Vanj Endaya Test Runs the Cavinti Trails

As the 1st Cavinti Road and Trail Adventure Marathon winds down on its final 3 weeks, registration is at fever pitch with the 21k and 42k distances already running out of race bibs! Race Director Joseph Prince Baltazar had to reconsider requests to open up more slots and with the Cavinti Mayor’s go signal decided to add an additional 100 slots for the 21k and 50 more slots for the 42k distances.

I’m a bit surprised how this trail run has attracted huge interest considering that the venue is located remotely away from Metro Manila where travel time takes about 2 to 3 hours to get there and the limited time it took for the organizers to launch the race.

Already, registrants numbered to 445 from the day registration opened 2 weeks ago and is about to exceed the limit of 500 runners for the four (4) distances offered.

Part of the allure of this race might be its scenic course, a combination of roads and trails that winds down to many interest facets of Cavinti like its natural forests, lakes, rivers, mountains and its brown trails and fire roads. Together with other trail runner friends, I was fortunate enough to document the route of the race during a test run we did a few weeks ago which best describes on a blog i wrote:

Mild temperatures, expansive views of surrounding mountains, rolling hills, moderate elevation gains, a beautiful lake and wildflower meadows are the highlights of running in Cavinti. It reminded me of running up the mountain passes of Miyamit in Porac, Pampanga but here, they were shorter and the rolling terrain was more tolerable.

The dirt roads and wide-track trails offer everything from gentle loops to challenging climbs with sweeping views of the Sierra Madre Mountains…

(Complete story and pictures here: cavinti-test-trail-run/):

Just recently, no less than runner and triathlete A-Lister Vanj Endaya took to the trails of Cavinti and tested its waters, so to speak.

Vanj is such a popular multi-sports figure in the local community that when she posts her pictures on Facebook while either running, biking or just lounging around at home or at work on a selfie shot, chances are that in just an hour or two, the picture would garner anywhere from 150-200 “likes”, more if she’s in close-up shots wearing those body-hugging tri-suite of hers!

She’s sexy, to put it bluntly and she attracts what any red-blooded male (or even female) runner wants to see in a female athlete… fast, fierce and a beautiful competitor!

Unless any conflict of schedule gets in the way, Vanj is running the 12k or 21k of this race on November 30.

Let’s get to see some of her pictures during her run in Cavinti a few days ago:

Whether in a trail or road shoe, it sure looks good on her

Getting ready for the run

At the spillway

At the Bumbungan Eco Park

At a fire road in the innermost side of Cavinti (This pic attracted 510 likes as of press time)

She gives us a sneak peek of the 42k route

After the run, Vanj gives a courtesy call to Cavinti Mayor Milbert Oliveros (middle). At left is RD Joseph Prince Baltazar

The nice glass-made 42k medal

Glass trophy

Thanks to Aquiz Minlay and Vanj Endaya for the photos!

Guest Blogger: Jackie’s Running Story, From Roots To Routes

One of Manila’s most recognizable faces in running, Jackie Gutierrez guest blogs her experiences in running, from an overweight running newbie to her present status as an ultra-runner and MILO Apex Team Manager/Trainor.

Here’s her story:

I started running last February of 2011 when a friend of mine invited me to run the Laura Vicuna Foundation Fun Run, an advocacy run for child’s protection at the La Salle Greenhills oval. The day before the race, I attended my Aikido class then went out with friends on a Gimik night out and came home in the wee hours of the morning, just enough time to change to running wear for the 6am start. That time, i really had no idea about running, so i thought running the race without practice will be just fine. I was wearing heavy jogging pants, a cotton shirt, and ordinary rubber shoes. I would be doing a 10k for the first time.

I hardly had any sleep the day before but was determined to finish my first 10k. Well, I did survive the race and finished the distance, but at a price. I just felt terrible after the run, my body felt very ill and gave in to sickness. Very sick in fact that I was bedridden for one whole week!

I wasn’t able to walk, much more run any step and this proved to be a big lesson for me that practice and training should be done prior to joining fun runs or races! I was able to survive that horrible week more determined to redeem myself, learn from my mistakes and actually prepare and train for my next run!

Baby fat! My first run

My next race was a 5k Run, the Run for Life held in Raja Solayman, Roxas Blvd. This time, I did prepare for this race and did some short training runs that resulted to a 45 mins finish time. Not really a good time but was satisfied nevertheless and was glad that I didn’t suffer the after effects of my first race. Still, I knew I could run faster if only I could reduce my weight as I felt like a bouncing ball running astray at Roxas Blvd. I was also able to buy real running shoes, a pair of New Balance and felt more stable and comfortable than running in my old rubber sneakers.

I then concentrated in doing shorter races, this time when I registered for the Womens’ Health Athena 3k and finished it in 23mins. I was very happy with this race and as a bonus, was able to have a lot of my pictures taken with movie and TV celebrities! Thereafter, I registered for the Hyundai 5k Run with my friend, Mader Rikki  and was happy to chop-off my previous 5k time of 45 mins to 38mins for this race.

With “fellow” beauty queen Venus Raj 🙂

Now, I knew I was hooked to running! At every opportunity, I attended free running clinics like Runnr Academy BGC which offerered a  3-month program, Runners World at the Ultra Sports Complex, the BGC Mizuno Running Clinic, the  Adination of Runners in BGC, among others because i wanted to immerse myself in the world of running, to gain more knowledge, to lose more weight and improve myself.

The turning point in all these activities is when I enrolled at the MILO Apex Running School. I registered as a 10k beginner, then gradually increasing my level to the 10k advanced group, 21k Beginners and 21k Advance groups. I believed that the Milo Apex program was the most effective for me as they offered Scientific Running Programs for runners who want to become fitter, faster and a smarter runner.

At a Milo race

Since then, my races frequented into weekly affairs and my PRs also gradually improved from the 5k to the 21k distances. I knew that if I kept this training up, I would be a better and fitter runner. I really saw the benefits of the Milo Apex program when I lost about 15 lbs in 3 months as I incorporated core work for my upper body 2 or 3 times a week. I really enjoyed being here at the Milo program not just because i learned a lot but i also gained more friends because of the camaraderie of the group.

Sexy me!

Because of my consistency in training and being part of the Milo Apex program, running has changed my life. It gave me a reason to strive harder being a single parent to support my 3 kids, developed who I am as a person and continue to be the best of who I can be.

Last year, Milo hired me as a Team Manager/Trainor, in charge of the 10km group which I still do at present. This year, I have also started to enjoy trail running, mountain climbing and running ultra-marathons of 50kms and more. So far I had done 4 full marathons including the Singapore International Marathon last year. My extracurricular activities also include rowing and dragon boat racing.

A 50k ultramarathon finish

A dragon boat team member

Mountain climber

Hopefully with my continuous teaching at the Milo Apex School, i can inspire more people and motivate them. I want to be a good role model, to beginner runners in particular. If I can inspire others, my mind becomes happy and I would have achieved what God wishes me to share to others.

With Love–Jackie Gutierrez

Meet Pippay Runner!

I like Pippa Middleton! She was stunning during her sister Kate’s wedding to Prince William and her elegance also showed in her figure… slender and sexy. She’s about 5’9″ and looks athletic so the question pops in my conscience–does she run?

So what do i know? Turns out that her Royal Hotness is a runner, a triathlete in fact and has competed in various triathlons and duathlons in the past.

Her latest caper was competing in the Highland Cross Challenge last June 18, 2011, running and cycling a gruelling 50 miles coast to coast through some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery.

The Highland Cross is a  50-mile duathlon (a 20-mile run, 30 miles on bike) traversing the spectacular Scottish Highlands coast to coast, west to east from Kintail through Glen Affric and Strathglass to Beauly.

Tired but ever smiling, she finished the backbreaking event in Beauly, ten miles from Inverness on the east coast, at 4.08pm in a respectable five hours, eight minutes. She finished in the top 15 ladies out of 160 female competitors.

She said that it was one of the toughest things she has done and is really pleased to have finished. The race was won by Rob Brooks in 3:39:29

The record for the event is three hours and 13 minutes and has not been broken since 1993.

Reportedly, she has ran a lot of races in the middle distances, and attended  Marlborough College in a sports scholarship.

Earlier this year, she also completed a triathlon at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. So move over, Noelle and make way for Pippay Runner!:-)

Photos by Ikon Pictures

This General Has Returned…To Running

I don’t run at the Quezon Memorial Circle as often as i used to and when i do run the 3.5km route twice a week from my home to get there, it’s usually to do cross-training of TAEBO with some of the runners i train with. A good complement to running, TAEBO increases strength, flexibility of the upper body muscles of the arms and shoulders. I just so love the feeling after a good 30 to 45 minute work-out…the arms and shoulders have been flexed a bit and with the usual boxing and karate chop moves, who knows– i might be up to martial arts someday.:-) 

This morning was a little different as i got to meet one of the running icons during the 80’s, a military man who had a best time of 36:00+ for the 10k and a 3:06 for the full marathon. I wrote about him in a past blog (here) and now that he’s out on provisional liberty, he’s bound to regain back that speed by starting to do short runs and eventually train for another marathon. General Danny Lim has gained weight and his planned runs would probably get him to regain his strength and speed and ditch some unwanted fat. 

An old newspaper clipping from his 80's running years

I took some pictures of him this morning but accidentally deleted most of them while transferring it into my usb. 

I’m posting below the remaining ones and i hope the good General gets into shape soon and see him run in one of the local races. 

General Lim is 3rd from right

With some of the Runnex members

The General in black shorts at the Runnex shade in QMC

Bewitched, Smitten and Bewildered!

I could name some of the most beautiful female tennis players that ever played in the last decade and those would include Maria Sharapova, Ana Kournikova, Ana Ivanovic, Mary Pierce and Maria Kirilenko, among many others. While they’re amongst some of the fiercest and competitive players around, not only do they possess beauty but also provide glamour to the sport and have attracted hordes of fans.

In the world of running however, very few, if ever has caught our imagination… maybe because of our perception that running is more of a masculine sport, less glamorous than tennis or running and beauty don’t mix? I disagree! Our local Runrio races will disprove this notion as the beautiful and glamorous (as Imelda would term it) have always been a fixture to these races.

I just discovered one such beauty recently and her name is KARA GOUCHER, one of America’s elite middle and long distance runners. Kara made her marathon debut at the New York City Marathon on November 2, 2008.  She finished in third place in a time of 2:25:53 becoming the first American on the podium since Anne Marie Lauck was third in 1994. She also placed third in the 2009 Boston Marathon in a time of 2:32:25. Coached by former marathon stand-out Alberto Salazar, she’s a 2008 Olympian in the 5,000m and 10,000m and holder of the American Women’s debut record in the marathon.
Her Personal Records include:

1,500m: 4:05.14 (2006)
1 Mile: 4:36.03 (2008)
3,000m: 8:34.99 (2007)
2 Miles: 9:41.32 (2007)
5,000m: 14:55.02 (2007)
10,000m: 30:55.16 (2008)
Marathon: 2:25:53 (2008) **fastest debut ever by an American woman.

She may not be as stunning as Sharapova or a Kournikova but she has this gentle charm, cheery disposition, a flair of elegance and a running physique to die for. A darling who attracts fans and crowds in the races she competes in, she’s a shoo-in for “crush ng bayan!”


Cover on March 2010 issue of Runners World


This is one lucky dude!

(Photos taken from her Facebook a/c)

This General Is Also A Runner!


When Ces Orena Drilon of ABS-CBN was interviewing senatorial hopeful, Brig. General Danny Lim inside his barracks at Camp Crame a few Sundays ago, i noticed that the General was wearing a white finishers race shirt and i wondered if he ever was a runner. Last week, Runnex Prexy Rudy Fernandez handed me an old clipping of the Philippine Military Academy’s weekly sports newsletter, “The PMA Sportsman” and i was greatly surprised that Gen. Lim was indeed a runner, and a fast one at that!  

I am quoting here excerpts from the newsletter dated October 1985:  

“Captain Danilo “Samboy” Lim (he must be the running version of the Skywalker) of the Blue Team, two consecutive years’ 5k marathon (sic) champion in the officers intercolor, topped the first of three series of 5Ks held last September 19, 1985. The 30 year old runner who consistently led throughout the race reached the finish line in 19 mins and 38 secs breaking his best record of 20 mins and 51 secs set a year ago.  

A born runner, Lim has participated in several marathon events both local and international. In international competitions, he was a two time member of the Philippine Corporate Cup Team, composed of the best runners in the country which participated in the U.S. Corporate Cup Championship Finals held in Palo Alto, California in 1983 and 1984 and a finisher in the Filipinas Third World 42K marathon in Manila.  

He garnered top honors in several local runs which include, The Saucony Elimination Series, Champion (Executive Division); Baguio 10K Run-Sponsored by Pugad Lawin, Champion (Executive Division), Baguio 20k Penitential Run-Sponsored by Baguio Road Runners Club, Champion (Open Division) and the Fil-Am Friendship Games 10K run series where he was a consistent top finisher.  

He bagged several medals for his performance in various editions of the North Star 10K runs. Here in PMA, he was a consistent top bracket placer in PMAAA competitions, The First Class/Officers Marathon and in the previous PMA Officers intercolors 5k run.”  

Top picture shows his winning form while the picture below shows him receiving his award from Dr. Perry Mequi

It is also worthy to mention that in some old newspaper clippings handed over by Rudy, General Lim also ran with and against another equally famous General by the name of Jovenal Narcise who is none other than the Baldrunner.  

General Lim is presently detained (among several other military officers) at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame for involvement in failed attempts to topple the present administration. Although disallowed to campaign outside of his barracks, his wife, a vast horde of supporters and organized groups are taking charge of his campaign trail in the hope of bringing change and continuing his fight against corruption with his advocacies, reforms and good governance.  

Hopefully, someday, we might see him again running in the streets of Metro Manila and elsewhere!