1st Quarter Report: It’s All Kind of Races in the Philippines

Looking at the latest DOT’s “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” promotional video gave me a thought of going thru the different races around the Philippines listed at aktib.ph of the first quarter of 2013, and have a glimpse of what happened to them.

There were a lot of interesting races. I think each race is unique and beautiful that it’s hard to enumerate them all here. So I just randomly picked races from the aktib.ph list, but more of races that I could find pics and resources about it.

January was a mix of fun runs, marathons, and half-marathons. There were a lot of half-marathons that had been organized for the first time in certain places of the Philippines which were not heard much before to hold running events. This probably can mean that there will be more marathons in the 2014.

February was when the marathons made its presence most felt. It probably was given more emphasis since the most-attended and popular marathon in the Philippines took place during this month.

March could be a surprise when different kind of ultra marathons were popping up every weekend: from the oldest, the women exclusive, the 360 ultras, and others. Bigger surprise can be when there are more ultra-distanced races over marathons. It’s a wonder!


First Times

The first month of 2013 was witnessed to firsts of different cities, first marathon / half-marathon, and other. Though, there are certain cities and provinces in the Philippines where running events are very active. But it’s not yet the same with most of other provinces. So lately, there are a lot of other places doing their firsts.

First in Mindanao

Koronadal City, South Cotabato started the year with a BANG by having its first ever half-marathon running event, 7th Koronadal Run 2013, on the 1st week of 2013, January 7. It was a FREE-registration running event; singlet was optional for P150.  (More pictures from Arnel Lim here >>.)

Photo by Arnel Joshua Bucoy Lim

The response was great that they will have the 8th Koronadal Run by October 2013, follow details here >>.

For a list of upcoming runs & multisports races in Mindanao, Philippines, you can check here >>.

First in Luzon

Up in Northern Luzon, the Vigan City, the home of UNESCO World Heritage Site, had its first full marathon, 1st Ilocos Sur Marathon. It promised a foot race that would tour the participants around the different tourist spots.

Calle Crisologo, the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site
(Photo by RC Vigan Ilocos Sur)

It’s picturesque indeed! Care to share a poster-perfect moment from this race, share here >>.

For races in Luzon, Philippines, check here >>.

First in Visayas

It’s probably not the first half-marathon event in Guimaras. But it’s the 1st edition of the Balaan Bukid (Holy Mountain) Run in Jordan, Guimaras. This 2014, it will have a full marathon version, details here >>.

We were able to participate in this event. Our story, BALAAN BUKID 21K & 3K Trail Run: Running After and With Ilonggos! Namit Ged!, here >>. If you asked me if Guimaras mango is truly extra special, this proud Cebuana would say it’s as good as our Cebu’s mangoes. The difference is just in the texture. =) Following are other stories shared about this event:

For more run and multi-sports races in Visayas, Philippines, check here >>.


After getting a warm-up in January, February was getting more revved up. Looking at the listing in aktib.ph, Luzon had a series of marathon wekeends in February with two of them to be the most-attended and anticipated in the Philippines. While the simultaneous nationwide runs of 2 government agencies kept the rest of the nation busy.

With Filipinos being known for its quirky creativity, we surely would not be left behind with coming up in names of causes / reasons for runs.

The 2-in-1 Run, Run on Skyway for the Mangroves

It started with one of the most-attended running events in the Philippines, Condura Marathon, with a number of participants reaching 14, 000 (source: kamoterunner.com). Can it be considered the signature marathon of the Philippines? But maybe Milo Marathon or Run United series will disagree. Following are few stories from Condura Marathon shared by runners:
* A 10KM participant getting her 1st medal sweet story here >>.
* One of 42KM Runners’ stories, I CONQUERED THE SKYWAY with my barefeet!

condura skyway marathon pic

Photo by Mickie Go, her story here >>

For more heartwarming Condura Marathon 2013 runners’ stories, read on here >>.

Run for Different Kinds of Sand

Up in northern Luzon were two (2) marathons happening on the same date, Feb. 23, 2013, but in 2 different provinces: Ilocos Norte and La Union. These races are probably what can be categorized as destination races where participants joining this were shooting 2 causes in 1 go: run and travel.

Laoag Marathon in Ilocos Norte, is popular for giving you the experience of running in sand dunes.

Following is a video by Ernani Dingding which could give us a glimpse of running in the sand dunes:

While Laoag Marathon was for running in sand dunes, Ku Ikaika Marathon in La Union, from the name of it gives us an idea that it, could mean running in a different kind of sand, then beach, and surfing.

“Ku Ikaika”, a Hawaiian phrase that means stand strong, was derived in reference to the sport of stand up paddle surfing and to upholding a healthy and positive approach to wave riding. – Source: kuikaikachallenge.com

Ku Ikaika Marathon in La Union, philippines pic

Photo from kahunaresort.com

Run for Dream

In the southern Luzon, in the scenic Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, The Bull Runner Dream Marathon was helping runners realized their marathon dreams. TBR Dream Marathon is a unique kind of marathon in the whole wide world as its exclusive for first and second timers. It’s not as big as the Condura Marathon but it’s as much as anticipated by runners. Evidence that the limited slots were sold out within 30 minutes from opening its online reservation.

A heartwarming story of a Cebuana woman who completed her 1st marathon at a golden age with help of an Olympic paralympian and elite runners of Cebu at TBRDM, My Dream Run.

the bull runner dream marathon pic photo

Marget Villarica
(Photo from photovendo.com)

Nationwide Runs

February was also a witness to two successive weekends of simultaneous nationwide runs by PhilHealth and Red Cross: PhilHealth run was for Mother & Child Protection, while Red Cross was run for volunteers.

Philhealth Run 2013 had a simultaneous run over 18 places in the whole Philippines. It started last year as a simultaneous run in Mindanao, which they brought to the whole Philippines this year.

Not to be outdone, Red Cross had also their simultaneous nationwide Million Volunteer Run which aimed at gathering 1,000,000 volunteer runners. (Red Cross Cordova, Cebu Chapter will have their first full marathon this November, 2013. You can check initial details here >>.)

These nationwide runs are amazing as it brought racing events to different islands of the Philippines.

1,200 total runners at the Red Cross Million Volunteer Run Boracay

(Interested to run in Caticlan, check this 15k/25k/50K race here >>.)

red cross million volunteer run in boracay, philippines pic / photo

Photo from Lhen Brutton and Vivid Encarnacion Preglo

Following are few PhilHealth stories shared at aktib.ph from different cities in the Philippines:
* From Cavite, A RUN FOR PAPA!
* From Iloilo City, MY MANY FIRSTS
* and more here >>.

Multi-Sports Kicking in Cebu

February was when multi-sports was starting to kick off in Cebu with 1st Lapaz Bogo City Duathlon Trail Race, and the Sugbutriathlon’s Leg 2 in Dalaguete. With Cebu as the host of the Cobra Ironman, you can expect that there’ll be no absence of a biking, triathlon or duathlon events in the coming months leading to August 2013!

Getting rough at Bogo Duathlon

1st lapaz bogo city, cebu, duathlon off-road pic  / photo

Photo from Carcar Kagumkum Runner

And, here’s a mountain biker’s story at Tri Team Championship Series – Leg 2 (dalaguete, Cebu), A Runner’s Game.

For a list of duathlon / triathlon / multisports race events around the Philippines, you can check here >>.

March seemed to be the opening season for the year-long ultra season. It’s like January and February fun runs and marathons were when runners build up for the ultra season to start in March.

Looking at the different ultras in March, it showed us that Philippines have different variety of ultra marathons.

Granddaddy Ultra

The first weekend started with the BDM 102, the oldest ultra marathon in Philippines, which is to honor the heroes of the Bataan Death March. It is also where the BR (BaldRunner) Hug originated? And that man-to-man hugging could not be that awkward.

Photo from Kikai Legaspi

A story from one of the Cebuanos who joined the Bataan Death March (BDM) 102 is here >>.

The Women & Whole Clan Ultra

The next weekend in March was Cebu’s All-Women Ultra Marathon as a way to celebrate Women’s Month. I believe what makes AWUM special is that women’s spirit can touch all genders, and all ages. Thus, it’s one of the best ultra recruitment strategies.

Invite a woman, and she would bring the whole barangay with her. =)

Bjane Mendoza Photo from All Women Ultra Marathon

A story of the youngest All Women Ultramarathoner, 50 at 20, here >>.

The Running-Group-Organized Ultra

There are ultras organized by running groups, who want to share their passion and wonderful experience from ultra running. Or, maybe they wanted to share the misery of running an ultra. Team Davao Runners who are known to be active in the ultra circle organized their 1st ultramarathon, Team Davao Runner 80K Ultramarathon. Though that was the first edition but they did not make it any shorter or easier for the 1st-timers by making the last 10-15 KM stretch of the 80KM race a continuous uphill ending in Toril, Davao, known for its Eden Resort.

Manuel Vismanos, Davao’s barefoot runner Photo from John Domingo

Butt-ache Ultras

At the 3rd weekend of March, North Luzon offered a back-to-back ultras: La Union Unity Marathon / Supermarathon 2 and The 2nd Ilocos Challenge. For some reason La Union and Ilocos seemed to schedule their races around similar dates maybe because runners in same geographic location think the same (see Laoag Marathon & Ku Ikaika Marathon back in February)?

Because they’re way up north of Luzon, sitting on a bus for hours can give you a butt-ache to reach these races as shared by Marjohn Presbitero of Run for Slippers advocacy in his 1st ultra marathon experience story from LUUM 2, Crazy Weekend Run – My 1st Ultra story here >>. But that’s part of the adventure!

Marjohn with BAROC Runners Photo by Litrato Picture Express

Happening on the same date was the 2nd Ilocos Challenge which can be known to be the ultramarathon where the popular HK Vibram 100 top 15 ultra runner Marcelo Bautista had his early beginnings.

1st Ilocos Challenge (Photo from Bad Circle Runners)

The butt-ache can be the additional toughness you would earned from ultras here. They have 1 marathon coming up this May, 2nd Hardcore Marathon, and another one in the  3rd quarter, Batac Trail 25k/50k.

360 Ultras

These 360 ultra races has probably started with Bald Runner’s Mayon 360, then the Guimaras 360. These 360 ultras are those which routes go around a place. The thing that makes the 360 ultras in Philippines distinctive is that we have 7,107 islands. And we have many islands which circumferential distance cannot be more than 100 miles, thus it’s easy for us to make a race that would go around the whole island.

At the end of March, a 360 ultra happened for the 1st in Siquijor, Siquijor 360 Ultramarathon. A story, Enjoying Isla De Fuego And Being A Barefoot, from one of the participants here >>.

With the many islands of the Philippines, there will probably be more 360 races to come.

Ultra Trail Runners

These kind ultras are where runners who read too much irunfar.com or ultra168. Kidding flock. As Xterra organizers said that 80% of the Philippines is trail. As such it could mean that by default Filipinos are trail runners without us knowing, except that we have different looks from the popular trail runners we often read about: Krupicka, Jurker or Frost.

A trail marathon, Mt. Ugo Marathon, event was held last week of March. Not an ultramarathon but this was probably to kick off the more upcoming ultra trails, which can be considered is at still in its infancy, to happen through the rest of the year.

See more trail races in the Philippines here >>. Note that organized races set on trails have just started gaining popularity in Philippines so there’s not much of this kind of race yet. Though, any time, you can hit a trail around a corner.

You can check a video of the Mt. Ugo Trail Marathon video by stedfart1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFPTUtO6idw.

Off-Road Triathlons

Same with the ultra trail, the off-road triathlon were also doing rounds on the month of March, one is the Xterra Off-Road Triathlon in Lilo-an, Cebu at the 1st week of March 2013.

More Xterra Off-Road Cebu Photos here >>.

Photo by Reynan Opada

Stories from Xterra Off-Road Triathlon and Trail Run:
* Infinitely More Fun At The Xterra by misplaced trail rider
* Suroy-suroy Pero Guba
* Crashed, Burned, And Finished (the Race)

And, at the end of March was Mahinog Off-Road Triathlon in Camiguin.

mahinog off-road triathlon, camiguin pic / photo

Photo from Jahoo Photography

You can check a list of biking and multi-sports events around the Philippines here >>.

That really took a lot of time jotting them down. We’re just in the 1st quarter, and it’s hard to keep up with the different racing events.

For a local runner like me, it can be dizzying! I guess for one, Philippines being a tropical country, we don’t have any weather or season to consider so we do not have an off-season to stop organizing racing events.

Some would say running is just a fad like Badminton. Maybe there are those type of running events that can be just a fad. But there will be those type of racing events that would stay.

It might saturate the local market, but then we haven’t started tapping runners from abroad yet?

You might protest that running must be free. Yes, running is free. But racing is not. And, if we think of it, if we can just implement a no-plastic-cup events, races can be considered a very earth-friendly tourist activity. Like, no need to destroy a mountain to put up a swimming pool just so we can enjoy the view. =)

I no longer know what I’m talking here. But yes, it’s more fun running in the Philippines. If we can just do it right, the Philippines will have a great run.

(If you have a race event, I hope you can share it with us at aktib.ph. Feel free to email us at rose@runroo.com / vissuelo@aktib.ph. If you have stories for your upcoming event, please do share them with us too.)

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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