03 October 2011

Saturday Night with Rick Gaston and Simon's Tribute Run


Last 01 October 2011, some friends from here and abroad gathered together at Chicken Bacolod Inasal along Jupiter St. , Makati City for some sumptuous food, camaraderie, booze and stories on running and more running. BR should have been with us but he flew to LA who, we were told, will run the Dick Collins 50 miler. Good luck and have fun.

In the above picture, you will see from left to right: Jonel (standing), Rick Gaston (in jacket), Simon and Doc Peter (foreground).

When Rick G. mentioned in our e-discussion that he was scheduled to go to Manila in September 28, I knew I had to meet him in person as a way of personally thanking him for his advise/help on running, etc. Above all, it would just be cool to see the guy in flesh as opposed to virtual interaction. At around 6PM, he came in shorts, a race jacket (sorry, I forgot the race but it has 50 miles something on it), free Salomon shoes, Drymax socks (sponsored) and guess what? In a blue shirt of 2010 Western States Endurance 100 (WS100) with Cascade Crest 100 belt buckle to boot. Wow. One could not help but be distracted with his WS100 shirt while listening to him talking. I want that shirt and the cool-looking belt buckle in the near future. Hopefully next year :)

Rick G. is one of the most experienced and accomplished Pinoy ultrarunners around. He is based in California, USA and has done countless ultra races notably Western States Endurance 100, Miwok 100, Headlands Hundred, Tahoe Rim Trail 100, Kettle Moraine, San Diego 100, Cascade Crest, Pine to Palm 100, etc. etc. These races do not include 100k, 50 milers, and other short distances. He holds a 100-mile PR of 20:00:25 at San Diego 100. Crazy he told us that he could have gone under 20 hours. This finish time placed him 6th overall and 3rd in his age group. Cool and fast in my book. He maintains a running blog - http://365ultra.blogspot.com/.

Jonel (in red), Rick G., me (background), Simon, Doc Peter (foreground)

After a few beers, good food and interesting and lively discussion on local (BDM, Jonel's 2012 King of the Mountain, etc.) and international (Badwater, Spartathlon, Western States Endurance, Hardrock, UTMB, etc.) races, we called it a night. We offered to pay the bills but Rick G's cousin who owns the resto franchise took care it for us. How generous and thank you. I am surprised that both Rick G. and Doc Peter both love Chicken Bacolod resto or Ilonggo food in general. Rick by the way hails from Bacolod. So it is no suprise. In the case of Doc Peter, it is his comfort food after surgery at PGH. The dessert Toto's Suman Surprise with mango in vanilla cream sauce (endorsed by Jonel) is wickedly good! Jonel had the Suman Negro in rich chocolate sauce. I'll try that next time :)

So thank you Rick G. for taking the time out to spend the night with us. Of course, the night would not be complete without the presence of Jonel, Doc Peter and Simon, who are some of the accomplished athletes around in their own right. Simon, by the way, just finished the Berlin Marathon 3 weeks after UTMB! This is the kind of get together that you cherish since it is hard to come by. I am thankful and humbled by the presence of these guys.


The next morning Simon, Doc Peter, Bong (a Pinoy based in Baguio who did the Grand Canyon Run. Amazing.) and Dean Cunanan (a strong Pinoy ultrarunner based in Toronto) met up in UP and headed out to Mt. Maarat near Timberland for a hilly 10 miler. The weather was nice in that we finished wanting to run more. This run was a little solemn for Simon since this was his unique way also of paying homage to his training ground for giving him the strength to finish one of the toughest races in the world - UTMB. 

I am excited to race again locally and by looking at the local race calendar, it seems we have a slew of races to choose from. For all intents and purposes, this is all good :)

Jon (intrigued with the possibility of running Badwater via sponsorship. No Pinoy has ever done the race :) 


  1. You made me sound like a superstar, I appreciate the sentiment pare. I have no doubt though that there would be many more accomplished Pinoy runners if there was easier and less expensive ways to access the big races in the US, Europe, etc. You and Simon for instance have proved that Pinoys can show up and finish a big deal 100-Miler.

    That was a really great night; great company, lively discussion about ultra, good food and cold beers. I was honored to be a part of the group that night and Jon it was great to meet you, finally! It's a good thing you didn't continue on to Barcino with me, I was in no shape to run the next day:)

    Hope to see you gents again soon, in a social setting, on a run, heck a social running setting.

    Peter: I told my cousins you love the food.

  2. Well, close to superstar then :) Your record speaks for itself you know.

    Yeah, we had a grand time. Jonel said we have awaken his "thirst" after those years of sobriety. Haha. The cold beers that night fueled my run the next day. I felt well. :)

    So thank you for the time. I hope you have a pleasant stay here. I'll keep in touch, sensei. Cheers!