102k Bataan Death March

If you’re a runner and a big percentage of your friends on FB happen to be one too, chances are your wall would have been flooded with posts from the BDM held last weekend. The 8th Bataan Death March is a 102k ultramarathon from Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga which commemorates the Bataan Death March in April 1942. 102kms is such a long distance that not everyone dares run. 102k worth of pain, courage and glory. No, I didn’t run this one, but my brave TBR batchmates did and they have their own stories to share.


Gammy Tayao

Why BDM?
I joined BDM because I like to challenge myself. Ever since I started running, I try to set goals/milestones for me to hit each year. 2014 – TBR (1st marathon), 2015 – UP2UP (1st 80k), this year BDM102 naman. Sabi nga ni Sheryll Quimosing (2014 BDM Female Grandslammer), BDM is BDM. It’s hard and every ultrarunner wants to do it at some point.
Preparations done
I trained exclusively for BDM102 for 24 weeks. I followed a modified plan by Byron Powell (author of Relentless Forward Progress). All the races I joined between Milo and BDM were for my training. I ran 70-110km/week 4-5 days a week. Back to back LSDs every weekend. Bonk runs once every month. Before I knew it, I was averaging 1 marathon or ultra every month, 300 kms/month mileage.
The biggest sacrifice that I had to make was my time with my girls. My training ate up a large chunk of my weekend so I missed them a lot. I had to take 1 week off in the middle of training (November 2015, nagpunta kami sa Ilocos) just to reset and spend time with them. There are other sacrifices (money, sleeping hours, socials), but QT with the girls trumps everything.
Problems encountered
The heat and the fatigue made me doubt at some point whether I still want to finish.
Nagwall ako around 94km and I felt like crying inside while thinking of my 2 girls na sobrang miss ko na. I had blisters on both feet starting km. 70, but it didn’t bother me as much as the heat did.
On crossing the finish line
It’s the same feeling when I finished TBR. Total bliss. Like nothing is too difficult to overcome anymore. Alam mo na yan.


Commitment to training is important. Embrace the B2B LSD and the heat. Better to suffer in training than to DNF later on. Train with friends. Team Matindi was born because of BDM. Pacing and nutrition during the race are the keys. Practice running slow (this is hard for some runners I know. Let go of your ego to PR every event you join for training.). Eat frequently early during the race. Don’t wait until you’re hungry. Your support crew should know how to force you to eat. Sleep plenty. Enough said.
Time finished: 16:11:35


Oliver Cavinta

Why BDM?
At first, it was all about the hype. I’ve heard that you will be on the elite list if you finish this race, but I was terribly wrong (shame on me). When I leaned that the race course was the same road that our fallen soldiers took during the World War 2, I decided and eagerly wanted to join the race to pay tribute and respect for those brave souls who were beaten, mistreated and had perish back then.
Preparations done
I believe that my first marathon was crucial in achieving my dream run (BDM) because I already knew of it prior to joining TBR batch 5. After the success of my first marathon (TBR), I immediately signed-up for the T2N (Tagaytay to Nasugbu) 50km ultra. From then on, I gradually increased the distance of the races that I joined. Until one day, I finally had the “golden ticket” after 2yrs.
Heat training… a lot of heat training…. and more heat training. If I’m not mistaken, most of the BDM alum always warned that the whole course would be burning and scorching  hot, that I trained under the sun.
Hill repeats is one of the best way to build your endurance and cardio. Since I work near Phillippine Sports arena, I did “stairs repeat” instead.
For me, there is no time frame. As I don’t have time to train 5x a week like other runners do (Wala silang trabaho kasi mga Milyonaryo sila eh. Hehehehehe), I run as often as I can — after office hours from 6-9pm, outside the vicinity of Philippine Sports or inside the oval, every Sat or Sun on UP acad oval, or I would run on Sunday from my house down to Bulacan area.
Sacrifices? A Lot!!!! Hehehehehe… Money!!!! You can’t join runs without money, (di ako big time) >: ) so you need to save and be choosy on what ultra-marathons you want to join.
Gatherings – There are times that I’d pass on every occasion especially birthdays of my friends just to run or to train instead. (Puro ka takbo!!! Kami hindi mo na naaalala).
Job – You need to learn how to balance your time by preparing a good schedule in order for you to be able to meet your deadlines and still get to train after.
Family – This is my top priority in life.  As a father, I see to it I have time for my kids, especially when they need me the most. I’d rather miss my training than miss being with my family. Luckily, my family understands and is very supportive of my running career.
Problems encountered
My worst problem is my stomach. I remember when I ran the 100k Clark ultra-marathon with LBM. 6 times did I need to go to the rest room that made me weak as I crossed the finish line. The RD still gave me my medal, but I was not included on the official list. Luckily during BDM, my stomach held on and cooperated given all the solid and liquid that I took in.
Blisters – At KM 87, both my feet already had “hot spots” that by the time I arrived at KM 95, it had become a full blown blister. Good thing we had a doctor on the support group (Kat) who took care of it (but it hurts until now).
When the race started, I had this sudden surreal feeling. I remembered why I was there. It was that I needed to finish the 102km. I focused on the race and put my complete trust in my support crew. Mind over matter is important especially when running under the heat of the sun, as I had been used to.
Having run alone under the sun during my training days helped me pull it through. Do not!!! Do not!!! Do not think any NEGATIVE thoughts, just happy ones to motivate you especially when your feet and your whole body starts aching.
On crossing the finish line
It was surreal again just like in the starting line. It all came back —  from the time I ran my first 3km until I was injured up to when I crossed the 102km marker.

Advice/ tips
1. Heat training is a must.
2. Heat training is a must.
3. Heat training is a must.
4. Heat training is a must.
5. Heat training is a must. (tignan mo kulay ng balat ko kaka heat training)
• Trust your coaches or your training plan if you have one and follow it religiously.
• Practice the food, gels or liquid you intend to take on your LSDs. Never try new ones (that includes clothes you’re plan to wear)
• 1 month before the race, eat good food and drink milk (Anlene – I drink this, but I’m not endorsing it)
• Sleep, sleep, sleep and Sleep.
Time finished: 16:11:54; 67th out of 107

“You will be surprised on the things you can accomplish if you trust yourself” – Berong


Dana de Guzman

Why BDM?
I was inspired two years ago when I served as a support crew for a good friend of mine. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, “hmmmmn, kaya ko rin yan”.
Preparations done
Oh my! Nakakahiyang i-share kasi ang tamad ko… hehe. Not much, I think which was not good. Before January 30, I was only able to do one 30km LSD two weeks after New Year, joined one ultramarathon which was Rizal to Rizal 50kms (Dec. 29) and before that was Subic International Marathon (Nov. 21).
Prior to those races, I was only able to run 10kms once a week or sometimes zero mileage in a week! I was one lazy runner! I even filed for an LOA from dragonboat paddling last November to “focus” on my “BDM Training”, but I was under the holiday season and gave-in to all the events happening except running.
Problems encountered
I felt tired climbing the route from KM 03 until KM 07 where I will be meeting my support crew. On that long, winding and dark road I was already imagining myself crossing the finish line! Yes, that early in the game! hahaha! I feel so blessed that my legs didn’t cramp and that my tummy didn’t act up (I did #2 during TBR ssSshhh 😐 ) I felt refreshed after the 50KM pit stop where I ate rice and changed clothes. I felt way better on the second half of the race even if the sun was already out. I was a happy runner I would say :). Halos di ko naramdaman ung init and pagod. I’m thinking perhaps a lot of my friends and families prayed for me :).
On crossing the finish line


Train for it! (wag nyo tularan ung ginawa ko). You should also be mentally prepared. If you don’t have the moolah for the expenses, ask pledges from your friends (which I did). Sabi nga nila, pag gusto may paraan. And if you can, bring your family with you. No finish is more exciting when you have them along and especially when you have them waiting for you at the finish line! 🙂
Time finished: 17:27:54



12631138_832177576892769_1566876716_oGlads Jane

Why BDM?
Sumali ako kasi gusto ko malaman lakas ko. Kung kaya ko ba? Ba’t sila kaya nila, so ako kaya ko din. Kahit di ako mabilis at malakas na runner, alam ko kaya ko. Tapos mas nagpush pa ko ituloy nung ntapos ni Mark (boyfriend), although nagrarun ako ng doubt kasi si Mark malakas na yan pero nahirapan pa din. Pero sabi ko wala nman masama i-try, gusto ko kahit maliit at sakitin ako makita ng lahat magagawa din nila kasi nagawa ko.
Eversince kasi, sakitin ako till highschool. Laging special project ako sa PE. Ganun ako kahina at kasakitin. Kaya nung nainvolve ako sa takbo, kahit alam kong mahirap, ginawa ko pa din. Di ko nakikita sarili ko ng malakas ako… hehehe. Although di pa rin mabilis. Kaya sabi ko, if matatapos ko BDM,  mapapatunayan ko kahit weak ka, if may determination ka, kaya mo.
Kaso nga di ko natapos. 😦  Lagi nalang ganun. Parang laging
need ko muna madapa 😦 ,  tas babangon ulit. Hindi pwedeng isang tagumpay nalang? Pero siguro ganun talaga.
Preparation done
Inalis ko katamaran ko. Inalis ko takot ko. Nag enroll ako sa Milo Apex. Nagbuhat ako ng mabibigat. Nagpush ups ako na kahit kelan di ko maiisip magagawa ko. Pinipilit ko makipagsabayan sa mabibilis para bumilis din ako. Balance ang work, social life, training at love life. Super alaga ako sa sarili sa pagkain. Naging healthy nga lahat. Hehehe… May allergy ako sa init pero pinilit ko masanay sa arawan para sa BDM.
Problems encountered
Ang dilim. Mahirap sa akin kasi takot ako sa aso at dilim.
Thank God may kasama ako… Uphills nilakad ko lang talaga siya. Kasi nga after 7-11, dun ko nalaman nung nagpacheck-up ako sa ortho na mahina right knee na alam ko magiging problem ko sa BDM.
Wrong shoes after 50k Asics 😦  Feel ko dun nagtrigger ung sa tuhod kasi ung shoes ang tigas sa paa… Di rin ako prepared na magkapaltos sa talampakan.
Entering dinalupihan pagtawid ko sa highway, nag sprint ako kasi mabibilis ung sasakyan, dun ko naramdaman na gumalaw right knee ko. Ayun, start na ko naglakad, tapos everytime talgang gumagalaw tuhod ko sobrang natakot na ako kasi ayaw ko ang BDM ang last na takbo ko. Nagdasal ako. Sabi ko bahala ka na God. If hindi pa time, sige di ko pipilitin. Pero thank you God nakarating ako sa ganitong kalayong distsnce. Pero syempre ang sakit sabihin sa support mo mag d-DNF ka. Kasi gusto ko talaga matapos… Ang lakas ko pa, eh.. Tuhod ko lang talaga… 😦
pero mas umiral ung takot ko na pag pinagpatuloy ko asan naman ako. Yearly naman may BDM, pero tuhod ko isa lang. Pero pag nakikita ko ung mga kasabayan ko maglakad, naiiyak ako sabi ko abot ako eh… Abot tlga 😦
On making the decision to DNF
Umiyak ako buong araw kahapon
(2 days after BDM).. Pero naisip ko siguro nga may kulang pa. Nakakatuwa lang halos lahat nag p-PM. Sinasabi may tiwala sila sa akin. Magpalakas lang talaga ako. Naiyak ako ng sinabi ng mommy ko magpagaling ka muna, tas training ulit na akala ko magagalit siya dahil sa nangyari. Dahil dun ngayon ok na ko. Buo na ulit ng plan ko this year… Hehehehe training training training….
Advice/ Tips
Hmmmm… pag gusto mo, gawin mo. Walang masamang i-
try. Madapa ka man, Ok lang yun. At least, matuto ka. Malalaman mo kung san ka nagkamali at maayos naman un, eh. Kung sakali next year mabigo ulit ako, e di try ulit hahahaha. At least, dun mas lalo pa ko magiging masipag. If next year maging finisher ako, e di mas ok… Syempre mas magiging masipag pa lalo ako sa training ko. :p  Sana talaga next year,  makuha ko na yong malaking muhon na yan! hahaha


Rassette Pesuelo

Why BDM?
BDM for me is the most prestigious ultramarathon in the Philippines because of its Race Director, the rules and regulations that goes with it and the name itself, “Bataan Death March” as we know in our history. That is why it was my ultimate dream to be called a certified ultramarathoner and that I should join BDM. One more reason is that all of my idols were BDM finishers:-)
Preparations done
I first heard of BDM from my coaches in APEX Milo, late 2014. From there, every half mary that I ran, as well as the full mary like TBR was really a preparation for longer distances like ultras 50k, 60k, 70k, 80k, 100k were preparations for BDM. So, it took me more than a year to train. The sacrifices of no nightlife really, self discipline, sleeping early and no vices. Weekends were purely LSDs (whether UP, Antipolo, Sierra Madre in Tanay, Pililla Rizal). During weekdays, a little of cardio exercises was done twice.
A week before the run, I prepared my food from morning to dinner. With these sacrifices, sometimes I missed family occasions because of training.
Problems encountered
I always worried about my stomach getting upset. Actually, that’s the reason why I ended up being 7th placer when I was the 5th. Just because I had to find a C.R., waited for 12 minutes with nothing happening, my crew told me 2 women had passed the route.
I worried of having blisters and cramps— a runners dilemma that I kept praying wouldn’t happen. During the race, I prayed at every church along the route as I made the sign of the cross each time I’d pass one by.
On crossing the finish line
Happy because I’ve finished the race. I didnt cry at the finish line, but when I got home that’s the time when I did. The day after I read the greetings also made me cry. I was so emotional the day after the race. I’m just happy and thankful as it’s a dream come true for me. 🙂


Passion for running. Prepare yourself — proper training, LSD, nutrition and most importantly: a strong mind and determination to finish the race. The key here is always train your mind/mind conditioning because the last weapon you have is a strong mind. When your legs go weak, but your mind is still strong, you can finish the race. Stay positive.
Time finished:  15:06 place (7th women category, 50th overall out of 170 survivors)


Efren Olpindo

Why BDM?
Personal goal and accomplishment.
Preparation done
Approximately 16 weeks (shortened from the original 30 weeks training plan due to Schooling/Harvard Business School). I ran around 70kms a week (Tues-4km, Wed-10km, Thurs-6km, Fri-off, Sat – 30km, Sun – 20km, Mon- off).. I joined long run events/races (42km and 50kms). I missed/sacrifice some family time during weekends (watching movies, going out to dinner).
Problems encountered
I felt sleepy at around 30km plus and fought the urge to stop and sleep for a while. I felt strong and in fact enjoyed the ran from km 50-75 until I had both soles blistered at the 85th km and could hardly run anymore. Although I feel I hit my limit/boink at km 85 onwards, I focused on finishing it ignoring the pain in my feet, the heat of the sun and the physical fatigue/exhaustion.
On crossing the finish line
Relieved (that it’s all over..hahaha..). I got dizzy a few minutes after claiming my trophy and medal and was put on oxygen in order to catch my breathe.. Anticlimactic..hahaha..


Advice/ Tips
Train hard as if your life will depend on it. Plan your nutrition and brief your support crew. Have a quick refresh (quick sponge bath) and change attire at km50 (the time when runners are allowed to approach/get near their support vehicle). This is to freshen you up and have that psychological impact that you are back to zero/thought reset.
Time finished: 17 hrs 18 mins


Phen Avanzado

Why BDM?
Prestige, bragging rights and crazy mind. LOL! But, kidding aside, I joined because it’s one of the ultra races that will validate me being a runner.
Preparations done
The moment I got the invite to join, that’s when the preparation started. I was fortunate enough to get a copy of a training program from the book Relentless Forward Progress by Brayan Powell c/o Dr. Gammy. It is a 24 weeks training plan, but before I started following it, I made sure that I had weekdays maintenance run and weekends long run. There was a lot of sacrifices once you get serious in training. Most of it is time. My usual schedule was Monday was rest day, Tuesday-Thursday was maintenance run (min. 8k) then on weekends it was normally back to back long run (min. 20k/day).
I was consistent on the first 2 months, but then I tried to lower down my training volume because my body told me to take it easy and rest. It’s not easy to balance training/work/personal life.
Problems encountered
I had to have bathroom break less than 500m to the halfway point. Then blister on my left foot which i thought already “popped” but then it hadn’t after all.
KM80++ was my lowest point due to the blister and tight ITB. I was only walking as fast as I could. I thought of quitting since I still had plans to join races afterwards, but then I told myself I wanted to finish what I had started. “Dig deep” was part of my mantra and I kept praying to God to thank Him and kept asking for strength at the same time.
On crossing the finish line
Tired. Elated. Happy. Fatigue. Accomplished. Teary. On a high.


Train as early as possible even if you are just thinking of signing up. Be open to all the possibilities that could happen during the race itself, so it is a must you try of variety of stuff during your long runs. Do not experiment during the race. Be consistent on your pre, during and after race rituals. Nutrition is imperative in your success— sometimes you just need food in order to keep going. Keep moving forward during the race. Support crew is very crucial in your success. If they are not that driven as you are then they might not be of help, especially on your lowest point. Be humble. Love the ultrarunning community because these people will never leave you on the course they will be there to help you and push you.
Time finished: 17:35… and I’m proud of it!


Lester Estrella

Why BDM?
It’s the challenge of conquering the distance. Like a calling rather than just wanting it.
Preparations done
Six-month training, with 60-80kms per week on the first 3 months and 80-100kms per week on the last 3 months.
It involves waking up as early as 3am on a weekday for those 20km+ target in a day or doing it at night after work.
Sometimes running 25km+ back to back.
Problems encountered
I over rested during the 50km which cooled my muscles way more than necessary and inevitably made it more prone to cramps. Heat was a problem starting 10am but not as bad as my legs cramping
On making the decision to DNF
I know that I failed myself and felt guilty of wasting the time of those who supported me, though they made sure they’re still proud of me.


Advice/ tips
Train religiously, respect the distance. 100km is still 100km, maintain rest periods to 15-20mins max. Plan the course ahead, make sure your support know what to do after km60, because after that, you might not be able to tell them what to do because of the physical and mental stress.
Time finished:  DNF 😦 Only reached km84.


°   °   °   °   °

I have nothing, but respect for these 8 guys. They belong to the first batch of TBR5 who had the guts to sign up for BDM 102. Whether you became a BDM warrior or not, just being out there and having given it all you had was already something. 🙂

As to if I’d ever join BDM myself, I’m not sure. The only thing that’s for sure though is that I already have a list of friends who have long been volunteering to be in my support crew. Nauna pa sila. 😀


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