Crowdfunding to help Ultrarunner, Brian “Popoy” Guillen

In recently celebrated 2017 Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines held in Mactan ,Cebu. Brian Lou Guillen joined the relay division where he was assigned runner trying to secure second place finish for his team Tribu Lapu-Lapu. But meters away from the finish line the said runner suddenly collapsed which made him brought to Chong Hua Hospital on that day, August 6.

Back in 2014, Brian was a champion of  South to North 280KM  ultramarathon in Cebu. With his official time of 24 hours and 7 minutes where he currently holds the race record up to this date. The said ultramarathon race is one the seven toughest and longest marathon in Philippines. See http://www.takbo.ph/2017/02/seven-toughest-ultramarathons-philippines/  Brian is a member of Philippine National Police, Police Regional Office 7. I personally met Brian  when he had visited our office which happened to be connected with PNP.  He actually recognized me as Davao-based runner, then upon conversation with him we realized  that we already met each other in a racing event. And that was surprising to both of us!

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Brian with his training buddy Paul James Zafico

Currently, Brian is under Intensive Care Unit at Chong Hua Hospital, . To defray his medical expenses, we can help him through our kind hearts . I myself will share a cash, a small amount that if you share too will turn to good amount . In behalf of my Team Philippine Long Distance Runners and my tribes of The Marathon Blogger. I am calling out all athletes from various disciplines, especially runners and triathletes to reach out Brian by donating any amount from your golden heart. No matter how small it is, it’s s big thing to touch his heart that we are together in one good cause.

You may send your donations via Palawan Express Padala to PAUL JAMES ZAFICO with his contact number 09476812979.

Palawan Express Pera Padala Rates Luzon

To those donating, please give us a copy of  your “send money form” Let us recognize you and appreciate your aid . Send us through, The Marathon Blogger’s Facebook messenger  –https://www.facebook.com/bernsbernzberns

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Gear up! 100K Bogo to Cebu Ultra on Aug 19

A 100 kilometer ultramarathon is happening over this weekend from Bogo City to Cebu City.  In a rightful event since August 21 is a National Holiday which will give the benefit of all runners to recover the next day. This would be a great opportunity to Cebu- based runners since this particular distance is rarely offered in Cebu. Gear up, sign up now.

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Set on August 19-20, 2017, the race will commence shortly by 8 PM at Bogo City Plaza, North Cebu and will finish at Cebu Province Capitol in Cebu City. Runners are given 20 hours COT. Hydration are provided in every 10 kilometers, worry free to newbies and runners outside Cebu, the route is flat and most importantly, it’s safe. Marshals are provided to attend your needs and concerns.

Podium finishers are guaranteed with their podium trophies aside from their finisher’s trophy, finisher’s medal, finisher’s shirt, finisher’s certificate and post-race meals, and other surprises await at the finish line.

Register now! Registration ends on August 15, you still have ample of time to think and register. Ultra is beyond marathon and it’s a matter of mentality, your enough determination will always lead to your success. Somehow ultra running is a self- endurance sports, run safe and should you always responsible.

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The said event is presented and organized by Prince Multisport Events Inc. with of course Sir Prince Baltazar as Race Director. The RD himself is tested by times as one of the best race directors in the country today, he had directed various racing events like run series, marathon, and ultras and even in duathlon events. His credibility as race director is no question at all, absolutely one of the best!

For more details, check this event page, https://web.facebook.com/events/1931614000429163/

See you!

Meet, the Ultramarathon Queen of Bukidnon

20638568_1351659174955793_6164848944978798598_nA 33 years old stunner from Quezon, Bukidnon. An inspirational runner to all. A certified hardcore athlete. A founding member of Sugarcane Trail Ultra Runners (STUR). Her race bib has been known to us as PRETTY AZENITH, but a lot of friends call her “JOY”and her real name is AZENITH BALBUTIN. She is truly at the zenith and humbly but unanimously dubbed as Ultramarathon Queen of Bukidnon, with no other.

Her record? Just take this down, a hardcore finisher of 2nd Cebu Southwest 210K Ultramarathon last June 9-11 2017. She clocked 47 hours and 59 minutes with no support team with her. She was among of the brave four ladies who partaken the event, but her gender is a no excuse to bring the golden buckle home.

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Azenith in her Finish Line of 2nd Cebu Southwest Ultra

Trivia: Cebu Southwest 210 km Ultramarathon en route the highly elevated Transcentral Highway in Cebu, with estimated elevation of 975 meters and with total elevation of 3,913 m. It is one of the difficult route in any ultramarathon event in Cebu like TCU55 and TCU105. The uphill and downhill is a steep as Kenon Road in Baguio plus the cold wind and heat that strikes anytime along entire route.

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From left (Roselle Abajao, Daisy Batac, Elaine Yang and Azenith Balbutin) on their Starting Line on 2nd Cebu Southwest Ultra -Photo Credit to Hardcore Events

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Recently she completed the longest foot race in Mindanao. The DUC300, she conquered herself from Butuan City to Davao City where she bagged the 2nd runner up in female category, ranking her 13th place over all. She clocked 76 hours 48 minutes and 57 seconds bested other 14 runners.

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Her podium trophy and entitlements of DUC300

Trivia: The longest foot race in Mindanao to date, the longest ultra marathon event presented by BBG Run events and Davao Ultrarunners Club. Their batch is the first ever and the original finishers of the said longest that will truly inked their stories and history in media. The race covered two regions of Mindanao,the Caraga and Davao.

Others, she was also the female champion of 5th Kasadya 60k Ultramarathon 2017 in General Santos City last May 2017. She also bagged the 2nd runner up in female category of the recently concluded PRC75 Ultramarathon from Montevista in Compostela Valley to Panabo City in Davao del Norte. A lot to mention on her podium finished especially in ultra marathon events. She had attended numerous local fun runs, marathons and ultra marathon events around Mindanao and nationwide and even in Thailand, shortly she is experienced and a veteran in running. She also does obstacle races, virtual races and trail running. She is one of what we call “mamaw” in the running community.

You should meet her personally and enjoy her company. We’ll “it’s for you to find out” as she stated in her Facebook intro but definitely  she is friendly, down to earth and bubbly. She has good sense of humor. You should take time to chit chat with her and be inspired. 

And she is no less, the Ultramarathon Queen of Bukidnon.

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Azenith’s Team Banner

 

Runners set history in Mindanao’s longest foot race

At least 36 ultra runners nationwide bested the longest ultra marathon event in Mindanao last August 3-6, 2017. Formally titled as DUC300  with  a distance of 300 kilometer in which runners had to finished solely by foot up to finish line in Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City.

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Route Map of  300km Race Event

From their starting line in Butuan City Hall, Agusan del Sur on August 3 at 2 PM, the 26 male and 10 female runners had to crossed boarders of two regions of Davao and Caraga with 13 towns and cities and with a given cut of time of 72 hours or equivalent to three days. But due to bad weather condition and road widening across the route, the race director extended the COT to 78 hours by benefit of all runners. The participants were allowed with their support vehicle in the entire race while others had opted to run by their own even without a support team with them. But the event otherwise had provided marshals, aid and food station along the route.

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Coach Roel Ano in the center, and the 36 brave runners at the Starting Line in Butuan City

On August 6 at about 10:56 in the evening, the first runner to tap the finish line was Jonathan Pido of Team PNP/TTD/DUC with his strongest time of 56 hours 56 minutes and 35 seconds. He topped among the runners and unanimously declared as overall champion. Pido was also a 260km ultramarathon champion back in 2016.

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Jonathan Pido in his finish line photo

And the female champion clocked 62 hours 47 minutes and 23 seconds in the name of Hedda Riola of Team Hekhek. Riola was a 3rd placer of this year’s Hardcore Hundred Miles commonly referred as H1 which took place in mountainous area  of Kayapa,  Nueva Vizcaya in Luzon.

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Hedda Riola in her finish line photo

See full official results below;

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There were also side events, the SPMC100 and DUC50. SPMC100 was out and back route from SPMC to Tagum City and DUC50 from Tagum City to SPMC.

See full official results below;

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All finishers received finisher’s trophy, finisher’s medal, finisher’s shirts, a cash prize for podium and a Soleus watch, a podium trophy, a finisher’s buckle for 300km participants and other freebies.

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The race event was presented by BBG Run Events with Coach Roel Ano and Davao Ultrarunners Club and sponsored by Southern Philippines Medical Center of Davao City in celebration to their centennial year in service.

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Lake Holon, untold paradise of South Cotabato

It was long weekend holiday when I and my friends from my mountaineering community decided to take a visit a lake in South Cotabato, a fresh water lake favorably known to hikers and outdoorsy people like me. In fact, we just descended from Mt. Matutum when we decided to side trip the lake. Not really in our plans but just in our bucket list. And we pursue with our group’s decision.

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Tourist’s Receiving Area

We reached the receiving area of Brgy. Salacafe in T’boli late night. Pitched our tents and prepared foods and waited early morning to begin hiking. It was guided hike with corresponding fees agreed by their local tourism business. We took briefing and orientation, discussions of do’s and don’ts were presented to ensure safety among hikers and its impact to the environment, especially to the lake.

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As early as 3AM trekking to witness morning dew of the lake

At about three hours of trekking we reached the indescribable body of water, the Lake Holon. Indeed was a feeling of irresistible to imagine to stand right behind a paradise, a paradise beyond busy streets and urban people. A happiness and fulfillment after a long hike and sweats which you ended up a very scenic, unique and a truly hidden treasure of the pearl of the orient. A feeling of honored to have witnessed the astounding creation where natives are among the steward to protect and preserve its beauty.

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My friends in Mountaineering Buddies

Lake Holon or Lake Maughan is undeniably one of the most beautiful lake I’ve ever known. The green sceneries represents the rich vegetation of untouched forest surrounding the lake. The waters of it, is the cleanest among inland waters in the country.  Its calm and deep waters embodies the superlative and inimitable nature gift given by our Creature. While natives and neighboring Sitios enjoy fishing as their daily source of income.

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Early Morning Scene of the Lake

Right behind the lake, is the famous Mt. Parker. One of country’s hiking destination of both local and foreign mountaineers. At the summit of it, you can take a 360 degree view of the lake and even more stunning like a blue gem engraved in the middle of the mountains. Every hikers and visitors left this view deck no instragrammable photos saved, in fact it’s among the favorite shot of the entire hikes and you should have your phone backed up.

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Camping Site of Lake Holon

To date, Lake Holon remains prevalent among locals. In fact when you ask some, they would reply “where is that?” To be biased it’s more known to local trekkers and mountaineers. The local tourism also shared efforts to boost their tourism activities, and it’s doing well.

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Kayaking is a must try activity when in Lake

To have this amazing nature, isn’t only for us to enjoy, it is not about but we see but it’s about what we should care of. After all, we are all recipients from what we have not taken for granted.

 

Finishing the Toughest Edition of TransCebu Ultramarathon!

Have you heard about Transcentral Highway in Cebu City? If not, do a bit research of it. Then try to imagine of how we borne to finish line of an ultamarathon race.

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Runners from 105KM Category

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Runners from 55KM Category

One of my ever toughest ultramarathon was TransCebu Ultramarathon in 2016 and 2017. Considered to be one of the longest, toughest, most elevated ultra-race in the province and even Southeast Asian Regions. I joined twice already, and it’s indeed hard to finish stronger in 105KM category. Its total elevation recorded utmost at 3,913 m and the highest elevation is 975 m and highest temperature logged is 32 degree Celsius with the lowest of 22 degree Celsius.

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The Old Route of TCU105 (used in 2014,2015,2016). Elevation is also described in this graphics. Image Credit to the Owner.

The past edition of 105KM category flagged off at Naga City in Southern Cebu and stretched via Toledo City and Balamban National Road to Transcentral Cebu with Mt. Manunggal to finish line in Brgy. Busay, Cebu City. While 55KM category flagged off at the Municipality of Balamban with the same route as 105KM category. But in the year 2017, 105KM implemented its new route. The route was even more strenuous, dirtier roads and more trails. It was an out and back route, totally brand new. From its starting line in Brgy. Busay to Brgy. Sta Cruz in Balamban and back with trails of Mt. Manunggal and new trails extending up to 10KM trail to Sitio Satujan in Brgy Gaas, Balamban. And 55KM category flagged off in Brgy. Sta Cruz in Balamban and followed same route as 105KM.

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TCU 105KM old route
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TCU 55KM old route

 

 

 

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2017 TCU route (105KM and 55KM)

In recently concluded event of TCU 2017. There were only thirteen (13) official finishers, with four (4) finishers beyond cut off time and one (1) DNF from 105KM category. While 100% were finishers of 55KM category equivalent to seventeen (17) runners.

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Finisher’s Trophy

 

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Finisher’s medal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would I say? I am pleased to finish it for the second time. I am also grateful to runners to have tested themselves in one of the toughest ultra in local scene. My salute to runners who never gave up and continued to endure themselves until the finish line. To Race Director- Sir Blue, thank you so much for innovating a commendable race events. It is truly inspiring among local and foreign athletes, We now believe that ” Slow is the new fast” .Congratulations to us and see you in 2018!

 

Professional Runners; finishing UPD to UPLB 80K Ultramarathon 2017

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Image Credit to Prince Multisport Events

One of my favorite and remarkable ultramarathon events in my entire running career was that I able to finish the 4th UP Diliman to UP Los Baños 80K Ultramarathon last July 15-16 . I would have to say that this race event is notable. Prestige by the name of its university. Though it’s a no connection event with the school but utmost formally acknowledged and permitted by their university chancellor. The race stretched 80 Kilometer challenge from Diliman to Los Baños via Jamboree Road with an 18 hours cut off time. This event is the 2nd Leg Ultramarathon 2017 to be followed by the last leg which is Mt Banahaw 360 100K Ultramarathon happening on October 14th.

 

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Photo Credit to Prince Multisport Events

Starting Line. It all commenced at the famous Oblation Statue of University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City. Prior the race, runners were briefed by some important details especially with routes. Runners were notably equipped with gears like reflectors and blinkers. The race formally started at 10:30 PM amidst the wet road.

The Runners. At least 40 ultra runners accepted the challenge to run end to end. No newbies this time, all are fans of ultra. Two foreign Japanese also in attendance. All are new faces to me, and I’m glad to meet them all. I’m only the one from Cebu and met one from Palawan.

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Japanese Runners, Katsuya Imanishi and Sayuri Imanishi (Photo Credit PME)

The Race Route. The puzzling streets of Metro Manila will challenge you really. Push you not to stay with the lead pack to prevent you from losing the race, and the traffic will pressure you to speed up ahead to save your time.  The heavy rains poured down in Lower Bicutan. Runners soaked themselves including me and stay running to save time. Here is the entire route; Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Valle Verde7, C-5 Pasig City (Plaza), Mcdo San Juaquin Pateros, Taguig (Lower Bicutan) 
Sucat, Alabang (NO Service Road), National Road from Alabang, San Pedro, Biñan, Sta.Rosa, Cabuyao, Calamba, UP Los Baños (Finishline).

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Senior runner I’ve met in the race. He is a good friend.  He finished with the time of 14:13 (Photo Credit PME)

The Finish Line.  Finished strong. 40 runners stepped the finish line of Oblation Statue of University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna. It was a surprised to all runners, especially to new entrants like me to passed the four kilometer uphill Jamboree Road, but in the end, no spicy road to a determined athlete.

The Race Directors/ the Organizers. Innovated by Prince Multisport Events Inc. Led by Juden Thaddy “Prince” Baltazar, he is one of the known race directors in the country today. He also directs “Leyte Island Ultramarathon Series 2017”. For more of his races and events, check on their Facebook pages Prince Multisport Events.

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Finisher’s trophy and medal

Honorable Mentions. Salute to the overall and male champion, Flavio Enricoso with official time of 9:48:43. To the female champion from Japan, Sayuri Imanishi with the official time of 10:26:05. And to Race Director, Sir Prince, you’re awesome! Two thumps up to these all honorable mentions.

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Official Event’s Title Card (Image Credit to PME)

Evaluation. Per se, it’s a traditional event. So far it’s fine, no lapses. Considering it is an ultra, self-relying, endurance, self-tests. I give 8/ 10. See you in 2018!

#TMBrunning