Event: 2nd Sipalay City Ultramarathon 2014 (Share your story here >>)
Related Event: ProSport upcoming race: Calatrava Monkey Trail Run (June 29, 2014), more info here >>
Related story: my First Sunset Trail Adventure Run by Roger Aguilar
Photos: Benz Custodio-Ruiz here >>
Sipalay: The Jewel of the Sugar Island
Every time I came across Doc Bob in a few ultramarathon races, he would not fail to bring up the beauty of Sipalay, and would also not fail to invite us to join his ultramarathon he would soon organize. Added to that, he’s also the race director of the Mt. Patag Eco Endurance Challenge which has been getting a lot of great feedback regarding the challenging but with equally beautiful scenic route.
So finally we had a chance last week to finally see Sipalay. The travel was already an ultramarathon experience, which, like an ultra is a 90% mental. You need to be mentally asleep, or mentally creative to endure at least 6 hours of sitting on the bus.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
-T. S. Eliot
In case of Sipalay, only those who risk going too long sitting on a bus can find out the true meaning of the “The Jewel of the Sugar Island.” With few places I’d been to, Sipalay is one of those places that I wish to visit again and again because just looking at the vastness of its beaches and unique hills, coves and many in betweens of it from the boat ride (when we transfer to the city from Sugar Beach), I cannot imagine how to enjoy them all in one trip:
the different hues of sand: from dark, brown to white.
their chocolate hills around the coves.
the bursts of colors at sunset, and, how do you get to meet all the people from the sea to the animals in the land.
Sipalay City Ultramarathon: 12 Years in the Making
So we really came here for the Sipalay City Ultramarathon. I was not expecting much from it since the short stay, prior to the race, was a blast already.
In a small gathering of runners, Doc Bob Ledesma made a brief speech of how he came up with this race. The race route was a culmination of his 12 years in Sipalay, in where he runs in between his weekly stay at the city as a surgeon. So it was a culmination of the different beautiful routes he enjoyed and loved in his 12 years.
This was how the a 12-year in the making Sipalay Ultramarathon was:
We got out of the main road, rolling hills, that would lead us to Campomanes Bay, which is popular to divers because of the ship wreck.
For us 50KM category, we can only contend with the sight of it from afar. While the runners in the 75KM category were able to get close to it.
A quick lunch at a carenderia along the route, and this iced buko juice. Pure buko juice is something usual that vendors sell in Sipalay.
Then, it was a flat straight road. The view along the road was beautiful, only if it was not so scorching hot!
Then we detoured to an off-beaten track again, that went thru beside a river, which at that time I was having mixed emotions of wanting to dive into it and cursing it at the same time for being beautiful but useless to my overheated body.
It went thru farms.
And, after you thought you’re done, it would bring you to hills before you would be spitted out to the main road again.
For the 50KM category, after getting out of the dirt road and endless rolling hills, it was just nice to see the road again which could mean that the finish line is just a few km and extra more away.
My only complain with the race was that there were more than support crews than the runners. What can I do? They probably love Doc Bob. Hopefully, next time, the support crews will be motivated to join in the race.
Funny how I wonder how can someone consume all the beauty of Sipalay in one trip. And, I believe I got my answer from Sipalay City Ultramarathon. The race actually gives you more that you probably beg off that you already have more than enough to handle.
And, the winners!
Mharianna Yan of Smoke 10 Runners, 27K Female Champion
Aivan Villalon of Sipalay City, 27K Male Champion
Joemer Balibag of Sipalay City, 55K Male Champion
Me and myself, the 55K ultimate champion. WATCH OUT for my race story soon at aktib.ph!
Big thanks to the RD, ProSport organizer, the local LGU support crew, other volunteers, and the helpful Sipalay-nons along the way!