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View Full Version : Running the Bataan Memorial Death March.


Longstreet
12-02-2013, 23:32
Jayson here and as cheesey as it may seem, completing the Bataan Memorial Death March is on my 'bucket list' and for 2014 I decided it was going to happen. I have already registered for the event and even bought my plane ticket. I chose not to participate in the heavy as I want to run the course. The longest runs I have ever done are 30km so the BMDM will be a real challenge for me.

I have done considerable reading about the course and from what I have gathered it has three types of terrain: road, trail and sand. There are also lots of hills. So to prepare myself I have been slowly increasing my running distances and engaging in two hill training runs per week. I just finished an 18km run and have run 9km hill runs where half of the distance would be up a hill. I am pleased with my timings and am confident I will be ready for the big day; however I do have a number of questions that I hope can be answered. They are as follows:

1. Running in sand. How does one train to run in sand when he/she does not have access to a proper beach? I live in Toronto and while there are beaches, soon they will be covered in snow or the sand will freeze. The other issue I have is even if the weather cooperates, I have a family and the only time I can run is at night. I drove to a distant beach last week for a run in the sand, but did not feel safe as it was very dark and secluded. Also the wind was so loud someone could have been following me the whole time and I would not have heard anything - I even left my Shuffle in the car so I could better hear what was going on around me. Any suggestions that may help solve this situation would be greatly appreciated.

2. Running in the desert. I have never participated in extreme physical activity in a desert so I have no experience on how this is going to effect my run. I have been wearing extra layers when running so that my body heats up more so that it should adjust better to the heat in New Mexico. While in the summer it does get hot here, the humidity is insane which is another reason I run at night. I plan on running with a 3L Camelbak using nuun tablets (and carrying extra) to keep my electrolytes in check. I will also bring some gels for energy. Would this be enough for the desert?

3. Toughening my feet. I know there are a number of threads about this topic so I would like to avoid a warning on using the search button, but I do have one question that I believe has not been answered. I run in Minimus shoes (not the Five-Finger) and while it is incredibly rare that I ever get blisters I would like to toughen my feet more. I have a copy of Get Selected and there is a chapter about walking barefoot on pavement to help toughen up ones feet. Would walking barefoot on a street in below zero weather be a good idea or is there another way? For this event I will gladly deal with the cold, but wonder just how long I can endure such frigid temperatures. Besides, getting frostbite is never fun. My basement is finished so I do not have any rough cement in my house and I am on paternity leave so walking around school is not possible either. I know this question may have an obvious answer, but one thing I have learned from PS is that obvious answers are not always the right ones. Comments?

I am certain I will develop more questions as time goes on, but for now those are the ones that are most urgent for me. Any suggestions or help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.


jaYson

MR2
12-03-2013, 03:54
http://www.bataanmarch.com/

I like. I doubt I'll heal in time for this year. I also doubt I can get the wife to even do this. Serious reservations that I can do the full 26.2 miles in a day...

MtnGoat
12-03-2013, 05:28
I may have to do this next year. Thanks for the post.m

Flagg
12-03-2013, 11:24
I was hoping to do it in 2014 as well, but will not be traveling back thru the US until about a fortnight later.

Good luck!

Toaster
12-04-2013, 13:02
You could buy a paving stone from a hardware store to walk on to toughen your feet up.

Be mindful of the difference in elevation, more than 3500 feet for you. You could arrive a few days earlier to acclimitize better.

There isn't any humidity significant humidity in that area, it sucks the water out of you.

Longstreet
12-04-2013, 17:41
Be mindful of the difference in elevation, more than 3500 feet for you. You could arrive a few days earlier to acclimitize better.

Ahh crap. I had not even considered the altitude. Alright, I cannot arrive any earlier. If memory serves me correctly this was covered in an old thread. I believe the key to adapting to high altitudes was to avoid alcohol, caffeine and to stay extremely well hydrated - all of what I would be doing anyway. Being well rested also helped.

There isn't any humidity significant humidity in that area, it sucks the water out of you.
That is what I was thinking. So I will add practicing how to fill my Camelbak in an efficient manner. I have heard there is an adapter that allows one to use a plastic bottle to fill a bladder using the hose rather than having to open the bladder.

Thanks for the heads up, Toaster.

jaYson

The Reaper
12-04-2013, 20:43
Jayson here and as cheesey as it may seem, completing the Bataan Memorial Death March is on my 'bucket list' and for 2014 I decided it was going to happen. I have already registered for the event and even bought my plane ticket. I chose not to participate in the heavy as I want to run the course. The longest runs I have ever done are 30km so the BMDM will be a real challenge for me.

I have done considerable reading about the course and from what I have gathered it has three types of terrain: road, trail and sand. There are also lots of hills. So to prepare myself I have been slowly increasing my running distances and engaging in two hill training runs per week. I just finished an 18km run and have run 9km hill runs where half of the distance would be up a hill. I am pleased with my timings and am confident I will be ready for the big day; however I do have a number of questions that I hope can be answered. They are as follows:

1. Running in sand. How does one train to run in sand when he/she does not have access to a proper beach? I live in Toronto and while there are beaches, soon they will be covered in snow or the sand will freeze. The other issue I have is even if the weather cooperates, I have a family and the only time I can run is at night. I drove to a distant beach last week for a run in the sand, but did not feel safe as it was very dark and secluded. Also the wind was so loud someone could have been following me the whole time and I would not have heard anything - I even left my Shuffle in the car so I could better hear what was going on around me. Any suggestions that may help solve this situation would be greatly appreciated.

2. Running in the desert. I have never participated in extreme physical activity in a desert so I have no experience on how this is going to effect my run. I have been wearing extra layers when running so that my body heats up more so that it should adjust better to the heat in New Mexico. While in the summer it does get hot here, the humidity is insane which is another reason I run at night. I plan on running with a 3L Camelbak using nuun tablets (and carrying extra) to keep my electrolytes in check. I will also bring some gels for energy. Would this be enough for the desert?

3. Toughening my feet. I know there are a number of threads about this topic so I would like to avoid a warning on using the search button, but I do have one question that I believe has not been answered. I run in Minimus shoes (not the Five-Finger) and while it is incredibly rare that I ever get blisters I would like to toughen my feet more. I have a copy of Get Selected and there is a chapter about walking barefoot on pavement to help toughen up ones feet. Would walking barefoot on a street in below zero weather be a good idea or is there another way? For this event I will gladly deal with the cold, but wonder just how long I can endure such frigid temperatures. Besides, getting frostbite is never fun. My basement is finished so I do not have any rough cement in my house and I am on paternity leave so walking around school is not possible either. I know this question may have an obvious answer, but one thing I have learned from PS is that obvious answers are not always the right ones. Comments?

I am certain I will develop more questions as time goes on, but for now those are the ones that are most urgent for me. Any suggestions or help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.


jaYson

You have snow to walk in, don't you?

I suspect that several inches will be more than enough to give you a sand like effect.

TR

craigepo
12-05-2013, 04:21
White Sands can be a pretty nasty place. The last time I was there was during a summer, and we were drinking approximately 18 quarts of water per day. Tons of rattlesnakes. We would actually navigate around rattles at night.

As for training at night, I trail run at night quite a bit. Get a good Petzl headlamp, and go get your miles in. You will have to slow down, but that's inherent in covering ground at night.

This race is done during March, so the predictions for weather aren't so extreme. Maximum heat is low-80's. The expectations are mid-40's in the morning, getting into the 70's during the day. This will be a big change from Canada at that time of year, so hydration will be paramount. Personally, when I run hot weather, I keep my water bottle in hand all the time, and make sure that I am drinking an amount that is equivalent to my sweat loss. One thing to keep in mind: body water loss decreases blood volume, which increases heart rate. You have to chug a lot of water during these long distance events to keep your heart rate in check.

One thing you might consider is the running whites the folks wear that run Death Valley. Whatever the temperature might be, you will undoubtedly have a UV issue there. I find it easier to wear a thin white layer than to keep enough sunscreen on, especially when I'm sweating. Plus, if it is mid-40s when you start, you might want long sleeves in the beginning.

It has been a long time since I was there, and my memory is foggy, but I seem to remember that White Sands has what they called the Green Mountains. These were fairly rugged, rugged enough that we did some fixed-rope movements. Looking at the race intel, the route has some pretty good altitude change. Running hills takes shape and fortitude. Enjoy.

As for toughening your feet for the run, I presume that you will be running in running shoes and not boots. Some things to keep in mind: 1) spend money on really good wicking socks; 2) spend as much time as possible barefoot (tough to do in Canada in the winter, but I would for sure be barefoot in the house at all times. Also, using foot powder in all of your shoes, work shoes included, will help keep your feet dry and begin the toughening process. I do this presently, as I no longer wear jungle boots for a living, and it makes a difference. 3) this run seems to be trail run-esque. If you aren't already doing it, consider some zero-drop, highly breathable trail shoes. You will definitely need the toughness on the route. The highly-breathable part will also help there, as you will be sweating (although I remember the air being so dry there a big problem was the sweat disappearing as soon as it left your skin). I presently wear Altras, which work really well. Whatever brand works, I would ensure that I had some good foot wear.

In regards to your hydration question, it looks like the race has quite a few water points, approximately every 1.5-2.5 miles. That should be plenty of water. One of my water belts carries two 20 ounce bottles. Your 3 liter should be plenty, if not overkill. It looks like they also have bananas at each water point, so if your stomach can handle those during a run, water and blood sugar should not be an external issue.

Crap. This sounds like a fun run. I might have to check my calendar for March.

Dusty
12-05-2013, 06:24
You'll have a blast.

Don't forget to post a good "lessons learned" summary...

booker
12-05-2013, 07:14
White Sands can be a pretty nasty place. The last time I was there was during a summer, and we were drinking approximately 18 quarts of water per day. Tons of rattlesnakes. We would actually navigate around rattles at night.

As for training at night, I trail run at night quite a bit. Get a good Petzl headlamp, and go get your miles in. You will have to slow down, but that's inherent in covering ground at night.

This race is done during March, so the predictions for weather aren't so extreme. Maximum heat is low-80's. The expectations are mid-40's in the morning, getting into the 70's during the day. This will be a big change from Canada at that time of year, so hydration will be paramount. Personally, when I run hot weather, I keep my water bottle in hand all the time, and make sure that I am drinking an amount that is equivalent to my sweat loss. One thing to keep in mind: body water loss decreases blood volume, which increases heart rate. You have to chug a lot of water during these long distance events to keep your heart rate in check.

One thing you might consider is the running whites the folks wear that run Death Valley. Whatever the temperature might be, you will undoubtedly have a UV issue there. I find it easier to wear a thin white layer than to keep enough sunscreen on, especially when I'm sweating. Plus, if it is mid-40s when you start, you might want long sleeves in the beginning.

It has been a long time since I was there, and my memory is foggy, but I seem to remember that White Sands has what they called the Green Mountains. These were fairly rugged, rugged enough that we did some fixed-rope movements. Looking at the race intel, the route has some pretty good altitude change. Running hills takes shape and fortitude. Enjoy.

As for toughening your feet for the run, I presume that you will be running in running shoes and not boots. Some things to keep in mind: 1) spend money on really good wicking socks; 2) spend as much time as possible barefoot (tough to do in Canada in the winter, but I would for sure be barefoot in the house at all times. Also, using foot powder in all of your shoes, work shoes included, will help keep your feet dry and begin the toughening process. I do this presently, as I no longer wear jungle boots for a living, and it makes a difference. 3) this run seems to be trail run-esque. If you aren't already doing it, consider some zero-drop, highly breathable trail shoes. You will definitely need the toughness on the route. The highly-breathable part will also help there, as you will be sweating (although I remember the air being so dry there a big problem was the sweat disappearing as soon as it left your skin). I presently wear Altras, which work really well. Whatever brand works, I would ensure that I had some good foot wear.

In regards to your hydration question, it looks like the race has quite a few water points, approximately every 1.5-2.5 miles. That should be plenty of water. One of my water belts carries two 20 ounce bottles. Your 3 liter should be plenty, if not overkill. It looks like they also have bananas at each water point, so if your stomach can handle those during a run, water and blood sugar should not be an external issue.

Crap. This sounds like a fun run. I might have to check my calendar for March.

+1 on the altras, they are good zero drop with plenty of protection. I use their trail shoes in the mountains here and have never had an issue with foot bruising from rocks, etc. In addition to drinking lots of water, you should think about something like Hammer Endruolytes (pill or powder). I do a lot of field work the humid southern summers, and those really help more than any electrolyte type of drink I've tried. Train as you will race, so start implementing the intrarace food consumption now, don't try to do something new once you get there, it can lead to unnecessary and problematic gastrointestinal distress. If you do try the running whites let us know how they work, I've always been curious if they are more effective than the usual short sleeve with sunscreen.

Beav
12-31-2013, 08:40
I've completed the BDM the past two years and looking forward to this year as well. I compete military heavy, so forgive me for not being able to speak much on the running side, however I do have some general info on the course itself.

The temperature, as stated previously, will be in the 70s most likely. Two years ago started ~60 and worked up to high 80s, low 90s. Last year was much more enjoyable, starting in the high 50s and maxing in the mid 70s. The march starts early, so if you're running, you should finish before it gets too warm.

As far as the actual course, the first 6 miles or so are paved or improved surfaces, with a substantial paved hill around 1 mile in length. The next 10 miles or so wind through the country side, primarily dirt and rolling hills, with the occasional sandy patch. Miles 18-21 or so find your way back down the paved hill and roads, at which point you enter the actual tough sand pit. Once you make it through the pit, you're on your way to the finish line.

There are numerous water points throughout the entire course, so water and bathrooms are no concern. It's always good to have water on hand, but you would have no problems just refueling with cups at the stations on a run. Also, if you have some cash on hand, there's an aid station that grills burgers and dogs midway (I still can't believe I see people downing burgers and cokes in the middle of the ruck. They are also usually sitting on the side of the road miserable a few miles later)

Main pieces of advice: train your feet, bring sunshades, visit the base the day before and visit all of the stations and actual Bataan vets.

Any questions, feel free to give me a shout.

chuckn0rr1s
01-16-2014, 15:48
I competed in the bataan death march qualifier in So. Korea. There was an option for a team event and so I competed with 4 other guys. None of us had any experience rucking. However we trained a few times before the race. It was not 26.2 miles they cut it in half to qualify for the one in white sands. So it was 13.1 miles. Our team won 1st place and they were going to fly us to white sands to compete. Then something called The War on Terrorism happened and the whole thing was cancelled due to everyone being deployed. Sadly they never rescheduled it and I never got to compete again. But I would definitely be interested in doing it again sometime.

Good luck to those who plan on doing it!!

MtnGoat
03-03-2014, 15:48
I was hoping to do it in 2014 as well, but will not be traveling back thru the US until about a fortnight later.

Good luck!

If you make it any where close to the east coast or to the March PM your dates.

Masochist
03-04-2014, 16:23
For those on the East Coast who can't make it to White Sands. Sorry for the Facebook links, but that's all I was able to find.


3rd Annual Chesapeake Bataan Death March Memorial Walk

Description

The purpose of this annual event is to honor and remember all those who endured one of the most harrowing events in US and Filipino history. The walk is a time to honor not only the survivors and those who died in Bataan but all World War II veterans and families.

The event is held at the Dismal Swamp in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Our goal is to educate today's generation on the sacrifices of the greatest generation.

The event is comprised of three walks:
- 16.6 miles
- 5 miles
- 1 mile

The walks are open and free to all.

For more information, email walk.chesapeake@gmail.com.

PAGE: Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chesapeake-Bataan-Death-March/464188050284397)

EVENT: Facebook Event (https://www.facebook.com/events/121810381352855/)

Flagg
03-04-2014, 17:57
If you make it any where close to the east coast or to the March PM your dates.

Acknowledged