All Women Ultra Marathon

It was the first in Cebu, the first in the Philippines, and most probably the first in the World.

A successful event as evidenced by the photos and stories all over the papers and online social networking sites, but little is known about how it was conceptualized, planned, worked on, and implemented.

Here’s what happened behind the scenes (based on my own perspective and without the boring minute details)

My running partner and I were fortunate enough to be invited by the core group of the Ungo Runners to help with the organization of the event.

The concept – an Ultra Marathon designed:

  1. to be participated exclusively by women, especially the “newbies”
  2. to be inexpensive, yet be able to provide international race experience (seems impossible)
  3. to encourage volunteerism, showcase Cebuano/Filipino hospitality, and Leave No Trace.  (Ahhh…..)

All of us (by initials: SC, HI, JRP, MS, LV, LA, RS, AA, LM, WE, FC, NDLT, TG, JG, ETT, JO) were without experience in organzing races, all we had at the start was a mental picture of what a good race should be like and a handful of common sense.

Initial meetings during the months of November & December of 2011 were…. well…. initial meetings.  The concept was there, but it was off to a rocky start because we didn’t have a calendar to follow.

We needed to create the calendar ourselves.

We needed to put pressure on ourselves to make things happen.

After several meetings and communication using facebook and cellphones, a plan was slowly formed.  Committees were organized for specific tasks.  Connections were contacted.  “Chits” were cashed and new ones owed.  Basically every single resource available was used.  (there goes the 2nd AWUM)

To tell you frankly, at the start I never thought organizing an Ultra Marathon would become so complicated.  Organizing an Ultra with less than 200 participants should be chikenpid compared to let’s say, organizing a 21k & 10k run participated in by thousands of runners (that would be a nightmare). I mean, an ultra only has a starting line, a few marshals, a few aid stations with lukewarm water, and a finish line.  How hard could it be?

I’ll spare you the details but trust me, it was hard.  (IMHO)

Every tiny thing from the safety pins to what was written on the back of the medal had to be covered.  Banners, press conferences and releases, venue onsite visits, route survey, letters to Barangay Officials and Police, medals, shirts, marshal shirts, sash, sound system, snacks, buffet breakfast, and so on and so forth….  The list seemed endless.  Up to the last minute, there were still new items added to “things to do and prepare”.

Maybe it was because of the high standards of the organizers, but hey, that was the whole point of the race in the first place – International Race Experience (at Php700 registration fee).

We assumed that the registration fee would cover the costs of putting up the event, boy, was that a mistake.  The fee could not even pay half of the total cost for the medal, shirt, and buffet (again, the high standards).

Bottom line though, the success of the event depended on the sponsors, and what the Cebu Ultra Running Community has been and will forever be known for – volunteerism and generosity.

I can’t speak for the rest of the organizing group about everything but I’m confident I can at least say Thank You in behalf of all of us.

We are grateful and proud.

Cebu has delivered once again.



11 thoughts on “All Women Ultra Marathon

  1. My friend, congratulations on a successful and historical event! You did it as did the 180 women who made history themselves! As one my pynoy friends and runners quoted afterwards, “Ultrarunning is more fun in the Philippines!” Congratulations again and hope to see you next year!

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