A Fun-Run Story of UltraTrailMarathonerMountaineerMobilizer Lyra Valles

Related Stories: SN 250: Not a Race Review
8/42: Christmas to New Year Suffer-lebration
Related Events: Bataan Death March 160 Ultra Marathon Race (BDM 160)

So how do you write the story of Lyra Valles? With just her outdoor adventures, she can already fill out a whole series of books.

Photo from Cebu Trail Runners

She runs all kinds of races in her red lipstick: from fun runs, marathons, ultra-hamster inside a cemetery park, the hardest ultra-trail in Philippines, to the longest ultramarathon foot race in Southeast Asia (South to North 250KM) with a sack of rice in tow. She summits mountains, crosses rivers, hangs on cliff. And, she creates rainbow-colored arts and crafts with silver dusts when she’s not out there risking her life. The last part and sack of rice are joke but partly true. (TIP: Her secret hydration strategy in ultramarathon races is, nothing magical, cooked rice.)


There are times that we view people who run, especially the long insanely distances, to be selfish. That they should engage in a more “productive” endeavors.

But Lyra is a proof that those people who run insanely long distances are actually one of those people who have given a lot to others.

Though, it’s NOT unexpected for her to get into adventure / endurance sports since she’s a mountaineer way back she was 15 years old. At the age that while her girl friends were busy dressing up for prom, she skipped it for a climb. She was the youngest Junior Habagat Member, and also the youngest trek officer in Tacloban, Leyte.

climb to Mt. Tinago Dagat
(Photo from Lyra Valles)

So running was not new to her since it had been part of their conditioning for major climbs, especially for her who usually took the part of “porter” among her girl friends climbers.

But getting more serious into running only happened when after years of dedicating her life climbing a different kind of mountain, which is putting much of her focus in setting up the Out-of-the-school youth program: Alternative Learning System of Operation Mobilisation (OM) in Cebu Philippines until it got stabilized, she felt burned out.

Truly, her hardwork is a success. But she felt being emptied out, and saw the need to recharge. As the saying goes, “you cannot give what you do not have.” She saw the need to take care of her self again so she can give more.

She felt the need to put herself on something that can rejuvenate her so she thought of running. She started running in CBP (Cebu Business Park), the training ground of TG-Lasang. Just like how a typical running addict, it started with an invitation to join a fun run in 2010 organized by Vicente Sotto Hospital, and the rest as they say is history.

From fun runs to half-mary’s and marathon, she was one of the few females braved enough to try the extra long distance races when it came to Cebu sometime in 2011. She has then been topping the ultramarathon races, here in Cebu and outside Cebu & Philippines (5th Mayon 360, 4th BDM 2013, 8th TNF 100, 15th SG Sundown Ultra, just to name a few).

She is part of the 7/42 Club in 2012, then the 8/42 in 2013, which means running 42KM marathon for 7 straight days, then 8 days.

Photo from Nap dela Torre

But one race where she still rules is Jacob Ong’s Hamster Run at CEMPARK (Cebu Memorial Park), where she is the CR (course record) holder for 10 hours of 30 loops (60KM) since 2011. Going around a loop of 2KM for 10 hours can probably say a lot of her steadfast personality. It shows that this girl can not only climb mountains, but she can move mountains.

Photo from Jacob Ong

With her very high mileage, she was not surprised that she figured in injuries came later part of 2012. But instead of being totally sidelined from running, she took the chance of working on her speed after her she recovered.

TIP: She said that it’s true that ultramarathons can make you slow. While she was working on her speed with Coach Sherwin Managil, she was not allowed to run more than 10KMs.

As a favorite quote goes that “what does not kill you can make you stronger.” Year 2013, she came back with a bang in a marathon race, making a PR of 4hrs. She landed 4th place in BDM 102.

And the year could not be more awesome when she stumbled into trail running after Nap dela Torre convinced her to try it. She finished the TNF 2013 in the 8th place, a sign that she still did not lost the mountaineer in her.

She said that she is happiest with trail running as she finally found doing 2 things she loves most: mountains and ultramarathons.

TIP: Getting to the trail running scene, Lyra said that she had to re-learn footing again especially for the technical trails. She found help from Meyux of Cebu Trail Runners in footing training. Plus, a climb to Mt. Apo was what got her started to the trail ultramarathon.

Though she found the perfect mix of adventure which is best suited her: trail ultramarathons, she is not saying goodbye to her love for the road ultramarathons. Aside for the upcoming BDM 160, she will be doing again the SN 250 (more details here >>) this year.

TIP: Going back to road races, she said that she also needs to reacquaint her body to the hard surface and to train mentally for the monotony the road can bring.

As she is in the quest to become a better runner, she also aims at becoming a better teacher by going back to school to take educational units (She is a Computer Engineering graduate.). Aside from that, she also aims to expand OM’s Alternative Learning System center.

In this line, as she is very welcome to receive help, for her BDM 160 this coming weekend, she is also looking for 2 competent teachers to help her in growing their alternative education center for out-of-school youths. (If you’re interested to lend a helping hand or be at teacher, you can message her via fb here >>.)


Lyra with students and co-teachers of ALS at OM

On behalf of Lyra, thank you to all who lend a helping to one of Cebu’s representative in BDM 160!

Posted by:


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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