26 April 2010

TNF 100K Baguio-Benguet Race Report with Analysis

It was a blast! Everybody had a grand and not-so-grand time (well, typical in an ultra race).

Spectacular view, perfect weather, challenging (to put it mildly) course and splendid organization on the part of RD Neville, CD Levi and TNF marshals and personnel.

We came to the Summer Capital of the Philippines on Friday, the day before the start of the race for 100K. Some of my teammates would be joining the 22K and 11K on Sunday. I wished though that some of them joined the 50K as I reckoned they would have done well but that is another story.

For this race, the goal was to beat my time during last year's TNF 100K held in Clark. 21 hours plus change. No plan to race TNF Baguio. Coming off fresh from BDM102, the important thing to do is RECOVERY. Some runners can race back to back well. I am not one of them.

Weeks leading to this race, I managed to get in 3 climbs and 2 running sessions on a hilly course and occasional running here and there. Nothing spectacular but I am glad I did. The TNF Baguio course was murderous for inexperienced trail runners. (One false step and you can end up 2,000 feet below). It was even harder than TNF Clark and Oxfam HK. You should have seen their faces while on the trail. There was a quiet feeling of frustration, agony and even shock perhaps. The constant ups and downs, ups and downs could turn sturdier legs into pathetic marshmallows.

Runners were glad that it did not rain during the race as announced during the briefing the night before. Otherwise, it could have been worse as steep declines were treacherous. Had it not been for the superb organization, good cold weather and scenic view, this race would have been marked as a "joke".

Having said that, I am amazed how much we can learn from TNF100 Baguio. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Specificity of training works. For instance, the top 3 male in 100K race beat the elite athletes from lowlands (no pun intended). All things equal, the ones who train specifically for the terrain of the course will win outright.

2. Athletes with "elite" potentials can be found all over the Philippines. We just have to bring running closer to them. Meaning, they need exposure so they can be identified and recognized. This is true for those runners (Team Bukidnon, south of the Philippines) who came all the way from Bukidnon (obviously) and swept the top 3 positions in the women's category in 100K (or was it 50K). In other words, the so-called "hometown advantage" is not entirely true after all. 

3. You don't need fancy gear to race or finish well. We have seen elite athletes racing in flats (even on a course like TNF!), racing shorts and shirts. Meaning, they can only carry what is absolutely necessary. Not even hats. Far too many runners carry unnecessary baggage during ultra. Given the distance of ultras, it can have a cumulative slowing effect and will wear you down in the long run.

4. Running in pair or group at night can have a beneficial effect on each other's morale or will to finish. This was my experience during the first TNF in 2008. We ran in group of 5 and we crossed the finish line together. With that, I have advised runners whom I met along the course to run in pair at least to tackle the night portion. Lonely and long stretch out there before the finish line. I hope my advise to them helped alot. 

This morning I was surprised to receive SMS from a friend (maybe the beer yesterday did it) and with his kind permission, Don put it poignantly:

"Eto yun hinihanap natin (This is what we are looking for). Ganitong sakit ng katawan (This kind of pain). The one that makes you think why the hell did you do it again. The one that makes us say 'this is the way to live'!"

Amen to that Don! Pictures to follow.


Jon (18 hours, 23 minutes in 10th place, male solo 100K and who is glad that the medal has improved a lot :)


  1. Agree on all points Atty Jon save the part that says it was harder than Clark. For me at least, the swamp heat trumps the heights. But then I only raced a modest 50 this year so I of course would not know if I would still be saying the same thing had I done 100 of this.

  2. Congrats, i totally missed it.

  3. where can i see pictures of TNF 100 baguio-benguet, i ran the 11k and no picture to show :-(

  4. congrats, atty jon. good job & nice time!

  5. another ultra and another top 10 finish my friend.cheers!


  6. congrats on your superb time and 10th place finish in the 100k male category!

    jj, Angeles City

  7. congrats sir

    100km Male 100km Female
    Rank Bib# Time Rank Bib# Time
    MADALANG MODESTO 12:40:24 1st 789 TACLING HELEN 16:58:05
    BENGTAY JOEL 12:53:10 2nd 769 PAJE MILA 19:23:45
    CABILAN JEMARVIN 14:31:15 3rd 1257 ARIAS - DUNKIN MERLITA 21:52:36
    COLONIA LEO 14:30:00 4th 783 GO MERCY 25:18:00
    TAGUYUNGON WIGAN 14:34:56 5th 776 ROMERO MARIA 26:29:43
    VILDOSOLA ISIDRO 16:52:33 6th 792 NEPOMUCENO PEN 26:53:56
    TAGUYUNGON JAYSON 16:54:32 7th 703 CHECA NOEMI 28:50:10
    OLVIS HERMOGINES 17:14:37 8th 754 CALICA MARIE 29:31:35
    PUA MHARLO 17:24:06 9th 716 CORAL ADESSA 30:31:35
    LACANALE JONEL 18:23:24 10th

  8. You nailed it again Jon, big applause to you. What's next, Badwater?