With the rainy season here, surfing season is over and most of my friends who are into surfing have come home to roost. But this season brings welcome respite from tropical heat and humidity, which is why this is time of year organizers start scheduling marathons.
Siargao International Marathon on July 23, 2017
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box running experience away from the madding crowd of Manila, the inaugural edition of the Siargao International Marathon on July 23, 2017 might be what you’re looking for. With half-marathon and marathon distances, this will be perfect for setting a new personal record or just taking in the sights with a picture-pace easy run. Siargao is known as the surfing capital of the Philippines with world-reknowned Cloud 9 just one of many surfing spots in the area, but aside from that it also has the tourist-favorite Sugba Lagoon, Silop Cave, the Mapawa tunnels, the Santa Monica Falls, and numerous snorkeling, scuba diving, and island-hopping opportunities.
The race takes place in the municipality of Del Carmen, whose coastal mangrove forest is the second largest in the country and home to 27 out of 70 mangrove species in the world. Vast tracts of these mangroves have been cut illegally to make charcoal, leading Del Carmen’s mayor Alfredo Matugas Coro to spearhead a mangrove rehabilitation program. The Siargao International Marathon will benefit this program: each race kit comes with a pledge of one seedling to be planted in the mangrove forest.
Registration is priced at P1,400 for the 21K and P1,800 for the 42K; race kit includes bib, official race singlet, and D-tag with shirts and medals awarded to those who finish. Siargao locals can also join a 5K race at P650.
Register online. Race kits can be claimed on July 21 and 22 at the arrival area of Del Carmen Airport, Siargao.
Direct flights from Manila to Del Carmen are available daily on Skyjet Airlines, a presenter of the Siargao International Marathon. You can also take connecting flights via Cebu.
If you’re now looking of a unique race to join in the next few months, take a look at the Clark Animo Marathon set for March 12, 2017. With distances from 2.5K to 42K, there’s something for every fitness level.
Organized by the De La Salle Alumni Association – Pampanga Chapter, this is the 7th edition of the race, previously named the Clark Animo Run. It’s the third year featuring a marathon distance. This will also be the second year to feature a route passing through the Clark International Airport grounds. (With more flights departing from and arriving into Clark in the coming years, this is going to become a more rare occurrence. Run here while you can ;D)
The gunstarts are quite early, so I recommend taking your family or friends to Clark for the weekend, arriving the day before. Pampanga and especially Clark has some really great restaurants for food-trippers. Kids will have a ball at the Fontana waterpark (even if the casinos are temporarily closed; sorry, grownups!). Nayong Pilipino is also in the area, as are a few other Clark tourist attractions.
The race is expected to host at least 4,000 running enthusiasts, making it one of the biggest running events in Pampanga. Registration ends on February 1, 2017. Marathon and half-marathon participants will receive finisher medals, while marathon participants will also get a finisher shirt.
The Clark Animo Marathon has always supported charitable causes. Its theme this year is “A Green Run for a Green Cause”, with proceeds from the event benefiting the Angeles City Watershed.
In the scramble of my trips to and from Cebu and then to and from Germany, I missed mentioning a few significant events that happened for the Philippine sports community.
As a side note, I couldn’t watch the men’s triathlon on Thursday night because I was up in the air on the final leg of my flight back to Manila. It was streamed live on one of TV5’s nine Youtube streams. So, I thought that they would do the same for the women’s triathlon. Boy, was I wrong! I had to scramble to find an online stream and only managed to watch from the final lap of the bike leg. TV5 meanwhile on the other eight streams was showing taekwondo (on two streams!), indoor diving, some canned Olympic show, javelin, and other things I had no interest in. Nine streams, and no triathlon — the sport where we got two gold medals at the most recent SEA Games. How could they think we had no interest in triathlon even if we didn’t have any medal contenders in it?!
Anyway, Hidilyn Diaz won our country’s only medal this year, a silver in weightlifting. This makes her the first Filipino to medal since 1996, the first Filipina to earn an Olympic medal, the first to earn it in weightlifting, the first non-boxer to medal for the country since 1936, and the first to come from Mindanao.
Also of note is our very own marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, who qualified on her own initiative with the backing of her sponsors and finally received PATAFA’s blessing in the last few months leading into Rio. She didn’t have a stellar race, but she fought to finish.
Can you imagine, it’s the 40th year of the National Milo Marathon already! Milo has been part of the national running psyche for so long, and I still count qualifying for the finals during its 34th edition one of my best sporting achievements.
This year, Milo has chosen to focus on key races around the country to find the top runners to compete at the finals set for Iloilo City on December 4.
40th National Milo Marathon race schedule: July 17 – Dagupan July 24 – Tarlac July 31 – Metro Manila (this weekend!) August 7 – Batangas August 14 – Lucena August 28 – Naga September 18 – Tagbilaran September 25- Cebu October 2 – Dumaguete October 9 – Davao October 16 – General Santos October 23 – Cagayan de Oro October 30 – Butuan
Now working in conjunction with PATAFA, the Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Sports Commission, the Milo Marathon offers automatic qualification for the finals to national athletes, ensuring they do not over-race themselves en route to Iloilo.
Milo Marathon has established a legacy of excellence and grassroots development unmatched as yet by any other race in the country. The Milo Marathon has been the proving ground for many of the country’s top runners: defending queen Mary Joy Tabal is set to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio after a hard-fought qualifying campaign supported by Milo. This is also the 7th straight year the Milo Marathon will benefit the Help Give Shoes advocacy that donates shoes to underprivileged school children through the Department of Education.
This weekend promises to be another wet one in the usual Milo Marathon Manila tradition, with a tropical depression on its way. See you on the road!
So first, the good news: my passport issues have been solved. But I’ve learned a big lesson, and that is Renew your passport a year in advance! At the very least you’ll save yourself a headache by always having a useable passport (one that has more than six months’ validity when you want to travel).
at least the bike Aki doesn’t need a passport or a visa to travel!
Now the bad news. After every big race I experience a huge dip in motivation, as well as a period of lethargy. I may be able to stay on the peak of fitness and race hard for a few weeks, but then my body crashes and burns and I’m taken out for weeks by illness. (This is what happened to me post-Challenge Philippines 2014.) Continue reading “Road to Vietnam, Week #2: Not All There”→