Posted in #runrio, 10 kilometers, 10k, 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, 5k, 5km, fun run, half-marathon, Press Conference, running, running event, Running Soon, Runrio Trilogy

Running Soon: Runrio Trilogy 2018 (Press Conference + Awards Night)

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Here for the rundown and the runners for the dress up.

For several years the Runrio Trilogy race series became the Run United trilogy. Last year Run United became a separate event called Run United Exceed and the classic Runrio Trilogy Race Series returned last year. The traditional Awards Night also returned to honor all the runners who completed the trilogy distances of half-marathon 21k, 32k or better known as the Afroman distance, and the full marathon 42k. Completing the trilogy is the runner’s equivalent of Graduation Day. I have never joined any of the past trilogy runs, but I was invited to witness the Awards Night and the press conference to see what it’s like and what they have in store for runners this year.

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With the members of the press. Photo from Runrio facebook page.
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Classy venue.

AWARDS NIGHT

The Awards Night ceremony held in Okada Manila is classy, most of the runners are dressed up for the occasion, and very good food was served. All completionists of the trilogy get a commemorative medal hanger and there are also special rewards for the fastest runners overall and on each age group. The fastest male and female runners gets the ultimate reward of an all-expense paid trip and entry to the 2018 Chicago Marathon. All of the runners are called on stage just like Graduation Day.

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Coach Rio congratulating the graduates.
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If you ran your first marathon in the trilogy, you might just cry on stage.
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A Street Dance presentation to entertain us during the intermission.
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A running mate, Rick Frias (7th from the left) with his batch.
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Another running mate, Mark Ponteres (5th from the left) with batch.
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Meet Gil Brazil, the fastest runner in the age 60 category. He is 65 years old and finished 21k at 02:07:23, 32k at 03:28:27, and 42k at 04:46:08. Yes, he is faster than some of the younger runners present at the event.
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Fastest female runner is Philippine Marathon record-holder Cristabel Martes who wasn’t present at the event.
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The fastest male runner Jojie Daga-as.
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Through Runrio and the runners who participated in the events, the beneficiary YesPinoy Foundation received PhP500,000 donation. Thank you.
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Congratulations graduates of Runrio Trilogy Class of 2017.

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PRESS CONFERENCE

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From Left to Right, Pebbles Sanche-Ogang (Exec. Director – YesPinoy Foundation); Coach Rio Dela Cruz (President of Runrio), and Andrew Neri (Managing Partner – Runrio)

A press conference for the announcement of the races for the Runrio Trilogy 2018 was held after the awards night. A major addition to the series is the expansion to Cebu. The first leg will be held on March 4 in Cebu and on March 18 in Manila. The second leg will be on May 6 for Cebu and March 18 in Manila. The last leg will be on August 9 in Cebu and September 23 in Manila.

New running categories are also added to make it more fun for runners who prefer to run with friends and family. There’s a 5k Family Run for a group of four consisting of two adults and two kids. A 5k Barkada Run for a group of four adults age 16 years and above. And a 10k Buddy Run which is also for runners age 16 years and above. Group registrations are entitled to discounts on the registration fees.

“This year promises to be exciting for us and for all those who went to join our runs,” said Coach Rio Dela Cruz, RUNRIO President and CEO. “Running enthusiasts can look forward to the 2018 RUNRIO Trilogy not only as an avenue to push their limits but also to spend quality time with friends and family.”

The RUNRIO Trilogy was made possible by its other partners, namely, Gatorade, Maynilad, Garmin, SM Mall of Asia, Nyxsys, Inside Manila, Fitbar, KitKat, Efes, Nizoral, Salonpas, and Milcu Deodorant Powder.

For more information on the registration fees and online registration schedule, visit http://www.runrio.com

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A look at the new tech shirt and medal.
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A closer look at the interlocking medal. During the Q & A, Runrio Inc’s Andrew Neri said that if you missed a leg due to instances beyond control or schedule conflicts but still want to complete the medals, you can try to get a medal from a different venue (Cebu or Manila) because the medals from both are the same and interlocks without compatibility issues. So, in video and video game terms, the medal is “region-free” 🙂
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The 21k and 32k (Afroman Distance) medals.
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With running mate and 2017 Graduate Rick Frias.
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With the ever awesome Coach Rio Dela Cruz.

I had a good time at the awards night and press conference. Special Thanks to Sir Alvin Marayan and Mam Lyn for the invitation and transportation. As for this year’s event, I will be running the half-marathon and we’ll see after the run if I will be continuing with the series (which I actually planned years ago but always had the misfortune of  registering too late because the 21k category of leg 1 always sold out in just a couple of days) and be part of Runrio Trilogy Class of 2018. In-store registration starts on February 10, for more details go to https://www.runrio.com/race. See you there.

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Posted in 10 kilometers, 10k, 16 kilometers, 16k, 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, 42.195 kilometers, 42k, 50 kilometers, 50k, 5k, 5km, 7-Eleven Run Series, 711, 7eleven, adventure, backpacking, fun run, guerilla race, half-marathon, Marathon, Obstacle Course Racing, obstacle run, places to run, running, running event, running locales, Trail run, trail running, travel, ultramarathon, Uphill Run, Yakult 10-miler

2017 Wrapped Up!

This is article replaces my 2xxx Bests series where I take a look back and rank the best events and moments of the previous year. For this year’s article, I decided to make it shorter by limiting it to just running events and honoring only the best singlets/tech shirts, finisher shirts, medals/trophies, and then finally ranking the races. I participated in 10 running events last year and here are the goods starting with…

=== BEST SINGLET/TECH SHIRT ===

Run United Exceed Tech Shirt

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The blue color and overall design of the Run United Exceed makes it the overall winner. It’s very comfortable too and quality is very similar to the 2016 Condura Skyway Marathon Tech shirt which is an honorable mention from last year.

 

=== BEST MEDAL/TROPHY ===

Yakult 10-miler Medal

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Its minimalist design and stainless metal made it my favorite. No fancy use of colors or anything written or etched on front or back of the medal, just  a simple design the looks elegant. And that Yakult pillow is a nice finisher bonus too.

 

=== BEST FINISHER SHIRT ===

Hero 2 Hero Rizal Day 50k Ultramarathon Finisher Shirt

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This one became my instant favorite finisher shirt. I like the use of colors especially the red color tone on the right and gray on the left. And the logo is nice too with Philippine hero Jose Rizal’s face and silhouette blending with the yellow-orange color. Another good addition is the name on the back of the finisher shirt to let everyone know that it’s yours, you worked hard for it, and earned it. Gotta mention that it comes with a nice finisher trophy too.

 

=== 2017 Races ranked from worst to best ===

I joined 12 running events last year, but one of them, My Little Pony Run, got cancelled and rescheduled and the other one is a trail running class, I’m only ranking 10 official races that I participated in last year. So, starting from the worst experience….

10. Sungay 50k Challenge Calamba to Tagaytay

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Of all the races I ever participated in the more than 4 years of experience this is the worst. See that photo above? that’s the first time I (and maybe the other runners too) was stopped by highway patrol because we were running on a road where running (and cycling) is prohibited. Wait, what? then why was it part of the route anyway? what the hell was the organizer thinking? oh, and to top that, there are no finisher shirts and trophies for the runners to take home once they’ve crossed the finish line. The organizer said that the manufacturer made a mistake with the trophy design (and the finisher shirt? same manufacturer?), so all we got was the medals. The organizer said that he will ship the trophies and shirts once they’re made. So, it’s like more than 2 months of waiting now, still nothing. We’re not updated or even asked for the shipping address and contact details. Dunno if we will still get what we worked hard and paid for.

9. Run United Exceed

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Run United Exceed seemed exciting for me at first, especially since the Run United Trilogy wasn’t announced at the time and it had all the good stuff like a nice looking medal, shirts, and the 2 1/2 time limit made it an exclusive for above average runners. I also convinced my college mate Ryan to join the event. But, when I found out that the race route is 2 loops around BGC, I was disappointed because I really hate repetitive loops. Still, it’s not that bad, I loved the tech shirt and the medal design is very good and a great addition to my collection.

8. Yakult 10-miler

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Most running series don’t last more that 10 or even 5 years. Yakult 10-miler is the 2nd longest-running event in the country and that title alone is one of the reason for me to join at least once. I had a good time, it was one of my more relaxing runs and the finisher medal and finisher’s pillow are nice addition (especially with the affordable registration fee).

7. Eggciting Family Adventure Fun Run 2

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This is definitely one of the best family-friendly events in recent times. There’s an option to look for easter eggs along the route that you can bring to the finish line in exchange for prizes. With the affordable registration fee and lots of freebies, this is one fun run you shouldn’t miss.

6. 7-Eleven Run 2017

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This running event needs no introduction. Most people in the running community and casual runners already know the event’s reputation as a “grocery” run due to the fact that you can grab as many freebies as you can after the race. This year’s edition is as good as the previous ones and there are even better stuff you can get. What makes this race very memorable for me is that I was finally able to break the 5-hour marathon barrier, I’m now a Sub-5 marathoner. Since Condura Skyway Marathon won’t be returning for the 2nd year in a row, this is the only running event that allows you to run on the Skyway exclusively.

5. Resolution Run 2017

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What I like about Resolution Run is its beautiful, but challenging route that covers Nuvali and the uphill parts of Baranggay Casile. You even pass by the famous Marcos Twin Mansion. This is my recommended January run for those who want to burn all those fats they gained from the Christmas season, this is your Resolution Run. Too bad I wan’t able to join this year’s event.

4. Rizal Day 50k Ultramarathon

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To wash off the bad taste left by my previous ultramarathon I joined this event. I’m glad that I did because it’s a good event. It’s very challenging, but finishing it feels good especially since it’s already New Year’s Eve once you’re done. I might join this event again if there’s a new route and if the trophy and finisher shirt looks as good as last year’s.

3. Splendido Sunset Run Trio Edition

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I’ve been eyeing Splendido Sunset Run since 2015 and I finally joined it last year. And I wasn’t disappointed. Set in Splendido Golf and Country Club, runners can enjoy the cool Tagaytay weather and the race route is just amazing, it’s beautiful. I love the downhill domination part and challenged by the uphill hell part. The 21k route has 2 loops and I really hate multi loops, and it rained adding more challenge, but with a route like Splendido’s, I’m not complaining. This is my highly recommended year-end race.

2. Guerilla Race Splash

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Before the popular obstacle course racing series Spartan Race made its presence known in our country last year, Guerilla Race has been around for more than 3 years now and has become one of the most popular obstacle course race in the country. Guerilla Race has one advantage over its competitors, it’s an obstacle run that changes its location frequently. That is Guerilla Race why is so awesome, it doesn’t feel like the same race as before. Last year was the Splash edition, taking place in Splash Island and added water-based obstacles like kayaking. The registration fee is also reasonable as you get a free pass to enjoy Splash Island after the race. Looking forward to more Guerilla Races this year.

 

and here it is, my favorite and best race I’ve ran last year is….

 

1. Sandugo Pacific Ultra Coast 100 

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I always prefer trail running over road running and the only reason I’m not joining more trail runs is because most trail races are held in locations far from my hometown. Sandugo Pacific Coast 100 is no different, it’s even farther than most trail events because it’s set in General Nakar, Quezon. But, since I was able to convince 2 buddies to run their first trail run and kept the budget at a minimum, I finally ran my best trail race experience since Valley Trail Challenge V. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the incredible scenery and friendly environment of General Nakar. The very friendly race marshals and staff plus the reasonable registration fee (taking into account the free ride and freebies) round up the best parts of my choice as running event of the year. I have a feeling  that we might return for this year’s event. Could be the start of a new running tradition.

 

And that wraps up my 2017 races. For 2018 I’m not sure I can join as many running events as before, but I will still keep running and deliver more stuff about running, video games, photography, and more. Thanks for the readers who find my blogs useful and inspiring. I’m just here to share my experiences, I’m very thankful for your time to read, especially my articles that go way beyond 1,000 words. Thank you.

Posted in 50 kilometers, 50k, adventure, places to run, Runmania, Runmania PH, running, running event, travel, ultramarathon, Uphill Run

Not a hero, just heroic effort… (Hero 2 Hero 50k Ultramarathon)

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Breath-taking Creepiness. A mountain’s silhouette, illuminated by the full moon. It’s pitch dark on Nagcarlan’s uphill road and I’m not sure if I’m looking at Mt. Banahao or Mt. San Cristobal.

Ultramarathons can be intimidating to most runners especially knowing that unlike marathons in the city, the roads are not closed for the freedom and safety of the runners. There are parts of the route that don’t have street lights, forcing you to run in total darkness. Road encounters with dogs and drunk idiots can be annoying and dangerous. And aid stations are 10 kilometers (or more) apart from each other. Yes, ultramarathons have a lot of risks, but I don’t care about those, ultramarathon is an adventure. But, why have I only joined 3 ultras so far? well, it’s mostly about limited resources because the registration fee is pricey and add to that extra expenses for travel and preparation. Another thing is bad experience with my past 2 ultramarathon events,  I’m starting to feel that I’m just cursed or unlucky when it comes to ultramarathons. But, they say 3rd time’s a charm and I’ve heard positive things about Hero 2 Hero 50k Ultramarathon (aka as Rizal Day Ultramarathon and Rizal 2 Rizal Ultramarathon), so I joined the event. So, is it as good as they say it is? is my ultramarathon curse broken? read on to find out.

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Big happy crowd for an ultra event/ Photo from Runmania Ph facebook page.
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Like waking up with a full 8 hour of sleep… except I didn’t. Photo from Runmania FB page.

I wasn’t able to secure a leave the day before the event and I tried my best to get some sleep after work. Unfortunately, I woke up at around 12:30 pm with only 3+ hours of sleep, and I couldn’t sleep any more because of the excitement. When I arrived at the event site, Rizal Park Calamba, I was surprised by the big crowd (it’s a big crowd compared to the other ultra events I joined) and there is an actual starting line (because the previous ultra event I joined, which also started here, doesn’t even have a proper one). The event started properly with the usual prayer, national anthem, briefing, and a raffle (which was also absent from the previous ultramarathons). We were also informed that the actual distance has an additional 3 kilometers making the total distance 53 kilometers and that there are long uphills in Nagcarlan.

The race started nicely, though it did cause some traffic at the Halang intersection due to volume of runners crossing, it was handled by the marshals (with police assistance) properly. I was running at a very efficient rate of 6+ minutes per kilometer to conserve my stamina. Surprisingly, the modest pace was able to push me running non-stop for 10 kilometers at 1 hour and 2 minutes (slower than my usual, but as planned for this race), stopping only at the sight of the first aid station (near Olivarez Mall in Los Banos) to refill my water bottle and grab a banana.

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That time that you’re going to Pansol not to swim. Photo by Aquizzed Snaps Photography.
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Welcome to Los Banos. First 10k is 2 thumbs up. Photo by Redge Photography.

Continuing all the way to Bay (aka Bae), this is where I started doing my run-walk method. There is another water station and marshals near a splitting V-road to direct us to the main road and avoid entering Jose Rizal Ave road. The problem in this part of the route is that it’s a long dark road and I don’t know why there are no street lights here considering that it is part of the main road. It was only at that time that I noticed my head lamp’s battery is low, the light is dim so I had to turn it off for a long time to conserve energy. This is why I had to stick close to some of the runners who have bright lights. There was an encounter with a drunk guy (he was harmless) and numerous times that I slowed down and had to catch up with my guiding light. I was pacing behind a girl with a tattoo on her back. She’s a strong runner, and was 30-50 meters ahead of me as we make our way to Victoria, Laguna. There was a right turn and an aid station there. I still saw her as I drink and refill my water bottles, but once I started moving, I never saw her again.

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Hello Victoria, just passing by and going to Nagcarlan. Photo from Runmania Ph facebook page.

After a brief encounter with some angry dogs (they’re annoying when they bark and follow you), the road in Victoria going to a turn to Nagcarlan is long, but there are more street lights here. There are a lot of teens still outside at the time (past midnight), there was a group of youngsters walking and one of them was forcing a high five and I gave him one at the cost of his hand getting wet with sweat. There are only 4 people ahead of me at the time and two far behind. I can see the beautiful silhouette a mountain in the distance, it’s like a big wall ahead of us, and I think it’s Mt Banahao. Then we made a turn to Calauan-Nagcarlan road and if my google maps research is right, we are entering baranggay Wakat. A spectator ask me where we’re going? I said Santa Cruz and he said that it’s too far, we are entering Nagcarlan. I said we are going this way to cover 50 kilometers. I guess he was surprised that we’re taking a long and hard route. By the time I hit the half-marathon distance or 21 kilometers, my GPS watch shows 2 hours and 15 minutes. That’s slower than the 2 hours 12 minutes 21k time from my LSD training in Nuvali the week before the event, but it still within the favorable condition. You see, I plan to finish this race with a Sub-6 PR, I chose this event because I heard that it is beginner friendly and ideal for a PRs. When it was announced earlier that there is a long uphill part of the route, it got me a bit worried, but I thought to myself that if those uphills are similar to Nuvali’s then I think I can make it.

The road in this route is pitch dark, no major uphills yet, and I can only see a few runners ahead of me to pace with. The run-walk method works just fine, I ate some fun size Snickers chocolate bars along the way to keep hunger at bay (hey, that rhymes). Then we made it to the 28th kilometer where an aid station is located. This is where the difficulty goes from medium to brutal. By kilometer 29, the road goes up, this is where the steep uphills start and because I have never been to Nagcarlan, it took me by surprise. This is where the long walk begins and I caught up with a runner, (can’t remember his name, I think it’s Alex), and had a conversation with him as we brisk walk our way up. By the time we reached kilometer 30, the time on my watch is 3 hours and 30 minutes. Though the road is in total darkness, the full moon helps in providing some illumination along the way and I saw 2 candles on the road, it didn’t help much, but it’s better than nothing. I am thankful when the support vehicles pass by and help light up the way. The night is silent, but beautiful, I can see a surrounding mountain and again, I’m not sure if it’s Mount Banahao or Mt San Cristobal I’m looking at.

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Although I know the photo will be crappy because it’s very dark, I still had to stop and try to take a photo of the mountain because it’s mesmerizing.

Alex (again, not sure if that’s his real name, but I’ll call him that) went ahead and told me that I’ll catch up anyway, as I take the photo above. A runner passed by, but when I saw another runner running uphill, I had to take photos quickly and ran fast because I’m not sure if that was a runner or a mugger rushing to take my smartphone (sorry, it was very dark and I wasn’t so sure if I’m going to encounter friendly or hostile, so I had to go). It was a downhill and I overtook the runner who ran past me. It was at this point that I started to feel pain on my forefoot area and I also think a blister is forming on my left foot. When I caught up with Alex, he was conversing with another runner, a veteran. Now, there’s three of us walking the uphills, jogging the occasional short downhills, and trading stories. There are times when other runners caught up with us and join the conversation.

The flat roads finally came when we reached the Santa Cruz-Calumpang Road, but even then, we still feel a bit exhausted and took our time at the aid station where they have some food including Whammos. It was 5 hours and 21 minutes when we finally reached the 42nd kilometer, the marathon distance. It’s not a bad time, but my plans to finish Sub-6 is gone. It took us 1 hour and 51 minutes to cover 12 kilometers and that’s mostly brisk walking. A testament of the uphills’ difficulty. We started short bursts of jogging and walking, there are some parts of the road where we had to stop and walk because it is only one lane and the other lane is under construction. The rough roads destroyed our momentum, nevertheless, we still gave it a push. The other runner who was with as, the old man, was left behind. A new runner, Michael, joined me and Alex. We reached an aid station that offers ice cream. Best Station Ever. The tasty ice cream kinda slowed us down a bit. No fun eating ice cream while jogging, right? A lady runner who was previously pacing with Michael caught up with us and she told us that there’s only 7 kilometers left. We started jogging continuously, had a short walk break when we passed by a slightly flooded road, and then started jogging again. It’s hard to jog long especially when I started to feel a blister developing on my foot. I can feel the sting and had to short walk breaks ad get left behind. Alex and Michael are ahead of me, 2 lady runners and more overtook me. After taking a piss, I made some adjustments and managed to catch up with the others. I overtook the lady runners, and caught up with Michael and Alex. Some time later, Alex was left behind, I was slowing down again, but still right behind Michael. My GPS watch stopped at 42 kilometers because of low battery, but my Nike Run Club app was still recording and a quick glimpse showed me that we finally reached the 50th kilometer at 6 hours and 30 minutes. But, it wasn’t the finish line, it was the last aid station. There’s 3 kilometers more to cover and the marshal at the aid station confirmed it. He also told us that there are cheaters who passed by. One of them rode a support car and someone rode a jeepney. Shame on those people. What’s the point of joining an ultramarathon if you’re not prepared for it and give everything you got. It’s not just about trophies, finisher shirts, and medals, it’s about testing your limits.

The last 3 kilometers may sound easy, but after running a very long distance, running it will feel like running forever. Michael and I are just alternating jogging and walking again. He was told me to go ahead, but I don’t feel like it and too risky as I started feeling a lot of pain on my feet. We saw the runner ahead of us take a right turn. Finally, Laguna Sports Complex, the finish line. We saw a photographer and I told Michael that I’ll back off a bit so we can have good solo photos.

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Headwear up and double thumbs up as we enter Laguna Sports Complex. Photo by Redge Photography.

We entered the main gate and passed by the runner ahead of us, but the finish line is still nowhere in sight. It’s like another 600-800 meters of distance to cover. But, it’s okay, there’s another photographer up ahead…

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Last 300 meters to victory. Photo by Khitz Banjaon.
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The sun is almost fully up, glory is up ahead. Photo by Khitz Banjaon.

After having our photos taken, Michael told me to just go ahead. He doesn’t seem to want one final sprint to the finish line, but he looks very satisfied. It see 7 hours and 2 minutes at the timer as I approach the finish line. The record keeper told us that I’m at Rank 40 and Michael at 41. It felt like a heroic effort finishing the race.

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My legs are not the only ones that feel tired, my eyes too. Photo from Runmania PH facebook page.
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3rd Ultramarathon done. Photo from Runmania PH facebook page.
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Back shot fail! Photo from Runmania PH facebook page.
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Official time 7 hours 03 minutes and 25 seconds. I was originally rank #40 out of 258 runners of the solo category. I moved up at #37 because 3 runners got DQ’d (Disqualified) and they’re probably the cheaters. I think I did well considering that only 5 runners finished under 6 hours (my target time). 4 runners DNF (Did Not Finish) and 30 runners did not make it to the 10-hour cutoff time just shows you how hard the route is. It’s more honorable to go DNF or finish beyond the cutoff time than to do the ninja moves and cheat just to get their non-deserving medal, finisher shirt, and trophy. Official results here.

So, how’s my 3rd ultramarathon experience? it’s the best so far (considering I only participated in 3 events) and it’s a very good experience. I’m bewitched by the Nagcarlan uphill part of the route because of the soothing sensation of the cool weather, the relaxed feeling of walking under the full moon, and seeing the beautiful silhouette of the surrounding mountain. It was mesmerizing at night, imagine what it might feel like at daytime. Would I run in an ultramarathon event again? oh hell yeah, I just have to do research first and pick the good ones. And the Runmania-organized events are already on top of my consideration list.

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Michael holding his “earned not given” trophy and wearing his “honorable and heroic” medal…
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Me too!
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Our well-deserved rest. Photo from Runmania PH facebook page.
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Hulk-like blister on my left foot. The reason why I can’t run at full potential during the last 11 kilometers. Just glad that it didn’t turn into a blood blister.
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Earned not Given.
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One of the best looking Finisher Shirts I ran hard for.

 

 

Posted in 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, fun run, half-marathon, places to run, running, running event, running locales, Uphill Run

A Splendid Suffering! (Splendido Sunset Run 2017)

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You know the saying “it’s all downhill from here” can have a positive or negative meaning depending on the usage? Well, here it starts with the positive, but once you get to the point that there is a very steep uphill in the distance, there’s your negative right there.

The best running events are found in areas away from the big cities. I learned this when I finally had enough of joining races with the same old locations (SM Mall of Asia, CCP Complex, BGC, etc.) and the same old route. This is why travelling to provincial areas and lesser known locales to run is a rewarding and memorable experience. When I heard about the Splendido Sunset Run series and its location, I already have a feeling that’s it’s going to be one of those “definitely worth it” kind of events. The series started as a fun run with 2.5k and 5k distances way back in 2010 and has added more distance categories including a half-marathon in the following years and a new Trio category this year which is team run for a group of 3.

Situated in the elevated grounds of the Tagaytay and Nasugbu border, it is known for its challenging terrain and with that in mind, I decided to join the 21k category to see if it is as good as advertised.

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Splendido main gate.
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A view of the starting line from afar.
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It was a cloudy day and very cold. Loving the weather.
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A view of Taal Volcano and Binintiang Malaki in the distanceas seen from the parking grounds of Tower 2.
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A view of the 1/3 of the route from Tower grounds.
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With my unreliable assistant XD
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The family building.
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The starting line. Photo from Splendido facebook page.
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Just a before-the-race selfie. Nothing to see here.

After the pre-race dance warm-up, all categories started at the same time (4 pm, but 5 or more minutes late though). The first part of the race is pure downhill, it’s fun to go fast at this point because the downhill is so steep that even if you don’t speed up, you’re going unintentionally fast anyway. I just let my feet go without adding momentum because if I burn out a lot of stamina early, I’m gonna pay for it later. And I’m glad it did because at the end of the downhill, there’s a steep uphill climb that can be seen from a distance and this is where the running ends and the walking (for some runners) starts.

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Downhill Domination! See that hill in the distance? that’s our 1st U-turn.
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Downhill Jam! Photo from Splendido facebook page.
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Approaching the uphill challenge.
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And here it is. Whoever said falling in love is hard on the knees have never ran a steep uphill.
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A view from the uphill U-turn. Big houses, the Golf course, and a lot of trees around you. It’s a very beautiful sight even at night.
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And to show you just how far it is from the starting line to this point. Down and Up the road.

After the U-turn, a part of the route requires us to turn right and down a curvy road. This is the toughest part of the road because the downhill and uphill is even steeper. It’s like the mountain roads you see in Initial D and where you go Ridge Racer but without the cars.

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I was taking photos while running downhill. It’s good to see that my smartphone’s camera is handling the shakiness of my hands and the bouncy motion of jogging.
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Yes, it’s another up and down road here.
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The leading 21k runner (Kenyan) and the other elite runners of the Trio category just behind him. Saw Richard Salano and Abril Rosas, two of the elite runners I met at the 2016 Laguna Phuket International Marathon.
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There’s a ranger/watch tower up ahead. Are there any wild animals here? Only saw cows.
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The Splendido Two Towers as seen from down below.
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Approaching the 2nd U-turn. The 2 foreigners probably thought I’m an instagram runner for stopping frequently and taking photos. Just doing it for my blog =)

The 2nd U-turn is where we get our first ribbon/marker. These markers serve as proof that runners passed by the check points to avoid cheating. This is very important because even with a timing chip, the sensor is only located at the start and finish line.

The way back at this point is harder because we are going back up and this area is the steepest of all segments of the route. At this point some of us, including the foreigners who are ahead me now, started walking. It reminds me of Sungay Road only shorter.

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Walkathon on the way up.

It doesn’t get any easier when I finally reached the main road again. Remember, it was a downhill before, now it’s payback time with another uphill battle. I was struggling even with a walk-jog method because most of my energy were burned out. Had it even just a straight flat road, it would’ve been easier to recover. I was in okay condition by the time I reached the mid-point Pocari Sweat aid station near Splendido main gate.

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Tired, but happy. Enjoying the suffering so far =D Photo from Splendido facebook page.

It’s getting darker by the time I started running towards the 10 kilometer mark which is a U-turn in a downhill road near the main gate.

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The route to the 10th kilometer still have some uphill segments. Uphills and downhills here are as overrated as a Star Wars movie.
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Going back to complete the 2nd loop.
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The Splendido towers as seen from below.
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It’s a beautiful road combined with the close to nature environment and away from city pollution. The people living here are so lucky.

Then it started to rain as I run my way up and it intensified as I pass by the Pocari Sweat mid point station. The rain is refreshing and it helped me run continuously downhill and towards the uphill U-turn. Some parts of the road are dark and I was glad to have brought my trusty energizer headlamp (which is a mandatory requirement).

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Going up the hill again on a cold, rainy night. It’s very dark in this area, my smartphone’s camera used a high ISO setting, resulting to a grainy photo.
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Like I said, the view from this point is beautiful even at night.

I was told by the marshals to just go straight back to the main road and no need to go back down the curvy, mountain-like road. Too bad, I was anticipating a thrilling, scary pitch dark run with only the headlamp to guide me run on the curvy roads again. But, that would be dangerous especially on a rainy weather. I also thought that route be a few kilometers short if we don’t run there again. Turns out I’m wrong.

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One of the best looking house along the route. There are speakers outside with music playing.

I had a conversation with a runner who was there to pace with his wife. He told me that this is a really tough course, but elite runners have been showing up to compete every year. He also told me that Kenyans already won the Trio and 21k categories and there was at least one Kenyan who gave up. That is a testament to the difficulty of this race. The other runner then paced with his wife and I continued to run the last kilometers of the race. I still have to go down again to the last U-turn to get the 4th and last marker.

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Dark, lonely, and silent. Not much difference from my daily life, going to work.

The rain turned to drizzle in the last 2 kilometers. Not much to say, I was very tired, but i keep moving. I got the final black marker, the marshal from the U-turn congratulated me, and I moved by alternating walking on uphills and jogging on the short flats and downhills. I just kept going and surprised myself for finishing the race with a sub 2.5 time.

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To be honest, I was expecting a near 3 hours finish time when I felt burned out at the 6th kilometer. Surprised that I was able to make it to sub 2.5 hours. My Soleus GPS watch yielded 21.19 at 02:28:59 whilst Nike Run Club app had it at 02:29:17 with 21.32 km total distance (I was able to stop the app after I hit the Soleus watch). Official results here.
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Happy to have survived another tough challenge. Nice finisher shirt and medal too.

So, is Splendido Sunset Run a challenging race as advertised? does it live up to its “Are you tough enough?” slogan? the answer is a big YES, definitely. The uphills may not be as long or as steep as Sungay Road, but they are harder than Nuvali’s. I know because it’s my training grounds and I can run a half-marathon faster there. The alternating uphill-downhill terrain is stressful for even seasoned runners. Just think what it’s like for an automobile to go uphill and downhill, it puts so much stress to the engine that you have to shift to the lower gears to go up and then to the higher gears as you go down and repeating it several times also results to increased fuel consumption. Same thing with the human body, your breathing and stride is affected, and there’s a big chance of cramps and other injuries if not careful. In fact, on our way out of Splendido, our car stalled twice as I shift to 2nd gear, it can only climb at 1st gear. That’s how steep the uphills are because Splendido is already on an elevated location.

Splendido Sunset Run is one of those hidden gem type of running events. It’s not well-known to the running community. But, once you discover it, give it a shot, and experienced it, you might go back for more. My only complaint is that there’s no sunset, so it’s false advertising!…. just kidding, it’s the weather’s fault for being cloudy that day. But, I imagine that it could’ve been a perfect day if we could see the beautiful sun going down in the distance. It’s a running event so good that it’s already in my Top 3 races this year.

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Traffic was very bad at the time, it was very late at night, and I was still a bit dehydrated, but we still went out for a meal and drinks because it’s on the house, courtesy of friends. Thanks, peeps.
Posted in 10 kilometers, 10k, 21.0975 kilometers, 21k, 5k, 5km, fun run, half-marathon, Marathon, places to run, running, running event, Running Soon, travel

Running Soon: Five Fast Facts about Clark Sunset Marathon

I was invited to attend the media launch of the Clark Sunset Marathon yesterday morning and here’s what I learned…

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1.) This is the first marathon event to be held in Clark Freeport Zone.

This is the first Clark Sunset Marathon and the destination was chosen so runners can enjoy running in a place away from city traffic and pollution. According to Noemi Julian of Clark Development Corporation fun runs has been done in Clark before, but this is the first full marathon event.

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The official race singlet.

2.) Four distance categories

There will be four distance categories, a full marathon (42k) and a half-marathon (21k) for the long distance and competitive runners. And 10k and 5k categories for those who prefer to finish the running event early to have some time to chill and explore. The 42k race route will have portions outside Clark while the rest of the distances is within the vicinity.

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Runrio’s Andrew Neri introducing the first Clark Sunset Marathon.

3.) The race route is AIMS / IAAF certified.

This is the first running event with a race route measured and certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) together with  International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The route is measured using The Jones Counter instead of a GPS device for accuracy.

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Media and Bloggers’ Q&A portion.

4.) One of the main objective is to attract foreign runners.

The event is expected to attract 5,000 runners including foreign runners who wants to run on an IAAF-labeled route (which means it has the same certification as world class marathons like the Boston Marathon, New York Marathon, and Tokyo Marathon)  and promote tourism.

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Runrio’s Franco Bambico, CDC’s Noemi Julian, and Runrio’s Andrew Neri presenting the official race singlet.

5.) A Music Festival after the race.

After enjoying the sunset and a nice night run, a music festival will be staged for a relaxing and more fun Saturday Night experience. DJ Ashley Rivera and DJ Tom Taus will be there to provide a memorable party for the participants.

 

That’s about it, feel free ask questions or leave comments in the comment section below. Online and in-store registrations are open. I will update this article once I get the digital copy of the press release.

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Media launch at Burgoo SM Mall of Asia.
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The singlet and the Finisher by Adidas.
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Looks similar to the Gatorade Run shirt.

 

REGISTRATION AND RACE INFO:

Registration Fees:

5K – Php 650 (Php 1,300 international fee)
10K – Php 850 (Php 1,700 international fee)
21K – Php 1,400 (Php 2,800 international fee)
42K – Php 1,800 (Php 3,600 international fee)

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Racekit Inclusions:

Singlet, Finisher Shirt (for 21k and 42k categories only), medal, loot bag, and music festival ticket.

Gunstart:

5K – 5:45PM
10K – 5:30PM
21K – 5:15PM
42K – 5:00PM

Posted in adventure, places to run, run it, running, running locales, Uphill Run

Run It! – Ciudad De Calamba

This is part 2 of this month’s Run It! article and this is the connecting route from Batino to Barandal and Ciudad De Calamba.

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Prepare yourself! For novice runners, it’s better to take it slow and easy there is a long stretch of uphill in the early part of the route.

We start where we left off from the intersection area going to Barangays Barandal, Mayapa, Batino, and St Clare Convent.

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The starting (and end) point is the intersection from part 1.
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Turn left (from St. Clare Convent, right if coming from Calamba Hills Phase 2) to the bridge going to Barangay Barandal.
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There is a guard house/check point going to Ciudad de Calamba (this is a private road). Runners and cyclists are allowed to enter. To the right before approaching this point is Laguna Buenavista Executive Homes.
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The first segment of the route a long road with curves and uphill.
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The area is owned and managed by Filinvest Lands. It contains some of their best middle and upper class subdivisions and estate.
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Long curvy and uphill road ahead.
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The S curve going to Ciudad De Calamba and passing the 2nd bridge.
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Elevation goes a bit higher as you approach the entrance to Ciudad De Calamba.
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The arch as seen from a distance.
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A beautiful and modern Spanish style design.
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Welcome to Ciudad De Calamba.
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After entering the arch, Valle Dulce at Pueblo Solana is to the left, going straight ahead leads to Futura Homes Punta Altezza, Filinvest Technology Park, Casa Del Nino Montessort School, and Montebello estates.
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To the right leads to Punta Altezza. You can add an extra 500-700 meters if you run all the way to the Punta Altezza entrance and back. Or you can enter the subdivision as an alternate route instead. I entered this place once and you can exit on the other side.
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Trees add colors to your running route.
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To the left is another part of the road that doesn’t have anything except grass and some trees. To the right goes to Filinvest Technology Park.
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If you choose to go left on the other road, you can add up to 60 meters with the curves and a small uphill stretch ahead.
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You can take a turn to the right going to Filinvest Technology Park.
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Even without entering the business park, you can add 200-300 meters to your distance by making a U-turn here.
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Moving forward to the the main road, there is another uphill segment going to Montebello. Seen on the right is Casa Del Nino Montessori School.
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A short uphill road to Montebello estates.
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One of the big houses of Montebello.
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Entrance to Montebello estates.
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After passing by Montebello, another stretch of road and uphill (3rd uphill segment) leads to Baranggay Punta and Bubuyan.
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After surviving the 3rd uphill, you can turn left to the road going to an intersection that will lead to Baranggays Kay-Anlog, Bubuyan, and Punta to add more distance. You can also use the Calamba-Tagaytay Road of Baranggay Punta (turn left on the intersection) as an alternate route back to CPIP.
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Moving forward, you can add 400+ meters to your run if you take a right turn here going to the other entrance/exit of Punta Altezza.
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It’s a downhill and an opportunity to speed up.
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This is the 2nd entrance/exit to Punta Altezza. I haven’t tried running all the way to see if the guard will allow me to enter. I just make my U turn here.
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And of course, what goes down must also go up.
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Back to the main road, it’s long (with some curves) flat road. Perfect for speed training. There’s a nice view of Mount Sungay in the distance.
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Reaching the end only leads to a left turn. Seen from this point is Mount Sungay (and People’s Park in the Sky) covered by clouds at the time.
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Reaching the end of the left turn leads to an intersection. Straight ahead is Asenso Village, to the right goes to Baranggay Bubuyan and to the left to Kay-Anlog and Punta. On a good mood, I turn left all the way to the Baranggay Bubuyan arch to add 200+ meters to my distance.
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Going back to where we started. If I ran from outside our house and then all the way to the Batino and CPIP route of part 1 and then straight to Ciudad De Calamba and stopped at this point, the total distance is 8+ kilometers.
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This is an opportunity to speed up and test yourself.
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Still have a lot left in the tank? don’t stop and go straight all the way until your body starts telling you to slow down or walk. Entering Ciudad De Calamba again (and leaving) is all downhill.
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Thank you for visiting… Come again.
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More than a kilometer and more downhills as you go back to the starting point in Batino.
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Only a few vehicles pass by here, no traffic, and it is a beautiful road surrounded by grass (and sometimes goats and cows).
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In case the first half of your run is slow because of the uphills, this is the time to run negative splits. Just don’t put too much pressure on the downhills, it can be bad on the knees. Just relax and let the momentum drive you.
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The last hundred meters is all smooth sailing as you make your way back. Just watch out for them cow and goat poop on the side of the road.

There you have it, one of the best running grounds in Calamba City. Total distance is 7.9 kilometers according to Nike Run Club and if you included the Batino route you can get a total of 11-12 kilometers and even more depending on how you run the route and add more distances. The uphill and downhill segments of the route is the ideal training grounds for runners who want to build up speed and endurance. And with scenic views and wide roads, Ciudad De Calamba is one of the most beautiful places you can run around.

Posted in City Run, Gear Review, GPS watch, half-marathon, Marathon, Review, running, running event, Trail run, trail running, Valley Trail Challenge

Accuracy or Fu*K-uracy: A non-professional observation and analysis of GPS devices for running…

In the early days, runners use the stopwatch feature of their watches to check their Finish Time and it is assumed that the distance of the race route is accurately measured by the event organizers. Today’s generation of runners rely on the GPS functionality of smartphones and watches making it an essential feature. But, how accurate are the GPS of these devices? are they reliable?

I am not an electronics expert or engineer, I don’t know how GPS works technically, so don’t expect me to explain everything with scientific detail. I’m just a runner who relies on my GPS watch and smartphone app to record my performance and this observation and analysis is based on my experience in using them during training runs and running events. I use a Soleus GPS One watch and Samsung S7 Edge for tracking my runs.

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The race course was said to be 5 kilometers. My GPS watch said it’s 4.88 kilometers.

Which is more accurate, a GPS watch or a smartphone app?

–  Starting both devices and standing still, my S7 Edge using Nike Run Club app connects faster to GPS satellites than my GPS One. It usually takes less than a minute for the S7 to get a good signal, whilst the GPS One can take as long as 1-3 minutes to find a signal. The GPS One may also receive an unstable connection and deliver very unbelievable results like a running speed of 40-70 kilometers per hour which is impossible considering that Usain Bolt can run at a top speed of 44 km/h. The GPS One also has a tendency to lose signal in places where only a few tall buildings surround the area. There are times that the GPS One can yield better results than the smartphone like the time I ran the 2nd Philippine Marine Corp Marathon. When I entered the famous Kaybiang Tunnel, both devices lost connection, but the watch re-connected faster and delivered a more accurate distance. It should be noted that I was using a mid-range smartphone at the time, an Alcatel Flash 2, and not the S7 Edge that I’m using now. I mentioned this because high-end smartphones and GPS watches with superior hardware may be able to deliver more accurate results than entry-level like the GPS One and mid-range devices.

UPDATE (07-23-2017): I accidentally activated the mobile data of my S7 Edge instead of the GPS. Nike Run Club app relied on internet connection and due to the weak signal and speed, it resulted to a big miscalculation, counting 600-800 meters as 1 kilometer.

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According to my GPS One, I ran a maximum speed of 72.9 km/h some time during my run. Wow! Good thing Usain Bolt is retired. I should probably go after Eliud Kipchoge then.

Distance Discrepancy?

–   Distance discrepancy between the two devices is not unusual. Sometimes it can be as short as 100 meters to as long as 2 kilometers with the GPS watch very likely to be inaccurate. One example of this was during Run United Exceed half-marathon last April, GPS One recorded the total distance of 23.45 kilometers, whilst the S7 showed 22.5 kilometers. The race route in Bonifacio Global City is surrounded by tall buildings and locking on to the satellites takes time, but I was able to get a signal for both devices before the gunstart. But, I’m very sure that the GPS One was inaccurate because it showed me that I passed the first kilometer in 4+ minutes whilst the smartphone app told me that I ran it at 5 minutes and 45 seconds. I’ve also seen social media posts from runners and most of them also covered 22+ kilometers. Others got results of less than 21 kilometers, but it’s very likely that they started their devices while it was still trying to get a signal and only got one after several kilometers (i.e. 18 kilometers of total distance was likely the result the device receiving a signal after 3 kilometers of running). During my usual Wednesday and Friday morning runs, it’s often that I get distance discrepancies and most of the time, the GPS One delivered inaccuracy.

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3 minutes and 15 seconds in the first kilometer. If only I can really run this pace. I know for a fact that when I run below 4 minutes and 30 seconds, I start feeling cramps about to hit me. So, yeah I have never ran a 3-minute per kilometer pace before.

GPS devices or just trust the Organizer’s Race Route?

–   What you see in your GPS devices can also match the race course distance if you get a very good signal. But, the race route can be more or less of the total distance as advertised. It depends on how the organizer of the event measured the race route and there are some instances that could force the organizer to shorten distance like unfavorable weather or last minute changes due to traffic and other road-related incidents that is beyond their control. Other organizers will add extra kilometers as a bonus  or a slight change in the race route. If you really want a distance accurate race route, then look for an event sanctioned by an athletics organization like Philippine Athletics Track And Field Association (PATAFA).

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It was supposed to be only 34 kilometers, but a small change in the race route added 3 extra kilometers.

Comparison with Car Odometer (FINAL UPDATE)

I did an experiment to compare if the distance displayed on a car’s odometer will yield the same or close results with the GPS devices. I did a quick google search and found out that GPS is much more accurate than car speedometers when it comes to measuring speed because it is affected by tire size and condition. But, I’m measuring the distance and disregarded speed, so we focus on the odometer. Stopping the car at 1, 3, and 5 kilometers, the distance difference is somewhere between 30 to 200+ meters.

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Trial 1: Stopping at 1 kilometer with the GPS devices connected with good signal, the Nike app recorded a 40-meter difference, while the GPS watch showed a much bigger number at 110 (or more) meters.
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Trial 2: I reset the odometer and stopped at 3 kilometers. Similar results from the 1 kilometer run with 30-meter difference on the app and 110+ meters on the GPS watch.
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And just for comparisons sake, I did keep the car’s speed at 40+ km/h most of the time and sped up to 80+ km/h once to overtake a vehicle. I think the GPS watch got it right with the average (41 km/h) and maximum speed (83.2 km/h) reading.

This experiment should be taken with a grain of salt since gps reading is affected by the position and availability of the satellites (take note that the experiment took place on a road devoid of tall buildings). It’s likely that distance discrepancy will increase if I travelled farther.

The verdict: Accurate or Fu*k-urate?

–   So, are GPS devices like smartphones and GPS watches accurate when it comes to measuring distance and pace? the answer is yesbut, only if you get a good and stable signal. The advance technology in these devices assures you accuracy, but not always. There will be times that you will get unstable signal and even lose the signal especially in places surrounded by tall building or trees and that guarantees fu*ked up results. The reason why I use both a GPS watch and smartphone app is for cases when one fails, the other won’t (hopefully). A small distance discrepancy (like 100-300 meters) between both devices is acceptable, 500 meters or more is where you start to question accuracy and pick the one with less distance. In my usual training routes, I can tell which one is giving me the likely accurate distance because of the numerous times I ran on that place. Even if that devices failed to connect with the satellites, I remember where the kilometer points are.

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My Personal Bests in Nike Run Club app. Guess which ones are fu*k-urate. Hint: I can’t run an elite marathoner pace.