This was a race i discovered way back 2009, the Amadeo Coffee Run, a small, laid-back race located in Amadeo, Cavite just 8 km east of Tagaytay City but with the same cool weather permeating its environs. If you wanted hot, piping brewed coffee just before the race, this was the place to be as we found out on our first outing that year (read it here). Little did we know that Amadeo is dubbed as the coffee capital of the Philippines.
The Coffee Run had its re-incarnation this year and the Takbo Para Sa Kapihan (Race To Save Coffee Trees) was held last Saturday, February 18, in conjunction with their Pahimis Festival, a gesture of thanksgiving to God practiced by the local townsfolk more than a century ago which showcases the town’s coffee industry.
When Ana Bautista (themeekrunner), a native of Amadeo tagged me in my FB account a week before to join this race, i was eager to go and even invited my Meralco running group to join .
The night before, i had attended the grand launching of Coach Rio’s Riovana Store at High Street, The Fort but left early at 10pm to attend another party nearby. Party we did.. drinks, sing-along and stuff until i realized that it was almost 1:30am already! I had to meet up with Tonet who was going to fetch me at home at around 2:30am so i had to rush home, pronto! Arrived home at 2:00am, just enough time to change, freshen up and put on my running gear. There was no time to doze-off even for a few minutes as Tonet arrived at exactly 2:30 am. Ugh! This means i was going to run the 21k with no sleep at all!
We proceeded directly to Betty’s place in Pasig where we would meet the rest of our group and proceed in one van to Amadeo. I planned to take a nap during the 1 hour trip to Amadeo but the buzzing of chit-chats and laughter from around me was ringing my ears so the planned nap went pfffftt!
We arrived at Amadeo at around 4:30am, proceeded to the registration tables and registered. The P350.00 reg was reasonable enough for the 21k race. No brewing of coffee yet this time as the sponsors were still setting up their tents and tables. We were immediately hauled into a covered court area where a welcoming speech was made by an organizer and the national anthem was played.
We still had cool breeze when we started at about 5:30. There were only about 50-60 of us doing the 21k and as we only intended to treat did as a long training run, the others just took off and disappeared from our sight in less than a minute. The first few minutes of the route was still dark although we had the headlights of an ambulance providing us the lights as we were at the tail-end of the runners.
The terrain was mostly flat during the first few kilometers although there were a few short sections that went uphill, specially along residential areas when people were curiously watching us but when you greeted them the usual ‘good mornings’, their curious looks magically transformed into warm smiles as they greeted back.
I manage to keep up pace during this early part of the run until we reached the national highway when i began to struggle during that long stretch of slight uphills. Sluggish may be an understatement as my legs were practically dead that i had to drag my feet at certain portions when it didn’t feel like going up the long inclines. I really felt the effects of not having any sleep at all!
To make matters worse, i was wondering why the organizers had to set up the water stations at the right side of the road when the rules set by them specifically stated that we were suppose to run on the left side facing traffic. So we had that added burden of crossing the highway to get to the water stations. Big risk, considering the those big trucks and other vehicles were going at full speed and didn’t even bother to slow down as they reeled past us!
Off the highway, we turned left and ran to some scenic plains and coffee farms and the sights were marvelous. People weren’t really mindful but some would ask how many kms we were running. The soft, cool wind was blowing into our heads and this really helped me gain a second wind.
The last 4 kilometers was a slight downhill back on the highway and i felt very pleased with my pace which i picked-up a bit. I picked-off some runners as i sped along the highway towards the fork. At the 20km mark, i sped up significantly and launched into a wild drive at maybe a 5:00 minute pace. Upon approaching the fork road, i glanced into my watch, the distance was already 21kms and suddenly realized that there was still a good 700 meters on the final stretch so i kind of regretted having to change to a faster gear early. But pride wouldn’t let me slow down so i had to maintain pace and hold it until i reached the finish line.
Based on my Soleus GPS 1.0, the distance covered was 21.72kms although at first glance, i though it to be at 21.27kms. Eyes must have been fuzzy. My time was 2:40 and i though it a decent enough time inspite of the numerous walking breaks i took. At the finish, the smell of brewed coffee was percolating inside the tent so i helped myself with a cup-full instead of the usual water!
Over-all, the race was superbly organized–the water stations were adequate with overflowing Sports drinks on the side, marshals were in their positions and directional signs were all over the place ensuring that no runners would get lost. An ambulance was always present along the course and paramedics always raising a thumbs up indicating if we were ok so we could thumbs-up him back. However, they could look back at that oversight of having the last water stations on the wrong side of the road.
After the race, we rushed to the home of Anna’s aunt, a few hundred meters away from the finish where we partook breakfast of Chicken Arrozcaldo, Puto, Hot Pandesal, boiled eggs, a local sugary flat bread and some more of those hot, freshly brewed coffee! What a treat!
In summary, we all had a great time and it’s nice running an out-of-town-race once in a while to experience some fresh air, cool temperature, the town folks and heaps of freshly brewed Amadeo coffee!
NOTE: Watch out for the Amadeo-Tagaytay Infinity 42k Marathon coming soon! This is going to be a “cool” marathon!