It's always flattering to be invited to be part of an ultrarunner's support crew. It only means you're someone trust-worthy enough to take care of the runner's needs during the entire long distance event.
Supporting in Bataan Death March (BDM) 102km is not new to me as I've already supported last 2012 when my Team Alpha1 teammate Eugene embarked on his longest distance run yet. (He placed 2nd runner up by the way and you could read about that in my BDM 102 2012 blog post.)
Now being part of a new running team of ultramarathon addicts (Team Banana), I was already expecting requests for support as this year's BDM neared. Both Syril (Prof) and Wyatt (Bokidol) kept asking if I could be part of their support crew, and I kept asking them back of their concrete plans and strategies of which they did not have a ready answer. I remember when I supported Eugene two years ago, we had a number of meetings to really prepare ourselves for the big day, so I was kinda expecting the same. No planning sessions occurred, and I don't think someone even bothered attending the runners' briefing. Haha!
As race day neared it was still not clear to me whether I would support Sy or Wy, who is bringing a car, who will support who. I guess with their experience in their previous ultramarathon events it was more of "bahala na" mode. Little did they know that Bald Runner events are different, with strict guidelines and rules to follow, so a lot of preparations are vital.
March 1 came, a Saturday. Our rendezvous point was at Starbucks 6750, Makati. I did some shopping for some supplies before going there, as I had no idea what Syril or Wyatt brought with them. Compared to my experience previously where we stayed overnight at Mariveles, this time we met 4pm in the afternoon and planned to travel for about 5 hours to KM0, just in time for the 10pm race start. A little risky if you ask me, but we arrived there anyway, and we were greeted with a long queue at the runner's check-in counter.
Syril was not even wearing his shoes yet, we still did not have any ice, and time was ticking. Good thing support car #2 (Wyatt's) already had some tube ice available, so we split whatever they had into two, hoping that somewhere along the way we will be able to buy more ice.
So the support split was set:
- WYATT'S SUPPORT TEAM - Beck-beck, Raphie and Ikasam + 1 driver
- SYRIL'S SUPPORT TEAM - Me and Mervin + 2 drivers
|Support Vehicles all geared up!|
Our support cars, while leapfrogging, often meet whenever we park for our next stop, as Syril and Wyatt almost have the same pace, and they were just a few hundred meters apart. Wait times would usually be a time for chat, eating and of course cheering other runners on as they pass by. Oh and I forgot, taking pictures too!
|Our runners posing for the camera = Wasted time LOL!|
Mervin and I then became the support crew of two runners. As the sun started to rise, our 4km leapfrog strategy started to decrease to 3 to 2.5 to 2. Syril would alternate water and Gatorade as hydration on every stop, while Wyatt will clap his hands in anticipation whenever we approach him with an ice-cold Coke. Sy's source of energy would be Flat Tops or M&Ms, though I don't remember Wyatt consuming any solid food except for one stop wherein they both had a bite of California Maki.
Kilometer after kilometer our runners endured, even with the sweltering heat of the sun finally taking its toll on their bodies. The cold water spray and sponges really came in handy as every stop we needed to lower their temperature. At this point, I can't help but pity them as we could really see how they struggled to run in the heat of the sun. Stops and rests became longer. Mervs and I still managed to push them though to keep going, even though Wy and Sy already lost hope to bag the GOLD medal (finishers under 13 hours).
|My favorite water spray! Wyatt and Syril still managed to strike a pose while suffering haha!|
Wy and Sy placed 33rd and 34th respectively, among 300 runners and 253 official finishers, with a time of 13 hours and 38 minutes. I was there to capture their finish line moment, proud to be part of their support team.
|Red Top, Yellow Legs and Yellow Top, Red Legs! Haha! Wy and Sy on their finish line moment|
|Wattaface Prof! Also met JP who finished in 13:22! Almost hit the gold!|
|I had to have my photo taken with two of my running idols. Congratulations Syril and Wyatt! Thank you for trusting us to be part of your support team!|
|Post-race meal at Razon's|
|Top-left: Prof and the ever-covered Archie|
Top-right: Birthday Girl Jie and Ate She
Bottom-left: Confused and disoriented Loyce haha!
Bottom-right: BDM Grand Slam Queen Sheryll and Tong
|Mark Mark: Lost and Found|
A week later, the team had a "formal" celebration at Gerry's Grill. A few bottles of beer became legal. Thanks for Wy and Sy's treat!
Next year, I'm sure they will be eyeing that grand slam prize (BDM160 and BDM102). Haven't experienced supporting in 160 yet so I'm sure it'll be fun. I'm also contemplating on running 102, but we'll see.
Again, congratulations to Wyatt and Syril - BDM102 warriors! Let me end this blog post with their Facebook thank you messages, which made supporting them even more worth it.