I’m doing more trail races this year than i did the last and i noticed that trail runs are getting more difficult and challenging on courses with steep elevations and sudden descents, near endless climbs, various river crossings and even obstacles that gets you to crawl on like rice paddies!
After the highs of the Merrell Trail Run last week at San Mateo, Rizal, the Salomon X-Trail Run at Hamilo Coast a few weeks before and several practice runs on various other trails near Manila, i was back in Tanay last Sunday to run the Pimco Run2Run Adventure Trail Run.
The settings were just perfect: The Ten Cents To Heaven Resort is an oasis of calm in the midst of the Sierra Madre mountains with no more than 250 trail runners savoring the cold breeze that is ostensibly absent from Manila. This trail race was a buddy run and i was suppose to run and finish together with my perennial trail partner June Santiago. We didn’t finish together (finished just 5 mins ahead) but we did pace together for most part of the race.
The starting time was supposed to be at 5:00am but since most of the runners didn’t or forgot to bring their headlamps (guilty!), the organizers decided to move the time for about 30 mins more for the runners safety which was okay with me!
The route was a mix of some trails that were used in previous PIMCO trail races and some new ones which were added for variety. From the Ten Cents Resort start, the trails descended for about 1.5 kms then just as soon as we were at rock bottom, we started to crawl up again past pineapple fields and mangroves that i had to stop a few times to catch my breath. This stretch ended up at a Zip-line station where we exited into a concrete road all the way to a local village.
The route was familiar to some of us who had done a test run on the first few kilometers of this course a few weeks back. It’s not an easy course by all means because right after passing the trails of Sitio Caumbay, the 21k runners proceeded to one of Pimco’s “showcase” trails, the Maysawa trails.
The Maysawa trails are beautiful but jagged, rocky on some parts, wooded on the inner portions following shallow and almost dry rivers plus a couple of different ridges through the woods. It throws in a couple of relentless uphills and descents and the terrain on the end part, before reaching Brgy Laiban is a mix of woodlands, creeks, open space and the occasional cultivated field.
Our late start, although a welcome move for all of us who didn’t bring our headlamps was going to be our bane on the latter stages of the race as the uphills of Laiban together with the scorching heat was too much to bear. I, together with the rest of the runners around were walking like zombies, with only intermittent shades providing short pit stops for us to rest.
The last 3 kms was proving to be another Camp Sinai finish, a reference to the Merrell Adventure Trail race the week before when you had to battle heat, uphills and the sagging energy where the goal was just “to finish”. Another 150 meter uphill on the entrance to the resort, the “Staiway to Heaven” left me with some last kick to spare before heading on to the finish line in 5:02 for the 22.8km distance! A personal worst! Hahah..!
As i said earlier, June came in just a few minutes after me an although we really reeled from that torturous heat, it was one hell of a ride, another exciting journey to the world of trail running!
A big shout-out to Pimco for another great trail adventure and to RD Alvin Balderama for giving us another challenging trail route. We will be back on June 9 for this year’s 1st leg of the Nature’s Trail Discovery Trail Run at Daraitan in Tanay! See you there!
Here are some pictures of the race. Enjoy!