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Your Run: Mike Famaranglas Journey to Cardimax Clark Ultramarathon

Posted by on 7. September 2016

Victory – Photo by Donna Castillo

From being away in the running scene for the past 5 years, Mike Famaranglas returned just in time to build up for his first ever Ultramarathon at the Clark Cardimax Ultramarathon last September 3-4, 2016.

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Cardimax Clark Ultramarathon

Race briefing at Maximus Athlete’s Shop Cafe – Photo by Andy Leuterio

It was fun covering Cardimax Clark Ultramarathon for the past few months. I can say it’s a full experience for their participants. They held talks, clinics, runs to help the participants prepare for Cardimax Clark Ultramarathon race.  That’s practically a step by step guide to crossing your first Ultramarathon finish line.  It was indeed a successful events with a lot of feel-good finish line for the participants.  Every finish line is special and my college school friend Mike Famaranglas shares his long-hard road to his first ever Ultramarathon.

Mike Famaranglas Road to 50K

Mike’s a veteran on the running scene since he started running way before the running boom in the Philippines. He would normally do around 3 kilometer run while he was still in London and that was around 2004.  Running 3 K and 5 K in the treadmill became a routine since then. When he came back to the Philippines, he joined his first race in 2010 with the 10K distance at the Condura Skyway Marathon followed by another 10 K race at Run United 2. After that, He stopped joining races due to an Achilles tendon injury.

In 2016, he started running once again and was able to finish his first marathon last April.  He also got another push from a gym friend to join the Ultramarathon distance last June.  It turned out that I had a slot for the race and since I’m booked for Mount Fuji, I offered my kit to Mike as well as the chance to share his story of the race at  It was perfect timing to pursue the unfinished business of joining an Ultramarathon race.

Training for the Race

Marathon Number 1

It turned out the Clark Ultramarathon would fall between his Milo Marathon and the upcoming Run United Philippine Marathon, which meant that it was like having a marathon or ultramarathon every month. Since he already committed, there was no turning back. He just went on to do what he have to and just accept the challenge with a mindset of train now, recover later.

Marathon Number 2

There’s not much changes on his preparation for the race since he is used to running 20-30km a week even without a race, except adding more mileage. He would cover more than 50 kilometer per week on combinations like 16km-16km-21km or 10km-10km-32km.  He would make the LSD habit on weekends. He also make sure he is properly hydrated by drinking at least 2 liters of water a day. He loads on potassium everyday that comes with coconut juice and bananas (or any equivalent nutrient foods) as these helped avoid getting dehydrated and cramps.

The Race

Photo by Dhona Castillo

Sleep was evasive for Mike before the race. I guess this is just normal for any first timer coming from the anxiety and excitement for a big race.  After all, this was his transition from a marathoner to ultra marathoner.  He got a bit nervous seeing the 100 K runners already along SCTEX Clark already driving into the venue.  He started to focus on his mental toughness for the race.  It also helped to see running friends Mark and Glads to ease the tension even if he’s used to running alone. Since he forgot his running watch, he decided to pace with Mark and Glads on the first part of the race. He also learned doing the run-walk pacing.  His 10km was very relaxing where he had to follow the pacing of a running friend Mark with 2 minutes run and 1 minute walk interval.  This help him save energy for the later part of the race.

Local residence cow farm of Sitio Monicayo

Mike’s normally a speedster. Running at more relaxed pace made him enjoy the race more. He also enjoyed the view with brighter, wider and less traffic roads of the Clark Economic Zone. There is enough road space on the side for the runners. There’s nothing much elevated inside the economic zone and if there is you won’t even notice them. He increased his speed a bit on next 20 kilometers since he was running on solo mode.  Whenever, he felt fatigued, he would walk a few seconds and then resume again.

Sacobia Selfie

The last 20km of the route going to the Zoocobia was the most difficult one for him.  There were many steep uphills and downhills. You can hardly run the way up and he was cautious on the knee on the way down.  He decided to walk this part instead and went back running when the road was less elevated again. He never felt like quitting since He prepared for this. It also helps that there’s no pressure of a targeted PR or PB since this is his first time also. His goal only here is to finish strong and injury free only within a reasonable time.  On the 30km, running towards the SCTEX road toll entrance/exit feels like it’s never gonna end. He can’t wait to see the U-turn and back.

Waiting for the sunrise at Sacobia River Bridge

Fortunately, he never had cramps during the race though he felt some muscles fatigue. He would walk it off or stop to stretch to get his condition back.  On the 40km, this is already on the way to the small roads part of uphills and downhills parts. He had to walk most of the time to enjoy the view of the local resident houses, farms and mountain here.

Allellujia! At 40km U turn. Almost there!

On the way back after this, He felt relieved that the tough part is over.  The rest was on smooth and less elevated roads.  He then bumped into an old client named Ludwig Valencia in an aid station nearly 3km before the finish line.

Bumped into an old client Ludwig Valencia who’s also a first timer in 50k ultramarathon

People were discussing how difficult in that Zoocobia part only. They recognized each others and decided to run and pace together on their way to the finish line.Ludwig was struggling a bit so Mike went on with his pace anyway, they are near the finish line with no time target. He still had enough energy to run faster on the last 100 meters to the finish line to finish strong. Mike is now a Ultra marathoner!!!

Mike Famaranglas, Ultramarathoner

Crossing the finish line was not just a culmination of the race. It was a culmination of months of getting up early, training in the gym, running alone on the highway and controlling his nutrition. There’s no easy way or shortcuts in anything to achieve this.  His passion for running, strong determination, mental and physical preparation kept him alive and got him past his personal limits and capabilities. He’s definitely doing this again and he’ll try new things in training and find ways to improve on his time. For now, he’s on recovery mode and proud to earn the title of “Ultra marathoner.

Message of Thanks from Mike:

“I would like to thanks my wife Leslie for supporting me and understanding for insanely in love for running. To my running idol, my trail master and my super boss, Mr. Franc Ramon for trusting me and allowing me to use his slot on this race, thank you for all the running tips and advice (ehem, coffee, please). Thank you to the strong running couple Mark Chico and Glads Jane for the pacing and educating me on the run-walk interval which came in handy during the race,” Mike Famaranglas Ultramarathoner

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