The Trails Of The La Mesa Nature Reserve: The Immuvit Challenge

One of the best things about running (or racing) on a trail for the first time is that you get to explore something different from other trails that you have previously ran on. There will be surprises that await you which could either be a gorgeous scenery, a breath-taking mountainscape, an on-rushing river crossing or a steep muddy hill which you have to scale up.

The Immuvit Fearless Challenge 10k and 5k Trail Run last Sunday at the La Mesa Nature Reserve offered both great scenery and challenges. A first timer at the La Mesa Nature Reserve, i was blown-away by the course and the serene panorama of the place.

Never mind if i wasn’t able to complete most of the obstacles that were set up at last Sunday’s 10k  trail course cum obstacle challenge,  as i was there simply to RUN and enjoy the trails with my ever dependable digital camera in tow.

Sequestered on a quiet corner of Quezon City bordering Bulacan province, this moderately challenging course passes some woodlands, meadows, wooden bridges which feasted our eyes to one of the most beautiful trail courses here in Metro Manila and the challenge it presented not only on the tough muddy terrain but also to the man-made obstacles that were laid-up for runners to conquer.

This was my first venture here at the La Mesa Reserve and i was virtually in awe of its vastness which dwarfs that of the much smaller La Mesa Eco-Park.

Here are some of the highlights as i give a short description of the race and the trails:

At the start

The start area was a precursor of what runners would expect running this course. Set amidst a backdrop of 20 to 30-foot tall trees and luscious greenery, the scene was like a mecca-like gathering of trail runners… wooden shade structures for runners to change into their gears, a temporary stage where a band was playing and another stage where awards and other programs would be presented.

There were about 7 to 8 waves of about 30 to 40 runners each that were flagged-off at about 15 minute intervals so as not to crowd-out the obstacles.

Still feeling fresh (and clean) before the start. L-R: Sam, Vicky, Blas and me

The view from the start as race marshals huddle to prepare the first obstacle

True enough, logs were set on fire for the first obstacle

We’re off! Jumping off the first hurdle!

A huge part of the route were on double-track trails and they were very well-maintained. Due to the constant rains that occurred a few days before the race, most of the tracks were wet and muddied. Runners threaded on the side or at the middle grassy portion although the faster runners didn’t care where to step on. They just flew by!

The first part of the route were mostly double-track trails

Runners had the exclusive use of the trails that Sunday

The first water station

The race course was fully served by well-stocked water stations at about 1 km intervals that i didn’t find any use of the hydration belt i was wearing. I was able to talk with some of the volunteers manning these stations and they told me that they had already set up the stations a little past midnight, 5 hours before race time.

The course was well-marked and manned by aides. There would be a tarpaulin sign that would indicate an incoming obstacle and these were posted a hundred meters before the actual obstacle.

The next obstacle…

Instead of crawling under that rug, we were just made to crawl on top of it! Nice one, Coach!

No chance of getting lost. Course was well-marked!

The muddy trail but that would get nastier when we reached km 7.5

Log hurdles ahead!

You get on top of these waist high to chest-high logs!

Runners preferred to run on the middle, grassy part of the trail

This was for most part, the condition of the trails…wet and muddy!

Runners from the second wave were now on our back

I trained for this at the Fit-Fil camp. Jim Saret would have been proud of me!:-)

One of the most picturesque portion of the trail

My favorite part of the trail

More log hurdles! There was a 2nd set of these

The husband eggs on the wifey..

A runner stops and pauses..

Trail shoes are more adaptable to these kind of surface

A small river overflowing its banks

Military wall ahead…

Looks like a roof-top with a bird beam on the top edge

Probably the most difficult obstacle of the course

You have to cross this waist-deep river to get to the wall for the climb

A view of the mud climb

After the mud climb

More trails, more mud!

The deeper we got into the woods, the muddier it was and it became very slippery.

Soaking in mud

All-wood bridges adds an authentic rural feel to the trails

One of the many wooden bridges

..and another with 3 kms more.

Yes, we had lunges too! Hope they put “lunches” next time.

There were still “waves of runners” waiting for their turn to begin when we reached the finish line!

Runners waiting in line to wash off their feet and shoes

Improvised shower

With friends after the finish

Friend Vicky Ras in her mud-soaked Reeboks

With Co-Race Director Jay Em, Coach Joseph Pagulayan and Coaches Jim and Tonette

Though these trails are not as challenging as those of nearby trail races like the Tanay Discovery Trails nor the Timberland Heights, this will still challenge hardened trail runners–and reward them with some of the most picturesque views!

More pictures on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/renevillarta

Many thanks to Sherleen Ricafort of Outbound Communications for providing us the ride and food at the venue. Also to Team Reebok led by Blas and to Without Limits for a well-organized run!

Run United 3 Now Set: September 16, 2012

Oh my, it’s just about 3 weeks away from my first 32k race of the year, the Run United Afroman 32k.  I’m sort of worried i won’t be sufficiently prepared, having missed many runs because of those monsoon rains that happened this past few weeks.  I’m trying to cram-in a few runs these past days and weather permit, i’ll be doing some more long slow distances and hope to accomplish a 25-30k run before race day.

I know I’ll make it through, although i don’t think i can duplicate the sub-4 hour time i did during last year’s RU3 in the same distance. And i think this year will be more of a struggle for me, if at all.

For those of you not yet registered for this race, they’ll still be having the 3k, 5k, 10k, 21k and the aforementioned 32k race. Oh, and there’s a Kid’s 500 meter race, as well. Here are the details:

PRESS RELEASE:

Another Running Spree at Run United 3

All set for the third leg of the Runrio Trilogy 2012 on September 16

Run United is back, after a nearly three-month break. And as the cliché goes, ‘the third time is a charm’. Last year, in fact, a record number of runners estimated at over 14,000 participated in Run United 3.

Run United 3, the third leg of the Run Rio Trilogy, has always been much anticipated because it offers what is dubbed as the ‘Afroman distance’ or 32k category—not usually included in other run races. Of course, on top of the other race categories: the Ceelin 500m dash, 3k, 5k, 10k, and 21k.

“The 32k Afroman Distance in RU3 can be a preparatory race for the full 42.195km category in the upcoming 1st ever Run United Philippine Marathon slated on October 28. RUPM will still have the shorter categories: 500m dash, 3K, 5K, 10K, and 21K.” said Alex Panlilio, Head of Unilab Active Health (ULAH).

Meanwhile, according to premiere race organizer Coach Rio dela Cruz, the runners’ anticipation over Run United 3 will be all worth it as new features and surprises await them on September 16. For one, there will be new routes as well as different starting and finish lines again for Run United 3 in the 21K and 32K categories, like in the previous two races for 21K.

The 32K runners will have a gun start at Bonifacio Global City (BGC) starting at 3am, an hour ahead of the 21k runners. They will be led from BGC to take their first 10k in University Parkway area, then move up to Kalayaan Flyover. Then, they will go all the way down to Buendia, take left at Roxas Boulevard, turnaround taking the roads of Vicente Sotto, Diosdado Macapagal and on to EDSA before finally turning left at Seaside Boulevard for the finish at the Mall of Asia (MOA).

The 21k will have an earlier gun start at 4am compared to Run United 2’s 430am. They will have the same route as the 32k runners, but instead of going to EDSA they will turn right after Macapagal Avenue, turning right at Seaside Boulevard and then all the way to the finish line in MOA.

“Run United 3 runners will get to run across three cities— Taguig, Makati and Pasay. Based from the feedback we got from them, they really enjoyed the experience and the new routes. The earlier gun start of both race categories will give runners a safer route as well,” said Dela Cruz of RunRio Inc., the race organizer.

Online registration for Run United 3 started on August 6 and will continue until September 2, 2012. In-store registration will start on August 13 and will be up to September 9, 2012. Registration venues include Riovana in BGC and Katipunan, Quezon City; and Toby’s at SM Mall of Asia and Trinoma.

The runners will receive their complete race kits upon registration (Active Health Sun Visor, Singlet, Bib with B-Tag and wrist tag for 500m dash runners). The wrist tag for 500m dash kid’s runner which is usually given on race day will now be included in their race kits upon registration.

Run United 3, which is for the benefit of Gawad Kalusugan and Children’s Hour, is part of the ULAH running series. Run United started with only 8,000 runners when it was launched in March 2010 and the numbers have steadily grown in succeeding events. An estimated 14,000 runners participated during its last offering— at 2012 Run United 2.

Run United 1 on March 4 started off this year’s RunRio Trilogy, followed by Run United 2 last June 17. Runners who completed all the longest distances (21k-21k-32k) in all of the three Run United races will be recognized at the RunRio Trilogy Awards Night.

Fun and exciting activities await runners and their family at the Active Health Village, new and bigger Active Kids Zone, Runners’ Lounge, I-Connect Zone, The Food Pavilion and Health, Sports, & Leisure Zones.

For further information or inquiries on race details, results, photos and discussions, please visit the following websites:  www.unilabactivehealth.com or www.runrio.com.

With Coach Rio, Unilab boss Lester Castillo and bloggers.

With bloggers and media at launching of RU3.

“Walang Plastikan!”: Run Against Plastics

We all witnessed the devastation brought on by the monsoon rain “Habagat”, the massive floods it has caused, houses that were wrecked and the hundreds that were rescued from rooftops of their homes  and brought people to over-crowded schools and evacuation centers to camp-out for several days.

Part of the cause of these flooding are the relentless disposal of garbage in our rivers, creeks and lakes and with plastics being used to put in the wastes, these inevitably clog our drainage and water systems as seen by the tons of plastics and garbage that were washed away on shores from Manila Bay.

It has become obvious that the indiscriminate use of plastics is one major cause of flooding. Major steps are now being implemented to avoid the use of plastics. Local governments, cities and municipalities are now adopting ordinances to control the use of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials as a sustainable solution to garbage and flooding woes.

Pasay City one of the cities hardest hit by flooding has created a city ordinance (4647) for the non-usage of plastics. With this advocacy, they now are spreading awareness in staging a Fun Run dubbed “Run Against Plastics (Walang Plastikan) to be held on September 9, 2012 at the Mall of Asia grounds.

Details of the run are as follows:

EVENT DETAILS:
*
RUN Against Plastics (Walang Plastikan)
Date: September 9, 2012
Time: 5am
Venue: Mall of Asia, Pasay City
*
EVENT DISTANCES
3K, 5K, and 10k
*
REGISTRATION FEE
3K – Php 400
5K – Php 500
10k- Php 600
*
WHERE TO REGISTER:

— Second Wind Running Stores:

  • Malingap Street, Quezon City
  • Home Depot, Ortigas
  • Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan

–  A Runner’s Circle (ARC), Quirino Avenue corner Roxas Blvd.

–  Pasay City Hall, Ground Level c/o Office of the Vice Mayor

CONTACT PERSON
Tin-tin Guarin – 09173834322/ 09328864665
*
Race Organizers:
Rundezvouz, Inc

TIKTAKBO Fit ‘N Five Run: September 9, 2012

I last participated in this run sometime 2009 and remember the small number of runners hugging the academic oval and the surrounding route all by ourselves. During this time, I was just getting back into running after years of inactivity and after just 3 weeks of preparation, i finished the 10k in about 1:30, all flushed out!
I could barely move the following day but it was a great experience running my comeback race in this sprawling campus and this triggered back my interest to train seriously again.
If you missed racing at the U.P. campus after the grounds were banned to external race organizers, the UP JPIA will again be your hosts as they stage the Tiktakbo Fit ‘N Five Run on September 9, 2012 (Sunday). This time, they will have a 15k distance run, together with a 3k, 5k buddy and 5km solo run.
This annual fun run organized by the UP Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants aims to raise funds for the benefit of the LEAP (Long-term Educational Assistance Program) Scholars, the organization’s scholarship program. Here are the details of the race:
EVENT DETAILS:
TIKTAKBO Fit ‘N Five Run
*
Date: September 9, 2012
Time: 5am
Venue: UP Diliman Campus
*Assembly point: Palma Hall Parking Lot
EVENT DISTANCES
3K, 5K, 5K Buddy Run, 15 K, 250m (6y/o & below)
*
REGISTRATION FEE
250m (6y/o & below) – Php 250
3K – Php 350
5K – Php 400
5K Buddy Run – Php 690
15 K – Php 550
*
WHERE TO REGISTER
UP JPIA Tambayan, 4th floor College of Business Administration, UP Diliman
Olympic World Trinoma
Olympic Gold Galleria
Olympic Village SM North
Olympic Village Market Market
Olympic Village Sta.Lucia
Avail of the 7+1 promo! Register 7 runners in the same category, and get a free race kit!
*
CONTACT PERSONS
Kathryn – 09177335318
Jessica – 09066198277
Frances – 09065022604
*
or e-mail:
*
Check out our FB Fan Page for more details:

Shoe Review: Adidas Response Stability 4

BACKGROUNDER:

Stability Trainer:

  • For runners who need good medial and lateral support and midsole cushioning
  • Great moderate pronation control that can be felt guiding and correcting the foot while in motion.
  • Stable ride with adequate amount of cushioning
  • Weight: 11.5 oz (size 9 1/2)

Adidas already has one of the best stability shoes in the market, the Supernova Sequence and it’s latest incarnation is the Sequence 5. I had some very good experience with their Sequence 3 model which i first tested 2 years ago and i would say that it was of the best stability shoe i ever had and i’m still using it up to this day.

It would be easy to overlook this new RESPONSE STABILITY 4 model because of the more popular Sequence but the Response Stability 4 is just as great! This is the first time i’m testing this series and i’m pretty satisfied with it’s performance so far.

Even though it doesn’t have the flashy upper and the pleasing look of the Sequence, the Response Stability series is still one of the mainstays of the Adidas line because of its hordes of followers.

CONSTRUCTION:

Construction wise, most of Adida’s newer models don’t deviate much from its predecessors. The designs are simple, but very well constructed and this particular model has a wider 3 stripes design with a thin reflectorized strip that runs across the middle of each stripe.

The upper has synthetic overlays that enhance durability and support. The medial post of the Stability 4 called Pro-Moderator is very visible with its colored (red) lining that runs at the arch of the mid-sole. The Adiprene, Adidas’ elastic inserts located at the forefoot and heel gives the shoe its propulsion and cushioning from impact to toe-off.

This model still uses its ADIWEAR blown-rubber outsole which gives it high-wear durability.

FIT and FEEL:

Now for the first time, i found an Adidas model that is wide-bodied than any of their other models i’ve tried. I particularly like the roomy toe-box which an adidas wearer should know is not one of their strong points and i’m now even using thick socks on this pair which posed no cramping and adjusting inside.

It has more than adequate cushioning on the midsole and tongue and similar to the Sequence, the fit is comfortable, snug but not too controlling.

PERFORMANCE:

This shoe had its baptism of fire on the hot concrete roads around Mall of Asia to Roxas Blvd and Macapagal Avenue. Cushioning was very adequate running on hard concrete without feeling any soreness right after the 17 km run. Again, at the asphalt jungle of Ortigas Center this time, the shoe felt responsive and during the downhill crest along Julia Vargas Street, the foothold came firm and stable but did not impinge my gait nor foot stride.

I also like the smooth ride of this shoe and the consistent cushioning whether i adjust to heel striking or whenever it goes mid to forefoot strike when i go uphills.

At 11.8 oz, this shoe is by no means very light but that’s counter balanced by the easy flexing smoothness and its ability to rev-up to higher speeds when necessary. Oh yeah, you try to rev-up when you know that your lagging behind your friends! The medial-post did its job well as i didn’t feel any “rock and roll” problems inside the shoe even when running on uneven surface.

CONCLUSION and RECOMMENDATION:

The Response Stability 4 gets high marks from me for its support, cushioning and comfort.

I would recommend this for mild to moderate over-pronators, stability- oriented runners who wants a blend of cushioning and stability.

The Immuvit Fearless Challenge Trail Run: Jungle-athlon

Leg 1: No Surrender
So “Urbanathlon” has just been moved to the jungles of the La Mesa Nature Reserve Forest in Quezon City. No, it’s not the Summit Media sponsored Urbanathlon, the yearly city race that’s going to happen on August 26 (i’ll blog that one later) but it’s the IMMUVIT Fearless Challenge Trail Run, a new race organized by Ian Alacar’s Without Limits.
This trail run challenge is a trilogy geared on meta-fitness and trail distance running with obstacles, the same with its city brother, the Urbanathlon. If you’re not really keen on races with obstacles like me, don’t worry because the obstacles would be beginner friendly as the organizers have promised. Sounds fair to me. But just for the trails alone, i’ll give this a try!
So if you like the challenge of climbing walls, crawling on mud, running on beautiful trails and getting those white shoes really black and dirty, this will pose to raise your blood 10 degrees higher!
Here are some details of the race:
Immuvit Fearless Challenge Trail Run (Leg 1)
August 26, 2012
La Mesa Nature Reserve
5K/10K
This is the first Obstacle Trail Run ever organized in the country, conceptualized for Immuvit by its brand ambassador, US-educated Sports Medicine expert and Athletic Training specialist Coach Jim Saret. Inspired by the Spartan and Tough Mudder Races in the States, this event will offer the running community a totally new and fun experience. It will be organized by Without Limits, ProActive and Coach Joseph Pagulayan.
Participants can opt to join the event for either its 5k or 10k challenges with registration fees of Php 600.00 and Php 800.00, respectively.  Each participant will get their kits that will include a singlet, race bib, and barcode.  Plus, every finisher will get to bring home a loot bag, finisher’s medal and a certificate.
At the end of the race, two winners for each category – one female and one male – who will have the best time will each bring home Php 10,000 cash prize and a winner trophy for 10k category winner and Php 5,000 and a cup trophy for the 5k category winner.
There will be 5 obstacle courses, but we will only mention two at this point (the other three will be a surprise)
1. Fire Jump
2. Military Wall
3. Surprise No. 1 could be this obstacle:
4. Surprise No. 2 obstacle could be this one:
5. Surprise No. 3, this perhaps?
Race registration starts on Saturday Aug 11, 2012 at the following outlets:
Registration Sites:

-Fitness and Athletics, Bonifacio Global City (Active Fun corner 9th and 28th street)
-Chris Sports SM Mall of Asia
-Chris Sports SM Manila
-Chris Sports Glorietta 3
-Chris Sports SM North Annex

We will have two race distances, which are: the 5k and 10k.

Fearless Leg 1 Challenge:

Early registration                      – August 11, 2012 to August 14, 2012

5K Obstacle Trail Challenge      – Php 550.00
10K Obstacle Trail Challenge    – Php 750.00

Regular registration period        – August 15 to 23, 2012

5K Obstacle Trail Challenge      – Php 600.00
10K Obstacle Trail Challenge    – Php 800.00

There will be executive buses to transport race participants from Shell station in front of Ayala Technohub at Philcoa which starts leaving at 5:00am. Participants are not required to pay the bus ride. Organizers hired these vehicles to assist the participants. Specific waves and schedules are pre-assigned. Bus departure schedules are given during the registration.
  • Assembly is at Shell Commonwealth Avenue, near UP University Avenue entrance, across UP-Ayala Techohub.
  • Participants are advised to be at the assembly station at least 30 minutes before their scheduled bus departures. Bibs will serve as bus stubs or tickets.
  • Buses will start to load at 15 minutes before departure time. Departure schedule will be strictly followed whether passengers are complete or not.
Hand Gloves and whistles are mandatory race requirements. Participants without these equipment will not be allowed to join the race.
The Race will start by Waves. Participants can choose their respective waves once they register; however, in the event that all slots for a certain wave are already taken, participants will be sent notifications that will indicate which wave they are entered/assigned.
Survivor Medals and Loot Bags await finishers within their cutoff times, and Cash Prizes for the Men’s and Women’s champions.
ProActive will be providing the hydration for this event, so don’t worry about water. There will also be shower stations after the race, in case you want to tidy up if you get muddy and dirty.
L-R:  RD Ian Alacar, Coach Joseph Pagulayan, Ms. Valerie Tan-Sison, Brand Manager of Pascual Healthcare Inc and Coach Jim
Media at the Launch
FAQ on Immuvit Trail Run:

Is it open to all? Who can join the Challenge?
Participants must have completed at least a 10K road race and submit their best times to participate in the challenge.

Is it road or trail?
It is a TRAIL course with obstacles set every 1.5km.

Can we bring guests?
Non-participants are welcome within the venue provided that they are with a registered participant, however, free transportation does not cover the non-participants. Only participants are allowed to take advantage of this service. No bibs/stubs, no ride.

Will there be parking?
YES, and there will be no parking fees. There are very limited parking slots. Availability is on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Can I get a map of the route?
We will release the route map one week prior to the event. It will be posted online and made available on race day.

Is there a cut-off time?
YES, cut-off are as follows:
5K      – 2hrs
10K    – 4hrs

Runners who are still running beyond cut-off time may be allowed to finish the course at the discretion of the organizers.

What are the prizes?
Only one winner per category, per gender. (Total of 4 winners)
There will be cash and product prizes from Pascual Consumer Healthcare Corp. and partners sponsors.

10K Male and 10K Female:       PhP 10,000.00 + Trophy
5K Male and 5K Female:           PhP 5,000.00 + Trophy

Will there be finisher’s shirt and medals?
No finisher’s shirt but there will be finisher’s medals for all 10K finishers and 5K finishers. Non-finishers (DNF) shall receive certificates only.

Is it true that slots are limited?
YES, the event is limited to 500 participants only. Maximum of 200 participants for 5K and 300 participants for 10K.

When can we claim race kits?
Race bibs are available upon registration; singlets however are available from August 15 onwards.

Hydration & Nutrition
Minimize Disposables. There will be minimal use of plastic/paper cups in any portion of the route. Participants are encouraged to bring any other hydration gear. Belts and packs are also allowed. This is in line with the efforts in promoting a more environment-friendly lifestyle in running.

How many hydration stations will be there?
There will be FIVE (5) water stations along the route with water,  and one at the Start/Finish line.

There will be cut-off times as follows:
5K      – 2hrs
10K    – 4hrs

Runners who are still running beyond cut-off time may be allowed to finish the course at the discretion of the organizers.

What are the prizes?
Only one winner per category, per gender. (Total of 4 winners)
There will be cash and product prizes from Pascual Consumer Healthcare Corp. and partners sponsors.

10K Male and 10K Female:       PhP 10,000.00 + Trophy
5K Male and 5K Female:           PhP 5,000.00 + Trophy

Will there be finisher’s shirt and medals?
No finisher’s shirt but there will be finisher’s medals for all 10K finishers and 5K finishers. Non-finishers (DNF) shall receive certificates only.

ADDITIONAL INFO:

WATER and FIRST AID STATIONS

  1. Drinking water will be provided at selected points along the route but runners are also encouraged to be self-sufficient regarding hydration and nutrition.
  2. Medical aid will be available at certain points along the route.

TOILET AREA/PORTALETS

No portalet units will be deployed along the route.

Open shower/Toilets and portalets will only be available at the assembly/activity area.

PARKING AREA
There are allocated parking areas, however limited. Please do not leave any valuables inside your vehicle. Organizers are not liable for any loss.

BAGGAGE AREA
Baggage deposit service is available from 4:00AM to 13:00. Organizers will not be liable for any loss.

For more inquiries, send email at secretariat@withoutlimits.ph  or call  (02) 3837658 (office hours only, 9am-5pm).

Runners Race To Action: Donations For Habagat Victims Needed

Not a fun run this time but Unilab Active Health is rallying the running community to help the Habagat flood victims to donate ANY of your old singlet, finisher’s, event shirt at their Headquarters at the Bonifacio High Street, (fronting Krispy Kreme/ Nike Store) today and tomorrow, Aug.11-12.

Old and new clothes will also be accepted! Unilab will donate corresponding vitamins for every single/shirt that we donate. If you have unused singlets or finisher’s shirts just sitting on your drawers, this is the time to give them to our less fortunate brethren who have lost their clothes and other personal belongings to this recent disaster.

Here are the details below:

More details on their FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/UnilabActiveHealth