14 January 2010

FAT ASS ... looking back

As the date for Fat Ass came closer and closer, somebody asked me if I was not tired yet. I said if it is your passion, you will never get tired.

How true. I still wonder where I got all the energy since December when I juggled between family, household chores (our yaya left), 3 kids all going to school, training for upcoming ultra races and Fat Ass. So go figure.

Most of you are perhaps wondering how we conceived Fat Ass. Well, we had been toying since last year with the idea of doing a really looong run of at least 160 kilometers. This was especially true after BOTAK 100K race last June 2009. There was a lull and we were kind of bored. The decision to finally hold a long run was when I proposed to hold a Fat Ass event in one of those party moments with friends both here in Clark and Manila. The "spirit" made us do it without any idea on how.

I first came across the concept for Fat Ass in a web article http://www.coolrunning.com.au/fatass/joeoakes.shtml and various fora but paid no attention to it.

So to cut the story short, we finally managed to set a date, venue and time. The date should be normally right after the holiday season before all those oily food becomes sub-cutaneous fat under one's skin. One thing was clear though. The run must adhere to the spirit or concept of what Fat Ass is all about - FUN.

We did understand that there was no need to put up an aid station but we agreed amongst us that we would have one although we did require runners to be self-sufficient. After all, there is no registration fee. All those food and drinks during Fat Ass were donated by the organizers, members of Team Clark, 1 locator (bottled water) and runners themselves from different running groups like Pinoy Ultra Runners (PUR), Camanava, Team Hardcore, etc. Secondwind Running Store with PUR donated 2 TNF hydration belts (really cool), socks and bags which we raffled off. We hired 2 utility personnel to assist us and they had to be paid as well. In sum, we pooled our resources so runners could have one unique experience.

One thing I noticed was that almost all runners were happy after finishing the run. Just take a moment to see all the pictures. Everyone seemed glad and if you were there, their joy was not so much that the run or their ordeal was over but everyone had fun doing it. I think this is what makes this event unique from all the races we have joined. There was camaraderie and that subtle understanding and empathy that one knew what the other was going through. Eveyone knew each other's nickname. There was a connection, a bond. No one cared what running group you belonged to or what PRs you got in races. So I think this is somehow unique in low key events such as this.

Our dilemma now (at least mine in the meantime) is how to maintain that camaraderie and uniqueness of Fat Ass assuming more runners will participate in 2011. The better query is: is it even possible to achieve the same in a large number of participants?

As for food and drinks, these can be easily solved through sponsorships or if this fails, by just going back to one of basic rules of any fat ass event - no aid. Meaning, runners to bring their own food and drinks.

Now, how to survive a time event of 24 hours? I am no expert on this but I have joined races where I finished in more or less 24 hours (TNF100, '08 & '09) and the longest is 30 hours plus change - Oxfam Trailwalker 2010 in Hongkong (very challenging route). (This reminds me to complete my post on Oxfam soon).

What made Fat Ass in Clark unique was that it was done in loops. Most races and some fat ass events are done in one long loop or point to point routes. Prior to the event, I heard runners mumbling on how they would ever survive the utter boredom of running in circles. Well, they did survive. The weather and environment also played a major role ... as always in any endurance event. Ronnie commented on the absence of air pollution or at least very minimal compared to race venues in Metro Manila. Runners also saw families, children, dogs, and folks from all walks of life enjoying the loop with them. Lending a kind of family feel to it so to speak.

Wait, I am disgressing. So what is the best trick to tackle a time event of 24 hours? Drum roll please.... DO NOT SLEEP :) No sleep = more mileage.

Cheers and see you in 2011!



  1. amen to this, idol!


    we'll see all of you in fat ass 2011!


  2. definitely, this is a successful race despite the short period from the time it was officially announced up to race day. congratulations!

  3. Sir Jovie - Thank you. I hope you can join us next time.

  4. Don't sleep, don't start out too fast, don't hangout too much at the start/finish with friends and family and stay on top of your nutrition. You could double your numbers and still get the same type of camaraderie, the reason being that you all are going around the same loop, seeing each other lots of times.

    Hey Jon, have gotten your emails, I've responded. Have you been receiving them?

  5. hi jonsky,
    see you in Fat Ass 2011. don't forget my 2010 Fat Ass tee. cheers, Beth

  6. hi jon, will see you in fat ass 2011! dont forget my 2010 fat ass tee! cheers, beth