March 12, 2010

How Far Can You Go: The 2010 BDM 102km Ultramarathon Race (Part 1)

It once started as an invitation.

Not long ago, my good friend Jon Lacanlale invited me to shift to long distance running such as ultramarathons. That was during the NB race of 2008 in Clark, Pampanga. He was then busy preparing for the 2009 BDM, and was in the peak of his training for his Singapore marathon. I just shrugged-off the idea since my priorities then are pure full marathon distances and how to improve my performances. He went on with his ultra trainings while I continued to pile fast-paced races. Our conversation ended at the comment section of my blog post here; and the rest was history.

Fast forward to the present and here I am celebrating for finishing and surviving the 2010 BDM 102km ultramarathon race, my first attempt in ultramarathoning. It was a totally different experience.

Now I am here?

After sixteen weeks of rigorous training and accumulating more than one thousand kilometers, I was one of those 125 starters at KM00 in Mariveles, Bataan. I nervously placed myself at the back of the runners since I would be running blind. Blind, because I don't have any idea what lies ahead of me. My longest distance ran was during the test run of 50km, and although I finished strong and satisfied during that course, the remaining 50km of this distance will be full of tricks. As the horn was sounded, we were sent-off. These brave men and women of the 2010 BDM, young and still young, newbie and vets slowly eased themselves towards what was considered a goal.

My goal is to run easy allthroughout and finish the race (the conservative one). Prior to the race, I could proudly say that I like to finish it in 15 hours whenever someone ask for my goal time, knowing where my training had brought me.

The first 3km was an easy jog until we reached the first incline. Erick and I started in our comfortable pace, since both of us was armed with a goal of a 15hour finish time. The remaining 4km were mostly done by walking and occasional run since the distance is uphill. Jay was just ahead, while I joined the company of Erick, Dennis, Sam, Glenn and Tina. At 12:34am, we reached km7 and dropped by our support crew. At this point, the air was humid and thin, so I decided to change into a comfortable singlet, grabbed my hydration pack and continued our run. The terrain now is rolling with plenty of decent slopes that invited us to increase our pace amidst the darkness of the road. It was a sight to see the partial-lit moon ahead of us. Rows of small blinking lights up above in the distance is inviting, enticing us to come up and reach them. We were already some 200masl yet there are still mountains to be climbed. Erick and I exchanged leads as we ran, going faster if he's in the lead, and going comfortable if it was my turn.

At 02:07am, we were at km20, just a little ahead is the section heading to the area of Lamao. Our support was already stationed as we reached the rendezvous, it was our fourth pitstop. We continued towards Limay as we traversed this still sloping course, the hills were unforgiving, luckily these hills were at the earlier part, on our freshest self. By this time, the moon is now trailing us on our right side. We reached km30 at 03:45am or after about 04h15m of running and km40 at 04:30am. At the time station in km35 we were informed by the marshals that the lead runners past there in 02h:30m, that's what I call efficiency, speed ultramarathoning.

Please take note that I am benchmarking on the markers since I don't have any garmin or equivalent to denote the actual distance. I knew that some of the locations of the markers are placed inaccurately.

Just 10km more and we will be at the halfway mark of the route; here the night is slowly changing into day, more and more people are occupying the narrow streets and so are the vehicles. It's quite tricky to negotiate the road. Church bells were ringing, as if calling all devotees to attend the early sunday mass; I called-up on Him everytime I passed-by His house. After gulping taho at Abucay, we reached km50 at 06:26am, still fresh, strong and willing.

with Erick & Cesar approaching km50

with arroscaldo on hand

To be continued . . .


  1. Congrats on your BDM finish, Vener! Hope to meet you and learn from you as I strive to give BDM a try next year.

  2. Julius - Thanks, I hope we could meet these coming races. See you on the roads.

  3. Idol, congratulatons! That was one big leap of faith a BDM is one of the toughest ultra races in our country.

    So, will I be seeing more of you in ultrarunning? :)

  4. Hey, ultra idol, thank you for bringing me in. Ultrarunning? Six days ago I can't say yes, but I still have so many homeworks to do.

  5. Vener congratulations! You're now one of "us" distance-addicts...what's next? :)

    Ayan sa haba ng race di rin kasya sa isang post hehe

  6. Thanks Dennis, sa haba nga ng race, napahaba rin ang post. Heto na nga yung kasunod..

  7. ang sarapppp pare! hehehehe see you again on next ultra race.


  8. Idol, congrats! You the man! Xty must be so proud! :)

  9. Isko - Thanks for the company, it's great to run with you, the hardcore way. Hanggang sa susunod, pare.

  10. Luis - Thank you, man. It's the other way around, ang hirap ding maging support crew! I'm proud, we're proud.

  11. one helluva milestone!

    congratulations V!