How To Claim Your Free QCIM Race Packets

If you won or were awarded a free QCIM3 race packet from one of the esteemed bloggers, please be guided of the following:

  • Redemption of the packets will be this Saturday, December 3, 2011 from 9:00am to 6:00pm at the 3/f, Bahay ng Alumni Bldg., University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City.
  • For those claimants whose last names starts from A to N, redemption should be made from 9:00Am to 1:00PM while those with names starting from O to Z can claim their free race kits from 1:00PM to 6:00PM. This will avoid over-crowding and confusion at the claim areas. Priority will be given to those who follow this schedule.
  • The organizers have guaranteed your preferred distance categories specially the 5k, 10k and the 21k distances. However, slots for the 42k distance have ran-out but are trying their best to include all 42k runners whose names were submitted before Saturday’s deadline. A race packet for 21k will be given for those who will not be able to get their 42k packets.

U.P. Campus: A Universal Playground

I am re-posting an article published last April 7, 2011 by SAM MARCELO, Senior writer of the Business World Newspaper who wrote this splendid article about running and other sporting activities at the University of the Philippines campus. Sam reminisces why the campus of his Alma mater has been attracting hordes of sports enthusiasts and shares his pleasant experiences with the running community. He quotes me (ehem..) on the routes inside the campus and why running there has been a part of many runners’ itinerary. Here’s the article:


The University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman is a year-round petri dish of human activity. Unlike schools that turn into ghost towns over summer vacation, UP is perpetually alive. On Sundays, when cars aren’t allowed into the Academic Oval, weekend warriors flock to the Diliman campus, already a Mecca for joggers, and turn the university into a universal playground.

The beating heart of UP is the Academic Oval, a 2.2-kilometer stretch that is more rectangle than oval when viewed in Google Earth’s satellite images. Joggers usually begin their run at Quezon Hall (The Administration Building or “Admin”), the site of the Oblation statue. Sculpted by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino, the pose of the Oblation — arms outstretched, head turned to the sky — is symbolic of solemn offering (which is what “oblation” means, in the first place). During my years as a UP student, I never saw the Oblation as a sacrificial lamb. I always thought — and still think — of UP’s naked man as an Olympic ideal, a victorious runner breasting the tape.
Under his shadow, runners limber up. While stretching their gastrocnemius and quadriceps muscles, they face towards the west, like the Oblation, and take in the view: the length of the University Avenue framed by a pair of triangular waiting sheds designed by National Artist Napoleon Abueva. The sunflowers that line “Univ. Ave.” haven’t yet begun to bloom but they are there, sleeping underneath the earth. Sunflowers are a summer tradition in UP; these heliotropes are scheduled to bloom late April, right around the time graduation ceremonies are held.

After the ritual of stretching is done, one can either turn towards Roxas Ave. and run the Acad Oval counterclockwise (in the same direction as the area’s one-way vehicular traffic scheme) or turn towards Osmena Ave. and run clockwise.

The experience isn’t the same. Running the loop counterclockwise means going with the flow and becoming a proverbial single drop of water in a mighty river. Running clockwise means seeing people — really seeing them — and occasionally meeting an oncoming jogger’s eyes. Many prefer to run counterclockwise. Assuming that the elevation data available from Google Earth is accurate, there is a rational explanation for this phenomenon: the Acad Oval is easier to run counterclockwise because of the downward sloping terrain close to Melchor Hall (The College of Engineering, “Engíg”). Go clockwise and you’ll be running uphill more often than not.

Part of the Academic Oval

During the beginning of the school year, freshmen are given “survival guides” containing university lore. Trivia compiled in Vista Pinas, a blog run by Eugene Alvin Villar, UP alumnus and self-described “techno-addict and map-fanatic,” includes the following unverified but oft-quoted details: (1) there are 16 humps around the Acad Oval; (2) its western end is Kilometer 14 and its eastern end, Kilometer 15; and (3) 281 acacia trees line the oval, 109 on the outer lane and 172 on the inside. The branches of these acacia trees tangle, twine and form an arboreal embrace above UP’s runners.

“Running in UP is great because of its almost pollution-free environment. It has wide open spaces, acacia tree-lined roads and many more shaded pathways that protect you from the heat of the sun,” said Rene L. Villarta in an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld. Mr. Villarta is the team leader and head of the Adidas Adination of Runners Running Clinic that meets in UP every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. “Running in UP is like running in a huge park replete with botanical gardens, green foliage, quaint residential neighborhoods, and buildings old and new. Vehicles are at a minimum and, most importantly, the campus is very peaceful.MICROCOSM OF PHILIPPINE SOCIETY”

The university is said to be a microcosm of Philippine society. Jogging is a fine opportunity to people-watch and the variety of joggers and jogging-related fashion in UP is different from the yuppie/expat agglomeration found in the south. You will not find anyone like Lawin or Zorro, the unofficial masked mascot of the university whose lair extends from Quezon Memorial Circle to UP, in Makati or Fort Bonifacio Global City.

U.P.'s Zorro (Pic taken from Juice Kupo's blog)

The caped crusader is harmless — he might be considered a protector, even — and he is as much a part of UP as the Oblation, as the “aristokarts,” the “hepa sandwiches,” and the Ikot and Toki jeeps. He perches on the Acad Oval’s benches, high-fives random joggers, and cheers them on.

UP has cross-training varsity members, their loping nonchalance evident in every swish of their loose Michael Jordanesque shorts; serious runners identifiable by their metronomic gait and hydration systems; ex-athletes who wear their old jerseys like armor, as if to say “I may be a sack of potatoes now but I used to be fit”; marathoners in racing singlets proclaiming that they ARE fit and capable of finishing a 21-kilometer race; trendy runners trying out Vibram FiveFingers barefoot sports shoes; and brand ambassadors who declare their loyalty to either swoosh or three stripes from head to toe.

The Acad Oval has them all: human beings of every age and every morphology (from callipygian to cankleíd). They run, juke, walk, jog, backpedal, high-knee, butt-kick, and karaoke while dressed in sweat pants, compression tights, and last decade’s fashion. The most common accessory? White earbuds courtesy of Steve Jobs.

Me and Marga

Along Roxas Ave., by the waiting shed in front of the Faculty Center (“FC”), BMX bikers — different from the helmeted cyclists going around the Acad Oval — perform wheelies, tailwhips, and other “flatland” tricks while dressed in low-slung jeans that expose boxer shorts — and, on occasion, butt-crack — to the jogging public.

Continuing on the counterclockwise route, a jogger will see skateboarders doing kickflips and grinds on the AS steps. This stairway leads to Palma Hall, formerly the “Arts and Sciences” Building (hence “AS”). The entities previously housed in this building have since split into the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Social Science and Philosophy, and the College of Science, but its name remains: it is still “AS.
The AS Steps, owned by skateboarders on Sunday, is the acknowledged “tambayan” or hangout of UP’s “coño” crowd. On these steps, they congregate and wait for their drivers to pick them up. It’s possible to spend hours here and the true mark of a UP graduate is the ability to sit anywhere and kill time.
Across the AS Steps, in the AS Parking Lot, mallet-wielding men and women mounted on two-wheeled mechanical horses engage in a new craze: bicycle polo. The Acad Oval is both museum and proving ground for leisurely pursuits. Along this 2.2-kilometer loop, one might spot Rollerblades (inline skates, if you prefer), a throwback from the 1990s, or folding electronic bikes invented by a UP Diliman engineering graduate (look up the Tronix eBike).


As a jogger approaches the eastern side of the Acad Oval, opposite the Oblation Plaza, he sees the Sunken Garden (officially named General Antonio Luna Parade Grounds, but no one calls it that), a natural bowl-like depression teeming with sweaty bodies engaged in team sports. Hours before play begins, designated members must arrive early and stake out their domain with little orange cones. Setting down these pylons is the human equivalent of dogs urinating on their territory.

Adidas Adination of Runners, UP Group

Over time and out of habit, areas become associated with sports. Football is usually played closer to Benitez Hall (College of Education, “Educ”); disc on the opposite end, closer to Malcolm Hall (College of Law, “Law”). The center belongs to whoever gets there first.

The rise and fall of a game’s popularity can be judged by how much of the Sunken Garden’s five hectares it eats up. During its heyday in the early 2000s, flag football used to be played on three fields (to the ire of other sports enthusiasts). That no longer happens since the Sunken Garden crowd has moved to Circulo Verde near Eastwood City.

At best, one might find a group of friends playing seven-a-side flag football or a tackle football team belonging to ArenaBall Philippines, the first local tackle football league, training in full gear.

The natural slope of the Sunken Garden is reserved for idlers who would rather lie on the grass and spectate than participate. They loll, read, sketch, and watch the clouds roll by. With their DSLRs, they document the frolicking staged in front of them. Families set up their tents and picnic mats and enjoy a tame version of the great outdoors.

The covered walk leading from AS to the Gonzalez Hall (University or Main Library, “Main Lib”) offers another vantage point of the Sunken Garden. Back when the College of Fine Arts (“FA”) was still located in Gonzalez Hall, this covered walk was known as the “artist’s street,” where the cool kids and pretty girls of FA hung out.

Boomerang throwers, kite fliers, and Sepak Takraw players have all visited and played in Sunken Garden, a marshy piece of land that, according to UP lore, sits on a fault line (hence the sinking). It isn’t perfect. During the rainy season, the Sunken Garden floods and turns into a mud pit; during summer time, it’s a desert. Artifacts such as broken bottles and condoms have been exhumed from this site of urban anthropology. Unpeopled, the Sunken Garden is a barren womb.

The UP Diliman campus, established in 1949, has a classical layout with a monumental axis running from the Oblation statue to the Andres Bonifacio monument in front of Vinzons Hall. Rounding the eastern end of the Acad Oval, a jogger first hits Law (the mirror image of Educ) then Engig (the mirror image of AS).

The tennis courts and the 130-foot Carillon Tower are found on this side of the Acad Oval. Take your earbuds out and you might hear music students practicing their instruments. A few more paces down and you’ll hit the grassy area behind Quezon Hall, which is more family oriented than Sunken Garden. Volleyball, badminton, buzzing remote-control cars, folks dozing in hammocks — these are the sights on this end of the 2.2-kilometer loop.

The hill opposite Quezon Hall was part of a nine-hole golf course spread over UP’s 493 hectares of rolling terrain. Sometimes, guys take their pitching wedge and practice their swing on this knoll, upon which a makeshift green has also sprouted. Turn the corner and you’re back where you started: right in front of the Oblation statue.

At 6 p.m., the lights flutter on; joggers come and go well into the night. University officials and professors prefer to make their rounds late at night to lessen the risk of bumping into students (it is mildly awkward to see your Math 55 professor panting around the Acad Oval).

Unfortunately, the street lamps’ glow doesn’t reach the Sunken Garden. The last ball is thrown, the last disc is hucked when it finally gets too dark to see.


The known length of the Acad Oval makes it easy for joggers to track their progress. When boredom hits, however, there are several alternatives. First option: the 400-meter Track Oval across the College of Human Kinetics, where the university’s softball and football varsities share the field with track-and-fielders practicing their javelin, shot put, and hammer throws.

Second, the new 500-meter “science oval,” a tribute to the Acad Oval, which is envisioned to be the unifying feature of the soon-to-be-completed National Science Complex, a 21.9-hectare project that was allocated P1.7 billion by the Philippine government in 2006.

And lastly, institutionalized jogging routes used by members of the UP Mountaineers for its diagnostic runs. According to Mr. Villarta, who also runs the blog, the 10-, 15-, and 21-kilometer distances extend outside the Acad Oval and include Magsaysay Ave. and Pardo De Tavera St. towards the south. Standard distance races in UP are measured on this five-kilometer loop, run it twice and you’ve covered 10 kilometers.

These routes include Heartbreak Hill, a 100-meter incline with a steep grade that reaches up to 20 feet. “UP’s Heartbreak Hill has been a regular training ground for runners since the late 1970s,” said Mr. Villarta, who added that its distance and elevation have been given as fact ever since.

U.P.'s Heartbreak Hill

As for playgrounds — as in those with slides, swings, and seesaws — UP has several of them: one is located behind the College of Science Library and Administration Building. There are at least two others (have fun looking for them).


“UP is a responsive environment,” said Danilo Silvestre, former dean of the College of Architecture (“Arki”), who specializes in architectural and urban design. “Its design is robust and it lends itself to anything. You can’t foresee how people are going to use it — and people will use it the way they want to.”

In architectural parlance, he continued, “robustness” refers to a space’s ability to perform a multiplicity of functions. When the AS Steps were first built, for example, architects weren’t thinking that it would be a great prop for skateboard tricks. And yet, the stairs are used as such today.

“UP means different things to different people,” said Mr. Silvestre, a UP alumnus who graduated magna cum laude. He added that the activities performed around Acad Oval will often reflect the prevailing cultural milieu.

As an example, he offered the 1950s, an Americanized period in Philippine history, during which hayride wagons circled the Acad Oval as part of the Lantern Parade, which also included a university-wide barn dance.

Today, UP is a social place, especially on weekends when it exudes a “fiesta atmosphere.”

We return because of the memories that are rooted in every nook and cranny of the campus. Places are easier to love than people. UP is mine. It can be yours as well.

(UP Diliman is open every day. Entrance is free.)

The whole article can be found here:

U.P.’s Heartbreak Hill

U.P.'s "Heartbreak Hill"

If you’re a serious, regular runner at the University of the Philippines (UP) campus grounds, chances are you’ve run across this mini hill located along Juan Luna Street. Runners have fondly referred this incline as “Heartbreak Hill”, a slight reference to its famous, more daunting namesake in Boston, that’s part of the Boston Marathon route. 

While Boston’s Heartbreak Hill measures about 600 meters rising up to 88 feet, UP’s version measures a measly 100 meters but with a steeper grade that reaches up to 20 feet. It was my first introduction to hill running when i was just getting started during the early 80s and oh, how i hated it! 

The steep incline, even though short was a bane to us newbies then as we tend to struggle at half way and reduced to walking and catching our breaths when we reached the top. Up to now, i sometimes dread the prospect of having to run up this hill several times in a loop as it can zap the remaining energy left for the rest of your run. Well, familiarity breeds boredom too. 

On good days however, it’s a welcome respite for the majority of runners who cringe at the thought of running the loop of the dreary academic oval and would like variety of terrain incorporated into their running. 

Runners doing hill repetitions

If you ask several experts/coaches on how to run an uphill efficiently, chances are, you’re going to get different answers and perspective from each. That said, i’ve tried to incorporate techniques that had helped me tackle hills like those at Kalayaan Flyover, Bayani Road, McKinley Hills and some mountain trails i’ve encountered. Proper form is key and here are some tips that help me tackle the ascent:

— Leaning a bit forward to gravitate you up and get some momentum.

— Keeping the head up and the eyes fixed forward directly ahead. This is difficult for me to maintain as i tend to put my head down and just grit it out, specially when i’m tired.

— Taking short strides and using the forefoot more to lift my feet forward.

— Relaxing my body during the initial stages of the climb and when i reach about two-thirds up, i

— Use my upperbody more than my legs by pumping my arms vigorously (back and forth) to bring me upwards to the top.

— If you can’t see the top of the hill because it’s so steep, just walk it! (tip i got from Lit Onrubia)

At the top, i try to keep my momentum by moving slowly and jogging a few meters after, then resume my normal racing pace. On training runs, i definitely stop and walk when i reach the top! (It’s just the age factor here):-)

Of course, each could be adjusted accoring to the distance and elevation of the hill. Mostly when i start the initial steps up, i don’t strategize nor be conscious about how high and far i have to conquer it, i just rely on the proper form above and adjust accordingly.

Hill running develops strength, power and endurance that’s why it’s always assimilated as a key component in every runners’ training program. But the faster you run it, the sooner you get it done with.

Photo Of The Week: Running Bugs


Either bed bugs  caught by the running bug or some beetles that were roused from the comfort of acacia trees above them, these creatures dash off near the finish to complete their 2k fun run at the GIG run 2009 in UP.

Photo by June Santiago.

(If you have other interesting/unusual running photos you would like featured, you can e-mail them to the jazzrunner at and leave a comment with the details.)


Photo Of The Week: Shower Of The Day


The guy must have just stepped out from the shower to join the running festivities of the UP Mountaineers Club’s Gig run last month at the UP Campus.

Photo by June Santiago.

(If you have other interesting/unusual running photos you would like featured, you can e-mail them to the jazzrunner at and leave a comment with the details.)


Green Is ‘Great’ Run: U.P. June 28, 2009

shoeI’ve been hoping to run a race where i could just relax a bit and not push myself to the limits.  Testing your progress race after race and the thought of another grueling run to best your PR was not just a pleasant one. I felt no need to run against the competition, nor dwell on the pacing but just to feel the groove of all runners around me.

That break came in yesterday’s GIG (Green Is Good) RUN ’09, organized by the University of the Philippines’ Mountaineers. I think this is just the race i needed. This 10k race on the shaded U.P. Campus which has been my training grounds made me want to run it at a more leisurely pace.

June and I arrive at the venue past 5am and met with Connie (June’s office-mate) and her boyfriend, Roel near the starting line. It was Connie’s first 5k race and she was very excited for it. Runners were now starting to arrive in droves while the organizers were announcing of the free porridge being served for the runners who wanted to fill-up their tummies before the race– a first in the history of local races. A runner or two who probably were immune to digestive disorders helped themselves, to their delight.

The race started at the front steps of Palma Hall and quickly stretched to the School of Economics Building before going the slight hill towards Malcolm Hall. I consciously took it easy and enjoyed the company of the other runners around me. I passed-up the first of several water stations as i coasted along Magsaysay Ave. which was downhill.

I took my first cup of water at the corner of Magsaysay Ave. before turning left at E. Jacinto Street. Here, the run was a bit cautious as we had to compete with cars moving their way on the right lane. This stretch was nearly flat until we entered EDSA Street as i maintained an even 6:30 pace even as the field thinned out. The running here was still relaxed as we were protected by the shades of trees under overcast skies, perfect weather for running. I still felt loose and easy, no reason to speed up as i had just set to myself to coast along.

The race route was a new one for me, having been used to running the regular race routes that always started in front of the U.P. Theater. This time it had more variety, a faster course and ran less of the usual academic oval route.

Like my usual races, i was starting to feel a little hurt coming on after km 7 when reaching the uphill towards the UP Police Station. Worse, the water station assigned past this area had ran out of their supplies so i told myself there’s only 2.5 kms. left anyway and you’re not suppose to suffer from severe dehydration with 2.5 kms left!

Going back the last 3kms., there was this young guy who kept sprinting past me and would suddenly stop on his tracks about 5 meters in front, then walk. After a minute or two, he would again sprint past, stop, then walk! This process would be repeated 6 times more that it got me a little bit irritated! Man, what was he doing? Was he running 100-meter interval repetitions then stop dead in front of my path like he was doing it on purpose. (Even if he wasn’t, these things always play into your mind when you’re tired).

When we were about to reach the last bend for the straight to the finish, he sprinted past by me the final time before we turned left to the finish. I knew he was going to sustain the sprint up to the finish line so the impish side of me thought of giving this guy a dose of his own medicine. I tucked myself about 2 steps behind him and at the last 30 meters, i dashed in full speed until i came elbow to elbow with him and when he realized the devious act i was to inflict, he tried to respond with all his might but no way was he going past through me so i held him off and crossed the finish chute less than a second in front of him.

I tried to suppress my evil grin and from one corner of my eye, i saw the rage on his face, a man pissed-off, the expression on his face, priceless! Man, if you’re reading this blog, i’m sorry–it’s just part of the craziness (and fun) of the sport!:-) I finished with a time of 1:03, another minute off from my previous 10k at the Runnex Anniversary race a month ago.

We hung around for some picture taking plus got a chance to speak with Manong Jovie (Bald Runner) who gave me some tips on his great dishes, Jaymie (The Bull Runner) with hubby Dennis, Karlo (Run and Drum) who flew in from Cebu City just so he could run this event but had to fly back the same day (addict!) and the raucous running group.

It was a great day for all…and a great way to run for mother nature.

From (r) June, Connie, Darryl and me

At the start, from (r) June, Connie, Darryl and me

Roel pinning Nicole's race bib, her first 5k race

Roel pinning Nicole's race bib, her first 5k race

With the runners

With the runners

Posing up before the race

Posing up before the race

With Marga(licious) of

With Marga(licious) of

With Karlo and Marga

With Karlo and Marga

June with cousin, Bobbi and her hubby

June with cousin, Bobbi and her hubby

Lovebirds, Myra and Rodel

Lovebirds, Myra and Rodel