■ Ofelia C. Empian
Ronie Nullar is the sole survivor of the Jingle Balls Backyard Ultra 2023 finishing 11 laps in the third edition of the event slated on Dec. 9 and 10 at Camp John Hay, Baguio City.
Nullar of Baguio City finished the loop in 10 hours, 54 minutes, and 41 seconds. In the 2022 edition of the ultra-race, Nullar placed second to sole survivor Rhys Yvan Dane Pawid who made it to 22 loops while he tapped out by the 21st loop.
This year’s second fiddle to Nullar was Arnulfo Aquino, and trailed by finalists Ricardo Crescini, Jr. and Thomas Combisen during the Philippine edition of the JBBU backed by R.O.X Camp John Hay, John Hay Management Corporation, Ayala TechnoHub-Baguio, and Team Malaya.
The backyard ultra is a form of ultramarathon race where competitors consecutively run 6.7 kilometers (one loop) in less than one hour. There is no predetermined time to finish one loop, but there is a new race every hour.
The race is won by only one runner and considered the only finisher, who remains to complete one last lap.
The JBBU, organized by the King of The Mountain and Intrepid Spirit, tests the endurance, planning, and mental fortitude of each runner, as each participant only has themself to race against.
Pawid, who is a top performer in local ultra events, made a Philippine record in 2022 by completing 22 loops or 147.4 kilometers.
The Philippines’ JBBU was the first backyard ultra to be held in the Philippines. The first edition was held in December 2019 at Camp John Hay.
Organizers said the JBBU was also selected as a silver ticket for the Backyard Ultra World Team Championship on Oct. 15, 2024.
Nullar will automatically be in the Philippines team along with two other backyard ultra-Philippines athletes.