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Jacob Ong: Garmin doctor

/ 12:29 PM October 29, 2013

While training for the 1st Quezon City Marathon back in 2009, I invested in a GPS watch, a Garmin Forerunner 305 or the GF 305. Back then, it cost me P10,000 (times 2 watches = P20,000) and it was the single biggest and most expensive item I ever bought for the love of marathon running.

But the high price tag was worth it. The GF 305 is like a mini computer on your wrist which helps you keep track of the actual kilometers run at a given workout, the runner’s pace per kilometer and the amount of calories burned per workout. My favorite GF 305 is the alarm system that beeps when I’m falling behind my target race pace and beeps when I’m running too fast. This helps keep the runner run even splits throughout the entire marathon. If you’re hypercompetitive, you can set the watch and compete with a virtual running partner.

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I and my GF 305s have been on the road for a total of 7 marathons, one 50K, two 65K’s, one 102K and two 160K’s, not counting the countless training hours and the middle distance races in between.

When I got pregnant in 2012, my GF 305s went on forced retirement. When I started training for Cebu Marathon 2014 about a month ago, I knew I needed my GF 305s and forced them out of retirement. However, the long hiatus seemed to have damaged my precious training partners – one won’t charge, while the other won’t turn on because the rubber buttons had become gooey. I needed a Garmin doctor – stat!

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I posted a call for help on the CUC page on Facebook and all the Garmin-wearing members recommended one person – Jacob Ong. Apparently, Jacob, when not busy organizing the ultrahamster run around Cempark or ultramarathons with the CUC/ Ungo Think Tank group, or even while busy running his sticker/printing business (Kai Stickers), also repairs Garmin GPS watches.

After checking my watches, Jacob said that the watch with the gooey rubber buttons can be repaired by replacing the damaged part with another rubberized material and put back together with a sticker with strong adhesive. Jacob’s assistant, Edgar, fixed it for me. I have been running again with it and, except for the white stickers on the side, it works like new.

The other GF 305 that wouldn’t charge had damaged wires due to corrosion from sweat but the motherboard was still OK. Jacob is still working on it.

Jacob charges P1,000 for every GPS watch he’s able to bring back from the dead. He gave me a 50% discount. For sentimental reasons, I would gladly pay him more for bringing back my trusty training partners that have been with me through long and lonely training runs and through every triumphant crossing at the finish line.

With everything that Jacob has on his plate, he doesn’t need this watch repair sideline as business. The way I see it, repairing runners’ GPS watches is another one of those things he does simply for the love of running and for the love of runners in general.

Thank you, Jacob, for bringing back to life my GF 305.

If you have similar problems with your GPS watches, you may reach Jacob Ong on Facebook or visit his shop at KAI Stickers, Villagracia Bldg., SB Cabahug St., Centro, Mandaue City (across Cortes Hospital) with telephone number 4228899.

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Cebu Marathon 2014 Training Diary

In the 2014 edition of the Cebu Marathon, there will be no paper cups at the water stations. Instead, runners will have to bring their own hydration system, to be refilled at the water stations found every 2 kilometers along the race route. This cup-less system is the organizers’ way of making the marathon more environment friendly as water cups at water stations are a major source of non-biodegradable trash during race day.

How does this impact your training for the CCM on Jan. 12, 2014? This means you’ll have to train with your hydration system of choice – whether it’s a camel back system or handheld. You cannot run with your hydration system for the first time on race day. As with your race day apparel and shoes, you must have been running or training with your camel back or handheld water bottle, months before race day. Otherwise, you risk injuring your shoulder muscles or arms because they are not used to carrying the weight of your hydration system during a long run.

Good luck! Carpe viam!

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