Support crews are important to the success of a BDM 160 ultrarunner. That is why the BDM 160 Ultra race director, Bald Runner, required a support crew for each participant. The support crew are mobile with the support vehicle that leapfrogs every 2 to 5 kilometers to provide nourishment and hydration to the ultrarunner. Unlike the regular marathons, ultra events of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) usually do not have hydration stations. In addition, the BDM 160 ultrarunners were allowed a pacer(s) beyond the 102-km distance.
|The Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983 support crew with 2 happy BDM 160 ultra finishers|
The runners of Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983 served as the support crew of fellow 83nean runner Bob from the Km 102 marker onwards. Prior to the Km 102 marker, he got support from the Fairview Running Club support vehicle. Bob got to run together with Bert Camangonan, an officer of the said running club, from start to finish.
Ruben “Fards” Fajardo, Ernie Badong, Ed Balcueva and myself served as pacers for Bob. While not on pacer duty (only one pacer at a time), we alternated as water boy and errand boy, buying food and drinks from the Jollibees and 7 Elevens along the route. We also got to be instant masseuse for the aching and cramping running muscles of Bob. Driving the Mitsubishi Adventure was Larry Escuro. For all of us 83nean runners, it was practically our first experience as pacers and support crew in an ultra running event. So, we took the opportunity to learn on the fly by observing and listening to the other support crews in the 2012 BDM 160 ultra.
|Bob and Bert with pacers from Fairview Running Club and Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983|
|Rubbing Bodivance on Bob’s legs while he snacks|
The support crew of BDM 160 Ultra 1st runner up Benedict Balaba (who finished the 160-km event in 21 hours 50 mins) was a family affair. Wife Candy, a capable long distance runner in her own right, was the crew chief. She supervised the food and hydration intake of her husband. She also paced Benedict for the last few kilometres of the event. Benedict’s teenage son, JB, paced his dad for the first 30 kms after the Km 102 marker.
|Benedict eats dinner prepared by wife Candy while the Race Director checks on him.|
|A top ultrarunner’s dinner : spagheti and palabok|
|Benedict with son, JB, pacing for the next 30 kms beyond Km 102|
| 2012 BDM 160 ultra 1st runner up Benedict|
Balaba with wife Candy at the Capas National Shrine after the race
While pacing Bob and Bert, we got also to share notes with the Fairview Running Club pacer Amang Cando and the crew of the Grandia support vehicle. We thanked them for aiding Bob in the first 102 kms of the BDM 160.
| Amang of Fairview Running Club pacing |
for Bert, the 13th place finisher of the BDM 160 ultra
At the finish line, after the race, we were fortunate to meet Odessa Carol, a finisher in the inaugural BDM 102 ultra in 2009. She served in the support crew of one of the Top 10 finishers of the 2012 BDM 160. We actually observed her pacing her ultrarunner in the last 5 kms of the race and we saw how she was always in front of her runner. The key there is less energy being spent by the ultrarunner as the pacer was the one doing most of the breaking of the air resistance. She also shared with us a vital piece of information that ultrarunners like to eat fresh fruits during the race. Favorites and ideal are banana, watermelon, apple and strawberry. Not advisable are mangoes and pineapples. After tasting the cool water melons that she shared with us, we believed.
|With 2009 BDM 102 finisher, Odessa Carol, who paced for a Top 10 finisher of the 2012 BDM 160 Ultra|
I also got to touch base with a member of the support crew of Team Boring. The said running club had multiple support vehicles as they were providing assistance to 11 Team Boring members who were participants in the 2012 BDM 160 Ultra. They were quite efficient, and they even were monitoring the health conditions of their runners. One of the Team Boring runners has diabetes and they have to monitor the blood level on an hourly basis.
So, the learning experience in running for me continues................