It was two years ago when I first heard about the Bataan Death March 102 Ultra Marathon Race (BDM 102). Just for a quick history, the Bataan Death March was the forcible transfer by the Japanese Army of approximately 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers from Saisaih Pt. to Camp O'Donnell in Tarlac. The actual march was from Mariveles, Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga, which lasted for six days during which the soldiers were subjected to physical violence, apart from suffering from hunger and heat.
The BDM 102, which is a commemorative and competitive running event, is the brainchild of ultra marathoner and retired military general sir Jovenal "Jovie" Narcise. His fascination with the Bataan Death March and its history inspired him to transform this historic event into an ultra running event.
When I first heard about the BDM 102, my initial thoughts were: "102 kilometers? Is that even possible?" The answer, of course, was "yes" because people have finished it. Back then, I was still fairly new to running. This was way back in 2014 and my longest run was a half marathon. Then early in 2015, I finished my first full marathon. A couple of months after that, I did my first ever ultra marathon. After my first ultra, I thought about how far I've come and then I thought about the BDM 102, and I thought that maybe I could do it. If I will prepare myself for it and train hard enough.
Fast forward to March of this year, I saw a post by sir Jovie announcing that he is already accepting Letters of Intent for the 2017 edition of the BDM 102. I remembered seeking advice from my team mates who've already ran and finished the race. They helped me big time. And so on that exact day, I composed my letter, sent it, and hoped for the best.
On March 31, I got this email:
I got in! This is it. Now all I have to do is pay the registration fee and train. Easy, right? Wrong! I've finished an 80k race and the preparations I've done for it is far from thorough. Yes, it is only an additional 22km but it is STILL 22km, which is something that one should never ever underestimate. I have around nine months to prepare myself for this, both physically and mentally. I guess it is a good thing that my running buddy, Del, was also accepted and will go through this journey with me.
I was a bundle of emotions when I received my Letter of Invitation. I am both excited and nervous. There is no turning back now, and I am more determined than ever. Wish me luck!