The initial title that came to my mind is a race report but then I realized why would I use that title given I did not toe the line. There is also a realization that most RDs do not write reports on races in which they themselves directed or organized. I wonder why.
The purpose of this post is to somehow document what happened behind the scene. So this is more of a diary to me than anything else (I need to go back writing again in this blog just like the old days instead of posting in FB. Articles here have more of my personal touch and there is no need for "likes".)
CM50 actually started with CM42 last October in terms of prepping the runners for the longer and harder CM50. The past few editions have seen runners DNFed big time during CM50. Take for example, the first edition had seen a 70% mortality rate while last year was more than 40% and this year is more than 30%. Partly because runners do not train properly for it, underestimate the course, lack of respect for the distance and terrain or just plain cocky. It is only 80K but the terrain and time constraint can be unforgiving for those who do not respect and train for it. During the first edition, I heard runners exclaim words of bewilderment and disbelief as to the type of terrain CM50 offers to them.
So I have decided to "ease in" the runners by offering the shorter distance of CM42 (full and half marathons). The result was good except the weather before and during the race made our lives (my life actually ... miserable) challenging, to say the least.
On the other hand, we are now seeing an evolution in the ultrarunning scene here - runners voluntarily offering their time and attention in a race just like in races abroad. I was surprised to see and glad to have Team Boring during the 1st edition and then during CM42, Roadeaters Running Club and other members of running groups like Ayala Triads were there and other countless volunteers who braved the rain, cold and whatnot. For CM50, all of us were glad to have Team Lihukan to be posted at Aid Station 1 (AS1), Roadeaters Running Club (again) at AS2, Ayala Triads at AS3 and finally, Team Boring at the busiest station, AS4. Individually, I'd like to thank Iris Torculas, Aileen Manaat, Dennis Cumal (photographer) and our web admin, Brian and also Jerry. The first 3 individuals were with me before the race and after it finally ended. More or less 24 hours. Yeah, that long! So folks let's give it up for them. Woo hoo!
I think their presence during the race at every aid station gave CM50 a different feel and dynamics to it.
I knew the race was far from perfect and it sort of like taking a risk by inviting comments (more like cusses) or feedback from runners AFTER the race. So I was not surprised to hear reactions mostly from runners who DNFed at AS1 and AS2. They endured countless hours waiting for vehicle to transport them to Finish Line. No excuses and as RD I take full responsibility. I just wish the drivers of 4x4 vehicles would have informed me that they were leaving after packing up AS3 and AS4 which in the process forgetting AS1 and AS2. This goes to show that, it seems, there is always something that goes wrong in a race beyond the control of the organizer. I think the focus then is to control what one can and not things beyond his control. At any rate, it was a learning process for me as RD. So next year, there will be standby vehicle for each station. It will sure add cost to our logistics but it is irrelevant when the safety of the runners is to be considered. Other comments are on blinkers and generally on markings, supplies and other host of equally important stuff. These will all be incorporated in 2014. So thank you.
One thing I found very important and sensitive on my part is to make sure there was enough food for the volunteers and runners who waited at the different aid stations when they got back to Clark. To that end, we are grateful to Atty. James Roldan for the pizzas (not just any pizza. They were Yellow Cab) and the lechon from Pozzurobio Runners c/o Dennis Uy. I knew they were hungry and cold and food would help to alleaviate their condition and ... anger also somehow perhaps. As RD, you think AAAALLL of these stuff until the last runner and volunteers are accounted for ... which leads me to the topic below.
When all the runners have packed up and started leaving together with the volunteers, the last person to leave was the RD and also in this case the security guard on the night shift (simply because it is his post where some of the race supplies and equipments would be placed for pick up the next day.
After having paid the crew (none volunteers) of what was due them, I still had to bring my 2 Aeta crew to their home in Porac. These two had invested hundreds of hours on the trail, clearing, marking and all. One was posted at the hill with rope section (between AS1 and AS2) while the other made sure the entire width of Pasig-Potrero River bed was well lit and marked.
As soon as I got inside my vehicle, the sudden onset of fatigue and stress came over me. While driving, I started seeing things or more like hallucinating ... seeing animals on SCTEX highway or image of trucks where there was none. I kept on regularly slapping my cheeks to jolt me from closing my eyes and naturally I drove so slowly. The cool crisp night weather that Sunday added comfort or more like misery to my condition. I had to beg off my crew if they could get down (2nd tunnel to Sapang Uwak) where they could walk to their respective house. I had to reserve enough energy to get home safely. Driving on city streets proved to be nerve-wracking. My visual acuity could not be counted on anymore as there were countless vehicles to reckon with. It was a miracle I got home unscathed. Last year it was ok but not this year. No sleep at all.
I will continue hosting and directing CM50 race series simply because I love this sport and the people who participate and help in it.
RD Jon (crossing his fingers for Hardrock 100, take 2 in the lottery)