Run Underground: CUC Ultrahamster Run at CEMPARK 2013

Related event: CUC Ultrahamster Run 2013
Related story: Cebu Memorial Park (CEMPARK): Entry 34 for CCM 2013
Where do people run?

Definitely running has no boundaries. There are races that take place in mall, beach, mountain, parks, churches, public plazas, north pole, why not in cemetery too?

CEMPARK (CEMPARK) has been a go-to running ground for some runners in Cebu, with it’s 2KM loop (1.98KM if u want to be exact about it), before zombie-themed races became popular. But what does it take to create some kind of an official event going around the loop inside a cemetery? 

The idea must had not came from twisted crazy runners’ minds, right?  It was born from runners of TTB (Team Tyts Bogdo) who can be the die-hards of the CEMPARK loop. Boying Milan, one of TTBs, called it “hamster running.”

One time, some of the group members finished 20 rounds of the CEMPARK loop: Jacob Ong, Richard Manila, Gifford Peral, and Edward Tan Ting. Another team member was amazed that they were able to do 20 loops in one go that he asked, “What’s next, Ultrahamster Run?” To which the group replied,

Photo from Ultrahamster running page

Yes, 20 loops around the cemetery must be an assurance that they still had clear minds when they made that decision. From then on, it became an annual event in Cebu, usually scheduled around the “Halloween” season to make it “relevant”. Though considered to be not your typical mainstream race but nevertheless a popular among the few local Cebu runners. If you want to experience a different side of Cebu running, this is where you go to. =) (To join, more details here >>.)

This year, it will be this Sunday, October 20, 2013! It’s a come-as-you-are event. The only important rule you need to follow is NO LITTER. Dress code: Tights or baller or short split shorts is welcome!

Photo by John Domingo

Like a throwbackthursday, following are “moments” / anecdotes I dug up from their archives.

1. Before you try memorizing the names printed on “lapida,” you can try this brain twister from Edward Ting to entertain yourself while doing laps:

How’s your algebra?
2 runners
juan & pedro
juan runs 6:00min/km or 10km/hr
pedro runs 7:00min/km or 8.57 km/hr
running around a 2 km loop
at which point ma lap out ni juan si pedro? (Source here >>)

2. Aside from “No Litter,” another important motto to be followed is “Anesai” lang ni ato.”

This very high-end “timing cheap,” devised by Jacob Ong, can not only monitor time, but also honesty. =)

Photo from Willie Estepa

3. Sleepy during the run? No problem. Sleeping quarters are available.

Photo from Jacob Ong

Photo from Doc Cecillie Milan

4. If you feel like questioning your existence, you are not alone. Following can be a typical runner’s moment:

After running from 5:15am to 11:15am, Joel Capili Garganera asked the question of the day “Guys nalimot ko, ngano gani to gibuhat nato ni?”

5. Inspiration: “For the average runners/weekend warriors, running is all about competing with oneself. Setting personal goals and developing strategies motivates us to be our best. Knowing our own physical limitations and pushing ourselves beyond those limits. Conquering the “mental” aspect of long distance running/suffering.

During yesterday’s ultrahamster, all these come into play. Ronan took off early, racking up kilometer after kilometer so early in the run and finishing strong with a lot of time left. Patrick, Rex, and Melandro were the slowly but surely guys keeping their own pace and ignoring the guys sprawled under the shade of the trees eating and talking. And hats off to Joel Ouano aka bungoton-alcohol-lonerunner who I honestly thought would not be able to complete the 70km in time. His rest stops were too long early in the run and he was running out of time. With 1.5 hours left to go, he needed to run 10 more kilometers in the blazing heat. He dug deep and did the “veteran’s dance” all the way to the end and had 2 minutes to spare

Congrats guys, there was hardly an audience to witness your craziness but your pride in achieving the extraordinary is something you will keep forever.” – Jacob Ong (Source here >>)
6. Tip on cornering. “UltraHamster route involves a lot of cornering (11 for each loop, 330 total for 30 loops). It’s very important to do these turns correctly to avoid injury to the knee.” – Jacob Ong

7. And, it does not lack challenge. Following are some runners who had set records or became champions, and later become champions in other races:

May, 2011, Willie Estepa for 6-hour category (Photo from Willie Estepa)

May, 2011, Joel Pobar champion for 3-hour category (Photo by Willie Estepa)

October, 2011 10-hour category champions: Joel Cuyos, Lyra Valles (Photo from Jacob Ong)

2012’s 2 of 5 70-KM finishers: Patrick Earl Manulat, Rex Gonzales (Photo by John Domingo)

8. It’s a no-frill running. As always rules has always been the following: NO registration fees; NO awards/certificates/medals; NO loud music and shouting; NO littering; NO water/aid stations (bring your own); NO marshalls (cheaters will be given the finger); Bandits are welcome…

But nevertheless, you’ll never know what tokens are up. Here are a look at of the past commemorative items.

2012 “Trophies” from KAI Stickers Grnd Floor, Gaisano Grand Mall Mandaue Centro A.O. Del Rosario St., Mandaue City

2012 Statement Shirts

A mini Kai sandal medal for 2011 were the tokens. For Kai Running sandals, check

2011’s Tokens and Shirt

And the feast provided by some runners and running groups:

Photo from Doc Cecille Milan


 To register for Ultrahamster Run 2013, simply send email to your NAME, GENDER, TEAM. Check more details here >>.

Posted by:


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


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  1. A Fun-Run Story of UltraTrailMarathonerMountaineerMobilizer Lyra Valles | Running stories - Runroo - 22 January, 2014

    […] 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 […]

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