24 February 2012

PSA Skyrunning (Akyathlon) and Pinoy Ultra Championship


I had always been fascinated with skyrunning until last 18 February 2012 when our very own Philippine Skyrunning Association (PSA) staged the 1st Philippine Akyathlon International (Skyrace) at Mt. Ugo (had not been here) - http://philskyrunning.com/events/pilipinas_akyathlon_international.

PSA did an impressive job of organizing it. From the ease of online registration (except the payment part as one had to go to a bank), dinner (buffet) pre-race briefing, free transport of going to the race site, pre and post race meals. Course was well-marked and marshaled like there was a marshal every 500 meters or so. It was like a typical Pilipino fiesta at the Finish Line with live band to boot! Okay next time perhaps they can do away with the live band and move the Finish Line near the awarding area so those who are inside can cheer on the finishers. Above all, PSA officers/members were very accommodating like I was late for the briefing but two of their officers Kath and especially Mon took time out to brief me of the rules and other details. 

I could not recall how many times I walked the uphills

What I am happy to note is the support of the locals and the local government units (LGU) from the Office of the Provincial Governnor, Mayor and down to the barangay. I have always said that one of the recipes for a successful race is the support of the local community. PSA did a good job of doing that. The sight of the local folks from kids to elders cheering all the runners as they passed by was uplifting. There was even one portion of the route where the neighbors just left a pitcher of drinking water with glasses for all the runners to use. One community came out to cheer us on and serve banana and even coffee! Small things like those matter. Julie Green (2nd place) said the hospitality of the people was fascinating. I agree. Warm, friendly and helpful. Although I am sure it crossed their minds what the heck we were doing running up and down the mountains, rinse and repeat. :)  


Wow, their mountain coffee is reputed to be one of the best in the world! 
I should have tasted it :)

Above all, the route was incredibly beautiful! Reminds me of UTMB. There was an endless sight of mountains, hills and trees! It only confirmed my conviction that the Mountain Province (Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, etc.) is the best venue for the ultimate Pinoy ultra race of international calibre because of the terrain, weather and people.
What the heck is this cow doing at this elevation?! :)

I enjoyed this race alot even though it is one of the hardest in my book because of its sheer elevation despite several mountain ultras I have done. It was short but fast and furious. One really has to specifically train for it which I never did. So I am really impressed to those who won. But how I wished it was at least 100k in distance:)



For lack of better name, we can coin it PUC. It could also be Pinoy Ultra Challenge (PUC). I put forward this idea and runners are having a bit of discussion over this in Facebook.

Anyway, the idea is simple. Stage a qualifying race and eventually the championship round to determine the set of elite Pinoy ultrarunners, male and female, to represent the Philippines in a pre-chosen prestigious ultra event abroad, all expenses-paid. To accommodate more runners, it is advisable to stage the qualifying races in the North and the other down South.

This is in the drawing board in the meantime but the idea has already been planted. Kaya yan!

Jon (wondering about BDM102 next week)


Some of the pictures are from Dabobong and others through FB. Thanks.


  1. nice account of the race...

    ULTRA adik ka talaga atty..."But how I wished it was at least 100k in distance:)" with this quote of yours...heheh

    Probably PSA can help organized the PUC final event...


    a 50miler qualifying event in central luzon, another 50miler qualifying in northern luzon and lastly a 50miler event for visayas n mindanao...all mountain trail routes...

  2. Hey JJ nice suggestion! Perhaps, the Vibram 2013 can be the starting reward race for PUC Champs. Cheers!

  3. Thanks for the kind words Atty Jon. I enjoyed reading your article as much as you enjoyed running it. Haha. PSA is very privileged to have a bemedalled 'adik' ultramarathoner like you partcipate in the race. Hope to see you again in next year's February 2013 Akyathlon .

    Willy Yao