23 September 2009

SIM 2009 and update on COMRADES 2010

No, this is not about the SIM game nor an ultra race. SIM is Subic International Marathon 2009 slated on October 24-25 at Subic Freeport Zone, Philippines.

Last Monday (a holiday), I received a call from Albert asking me whether I would like to join a "course inspection" for the upcoming SIM.

I stammered "What? Now?!". It was 10AM and for pete's sake, I haven't taken a bath.

He said "Yes, now! We'll pick you up in a few minutes."

"But I haven't taken a bath and what do you mean 'we'"? We're having our friendly little argument now since this was totally unexpected.

He ignored what I said and added: "Boss Red and Rinna. We'll pick up Boni on the way out. Let's go." and he hang up on me. Rats.

I looked at my wife with bewilderment and she said "But I am cooking kare kare".

"I won't be out for long" which turned out to be the opposite. I went home late that day and the food I was supposed to have for lunch was at least there... needing some reheating though. This is however another story.

Okay I am digressing.

So we drove off and took the obvious route - SCTEX. Weather was good and no traffic. Upon reaching Floridablanca, we took our camera out and shot the pictures below:

This is the start of the race. Most likely the organizer will open this section of SCTEX since this is not officially open yet to motorists. Runners will merge on the main lane and head straight to Subic. Billy (running his first 42.2k in Subic) informed us that runners have to assemble in Subic (finish line) and have to be shuttled to the starting line. I wonder why we have the travel the entire 42.2k in opposite direction when there is no need to. A waste of time and gasoline. It is better to give runners the option to head straight to the starting line.

We decided to measure the course using our vehicle's odometer (no one brought their Garmin). One quipped that it looked like less than 42.2k to which I countered "Since this is AIMS-certified course, I doubt if this is less than 42.2K". As it turned out, the course is what it purports to be - 42.2k.

This is another downhill approaching Subic toll gate. One has to check out the course to really see and appreciate the up and down hill portions of the course.

In our estimation, it is 80-85% downhill or perhaps even higher. It’ll be a fast race to establish a PB or PR. However with roughly 33-35k out of 42.2k being downhill, it’ll be wise to incorporate downhill training. Too much downhill running during a race has been known to turn unprepared quads into marshmallows. Maybe an exaggeration but more or less this is the message - train accordingly.

The SIM website says the 42.2k starts at 4PM. Depending on the weather, it is highly probable that the sun is still up. Meaning, hot and humid. But then again it could be raining as well. When we ran the SCTEX 42.2k last year, the sun had feasted on the runners but that was a morning race. The course offers no shade for the entire distance.

I wonder why I have this weird feeling that this SIM 2009 is by far going to be the largest and prestigious race. Well, this remains to be seen .

Jon (not doing enough downhill running with only 32 days to go before SIM)


As of September 23, 2009, 4PM local time and only 23 days after the registration has opened, there are now 6715 runners who registered for Comrades.


  1. Koya!!! Finally a new post. :)

    Change my bloglink please! Link my music blog or my personal blog: http://thebeatconductor.wordpress.com or http://marga.livejournal.com

    Miss you guys! My house is a couple of kilometers from the starting line!!!

  2. The downhill course is interesting, i hope the weather cooperates. At 4pm the sun's heat is still harsh. Good luck on your race Jon, how I wish I could join you there.

  3. 33-35k out of 42.2k of the Smart SIM course is downhill! need to do downhill practice runs!

    Thanks for the info!

  4. Marga - Got them! You've been busy Madam Executive Producer of Run Radio at NU107FM. Remember to have fun and are you offering your house after the race for food and booze? :)

    Vener (aka run unlimited) - Thanks. How I wish I would be at QCIM too! Good luck on your QCIM. That's you turf.

    Gerard - You're welcome. I'm glad to be of help and thanks for dropping by.

  5. UPDATE on COMRADES 2010 - 6916 runners as of this writing. At this rate, the 15,000 cap for old time runners will be filled up by 1st week of October. Keeping a tab on this.

  6. Uh oh, downhills, my waterloo. But thanks for the information. Interesting blog by the way.:-)

  7. Rico - thanks for reading the blog.

  8. Looks like a nice course Jon, clean and wide. If you can get enough aid on the course you guys will have yourself a great race. Can't believe you left when there was kare-kare on the stove but at least it was still there when you got back.

    I didn't realize there was that many people who do Comrades...one of these days. Seems like a long way to go for 52 miles though:) It is 52 right? Fuzzy on the distance.

    On another topic, I'm on a rambling mood, just got back from a two hour run with a buddy. I saw your comment at Ronnie's blog and I was wondering if you saw this on the ultralist: http://news.yahoo.com/video/abc-news?page=3

    I laughed when they said ultra-runners are extreme athletes...really? I don't have an extreme bone in my body. Maybe I just take it for granted but when someone says extreme I think of jumping off planes, adventure racing for days, climbing Everest, that type of sport or better yet running on the streets of Manila in the middle of the night while drunk drivers are out, overloaded tricycles are weaving in and out and maniac bus drivers are on the prowl - that's extreme. I still think of Ronnie getting hit by a jeepney mirror on the shoulder at BDM102.

  9. Rick - That kare-kare filled my gastronomic yearning that night when I got back. Yup, I saw that news on the List and it morphed into cellphone topic. Haha.

    Extreme? Hmm. It reminds of the scene in the movie "The Last of the Mohicans" where Madeleine Stowe got furious because her guides (the lead actor Daniel Day Lewis, Uncas and Chingahook?) sternly refused to bury the dead people they came across with. Daniel retorted to her "My father said 'Don't try to understand them (white people) nor expect to understand you because THEY ARE A BREED APART and MAKES NO SENSE'" or something that effect. So that's basically the way I approach it :)

    You can't seem to forget the little misadventure of Ronnie. I hope it won't happen again though. It could have been worse you know. I wonder if RDs bother to secure an insurance coverage during races.

  10. Atty. Jon,
    Will there be a problem of the setting sun staring down the runners' faces on race day?

  11. Dude Billy - I think so even with sunscreen splattered all over our face and exposed body parts. Heat is heat and it slows us down, elite and non-elite runners. Amby Burfoot of RW theorizes that heat prevented Haile during Berlin Marathon to break his own marathon record even as he broke the 30k world record time during the race. Had there been no rise in the temperature after 30K, Haile could have finished and set a new world record in 2 hours and 2 minutes something. But then again, we are no Haile. The guy is one or two step up in human evolution.

    Also the road may reflect the heat from the early hours. Let's hope for the best and just enjoy the race and the AFTER PARTY that follows :) Good luck on your first full marathon! I know you can do it.

  12. Thank you for the info.

    33-35k out of 42.2k being downhill will surely be a tough course! Sana umambon kahit konti lang..