Bataan Death March (BDM) Ultramarathon is a commemorative race tracing the route where around 70,000 Filipino and American soldiers were forcibly transferred by foot from the battle field of Mariveles, Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga during the World War II. Thousands of Filipino and American prisoners of war died before they could reach the final destination at Camp O'Donnell. This race, BDM as famously known by most runners in the country is at its 6th edition this year.
I had been part of the race for several times in the past, twice to be exact, as support crew/pacer in both BDM160 and BDM102. I witness how tough the race seeing from the experience of others but I never thought it will be that challenging as I add my own BDM102 experience to my running adventure. For some, it take six months to a year to prepare for the race. One friend of mine compare BDM race to a wedding preparation, one year in a making. The physical and mental preparation, the support crew and support vehicle as the entourage , the food and hydration as the food in the reception, to decide on what running gear to wear as the wedding gown and the 102km distance as the long aisle that everybody will walk through and be part of. Mine was a different one, a photo finish event.
Gun start at 10:00pm of March 1, all runners at its reflector vest for safety, the first 2km is flat which is a good warm up and it goes to 5km uphill, which was just fine with me. I take my own relax pace as I started climbing the ascend part, it wasn't as humid as I expected it to be. Kilometer by kilometer I go, Kat and Bren has been doing great in handing me my nutrition and hydration from time to time. Runners catch up with me, I sometimes catch up with others. I wanted to take advantage of the night time so I just went on with my own relax pace. I started to sweat as I move further, everything seem fine except for one thing. I just had my monthly period a week ago and I still had my very minor discharge but I did not wear any pad on the race anymore. As I slowly move a little longer I can feel a little discomfort on my private part, looks like a chafing started. This is my first time to experience such on the many ultra races that I had in the past. I did not mind it but I never thought this will become a major discomfort towards the end of the race.
My hope of a much earlier finish was not a realistic one anymore, I just take my own time, walking, jogging just making sure that my legs will get me through until the finish line within cut off time. Having been to this route twice in the past, I know too well the curve, the bend, where to turn left and right up to the finish line. I know I am not going there very soon, while at its hottest part of the day, I just move a slow pace forward together with other runners with the support of the crew from different runners. All of them were just too kind to offer help to each and every runner that will pass by them.
I cross the finish line with a time of 17 hours and 17 minutes with so much lessons learned from the race. One thing I realized BDM race is not only about the runner, it is a community of runners and support crew that make dreams a reality. I know I could not have made it and cross the finish line without the help of great people along the way. I'd like to thank Bernard for sharing his support team with me, Kat and Bren for taking care of my needs, to my Ayala Triads family for all the support and all the support crew who in one way or the other helped me on my journey. I thank God for keeping me safe while on the race, I thank Him for giving me the patience to finish despite all the discomfort. It was indeed a very long uncomfortable aisle for me but I am glad I finally make this a check of my list.
Again, let me say this, thank you so much Katrina Constantino for literally my strength on this race. Indeed you make dreams happen to those people who believe in themselves. Thank you too Bernard Enriquez for sharing your resources to runner like me. Thank you Rica Mendoza for always being there. To the Race Director, Sir Jovie, thank you for giving me a chance to run this race. It was indeed an epic one.
And my adventure will continue. Next stop will be another road run but a shorter one.