Beam Me Up, Scotty!

So last Wednesday was one of the most unforgettable days ever! This is all thanks to RD Jonel Mendoza when he was able to pull all the stops and bring to the country ultra running’s towering living legend, Scott Jurek to talk about his experiences in the sport of ultra running and his take on his strict vegan diet which has sustained his unsurpassed feats of running for many years.

The entrance to the Asian Development Bank Compound was strict so we had to go through a lot of checks and verifications from security personnel before reaching the small auditorium where Jurek would speak. I was able to secure a ticket from Jonel despite knowing that tickets were already fully reserved days before.

Scott starting the lecture

Jurek is a personification of what a truly ultra-marathoner should be, disciplined but open to many options and ideas, strong-willed yet listens also to the demands and limits of his body and most importantly, a true gentleman.

His lectures has a zen-like structure that incorporates experiences derived from his races, diet and enormous thirst for adventurism. His “goal-setting” is a classic example of examining one’s attitude toward the sport. He said that to be able to succeed, you have to want it, you have to know it, be able to tweak it and really want it some more!

Talking about calorie intake

I was a bit fascinated about him recalling that a week before running the Hard Rock 100, the world’s toughest 100-mile trail race,  he sprained an ankle while playing soccer with kids but continued to run the grueling 100-mile race even taking more than half an hour off the course record! He wore an ankle brace to help him survive Hardrock’s grueling trails and 33,992 feet of cumulative elevation gain, and finished in 26 hours, 8 minutes! This record has since been broken.

Book signing (photo by R. Belen)

The sprained ankle did not deter him from running in one of his best races which also taught him how to turn setbacks into advantages. He advises to take stock of the situation and accept emotions, remedy the situation in real time and put a positive spin into it.

These were just some of the bits of wisdom Scott imparted and it was awesome really hearing him on. He’s such a great guy and kind of embodies the spirit of a great champion!

Finally, a picture with the man himself!

And a picture with Scott’s better half, Jenny Jurek

A memento

Running in the streets of Metro Manila (SJ’s Instagram post)


What Questions Would You Ask Scott Jurek During His Talk Here In Manila?

Scott Jurek is our sport’s towering living legend! He is one of running’s catalyst not only in the U.S. but all around the world and ultra running is what it is today because of him! He has been acclaimed as the best ultra runner of his time, won almost all of the prestigious ultramarathons in the world and changed the whole sport.

Jurek. (Photo from

As many of you are aware, Scott Jurek will be coming to Manila on December 10 and to Cebu City on the 12th, to give lectures about his rise in the sport of ultrarunning and about his famous vegan diet. His book, Eat and Run relays his experiences competing in 100-plus-mile ultra races and thriving on a plant-based nutrition where he shares the advantages of embracing this diet.

He is considered a pacesetter, an icon of distance running. His passion, brilliance and energy is the source of many an inspiration for ordinary runners to pursue the world of ultra running!

Meanwhile, i was pondering on what questions to ask him after he gives his lectures and this will be during the Q and A portion of his talk. I’m pretty sure that all sort of questions have been thrown his way about his vegan diet, training, ultra races, injuries, victories, running gear, nutrition, etc. so i’ll deviate a little and go for something off-base in my questions.

Here’s five (5) questions i would like to ask him:

1.  Who among the present crop of ultra runners impresses you most? What accomplishment did he/she do that made you really impressed?

2.  Who would you consider a “hero” in your life and why?

3.  Has your wife Jenny, or your mother-in-law Lee, cooked any Filipino vegetable dishes that you liked? Have you tried the Ilocano dishes “Pinakbet” and “Dinengdeng”? (Jenny is half-Filipina, half- Japanese. Her mother and grandfather are from Ilocos Sur.)

4.  If invited to run an ultra race here in the Philippines, would you oblige accepting running in one, let’s say a race organized by Frontrunner Magazine? How often do you accept offers when you race abroad?

5. What other sport would you have competed in, if you were not running ultra distances?

My “bonus” question:

6. Are you aware of boxing great, Manny Pacquiao? Do you think Manny can beat Floyd Mayweather if the latter accepts the challenge? 🙂

So, if you are attending his lectures, what questions are you going to ask him?

Please do share your questions on the comments section below and i just might include to ask these after his lecture.

From his Facebook page today, November 27, 2014.

And by the way, tickets for these lectures are still available. See poster and details at


Cesar Guarin’s Sets For Global Run

Cesar Guarin has been an old fixture in the local running scene as he first emerged during the first running boom of the late 70s. When i started to take up running during the early 80s, he was already in the limelight, running in various local races until he set to run his first of many ultra running feats starting with the Trans-Pilipinas Ultramarathon, covering a total of 2, 251 kms from Zamboanga City to Baguio City which he did in 37 days.

Considered the “Father of Ultramarathon”  in the Philippines, he is now set to conquer another 30,000 kilometers across the world in the Global Run: Takbong Alay sa Pilipino at sa Buong Mundo.  Guarin is undertaking this near-impossible feat to pay personal tribute to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).

Likewise, Guarin is dedicating his global run to Filipino street children, raising funds to help them through his group’s “Batang Pangarap” program. Guarin’s group teamed up with Overseas Filipino communities and various agencies to get underprivileged kids into running, and provide them with their basic needs and social development programs.

Backing Guarin on his worthwhile quest is the Philippines’ leading low-cost carrier, Cebu Pacific. In a special event held recently at the Xin Tian Di of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the airline expressed its full support to the man known as the “father of ultra-marathon” in the country.

Guarin on one of his ultra runs in Europe

“Cesar Guarin is very inspirational. He is trying to do something that no Filipino has ever done before, which is to run around the world, the equivalent of a thousand marathons,” said Alex Reyes, general manager of the Cebu Pacific Long Haul Division. “He’s also reaching out to all the OFW communities in the countries that he’s visiting, reaching out and bringing a little bit of home to them.”

Reyes also expressed that not only is Guarin’s cause a worthy endeavor to support, his global run is aligned with Cebu Pacific’s core mission, which is to serve the Filipino overseas communities. “Today there is no Filipino carrier that flies to the Middle East.  We’ve chosen Dubai as our first long-haul destination to cater to Filipinos based there,” he said. “By making fares so much more affordable, OFWs can come home much more often or their families can visit them there.”

Alex Reyes (L), General Manager of the Cebu Pacific Long Haul Division, Cesar Guarin and Candice A. Iyog, VP for Marketing and Distribution during the launch of the Global Pinoy Run last week

“Through Cebu Pacific’s low-fare, great-value service, we hope that there will be more frequent reunions for overseas Pinoys and their families,” Reyes added.

With Filipino OFWs in Europe

Guarin’s goal to circumnavigate the world on foot started with a dream: he wanted to be the first Filipino to bring home the Olympic gold marathon medal. After failing to qualify for the 1980 Moscow Olympics because of an injury, he channeled his frustrations to completing the Trans Pilipinas Run, covering 2,251 kilometers from Zamboanga to Baguio in 1983.

Guarin followed this achievement with the Trans USA Run in 1985, running across 14 states in 48 days non-stop, from Mondays to Sundays, literally from the east to the west coast.

These ultra-distance runs gave him the training he wanted, and improved his strength and endurance. He joined the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, but was again thwarted by an injury. Rather than feel defeated, Guarin persisted on and was back on his feet by 1992.

Cesar talking about his upcoming global run during the launching of his Global Pinoy Run at Crowne Plaza Hotel last week

He set out for the Trans Europe Run, covering a distance of 3,756 kilometers from Barcelona to Rome in 67 days. His Europe run was filled with challenges. Their corporate sponsor backed out at the last minute and they had to improvise using a mountain bike instead of a support vehicle. His long-time friend George Tan had to carry 50 kilos of supplies across 6 mountainous European countries for two months on bike.

Now 57 years old, Guarin continues to challenge himself and is determined to conquer the rest of the world. His next stop, the Middle East, is seventh of his 15-stage worldwide run. While the tough weather conditions and rough terrains may intimidate regular runners, Guarin considers them part of the challenge and is looking forward to the adventure that awaits him.

Next Challenge: 1,265-km Solo Run in the Middle East this 2013

Guarin will now embark on his Middle East Run challenge, referred to as “the toughest extreme distance run” among Cesar’s 16 stages of his global run. To finish this ultra-marathon  Cesar will have to complete the total distance in 6 countries in the Middle East (UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait).

Next stop, the Middle East

Finished (1983 to 2011) –

Stage 1: Trans Pilipinas Run                             2,251 km   37 days   1983

Stage 2: Trans USA Run                                    4,960 km   87 days   1985

Stage 3: Trans Europe Run (6)                         3,756 km   67 days   1992

Stage 4: US–Canada Run                                 1,272 km   29 days   2009

Stage 5: Trans Australia Run                            2,053 km   36 days   2011

Stage 6:  Finland–England Run II (7)              1,820 km   45 days   2012

In Progress (2012 to 2017) –

Stage 7: Middle East Run (4)                            1,265 km   31 days   2013

Stage 8: USA – Alaska Run (2)                         3,134 km   74 days   2013

Stage 9: Japan–Korea-China Run (3)             2,857 km   68 days   2014

Stage 10:  Austria–Greece Run (3)                  3,065 km   60 days   2014

Stage 11: Russia–Hungary Run (6)                 2,539 km   60 days   2015

Stage 12: Egypt–Jordan Run (3)                      2,290 km   50 days   2015

Stage 13: Brazil–Argentina Run (3)                 3,144 km   75 days   2016

Stage 14: India–Nepal–Bhutan                        2,223 km   48 days   2016

Stage 15: Myanmar–Singapore Run (3)         3,766 km   90 days   2017

Stage 16: Brunei–Philippines Run                   2,067 km   50 days   2017

The runs will be on desert roads and around an oval course in regions or areas where road running is prohibited or illegal. At 1,265 kilometers, it’s going to be a challenging run, which may take 40 or more days to complete.

Global Run Middle East will surely be one of the most memorable and exciting global run stage that Cesar and his team will venture. For Cesar Guarin, global running is an incredible life changing experience where he challenges himself against some of the most rugged and beautiful landscapes in the world. Once he finished this run he will be the first person to have run an ultramarathon of this magnitude in the Middle East.

At the launch with fellow bloggers

Yours truly with the man himself

“I’m happy that Cebu Pacific is backing this global run. This started as a very personal project, so I’m really delighted that we’re getting more support,” said Guarin. “Choosing Dubai as one of their first long-haul destinations and offering low fares show that Cebu Pacific, like me, is a supporter of Global Filipinos,” he added.

My T2N 50K Ultra Marathon Finish

It’s been two days since i ran my first 50k ultra-marathon but i’m still savoring the ride after such a wonderful experience! Although i’ve been feeling pretty sore specially my calf muscles and left heel, i can’t help but smile and shake my head in disbelief every time i think about all that i went through last Sunday.

At the finish line

So now, i’m sitting here icing the sore legs, trying not to over-fantasize last Sunday’s events in my head but it’s hard not to do so. The T2N (Tagaytay To Nasugbu) 50k was a great humbling, learning experience. I had trained with my very supportive group, Team 90% and went through with all the hard work like doing 35k+ Sunday runs, hill training, mountain trekking, the works…so i thought i was well trained for handling the distance. Apparently not so.

I was fighting off cramps on my left calf muscles and hamstrings from kilometer 25 and had to stop several times just to stretch and have it massaged. The heat was almost killing, specially during the last 10k. I had to forgo taking in some food (except for bit-sized bites) and had to pay for it at the latter stages. My whole legs went dead specially in the last 3 kms and if not for the prodding of my aNR co-Team Leader, KB Runner and my support team (HBK-UP) i would have walked out those last 3 long kilometers. My foregoing of food eventually got to me and what missing-out on foods didn’t do, the heat sure did!

I even kept cursing on that Jolibee Arc sign which was the marker indicating that i was nearing the finish because the more i ran nearer to it, the farther it seemed to be as if someone has been pulling it away from me!  Talking about being delirious!:-)

That said, the experience was all worthwhile. I had the best support group in the world, the UP Heartbreakers Team and our own Team 90% Support group.

In summary, i finished in a modest time of 7:18:42 coming in at 182 out of 275 finishers. Even though running T2N was a struggle, i’m very glad and satisfied that i ran it. The route was refreshingly scenic, the race wasn’t the least bit crowded, it had a great friendly vibe to it, was very well organized and the party atmosphere at the finish line was awesome.

I’m looking forward to running more ultras in the future!

Here are some photos before, during and after the event:

A pit stop somewhere in Laguna on our way to Tagaytay

The view from our hotel room

Last carbo-loading dinner with Team 90%

The morning of the race at the hotel lobby

Foggy start at People’s Park, Tagaytay

With Race Director Gen. BR (r), Ninang Tonet and Tita Betty

With the Maybankers, Darryl, Alexis, Chips

Somewhere near Alfonso, Cavite

Near Taal Vista Lodge

Pacing with Leo and Chito (photo by Running Atom)

One of my two support teams. Simply the best! L-R: KB, Ai, Glo and May (Photo by Running Atom)

The typical Race Director BR’s handshake at the finish!

Happy! (Photo by Yet Severino)

Team 90%. Eight for eight finish! L-R: Betty, Leo, Mel, Chito, Sylvia , Tonet and Jazzrunner. (Elaine not in photo as she had to leave early)

Other Photo Credits: J. Avellanosa Photography