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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

September 10, 2014

DC2DC TK ULTRA 60: No Ordinary Race Briefing (September 5)

Penguins graphicsThe email I received from TK  Davao last September 1 indicated that the venue for the September 5 race briefing and carbo-loading is the Pantawan Hall at the Grand Regal Hotel. 

There were reminders that included No Slippers, No Sandals and No Minors. This email got my sober  attention and it told me that the organizers are dead serious in making the DC2DC Ultra happen in a big fun way. Ordinarily, race briefing for ultras that I have joined (except for the BDM) is done an hour before the race itself. Got me smiling and excited about my trip to Davao City. 

Fast forward to Friday and fellow 83nean Ernie Badong and the Bicolano Penguin entered the Pantawan Hall to a warm welcome from the organizers. Although  I have not met them in person and previous communications have been solely via facebook, TK Davao mainstays like Paul, Pam and Gary made sure to make us feel at home and assisted us in claiming our race kits. Other ultra participants like Hydz of Panabo Runners Club (PRC)  and several of the Petron runners inside the hall were all smile and courteous. What also caught our attention was the big lechon being prepared on the buffet table and  a bunch of ripe bananas and sweet lanzones. This is no ordinary carbo-loading.

Claiming our race kit

With Hydz of PRC and Pam of TK Davao

Ernie by the lechon
Browsing thru the contents of the envelope containing the race kit, we were mildly surprised to see a Php 300 free spin certificate from PAGCOR. The night is turning out to be a lucky one.

Contents of the race envelope
Pretty soon, the Pantawan Hall was filled with runners of all shapes, sizes and gender. Everyone though had their eager smiling look.

Then the program started. Say what? A program for a race briefing?  Yup. A program started with a prayer and a national anthem. And the singing of the anthem was not done thru some canned video but actual singing by the audience ably led by a lady TK Davao member. It made us more alive and more importantly, made us one with the rest of the runners in that room. This is a far cry from the usual race kit distribution of some fun runs in Metro Manila where, given the big corporate sponsors, commercialism rules the day and much of the sight and sound you see are about this product and that product.

Opening prayers led by Rowland of TK Davao

Then came the opening remarks by both Paul and Gary.

Opening messages from Paul ...

..and Gary
After which, the special guest was introduced and this was none other than the ultra running icon from Cebu, Mr. Tony Galon who is the president of the Cebu Ultrarunners Club (CUC). He talked about his passion for running and shared some of his training regimen for the gruelling 280-km South to North Ultra Marathon Cebu from Santander to Daanbantayan. But true to his self-effacing  nature, Tony would rather talk about and commend the 7 Davao-based ultra runners who survived the CUC-KMK 160K Ultra Marathon held in Cebu last August 23-24. Asking the magnificent 7 to go up the stage with him was a class act from a class guy.

Tony with the 7 Davao runners who participated in CUC-KMK 160K Ultra

BP with Tony
Dinner was served and  to our delight, we got to have quite a serving of the lechon. Dinner was also a time to get to be acquainted with some of the runners sharing our table. Particularly congenial were Rory Cunan whose parents hail from Oas, Albay and the husband-wife tandem of Dr. Richard John Millan and Vangie Millan. They were kind and patient enough to help me understand some of the Cebuano words in the talks being given by the speakers.

Rory, Vangie and Doc Millan
Interspersed among the talking and the eating was some raffle done by TK Davao. The prizes were courtesy of the sponsors and the Bicolano Penguin got lucky for the first time in a run-based raffle. I heard my name called and the  prize  I got was a good-looking Aktib shirt. The night keeps getting better after all.

The BP receiving the raffle prize

Aktib shirt
A discussion of the route and guidelines of the DC2DC ultra was ably undertaken by the Race Director – Jay Inte of TK Davao. He firmly said that the race would start at 8pm sharp in front of the Digos City Hall. He proactively pointed out that given the fiesta atmosphere in Digos, the support vehicles would have difficulty parking near the starting area. He then recommended that the support vehicles first waiting area be the Shell gas station at the outskirt of the city proper. He emphasized the need for headlights and reflectorized vests in the “ngitngit” of the road. He intimated that the race organizers would be generous in awarding the finisher’s medal. Even if the runner crosses the finish line beyond the 12-hour cut off (but as long as there is no cheating), he said that the runner would still get the medal. He announced also with confidence that the DC2DC ultra runners would not go hungry as there are stations every 10 kms (at most) which are stocked not only with water and Gatorade but also some energy-boosting nourishments like banana and boiled egg plus local delicacies in certain stations like durian in Km 30.

These pronouncements were met with enthusiastic applause.

Race Director Jay with some assistance from a fellow TK Davao member

Ernie with the RD
The next part was totally unexpected for me but proved to be the highpoint of the September 5 race briefing. It was the awarding of Certificates of Appreciation to all the teams that joined DC2DC. And first to be called is our very own 83NEANS (the running group of the Ateneo de Naga High School Batch 1983). We were only 2 entrants but I guess 2 makes a team. We are  happy as this is the first time that the 83NEANS has received this kind of a certificate. Many more teams were called with Team Titans Davao being the largest delegation at more than 24 runners. The symbolism I take away from this awarding of team certificates is the primacy of teamwork in a challenging venture like an ultra marathon.

All smile in getting... 

.. our very first Certificate of Appreciation

Team Titans Davao
I do believe that teamwork is very much espoused by the members of TK Davao which is celebrating its 1st anniversary.  It was key for them in pulling off this extraordinary race briefing and carbo-loading event which proved to be an engaging foreplay to the main event scheduled 24 hours later.

The all-wacky yet all-cohesive Team Kapwa

Penguins graphics

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