Yesterday, I came back from Iligan after giving a three-day seminar on Basic Ecclesial Communities to the Lay Missioners -in-training of the Alphonsian Lay Formation Institute (ALFI). I rode the motorbike so that I can follow the route, measure the distance and choose the stops for my Trans-Mindanao solo ultra-run (Iligan-Davao). I have set the date for the run this March 2010. I can move it to October or November if I feel that I'm not yet ready. So here's the tentative itinerary and date:
March 20 (Sun) - Iligan-Libertad (46 km)
March 21 (Mond) -Libertad-Cagayan (43 km)
March 22 (Tues) - Cagayan-Manolo Fortich (38 km)
March 23 (Wed) - Manolo Fortich - Malaybalay (57 km)
March 24 (Thu) - Malaybalay-Maramag (52 km)
March 25 (Fri) - Maramag-Buda (62 km)
March 26 (Sat) - Buda-Lomondao (39 km)
March 27 (Sun) - Lomondao-Davao (52 km)
total distance: Redemptorist Iligan to Redemptorist Davao = 389 km.
I will be sleeping in parish rectories (convento).
I am calling this the Trans-Mindanao Run because I will run across Mindanao - from Northern Mindanao (Iligan) to Southern Mindanao (Davao) across the mountains of Bukidnon - the heartland of Mindanao.
I will be doing this alone - no competition, no running partner, no support vehicle. Everything I need I will carry on my back-pack - water, chocolates, clothes, religious habit, extra running apparel, cell phone, digital camera, umpc (with mobile broadband), headlight.
Why am I doing this? Will I be able to do this?
Why would I be doing this? There are many reasons. The most obvious is because it is fun. I enjoy doing this - and it satisfies my longing for adventure. This is the same reason why I biked around Mindanao and around the Philippines, climbed Mt. Apo seven times and walked from Rome to Assisi 15 years ago. I wouldn't be doing these things if I did not enjoy doing them. But this is not only the reason.
It is also a challenge. No one has ran this route before and I would like to be the first to do it. I am also doing this for my environmental and peace advocacy: "Lakbo Para sa Kalikasan at Kapayapaan."
There is also another reason. My father, Antonio, told me that in 1941, after the USAFFE forces were ordered to surrender to the Japanese invasion forces, he refused to follow orders and hiked all the way from Davao to Iligan to join the guerilla forces. I was always fascinated by his account of this walk. I would like to do it in his honor, but instead of just walking, I would like to run-walk it.
Will I be able to do it? It remains to be seen, there is one one way to find out - just do it. My recent marathon finish has indicated that I am capable of running for over six hours (with walking breaks). Can I do the marathon distance and beyond for 8 successive days? I am not sure, but I would like to prove to myself that at my age (55) I can do this. When I was 40 years old I walked alone for one week from Rome to Assisi averaging 30 km/day with a heavy backpack. I brought a tent and a sleeping bag and slept in the open at night. It was a very memorable journey. I believe I can run/walk about 50 km/day with a light back-pack this time.
I still have four months of training and preparation. This means running 3 times a week (2 medium runs between 1.5-2 hrs, 1 long runabout of 4-6 hrs). I will also be doing strength training (twice a week) and biking (twice a week). By March I will see if I will be ready, otherwise I will do it in October or November at the end of my sabbatical.