of us experienced little or no soreness at all the day after the marathon.  We were either lucky or smart with our race and diet.  (I’d like to think it was the latter tsk tsk.)  So, we walked our way through the entire city for more sightseeing and eating…

– At one of the hottest tourist spots, the Charles Bridge –

– The Charles Bridge was full of tourists, local merchants, musicians and art set against the backdrop of the beautiful landscape of Prague –

– Old Town by day is full of tourists and local entertainment –

– Lunch at Old Town. More sausages please for this hungry bunch! –

– We visited the Prague Castle. It is said to be the largest castle complex in the world –

– St. Vitus Cathedral behind me. The sheer height and size of the cathedral was overwhelming –

– I made sure to eat wisely since the immune system is weak after putting our body through a marathon.  Devoured the berries we purchased from here –

Hey, don’t think we forgot about our running!  After shopping, eating, and touring, we knew we needed a recovery run!  On our last day in Prague, we met up in the morning for our recovery run…Recovery Run to McDonalds, that is!

– “Serious” stretching before the “big” workout meal –

– Start our Garmins for the 700m walk-run session to McDo –

– Clean and traffic free roads of Prague! It’s a lovely city but since most of the roads are cobblestones it’s quite difficult to run, especially for accident-prone runners like me LOL –

– Mission accomplished: We made it to McDo! –

After our quick breakfast (again, I was good and ordered a yogurt parfait), we walked back home to our hotel and discovered this beautiful park nearby.




So walking 1.5k to and from McDonald’s doesn’t count as our recovery run, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

After our “run”, we packed our bags and headed back to Berlin for a day before we flew back home.  We had enough time to visit the more important spots such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Holocaust Museum. We also had our last meal in Berlin at Ritter Sport cafe and took home tons of chocolates.

– Make your own Ritter Sport chocolate! Yuuummmy! –

– Bumped into a kababayan at Ritter Sport Cafe.  Met Jessy, US-based Pinoy who ran Berlin Marathon too! –

– Heart-wrenching letter left by a 12-year old to her father shortly before being murdered with her mother during the holocaust. We read many more letter like this in the Holocaust Museum just walking distance from Brandenburg Gate –

– Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe –

– Walking through the memorial –

Farewell Berlin and Prague!

Previous: Part 4: Berlin Marathon – Race Day

Thank you to Unilab Active Health for my Berlin Marathon adventure!

Part 4: Berlin Marathon – Race Day

Wednesday, 10 October 2012  |  Race Reports

The Berlin Marathon, one of five marathon majors alongside New York, London, Chicago, and Boston Marathon, prides itself in being the flattest and fastest course in the world. It’s where world records are made (seven world records were set here in the past 15 years)…and broken.

The race accepts 40,000 registrants from all over the world. Majority are signed up for the 42k and only a few for inline skating, wheelchair, or power walking. The race starts and ends at one of Berlin’s most majestic landmarks, the Brandenburg Gate.

For its 39th year, 34,900 runners from over 165 countries showed up on September 30, 2012 to run 42km. I was among them. It was my first time in Europe. My second marathon major next to New York City Marathon. And, my 8th marathon.



One great thing about running marathons abroad is the later call time for cold cities. For Berlin Marathon, our race start was 9 am. I woke up at 6 am with enough time to prepare my stuff and eat a hearty breakfast with Ton, Angel, Lit, and Miriam.

– My marathon must haves: KSwiss Kwicky Blade Light and Nike dri-fit socks, Garmin Forerunner 910XT, Spibelt arm sleeve (for chapsticks and tissue), Spibelt pouch (for gels) –

– Can’t leave home without Enervon HP! Packed this in my check in bag for my post-race recovery drink –

We arrived at the race start at around 7:00 am excited about our marathon and thrilled about the near perfect weather. Temperature was about 11 degrees. We wore trash bags and plastic bags provided by adidas for the next couple of hours to keep ourselves warm.

– Quick trip via the subway and we make it to Brandenburg Gate, the race start –

– Map of the entire race area –

– Runners from all over the world gather for Berlin Marathon 2012 –

– And they’re dressed in anything and everything to keep warm –

– From all white throwaways… –

– to transparent rain jackets! –

– These Pinoys are in their NB Pilipinas shirts! Go Pinas! –

We checked in our baggage before the 8:30 closing of the baggage check in then we enjoyed a mini pre-race picnic by an open field (I had Gatorade chews and a granola bar) where, due to the unbelievably long lines at the portalets, all of us—yes, even the girls—were forced to do our “little business” behind the bushes!

– Angel and I sorting our stuff before baggage check in –

– Ton and Mir –

– Angel and I (accompanied by my three layers of trash bags) –

– The best running buddies!  We couldn’t believe we actually made it to Berlin after months of planning and training! –

After a relaxing picnic in the chilly air, we made our way to the race start. In Berlin Marathon, runners are grouped into waves, just like in New York, but there are only Waves A to H. Majority of the runners are in Wave H, those with expected finish times beyond 4:15, and this is where my friends and I were in.


The first wave was set to start at 9:00 am. We were in Wave H, the last wave, and we waited at the assembly area among a sea of trash-bag clad runners from over 165 countries with the Brandenburg Gate before our very eyes.

The host, first in English then German, introduced the elite runners participating in the race. Music was blaring. The runners roared and cheered. Hundreds of blue balloons were released into the air and we watched them drift away against the backdrop of the pristine blue Berlin sky. (Who would’ve thought that only a few days ago forecast was 75% chance of rain?) In the cold, the 20 minutes it took for us to start the race was quite long, but with such intense energy and to be among great friends, I couldn’t complain.

– Just a few minutes before race start! Woot woot! –


I came to run Berlin Marathon for fun. Finishing Ironman 70.3 Cebu didn’t allow me to enough time to train seriously for a marathon PR. And, after experiencing a couple of injuries in my left foot, I didn’t want to risk pushing too hard either.

We all join marathons for our own reasons. And, even for each runner, we have various goals for each of the marathons we run. It used to be that I was obsessed with my time. I always had to be faster and stronger. But, I’ve reached a point when I’m more focused on how much fun I have training for and running marathons. In the future, sure, I’d love to beat my 4:26 PR, but I just felt that this was not the right time in my life to attempt it.

Having said that, I won’t lie to you. I still hoped to finish as strong and as fast as I could given the preparations I made. I expected a sub-5 finish, but, hey, if I could hit 4:30 then all the better!

Game plan? What game plan? I didn’t have one until the last few minutes before the race started. I told Lit, who was pacing Ton for a 4min run-1 min walk interval that I would join them for the first 15km to ensure I take a conservative pace and then see from there.

– Off we go! That’s me and my trash bags! I refused to let go of it until a few meters after we ran (Photo: Miriam Valero) –


The first 25k came and went by fast. To my mind, these were the reasons:

1) It was a flat and fast course with lots of sights and entertainment and spectators cheering for us along the way. There were bands every 50 meters—in total 80 bands for the entire race—each one with a different personality. My personal favorite were drummers who, in sync with the beat of their drums, chanted “You can do it!” It was a pleasant surprise to have so many Germans, who I initially had the impression were fairly conservative and reserved, yelling their lungs out to cheer for us. We also passed some of Berlin’s landmarks such as the Reichstag, Fernsehturm, and Sudstern to name a few. There were minor hiccups along the way—specifically high-traffic areas along some narrow roads—but, all in all, it was a course that was flat and fun.

– Lit, Ton, and I in the first few kilometers of the race (MValero) –

– Runners of Berlin Marathon 2012 (MValero) –

– Just one among the 80 bands to entertain us (MValero)-

– Cheerers everywhere! (MValero) –

– I agree! (MValero) –

2) The race was well-organized. Hydration was enough with water every 2.5k after every 21k and every 1.5k after 35k. The sports drink was Powerbar at every other station so I carried a sachet of Gatorade endurance formula and mixed my own drink every other station. Fruit and tea (I didn’t want to risk trying this for the first time) were provided too. Lots of marshals and medical service were present. From 36km and up, there were actually “accident assistant stations” every kilometer. At one station, I got some help from a friendly medic to tape up a blister on my pinky toe. Roads were clean, safe, and traffic-free (as it is anywhere else in Berlin!) Basically, one didn’t have to worry much about anything except running their best.

3) The weather was perfect. For us Pinoys who are used to training under intense heat, running in cool weather seems almost effortless. At 10k I remember Ton and I agreeing that our legs felt so fresh!

– Awesome run! –

4) I ran with friends, Ton and Lit. We peed by the bushes at 2k (hey everyone was doing it!), laughed about the many aromas in the race, gave high-fives to spectators who cheered for us (Ton even stopped to dance with a capoeira group), and before we knew it, we hit the 15k mark.

– This was our 2k pee break! See me rushing off into the bushes in disbelief over what I had to do! –

At 15k, Lit asked me if I wanted to go ahead. I replied: No. From the start of the race, my legs had actually felt slightly heavy because of the cold. Only at the 15k mark did I feel like I finally warmed up!

We ran steady with Lit leading the consistent 4:1 run-walk intervals. This took me through another 10k with ease.

– Let’s go Ton! –


At 25k, Lit suggested I go ahead as they were going to modify their run-walk intervals to 3:1. I agreed, wished them luck, and took off on my own.

It was at this point that I felt like a runner with a mission. I thought: What if I attempt a 4:30? I didn’t train for a 4:30, but what if? And, with that thought, I pushed a wee bit harder.

I only stopped to walk at hydration stations. I focused on my form and maintaining a consistent pace. I allowed myself to enjoy the sights and scenes of the marathon, but didn’t allow it to distract me from the goal.

Minor discomfort was setting in, but, as I learned in Ironman 70.3, the pain can be controlled by the mind. It was nothing. I pushed it back to the corner of my mind.

I covered another 10k to hit 35k feeling strong. Then, boom…


As I slowed to stop at a water station, I glanced at my Garmin to check my time. Suddenly, my foot slipped off the road and, in a matter of seconds, I found myself falling forward. If your entire life flashes before your eyes before you die, in my case, the entire marathon did. I flew into the air and skidded on the road on all fours. First thought: F#@%! Then, a male European runner appeared out of nowhere and stretched out his hand toward me asking: “Are you okay? Are you okay?” I got up in a daze, barely even looked at him (what a waste, I know!), and repeated the only words in my mind over and over: “F#@%! F#@%! F#@%!” followed by a polite, Maria Clara-like “Thank you.”

I gave myself a minute or two to check the damage. Nothing major. And sped away.

As I ran, all I could feel were the burning in my hands. I recalled that the night before, a friend had read champion triathlete Noy Jopson’s Facebook status aloud which said: “Pain only hurts.” My friend laughed heartily saying: “What the hell does that mean?” I didn’t think anything of it at that time, but, as I ran in pain, it became my mantra: “Pain only hurts.” I repeated this over and over and over again and it kept me focused on the end goal.

My knees were badly bruised (as was my ego), but I could run and that was more than enough.


I was so focused that I barely even had time to think about slowing down. It was almost mechanical for me to place one foot in front of the other, drink at a station, then run off again towards the finish line.

The last few kilometers were familiar roads. I was happy to see the Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt again, where we ran a few days ago, but, at the same time, it also told me that I was still a bit far from the finish.

Surprisingly, I managed to run at a strong steady pace until the end, stronger than I ever have in the past. I didn’t break my PR nor did I finish at 4:30, but, man, did I feel great.

– Few meters from the finish line –

I finished at 4:44 for a distance of 43.14km on my Garmin. With an adjustment for 42.195k, I would’ve finished at 4:38, beating my last marathon time at California International Marathon in Sacramento last December. But, hey, I wasn’t complaining. Each marathon finish is something to be proud of. Big surprise bonus was that, for the first time, I ran an exact even split. For this positive split runner, that’s a feat!

– Crossing the finish line of my 8th marathon –

Geoffrey Mutai from Kenya won the Men’s Marathon with a time of 2:04:16. (World record was set in Berlin Marathon last year by Patrick Makau who ran 2:03:38) For the Women’s Marathon, Aberu Kebede from Ethiopia won at 2:20:30. Of course, it makes all of us feel better to know that these elites crossed the finish line while we we were only making our way through half of the marathon. tsk tsk.

From the Philippines, there were 32 finishers, 15 women and 17 men.

– Done! Now where’s that non-alcoholic beer? –


We all had a great time running Berlin Marathon! Yes, it was a flat course, but it didn’t feel like the fastest course to me. Honestly, the California International Marathon felt faster for me probably because there were a quarter of the participants and more descents. Still, it was fun. (Is there any marathon that isn’t?!)

As soon as I crossed the finish, I collected my bag at the baggage claim. No lines and all my things were intact (unlike Lit whose jacket was stolen!) I quickly changed my clothes while other women completely undressed around me without any hint of shyness. (Welcome to Europe!) The free non-alcoholic beer was a welcome delight for this non-drinker runner while I rested my weary legs.

– with Janejane, Nica, and Drew –

I met the rest of my friends for another mini picnic at the crowded Family Reunion area. After downing my beer, I took out my little “baon”, a serving of Enervon HP for my recovery to prevent soreness the next day, and happily munched on an apple while chatting away with friends about our marathon experiences.

– Cheers! A medal and beer. What more can a marathon finisher ask for? –

– We did it guys! Hugs! Hugs! –

That evening, Ton, Angel, Lit, Miriam, and I walked towards our favorite restaurant area near our hotel, around Km 40-41 of the race route, not to run but to celebrate our marathon finish. We feasted on Thai food at a restaurant fittingly called “Good Time.” Good times, indeed!

– Good times at Good Time –

Previous: Part 3: Berlin Marathon – Team Pilipinas!
Next: Part 5: Berlin Marathon – Prague and Our Recovery Run…to McDo

Thank you to Unilab Active Health for my Berlin Marathon adventure!

Part 3: Berlin Marathon – Team Pilipinas!

Monday, 8 October 2012  |  Bullish Insights

The day before the marathon, we met up with other Pinoy runners who were signed up for Berlin Marathon.

– Team Pilipinas! L to R: JaneJane, Drew, Nica, Ton, me, Lit, Chicho, Riza, Miriam, and Angel.  All of Team Pilipinas—except myself—were sponsored by New Balance for apparel and shoes –

We had our carbo-loading lunch followed by, umm, a sugar-overloading dessert feast with wonderful couple, Chicho and Riza Mantaring.  Riza is the President and CEO of Sun Life who we featured in TBR Magazine – Jan/Feb 2012 issue.  She was deep into training for Berlin when a freak accident (during Ironman 70.3 Cebu, she came only as spectator for her son but got sideswiped by a jeepney during her long run) left her injured, but she still came to support Chicho.

– Lit, Chicho, Riza, Angel, Mir, and Ton chatting about running over sumptuous desserts and coffee –

We were also joined by world marathon travelers and Cebu-based owners of the popular Leona’s bakeshop, siblings JaneJane, Nica, and Drew Ong.  The Ong siblings are the best travel and marathon companions. Super fun and, yes, super fast. We ran California International Marathon together last year.

We walked from the restaurant to the Brandenburg Gate, the marathon’s start and finish area. We covered the last few kilometers of the actual race course.

– Walking through a portion of our race course –

– Spotted fellow marathoners on the streets. Two of them carrying the race kit in front of us –

The Brandenburg Gate was a sight to behold. I couldn’t believe we’d be running the last few meters of the marathon towards it!

– with the Brandenburg Gate behind me –

– The last few meters of the marathon –

– Team Pilipinas at the Berlin Marathon –

We entered the race area to find a festive atmosphere the day before the race! There were food stalls and benches for people to eat and drink beer.

– Now, how far exactly from the Brandenburg Gate until the finish line? –

– After this, it’s 0.195 to go! –

– Eat all you want bratwurst, currywurst, and other German specialties –

– Drink all you want! –

– Aside from running, in line skating was also part of the event. Hey, hey, we women aren’t complaining! –

– Chicho, Lit, and Angel checking out the finish line –

– Ton must be saying a silent prayer for a great marathon. Or just checking out the girls near the gate –

Previous: Part 2: Berlin Marathon – Our Pre-Race Run and Segway Tour
Next: Part 4: Berlin Marathon

Thanks to Unilab Active Health for my great Berlin Marathon adventure!