Rick Yap: Sir Chief of Ultra Running

Related event: CUC 100K – LEG 3

This coming July 27 – 28, 2013 will be the Leg 3 of the series of 100K ultramarathons organized by Cebu Ultrarunners Club, which is from Tabuelan to Cebu City passing the Transcentral Highway (TCH). Frederick Yap will be one of the participants of Leg 3, an ultramarathoner, and has been  a “suki” (frequent) of TCH, the dreaded route.


If the ultramarathon soap opera “Please Be Careful with My Heart” on TV has Richard Yap as the charming harmless businessman Sir Chief, the ultramarathon race on the road has also a charming harmless businessman Frederick “Rick” Yap.


Sir Chief: Richard Yap vs Rick Yap

Runners come in different forms. Some really look the part, while others may surprise you when you’d find out that they run, and run long distances. Frederick Yap, with his baby face, is one of those that can easily pass as a TV personality than of an ultra runner.

Being active is not new to Frederick Yap as having been a tennis player back in his teens in Davao. But he started running some time in 2006 for health reasons. His CBC (complete blood count) results, at one point, had a failing mark on almost all categories: FBS, cholesterol level, SGPT, triglycerides. Being new in Cebu, and tennis being not so active here, he had a hard time finding a partner. So he looked for a sport that he could do on his own, and so he found jogging.

But at start, he thought of running, “Kapoy man ng dagan (Running is tiresome).” But a cousin of him, Kenneth Yap, was constantly prodding him to run. And, so he entered fun runs. His ever first fun run was the 6k category of Holiday Gym’s Run to the Max. Then, later that year, he also moved up to 12k category of CitiGym run but DNF’ed.

Rick’s first 6K, Holiday Gym’s Run to the Max, October 2009 (Photo courtesy of Frederick Yap)

Defining Moment at Busay

But it was not until he was challenged in a group run going uphill to Busay that got him hooked to running. Rick narrated:

“Some time in 2010, I joined a practice run of the “Take it Easy Runners Runners Club.” We started at Abellana, then to Fuente – Escario – Lahug. I was doing fine all the time, until we started going up to Busay. All of them were still running, but I was walking already. So 1 member, Jerome Chua, of the group came back to me and asked me if I could still go on? I replied with yes, but I was already walking. So he gave me back the Php 20 I left with him, as my running shorts at that time had no pocket. He told me that in case I would get tired, I would have money to pay a “habal-habal” (motorbike for rent) ride. Hehe, I could never forget that moment. That was one of the defining moment in my running. ” 

Though, he knew that it was in good faith that he was advised to take a ride, he felt that he was being underestimated. But he took it as a challenge to do better.

Frederick Yap with Take it Easy Runners Club (Photo from Rick Yap)

2-in-1: Strengthening & Family

He enrolled his self to a gym, MetroSports, for strengthening and stamina building. It was in MetroSports where he found another running family, FRC (Fit Runners Club), in 2010. Running became more exciting when a friendly rivalry existed within the group. The members found each other challenging each other to go explore the longer distance, while helping one another.

Entering the Ultramarathon: Bigger Busay Moment

But just like how he got hooked to running by being challenged, he found his self pursuing an ultramarathon race partly because he got disappointed with his first marathon performance in Cebu City Marathon (CCM) 2011. He felt he could do better thank his 6hours+ finish time. So when there was a news of an upcoming ultramarathon race, without much doubt and knowing about the details, he announced to his friends that he would join it thinking that it was only going to be 50KM.

When he learned that it was actually going to be 65KM, it was already too late to back out, as somehow he had made a pact with other members of FRC who were also going to join: Don Dublin, Anthony Tan, and Jimson Pantojan.

Rick Yap, Anthony Tan, Don Dublin, Jimson Pantojan

His first ultramarathon was the Labor Day Coast to Coast 2011, route at that time was Toledo City to Cebu City via Transcentral Highway. It became his most memorable race as he never thought that he could finish the race especially that he had little practice because of a gall bladder operation 2 months before the race.

It was his first time to meet the dreaded Cansamuroy. He wanted to quit at that point but then seeing another female runner making her way through the uphill made him think that if she could do it, there’s no reason why he could not. So he continued though it seemed he’s already crawling. Confidence came back when he arrived at Ayala Heights as he’s familiar with it from his long runs. He was able to speed up, but cramps got him when he was just 5 KM to the finish line.

But despite all the odds, he managed to finish it within cut-off time, and 3rd in their group with a time of 11:05 hours.

The price of overconfidence?

“When I finished my first 42KM marathon CCM in 2011, my confidence level shot up; and, more over when I finished the Coast to Coast 65k in 2011. I got a bit over confident at that time; I feel I could run any given distance,” narrated Rick Yap.

Thus it was no longer a question if he would join the first 104KM Century Properties Ultramarathon, Bogo City to Cebu City, in November, 2011. This time, only 2 from FRC were joining: he and Anthony Tan Sr. (FRC president).

Frederick Yap & Anthony Tan, Century Property Ultramarathon 2011 (Photo from Frederick Yap)

Going into that race, he used the same training method of a daily run of at least 5K on treadmill (more about his training method below). But problems started to arise after the 50KM, he felt bloated, then added to that were notorious blisters showing up.

“I DNF’ed (Did Not Finish) at 85k with still 4 hours to go. I had multiple blisters on both feet, which I and my crew didn’t know how to handle such a problem then. So I decided to quit and fight another day.”

But Anthony Tan Sr. went on to finish within cutoff time, and became the first FRC to have ever done a 100km-distance ultramarathon race.

Being the person to not easily back down, it was a bit of a blow to him of having to quit from the race.

“I then tried to analyze where did I go wrong? Was I too fast? Undertrained? overweight? Wrong socks? Wrong shoes? I didn’t have the answer then until I went back to square 1. I felt so bad, I went on looking for answers. But the only answer I could came up at that time was it’s the price I paid for being too confident,said Rick Yap.

The price of failure?

Looking back, Rick Yap was glad that the DNF actually happened to him. It was a wake-up call to him, a sort of reminder to keep the grit and determination, but to remain humble.

As he’s not the one to take things sitting down, he went on and find another battle. He joined again the Coast to Coast 2012 with other FRC runners: Starkey Apilado, Frans von Dongen, and Joshua Tiu. This time the route was from Cebu City to Toledo City via the Transcentral Highway. This made him to be one of the few runners who had run the route on both ways.

FRC at Labor Day Coast to Coast 2012, Cebu City to Toledo via Transcentral Highway (Photo from Rick Yap)

He joined the CUC 100KM Ultramarathon Leg 1, with a time of 17:49hours. He joined the 50K Warrior Ultra with other FRC runners, Starkey Apilado and Frans von Dongen. He finished it with a decent time of sub-7 hours.

CUC 100KM Leg1

Then, he eventually got to realize one of his major goals: entering the Bataan Death March (BDM) Ultramarathon 102KM, the granddaddy of the Philippine ultramarathon. He was able to finish it strong with a time of 16:42hours. Aside from him, another FRC runner, Joshua Tiu, finished it.

FRC with BDM RD Jovie “Bald Runner” Narcise
(Photo from Rick Yap)

As they say that, “There are no failures, only lessons” was true in the case of Rick Yap. Aside from the wake-up call, he also learned the answer to his questions back at his 104KM DNF.

“The answer is that all I need is water, water and water; not power gels, not power bars, not gatorades, and utmostly not sodium!!!! Sodium might be the cause on why I got so heavy on the next 50k of that 100k Bogo to Cebu City ultramarathon race, which slowed me down, and that eventually blisters came in a little too early,” explained Rick.

Sharing lessons

Rick Yap is currently preparing for the CUC (Cebu Ultrarunners Club) 100KM Leg 3, which will be from Family Park in Tabuelan to Family Park in Cebu City via Transcentral Highway. He would have completed the 3 Legs of CUC 100KM if not for being hospitalized because of pneumonia just days prior to Leg 2.

Having join a handful of races, from fun runs to marathons to ultramarathons without any major injury, we asked him to share some of personal lessons he learned along the way, his training, and diet.

How do you usually train for your races? 

“5k a day would keep the DNF away,” as what Napoleon dela Torre would always tell me. I used the same training method for all my races: a 5k or more a day on treadmills, and one long run 2 weeks before the race.

Thus, I earned the reputation of someone who only trains on treadmill for ultramarathons. But add to my daily treadmill run is upper and lower body strength training at MetroSports.

The reason that I train like this is for self preservation. The more we run on the road, the greater the impact, the greater chances of injuries. With this kind of training, I remained healthy and stronger. But that’s just I.

Can you recommend your training method to others?

I would recommend this method of training to those who don’t mind the time, as long as they finish within cut off time.

How do you juggle work and training?

I don’t have trouble mixing my work with running, because I rarely do road runs for practice. MetroSports gym opens at 6am-10pm. I go to the gym almost daily with or without an upcoming race. I choose between 6-7:30am or come back again in the evening (split workout).

What are lessons or practices you learned along your journey in running, regarding hydration / preventing injuries / clothing / shoes? General tips you can share for running.

I use the same brand of shoes Asics GT Series, double-layer Wright socks. On the supplement side: lots of water, a little of whey protein, and heavy dose of Vitamin B-complex.

Taking in Vitamin B-complex during races helps me from getting cramps. I got this advise from my doctor friends when I told them about my cramping incident of my first ultramarathon.

Do you maintain a special diet?

I have no special diet, except that I maintain brown rice for more than 2 years, and heavy on protein.

About CUC 100KM Leg 3 , the Transcentral Highway Route is not new to you. You’re probably one of the few who is able to run the Cebu City to Balamban, and reverse of it. Any tips to share on how to run this tricky part?

I ran both both course,  Balamban-Cebu City and vice versa. For the Balamban to Cebu City is the much harder route because you have to contend with Cansamuroy which has an elevation of 1,800 ft, if am not mistaken, stretching from 7-8k. Whew!!!

Based on my experience, very few runner would dare to run that part. For an average ultra runner and for the 1st timers, just brisk walk through it, and regain momentum on downhills.

What is your other secret in finishing long distance races?

I have a very wonderful support crew. I would like to thank my following friends for their endless support of Fit Runners Club (FRC) ultra runners:

Darryl Caballes
Jimmy Codinera
Don Dublin
Cecil Mata
Katherine Pua
Maita Rodriguez
Noel Sampil
Charito Sanupao
Maricel Sy
Joshua Tiu
Anthony Tan
Arthur Uy
Special mentions to Tine Galindo, Jeff Garma, top supporters at BDM with Don Dublin.


Future major races you are considering joining:

I envy a lot CUC (Cebu Ultrarunners Club) president Anthony Galon, and the rest of the runners who joined the SN 250K. Anthony Tan and I thought about joining that race for quite a while, but then we decided to back out of it at the last minute.

But I’m planning to join the 160KM this November, and then the BDM 160 on Jan. 25, 2014.

That route passing Busay has somehow become a soap opera of Rick’s running life as this coming July 27-28, 2013, he will be passing it again. Catch Sir Chief this at the Transcentral Highway from Tabuelan to Cebu City for the CUC 100K – LEG 3!

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Rose Buenconsejo. A runner who runs after runners, and their stories, and her dream to become a NEDBANK.
Promo Girl, runroo.com
View her aktib race calendar >>

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