“Respect the distance.” Bald Runner’s voice boomed as he uttered these words.
Per the Race Director, this is the key in surviving the Bataan Death March 102km Ultra which will have its 5th edition this March 2 & 3. Respect the distance and train for this One Hundred Two kilometers of historic glory. No ifs and buts about it.
As I hear these words, I can’t help but squirm on my butt a few meters away from the good general as he conducted the final briefing at the Patio inside the AFP Officers Clubhouse in Camp Aguinaldo last night. The room was crowded with BDM veterans, newbies and supporters and all were wrapped in attention to every word of wisdom that the Bald Runner was dispensing.
|With the young runners of Team Navy managed by Fards|
|With Seow Kow Ng, an international runner who survived the gruelling Taklang Damulag 100 Mile Trail Run|
The truth about it, I felt that I had not prepared adequately for this ultra. Injuries and conflict of schedule hampered my training. The last 2 weeks I was cramming. And more bad news kept coming. Fards got injured in December. Ernie is still recovering from the flogging his feet endured from the BDM 160K ultra in January. And just a couple of days back, I got a text from Ed informing me that he sprained his foot on a training run. With my fellow 83neans damaged by injuries, the Bicolano Penguin will be waddling solo in the 2013 Bataan Death March.
And if I intended to get some boost from the final briefing, the BDM 102K ultra statistics were not a source of optimism:
2009 edition - 63 finishers /83 starters
2010 edition -104 finishers/123 starters
2011 edition - 12 finishers/154 starters
2012 edition -160 finishers/223 starters
The survival rate is steadily going down. Will the 2013 edition, with 200+ registrants, reverse the trend in the survival rate?
One source of inspiration though for me at the final briefing last night was the presence of Ed, Ernie and Fards. Even though they were not running this weekend at the BDM, they attended and informed me that they would be my support crew from Mariveles, Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga. This they extended despite being in various states of recovery from their injuries.
The wounded in body helping the wounded in spirit. Such is the spirit of the Bataan Death March back then in World War II. Such is the needed spirit now.
With this kind of help, how can I disappoint?