Back again

I have two goals that I want to achieve within the year.  Break my 21K record of 2:05:52 and break my marathon record of 5:53:03. I am eyeing the upcoming Manila Milo Marathon to break my 21K record and the Run United Philippine Marathon to break my marathon record. I thought I’d chronicle that pursuit.  Who knows? Maybe somebody out there can learn from an aging (I’m close to 50 years old) runner.

The Milo Marathon is July 28. That gives me 8 weeks of training ahead of me.  Given that I am not sedentary and have been running consistently for several weeks, I suppose I can jump into one of these training plans midway.

(Photo courtesy of Nicole Cho)


What it means to be IAAF-certified

I am naturally a skeptic. If someone makes a hyped-up claim, accompanied by much hoopla, my tendency is to research such a claim to see if it is worth all the fanfare.

And I was curious about the claim that the Milo Marathon was AIMS and IAAF certified:

For the first time in more than three decades, the 35th National MILO Marathon this year will be certified by the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) and the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).”This will bring a new dimension in the country’s biggest and longest-running footrace,” said Rio dela Cruz, whose RunRio company will be managing all the 17 elimination races and the national finals set on December 11

This news item was reported by many news agencies. So why is this such a big thing?

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My Milo Marathon race kit arrived!

Whenever I register online, my biggest worry is whether or not I have ACTUALLY registered. Yes I get email confirmation but nothing beats having the race kit in hand!

So now I can breathe a sigh of relief as my Milo Marathon race kit has arrived.

Interested in joining the Milo Marathon?  Sign up here.

Milo Marathon racing bib

Milo Marathon racing bib

Milo Marathon singlet (front)

Milo Marathon singlet (front)

Milo Marathon singlet (back)

Milo Marathon singlet (back)

Booklets included in the Milo Marathon race kit

Booklets included in the Milo Marathon race kit

Register for the 2012 Milo Marathon

Yes, folks, the 2012 Milo Marathon online registration site is up!  Check it out here.

I’ve signed up for the Metro Manila leg.  It’s on July 29. Woo hoo!

According to the registration form:

  • Entry fee is P500
  • Start time is 3:00 AM
  • Cutoff time for the marathon is 6 hours after the official start

Abebe Bikila


Mention barefoot running and probably the first runner that would come to mind is the Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Bikila.  He is known primarily for winning the 1960 Summer Olympics marathon barefoot.

I learned of Abebe Bikila when I was in high school, not from some history course, but from reading William Goldman’s book Marathon Man.  In the book, the protagonist and aspiring marathon runner Babe Levy idolized Abebe Bikila and marveled on how Bikila was able to conquer the marathon barefoot.  Levy gets involved with some government agency and some Nazis and eventually gets harrowingly tortured by some Nazi dentist.  He escapes and eludes the captors by running barefoot, clad only in his pajamas.

And yes it was made into a classic movie in 1976 with Dustin Hoffman and Lawrence Olivier, with the now legendary dialogue of “Is it safe?”


What’s interesting about the Abebe Bikila story was that he wasn’t even supposed to be in the Olympics.  He was only added in the Ethiopian roster in last-minute as a replacement for Wami Biratu, who had broken his ankle in a soccer match.  And Bikila didn’t even plan to run barefoot.  He only ran barefoot because the shoes supplied by Adidas didn’t fit properly! After winning the marathon, he was asked why he had run barefoot and Bikila answered: “I wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism.”

Milo Marathon 2012 (Pangasinan)

When I saw this post from, my hopes are high that the Milo Marathon will follow the schedule as I had seen over at kulitrunner.  Since there was still no official word from Milo, I was worried that all these posts about the Milo Marathon schedule were just rumors!

National Milo Marathon Dagupan 2012
July 8, 2012
Dagupan City, Pangasinan


3k Kiddie Run, 5k Fun Run, 10k and 21k


3k = P50.00 With Race Bib And Milo Singlet
5k = P100.00 For Adult/P50.00 For Students With Race Bib And Singlet
10k= P500.00 With Race Bib And Singlet
21k= P500.00 With Race Bib And Singlet

All With Corresponding Prizes


World Adventure Tours And Travel @ Csi Mall Small Atrium, Lucao District Dagupan City & Robinsons Place Pangasinan, Calasiao, Pangasinan


Contact Persons: Tes Bernardino – Contact Number 0920-557-9488;0922-879-8343; 0917-565-5214;075-523-4165


Tes Bernardino

Cutoff times

There’s been some discussion about the cutoff times for the Milo Marathon. If this year’s event is the same as last year’s, then the cutoff time for the 42K is 6 hours.  That’s 6 hours after the official start of the race.  Which means that if you are somewhere in the back of the pack, you will have to finish the run in something like 5:45.  Gulp!  Given that I ran the Condura Skyway Marathon—my first ever marathon—in 6 hours does give me pause.  Can I shave 15 minutes off my time?  It would indeed be a frustration—not to mention a humiliation—to go through the effort of running 42K only to have no recorded time!

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2012 Milo Marathon Schedule

Save the dates.  Start your training.  Here’s the 2012 Milo Marathon schedule!

1. Baguio – July 01
2. Dagupan – July 08
3. Tarlac – July 15
4. Angeles – July 22
5. Manila – July 29
6. Naga – August 19
7. San Pablo – Sept. 02
8. Batangas – Sept. 16
9. Puerto Princesa – Sept. 23
10. Tagbilaran – Sept. 30
11. Cebu – Oct. 07
12. Bacolod – Oct. 14
13. Iloilo – Oct. 28
14. Gen. Santos – Nov. 14
15. Davao – Nov. 11
16. Butuan – Nov. 18
17. Cagayan De Oro – Nov. 25
18. Finals – Dec. 09

Source: Kulitrunner

Spirit of the Marathon

DVD cover of Spirit of the Marathon

I’ve watched a lot of films that deal with running.   Almost all were films that fictionalized and over-hyped Olympic track and field events.  Take, for example, the inaccuracies in Chariots of Fire, probably the most famous of running movies, having won four Academy Awards including Best Picture. In the film, Harold Abrahams loses in the 200 meters before his triumph in the 100 meters.  The film makers probably wanted to hype the drama and rouse the emotions of the viewers.  In reality, the order is reversed—Abrahams wins the 100 meters before losing in the 200 meters, a sequence which undoubtedly is less dramatic.

I don’t like movies that pose to be factual but that actually manipulate historical events to manipulate the viewers emotions.  Yes, it’s entertaining but I feel that the film makers are pulling my leg.

As an aside, if you want to watch a good fictional running movie, try and find Jericho Mile, a 1979 Emmy Award-winning TV movie directed by Michael Mann (yes, the guy who directed Heat, Ali, and Collateral).  At least that movie did not make any effort to masquerade itself as factual.

But if you want a film that will accurately depict the challenge and the personal triumph of marathon runners, then you won’t go wrong with the 2007 documentary Spirit of the Marathon.

This film chronicles the journey of five marathoners who are training for and participating in the 2005 Chicago Marathon.  Interspersed between their tales are the stories of notable marathoners like Abebe Bikila, Frank Shorter, Alberto Salazar, and Joan Benoit.   The one thing I like about this film is that it deals with the experiences of elite runners (particularly that of  American Deena Kastor, bronze medalist of the 1984 Olympic Marathon) as well as the average and neophyte runner.  For example, there is Lori O’Conner who is running her first marathon, and Jerry Meyers, a veteran marathoner who is also 70 years old.  So this is a movie not just about the triumphs of champion runners but also of us mortals who want to survive a 42-kilometer run just for personal bragging rights.  Or even just for the finisher’s T-shirt!

Overall, a good inspirational film to watch if you have your eyes set at conquering the marathon.

Training for the Milo Marathon

First of all, here’s a disclaimer to all those who found this post through Google or Twitter.  If you were expecting some training plan or some words of advice from an experienced marathoner, you will be disappointed.  I am pushing 50 years of age.  I am hardly an elite runner.  I can hardly even describe myself as an experienced marathoner, having just completed only one marathon, with an ignoble time of 6:01.  But if you wanted some honest anecdotal rants and quips about running a marathon from a normal, middle-aged runner, then read on . . .

A few months ago, my goal was the 21K and all my training was geared towards that distance.  My plan then was simple—just run about 4 or 5 times a week, do one really long run, and insert a few kilometers of speed work.  Now my sights are fixed on the next big marathon: the 2012 Milo Marathon Metro Manila elimination leg.

Assuming the rules don’t change, the Milo Marathon elimination leg will pose an interesting challenge for me.  Gone are my ambitions to qualify for the finals.  My objective for this run is not only to finish, but to avoid the cut-off time of 6 hours and hopefully not get swept off the course.

My biggest change in my strategy is to have a more structured training plan.  As I mentioned above, my training plan was haphazard and carefree.  I ran whenever I felt like running and ran a distance of whatever I felt like covering.  Now I have set weekly goals with the objective of upping the mileage week-after-week.     Throughout the web I have read advice that I shouldn’t increase distance or weekly mileage by 10% a week.  I also read somewhere that you should take a break once in a while (say, every three to four weeks) and cut back on mileage.   With this, I plotted my training plan.  It isn’t too detailed—just a weekly distance goal and the distance of my longest run.  This week, for example, my goal is to cover 45 kilometers and my longest run will be 13 kilometers.  Next week, I hope to cover 48 kilometers with my longest run being 15 kilometers.   My peak will be around middle of July, where I hope to cover 73 kilometers in a week with my longest run being 37 kilometers.  Gulp!