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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from Ateneo de Naga HS Class of 1983, First Balfour, LCA 8379, and Bagobos87, hopefully, we use running to give back to the community.

December 12, 2014

PARANAQUE RUNNING CIRCLE: Versatility & Inclusivity in Practice

One Sunday morning in an island in the MIMAROPA part of the Philippine archipelago, Charlito Capison crossed the finish line of the 1st 50K Puerto Galera Ultramarathon with a time of 4 hrs & 31 mins.  He was the 1st overall finisher. A handful of hours after, Vic Esta rambled thru the line with a time of 9 hrs & 39 mins.  He was the 50th and last overall finisher. On the same day, a hundred kilometers away to the north in the CALABARZON region of the Philippines, septuagenarian Harry Mediavillo softly crossed, amidst exuberant applause from the viewing public,   the finish line of the 106K Andres Bonifacio Day Memorial Ultra Marathon with a time of 18 hours, placing 92nd overall and besting  146 younger runners.  At age 72 years of age, this is an incredible feat of human endeavor in any part of the world.   
Charlito Capison - Champion at the 1st Puerto Galera Ultra Marathon
Vic Esta looking like a winner at Puerto Galera with Prince Baltazar
Harry Mediavillo triumphant with Pat Maranan 
All 3 ultra runners have one thing in common.  All 3 are members of the Paranaque Running Circle. All 3 clearly showed the versatility of the Paranaque Running Circle.  It is a running club that is able to field competent and fun-loving runners in multiple long distance races and be relevant at the same time. And not only runners but multiple support teams as well. 

The actual number of PRC members escapes my mind right now but we can be sure that the PRC has its own set of officers.  True enough they have Mannix Manapat as President, Vic Esta as Vice President. Delia Francisco as Secretary, Marivic Perez as Treasury and the following as directors: Marnel Vidola, Bamm Bazar, Noy Recamara, Harry Mediavillo and Ildebrando Yap. PRC is also on its way to having an official running club registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission. I am not sure how many local running clubs can lay claim to such an official seal of legitimacy.

But more than its versatility, the thing that really appeals to me about the PRC is its prevalent practice of inclusiveness.  It is not a snotty kind of club that only accepts elites. It welcomes runners regardless of age, gender, shape, size, color, specie, creed, speed, wealth, or even state of mind. 

Take the case of how the Bicolano Penguin got to be a member of the PRC. One Saturday morning a few months ago, I decided to ran inside the Manila Memorial Park (MMP).  It was the closest thing to a public park in the whole of Paranaque, so naturally runners abound in the MMP. After a few laps around a 2-km route, I chanced upon a middle-age guy with an old guy and young lady.  They were talking some running stuff so I could not help but smile which immediately caught the eye of the middle-age guy who turned out to be Mannix. He smiled back. A handshake and a selfie picture later, I was sold to joining the PRC. Two weeks after that Saturday morning, I was signing my name on a list and handing over my membership fee payment to the always smiling and always lovely Marivic. That easy and that fulfilling an experience.  No biases in the PRC.

Like a tribe, the PRC has its own traditions and lingo. It has a feast day which happens to be every Saturday morning where members bring food and drinks pot luck style to the running grounds of MMP which easily turns into a picnic area. The culminating activity of each feast day is a group photo which is called "runpie." Other words coined by PRC veterans are "wall to wall" and "back to back." These terms refer to the certain run routes inside the labyrinth that is MMP.
First Balfour runners joining the PRC in a group photo

Mannix's handshake.
The picnic grounds at MMP 
Always smiling and playful Marivic 
Both are part of PRC.
The tradition and language of PRC will surely continue to grow. Already, the PRC is celebrating a Xmas party tonight and the Bicolano Penguin is missing it as I am in the island of Negros.   No matter, I am one with them in spirit. It is a dynamic entity powered by its versatility and inclusivity. 

More power indeed to Paranaque Running Circle. 

November 20, 2014

T2N2S: Many Firsts

The Tagaytay to Nuvali to Sta. Rosa last Oct 25 was a run of many firsts. 

Given its mostly downhill route from the highlands that is the Palace in the Sky in Cavite to the lakeshore plains of Laguna, many marathoners looked at the T2N2S as their debut into the wonderful world of the ultra. What more, its midnight start time insures that many of the ultra newbies will not have to endure much the biting  rays of the tropical sun.     And lest we forget, there is the alagang Run Mania to speak of.   
T2N2S route
Count among these aspiring ultra marathoners  the indefatigable duo of Rose Dalawampu and Icar Hombrebueno.   Executive secretaries on weekdays, unflagging adventurers on weekends. These two are my steadiest co-runners in First Balfour. They never back down from challenges.  So when I challenged them mid-year to tackle their first ultra, their simple reply was "No problem. Just tell us what ultra to target."  T2N2S  was picked for them and they pursued their training with much gusto. The duo even went overseas for  a 21-km jaunt at the Angkor Empire Marathon in Cambodia.

Icar and Rose at the Angkor Empire Marathon this year.
The training had to be coupled with a game time strategy that will produce a performance of finishing the 50-km race within the cut off time of 10 hours. The game plan was simple:  1st 30 kms @ 6 kph and last 20kms @ 5 kph. This should deliver a 9-hr run for the whole 50 kms. And knowing that the last 10 kms would be the longest 10kms, the "chair strategy" was inserted at Km 35 and Km 45.
Game plan
Training done and strategy formulated, the 2 ladies confidently lined up among the 450+ runners on that fateful evening of  Oct 25, 2014. Being on the highlands, the starting area was very cold and fog-laden.  But this did not deter the passion of Icar and Rose. The T2N2S participants runners were off and running at 11:35 pm. Less than 9 hours after, Rose  and then Icar crossed the finish line in front of the City Plaza and Church of Sta. Rosa. For the record, Rose's and Icar's time are 8 hrs & 38 mins (386th place) and 8 hrs & 42 mins (391st place), respectively.
The penguin with the sizable  Paranaque Running Circle (PRC) contingent led by Mannix Manapat
Mingling with familiar faces at the starting line.

Eager T2N2S runners rampages downhill at the start which was delayed by  35 mins from the target 11pm start. (Photo courtesy of Bryan Ramos Sorne).

Rose & Icar going with the flow on the downhill

the shepherd penguin
"Chair Strategy" at work in Km 35
Renewed vigor at Km 40.
Why? Because of the Creamline ice cream at Km 40.
For the last 10 kms, the rabbit we pursued was Mang Crispin Banares, one of the oldest participants at T2N2S.
Where the hell...
...is the ...

...the rabbit?
Time for another chair break at Km 45
Finally, we are near. As in 50-meter near to the end of our 50-km journey 
Rose raising her arms in jubilation. 
A thumbs up from Icar.
How sweet it is...
...to be an ultra marathoner.
Proud of my First Balfour officemates
Congratulations are in order for Icar and Rose for conquering their first ultra marathon.  One thing that amazed me was the fact that the 2 ladies looked fresh after the 50 kms. They were not limping at all and they did not show any trace of fatigue. It was as if they were ready for another round of 50 kms there and then. 
Newly-minted ultra marathoners
Looking fresh and ready for another 50 kms.
An enjoyable firsts for them. 

And there were many more firsts to be had in that T2N2S.

There  is the first team certificate of Team First Balfour. Thanks to Rose and Icar, First Balfour now has an ultra marathon team. Before T2N2S, our company only had the Bicolano Penguin to count as an ultra marathoner. The organizer Run Mania was gracious to award the team certificate.

Run Mania was generous  and it awarded a team certificate also to row5runnin. A first for rown5runnin.  At the starting line, Rose, Icar, and Mark Hernandez joined the Bicolano Penguin garbed in the row5runnin shirt. Thank you to Pat Maranan and the Run Mania team.
Certificate for Team First Balfour
Team certificate for row5runnin
the row5runnin contingent

Almost a first place for Paranaque Running Circle top gun Noy Gentoleo who placed second with a blistering time of 4 hrs & 21 mins.  An average speed of 11.7 kms per hour. 
With the PRC runners.  Noy Gentoleo is in the middle.
The Bicolano Penguin with Run Mania's Pat Maranan
No doubt, the T2N2S was also a first ultra  for many of the participants. It was truly an ultra of many firsts. 

The T2N2S is ultra marathon # 15 for the Bicolano Penguin. But no matter how many marathons and ultras I have and will get to finish, the feeling of giddy excitement is always there as if the race is my first.  Such is the allure of long distance running. Many many firsts. 
At the foot of the statue of Sta. Rosa de Lima.  



November 17, 2014


Penguins graphicsTwo days into the  posting of the story on Harry Mediavillo of the Paranaque Running Circle, I have been receiving messages and comments attesting to his  wonderful running exploits. 

November 15, 2014

B2B @ MMP: Conversation with Harry

Penguins graphics“Sino po tatakbo bukas (Sabado) sa MMP? Sino po kaya puwede magturo sa penguin ng 7-km "wall to wall" loop diyan sa MMP?”

October 22, 2014

ARC CommUNITY LSD 32Kms: Long & Slow & Up & Down

Penguins graphicsThere were at least 6 fun runs in the Metro Manila area scheduled for  October 19. But there was no doubt in the minds of runners from the more active running clubs which running event they would join on that early Sunday morning.