Surviving death march

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014


QUITTING was never an option for Lyra Valles as she braved the heat to make the podium of the 2014 Bataan Death March (BDM)160K Ultramarathon last weekend.

Valles found the heat so overbearing that she fainted in the 84-kilometer mark. But she recovered and continued to race and finished in 25 hours 21:31 minutes, making her the second Cebuana to make podium in the BDM.

The first Cebuana that finished the BDM160 was Atty. Haide Acuna, who won first runner-up in the 2012 edition, clocking 28:42:58.

Daphne Codilla won the race in 24:16:44, while Ophel Lorete came in second in 24:56:22.

The men’s title was won by Wilnar Iglesia in 16:25:32. He also set the new course record and was ahead by more than six hours over Lao Ogerio (22:48:35) and July Oconer (23:05:03).

According to Valles, it was not an easy journey as she encountered several hardships
all the way to the finish line.

“When I reached KM 84, nag stretching ko because I was expriencing cramps. It was the first time that I experienced cramps in all of my ultra races. It was really painful.

Then I got worried when I could not move my feet. I panicked that I might finish especially since dako na kaayo ko ug gasto just to join this race. And the next thing I knew, I fainted. Good thing I was able to recover after resting for about 20 minutes and proceeded with the race,” said Valles.

Valles, 37, who works in a non-government organization, qualified to race in the BDM160 after making the qualifying time in the BDM 102 KM last year. She wanted to finish within 24 hours. She may have failed to do so but she still made the podium.

Valles also said that after she experienced cramps, her race strategy totally changed and she followed the advice of fellow participant Carlo Bacalla, a veteran ultra runner, and focused on her pace in the remaining 76K.

“Bro. Carlo Bacalla told me to do the veterans’ moves, which means hinay-hinay basta kanunay,” said Valles.

Valles felt overwhelmed with what she has achieved in the 2014 edition.

“It was a very fulfilling experience. Friends teased that I would cry but dili man ko kahilakon. I am so happy placing third in the female category. And ranking No.8 over-all was a bonus to me,” said Valles.

Valles was among the three runners who ran eight 42Ks in eight days and it served as her training ground for the 2014 BDM 160.

In his Facebook account, retired Major General Jovenal “Jovie” Narcise, the founder and race director of BDM, saluted the 50 brave warriors who finished the race and also those who did not make it to the finish line.

“Results would show that we have increased the finish rate this event to 83 percent, which proves that BDM 160 was created as a gateway to being an 100-miler ultra runner finisher and at the same time a tribute to our heroes in the infamous Bataan Death March of April 1941 who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom, independence and democracy,” said Narcise.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 29, 2014.

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