The Nightmare that was the SMART Subic International Marathon

After a total of 12 hours of sleep since Monday, I woke up and prepared to leave for Subic.
We get to Subic around 8AM (thanks to Cindy and Gab for organizing our housing). Some moved about, I slept (hahaha) and by 11AM, had lunch and we started our Art class with teacher Carmen. We were making posters for our 42KM runners: Argo, Dhentz, Doc T, Doc Sherwin, Mar, James, EO, Gab, Mark H, Nao, Edu, Cess, Doc Art, Gerard, BongYu, Carmel, Rico, Jet, Doc Roy, Sam, Mary Genie, Wilnar, Chips, Chris, and Team Logan. Aside from their names, we had fun with tags such as:

“Are we there yet?”

“You can do it! Konti na lang!”

“Marry Me!”

“I wanna have you baby!”

“I want nobody, nobody but you!”

Hirap pala maging artist! Carmen was outlining the letters, I was simply pentel-penning it, Julie and Cherry were accessorizing it, si Cindy was in charge of the three-lettered names-hahaha-MAR, GAB, etc.; Si Cherry, ‘c’pecial ang work for Chips. Si Tracy, kina-career yung trabaho! She did GoW Argow in record time-hahahaha! Si Timmy, ang Quality checker. They made me stop doing art because they were re-doing everything I did, kasi chaka! Lol! Kaya I ended up pentel-penning na lang! Lol. We had fun doing this for our runners.

We left by 2:20PM. In our van: 42k runners – Mar, Doc T, Gab, Dhentz, Carmel, James; support team: me, Carmen, Tracy, Tim, Cindy. As we drive towards FloridaBlanca, you can feel the nervous tension in the van. Carmen and I were whispering to each other: OMG, this route looks looooong and scary. Hilly and windy. But we shouted out brave words to our runners: Ang ganda naman ng route. Very scenic. That’s when the nervous jokes and laughter came in the form of Doc Topher and James and Gab. Pinagtawanan na namin, kawawa naman eh. Hahaha.

We were at the start point before 3:30. And boy, was it hot! The Kenyans were there. We saw Team Hardcore. I love their uniforms talaga. And other takbo runners started trickling in: Nao, Mark H, Edu, Doc Art, Cess, Gerard, BongYu, Rico, Jet, Doc Sherwin, Sam, Mary Genie, Wilnar, Chris, Chips, the late Doc Roy (lol), and Team Logan (naku, did I miss anyone?)

Craig prayed with everyone in a circle. (Remember this part of the story). And they were off!

The Support Team stayed a bit to decide what we were to do next: buy stuff for dinner, water and Gatorade and ices chests for the runners, make more banners because we missed some runners, check up on the Nike Human Race Runners. Whew! All we knew was that we had to be back at KM 30 before 9PM.

On the way, we saw the runners and we stuck our heads out screaming for all of them! Their smiles and laughter were wonderful response to us.

I even saw my Bengay Guy smile at us! Naks! (Kailangan i-mention talaga? Oo! Walang pakialamanan, blog ko ito! Lol.)

On the way back, we saw Cherry and Lorie on an uphill. We stopped and Cindy in her sandalled glory, and Tim in his Trail shoes, paced the ladies to the finish. (Amazing!) Carmen, Tracy and I were left to do the mommy duties of grocery shopping and continue the art class. Which we did in record time, I must say. In the middle of it , we grabbed a quick hotdog and fries combo to make sure were okay. I ate dinner because I was of no use in the art class. Hahaha.

By 8PM, we were ready to leave and that’s when Cindy got the call from Gab that they needed the water REALLY bad because the water station ran out. (TOINK!) James had a bad case of ITBS. (Sorry about that, James) We ran out like there was fire behind us! We needed to get to them, fast! All along we were praying, Lord naman, we just want an injury free race. Keep them safe please.

On the way, we opened our van window and stuck our heads out and shouted cheers to the runners. Cindy had to do some minor acrobatics to get to one window inside the van. Lol. We wanted to make sure we can at least throw some water bottles to the runners if need be. It was sooo dark, I can’t make out who was who. We saw Dennis!!! Yey! Go Dennis! (EO was behind him pala, we didn’t see him. Go EO! (late! lol)

We positioned ourselves before the tunnel after the tollgate by the Total gas station, where there was a bit of light. We laid out our banners so it will be easy to pick up when the runner passes by. Since we saw Dennis already, we kept his na. And if Dennis was ahead, we were pretty sure, Wilnar and Chris passed us already (for the unofficial record: Wilnar-3:39; Chris-4:12). Dhang! So tinago na naming banners nila.

Luis with McCoy and tito Caloy came asking for Michelle Logan’s number. Craig collapsed at KM 24 and was coughing out blood. (Insert expletives here!) It was a good thing Rico was behind him and took Justin into his care and asked looked for an ambulance. I was shaking trying to figure out how to get Michelle’s number. Shel! Shel has Michelle’s number! I called her, she dictated it to me. Luis called Michelle and told her which hospital to go to. Rico gave up his race for the Logans (Im crying again. I heart you, Rico!) and we were all praying that Craig be okay. He was the one who prayed for safety earlier on. (Craig is okay. He was in the ER with IV’s on him. Diagnosis: Severe dehydration. He is ok that he was even in the 21km starting point the next day cheering Michelle on. Spell resilience: LOGAN!)

We were hearing horror stories already at this point. No water at km 12. Pitch darkness. Runners throwing what they can to the organizers. Runners riding the bus and getting off and running again (I don’t blame them! But I am ever so proud of our runners who didn’t. Clap . Clap.). No marshalls.
I don’t remember the order of the runners who went to our station, but we saw:

Julius. Sobrang chill pace and no qualms, Orange Julius. He just waited for Ian and Isko (batting my eyelashes. lol) so he’d have someone to talk to in the the last kms. But he technically didn’t need anything from us. He’s a real one, this guy. Congratz!

Mark H woot! Bea texted me asking how he was. He was strong still when we saw him

Sam. Dhang. I was afraid for Sam. He literally passed out a few feet away from us and the support team carried him to our van. Gave him whatever we had. Ambulance asking if he needed them. We didn’t. We have it covered. But Sam was so out of it that he doesn’t remember those minutes from falling to the van

Doc T. This was one runner who didn’t need anything! He didn’t even slow down for us. He just said. Si Gab. Si Gab, pointing at the back. Whoa! I heart you, Doc Topher! You are there na!!!

Gab. Gab was so upset! He rested a bit. And asked in all humility for Cindy to pace him. Our Cindy was ready! (Im crying again! Anubeh!) Amazing, right?!

Edu. Edu also almost didn’t stop. He just saw the poster (Edu, Game ka na ba?) But he ran out of our station like a bat out of hell when he heard about Craig.

Argo. Our Classic Argo. He was teary eyed maybe from exhaustion or from being so touched we had his GoW Argow sign for him. Maybe after pitch darkness, he saw us as the light. Hahaha. (Dont worry, I had an Argo moment too in my own race. That’s another story) This guy is amazing!

Nao. Hali-NAO! Superwoman in the house! She didn’t want to stop but for sheer politeness, she stopped to say thank you for banner. Hahaha. We are so proud of you! Thanks for the thank you text message. Cindy read it to us, Sunday morning.

Gerard. After his 21km in QCIM, this guy did his first FM a week after in Subic. We barely recognized him-ang payat mo na! Lol. Great job, man!

Doc Art & Cess. I have to mention this two together. Their bond is amazing. Doc Art pushing Cess to her limits and all. Cess in sheer fright had a fever minutes before the race. But she was so strong, this girl! She had more in her at km 30 that we didn’t worry that she would finish. Her pacers were awesome! Pepsi, Carina, Earl! Woot!

Carmel. Poor Carmel. His first FM in the Philippines and he had to experience the worse of it. Tsk. Tsk. But he finished it! Yey! And his accented, “Pohthaneynamoh!” to the water station people when they didn’t have water for him is just funny now. Lol.

BongYu. This guys’ attitude is just awesome. Instead of bitching and moaning about the circumstances, he accepted it as is and decided to just finish the race.

MaryGenie. This little woman ran with Jet and BY and we’re proud of her finishing.

Jet. So proud of you. You can look back on this race as a hard fought one and one that you conquered.

Mar. Coach! Back to back? But of course! If anyone can, I know you can! So proud.

Doc Roy. How’s the massage? Hahaha. You and Mar were still upbeat despite the circumstances. Galing! Till the next one.

Doc Sherwin. We didn’t need to worry about this one. Just like OJ, this is an ultrmarathonman! But we are still very much proud of you, Doc S!

To the 42KM Finishers, you fought a damn difficult race, in the worst of circumstances! But in the end you conquered it. Not a lot of people can say that. You ran it with almost no water, in pitch darkness, no route markers, no marshals, volunteers who knew nothing, in a route that was new but overly difficult. You didn’t prepare for an adventure race, but you got one. And you FINISHED it. That is all that matters!

(To the race organizers: this does not in any way shape or form vindicate you or cleanse you from the GROSS mistakes and ill-preparedness of this race. What you did was horrible and dangerous! You could have killed someone in that race and you know it!)

This blog is simply a testament to the kind of runners we at takbo.ph are- resilient, never afraid, supportive, finishers to the end!

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