Running in Leyte: “I Have Returned”

With more races, fun runs, and ultra marathons organized in Leyte, we thought of resharing (originally posted at Caresharing Life Blog) our friend who is a Leyte girl but finds herself based in Cebu City. Then, one time, found herself returning to Leyte to run. We hope to give you a glimpse of how it can be charming running in Leyte.


Related Running Events in Tacloban, Leyte: July 21, 2013 – P.A.R.M. Move Pilipinas Run 2013 (42K,21K,5K,3K,1K)
Aug. 17, 2013 – I Shall Return 50k
More fun runs and marathon races here >>


Tacloban is where I spent 4 of my theoretically formative years. I was then a proud scholar of the Philippine Science High School – Eastern Visayas Campus. And by “proud” I mean it in every sense of the word–positive and negative. I haven’t been back to this place for years, apart from passing by it whenever I go home to Catbalogan. Thus, the title.

Just to clear things up, the race was named I Shall Return 50km UltraMarathon. Leah and I signed up for the relay race with Leah as the first runner covering 30km and myself as the second runner covering 21km. Apparently, my ability to withstand the heat and being OK-to-have-the-golden-tan-Filipino-skin confirmed my ticket to being the second runner. This was the second time that I ran the second leg a.k.a. “the smoldering hot part” of a relay race. The first time was during the Coast2Coast 65km Ultramarathon.


We arrived in Tacloban the day before the race at around past 3 pm. Upon touchdown, I found myself with my 8-year-old-out-dated-knowledge of Tacloban as the designated tour guide. Lucky us , a lot of things haven’t changed in this little city.

Goofing around at the airport while waiting...

Goofing around at the airport while waiting…

CareSharing <3 Tacloban

CareSharing <3 Tacloban

Race briefing and distribution of race kits was at the Balyuan Tower Amphitheater at around 5pm. This was our first chance to see our fellow runners–a number that reached around 200. We confirmed the presence of a few big names in the running world and one Kenyan.

What’s your bib number?

We were supposed to take a rest after, and some of us went straight to the hotel to do just that. But I couldn’t resist the exciting idea of having a party at room 19. Of course, our idea of a party consists of Uno, chikicha, and poker games involving real money, with MYX Channel on TV as the backdrop to the night’s events. I don’t blame you if you don’t consider this a party.

The people of Room 19 chilling out at the TwirlBerry yogurt shop.

Race Day

Seven of the CareSharing/Runnroo runners–Leah, Mark, Jean, Paolo, Armie, Joseph, and Jade–started the race at 4am at the Tacloban Convention Center more commonly known as the “Astrodome”. Thanks to Leah, our hotel was only some 30 strides away from the starting line. Seven of our support crew members–Pam, Rose, Fred, Odina, Mr. Doria, Leah’s brother and brother-in-law had to wake up as early as 4am. In their sleep-deprived tousled faces, I saw that they really didn’t want to wake up so early but they were still willing to support us in our run.

If only Leah wasn’t smiling this would’ve passed for a superhero group

In the first half of the race, I rode in the support car so I can take some pictures, help out with the support crew, but mostly just sleep in the car while waiting for my turn to race. Our support car was carrying Gatorade, bananas, Pringles, boiled eggs, salt, lots of water, lots of ice, a few pieces of sponge, a couple of warm bodies, a med kit, and some runner-specific things like Leah’s honey.

Keep your eye on the pringles!

While we were going to our first stop, we saw Mary Grace delos Santos. It was my first time seeing her in her element. She was beautiful to watch. Her running is very economical in movement. Nothing less of a pro, of course.

Somewhere at km20 (or something…), while I was sleeping, the Kenyan runner approached our car and grabbed one of our Pringles can to the great shock of Pam and Rose. Apparently, he’s been following the wrong path for almost two hours and was desperately trying to win back the lead. We would’ve felt some essence of pity for him had he been more polite to ASK for the Pringles.

They finally sent me to the turning point at around 8-ish to wait for Leah. She arrived at around 8:20. We took some photos at the Welcome to Samar sign and I was off to cross the San Juanico Bridge on foot for the first time. I think the hardest part of my leg of the race was the golf course. No shade whatsoever, no wind, and probably the steepest climb in the entire race. It certainly felt steeper than the arc of the San Juanico Bridge. I’m glad I got that over with early on.

Passing the imaginary baton

After the horrendous golf course, was a straight path to downtown Tacloban. I passed by some of the other runners but even more runners passed by me. I wasn’t really making an effort to get ahead of anyone. I even had enough time to buy ice pops to stave off the heat!

Entering the U.P. area, I was already walking straight up because my feet were killing me. I’ve long thought about better protection for my feet for runs longer than 12km. Anyway, I was saving my energy for that moment when I cross the finish line. True enough, Fred and his lens were there to greet me.

I finished around 12noon with the official time of 7:50 total for both Leah and me.

Entering the Balyuan Tower Amphitheater. Woot, finished at last.

Post-Race Hidden Gems

While waiting for our remaining runners to arrive, I saw a bunch of runners who were wearing Samar Runners’ Club shirts. I talked to one of the women of their bunch. Turns out they’re from Catbalogan, too. What’s more, this woman I was talking to was the doctor who delivered my youngest brother. What a coincidence!

During our pre-flight lunch at Ocho Seafood & Grill (you shouldn’t miss this place if you visit Tacloban), I bumped into my 3rd year high school Physics teacher, Miss Laura Avila. I’ve had so many memories with this woman!

Cast of Characters









Rose (don’t have a picture of her running!)




Ador (who was sick on race day)

Special Mention: Leah’s Dad, Brother, and Brother-in-Law who were kind enough to drive us around.

Photo Credits: Mine, Fred’s, and Jade’s


Written by:


Stacey Cardoso. She writes software to sharpen her mind, plays the violin to enrich her soul, runs on roads to feel healthy…
Posts cute cats at
View her aktib race calendar >>


  1. Cafe Lucia: That Quaint Coffee Shop in Tacloban, Leyte | Running stories in Cebu and around Philippines - Runroo - 18 February, 2014

    […] Event: Unity Run 2 (Feb. 22, 2014. Join now! It’s FREE!) Related Stories: Running in Leyte: “I Have Returned” Tacloban Rises Again for Unity Run 2! Tacloban Running: Never Gone, Never […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: