It was great to be part of this first ever Salomon CityTrail 12k Run inside and around historic Intramuros in Manila where you get to immerse yourself in the walled city’s vintage atmosphere from start to end!
The start line was situated near the entrance of the iconic Fort Santiago where we were once brought as children on our first school field trip to study the life and death of our national hero, Dr. JP Rizal. And that was the last time i ventured into this place. From here, the short 12k course is a veritable festival of historical sights.
So what is a CityTrail (or CityTrail running), one might ask? How could it be possible to have trails similar to Tanay, San Mateo or on wooded forests when this one is located in a highly urbanized, old city like Manila?
Well, it’s a venue event label by Salomon, the shoe brand that brought us their famous trail running shoes. The CITYTRAIL™ Races are part trail and part concrete running events that challenges runners to explore different terrain settings like pathways, bridges, tunnels, grass, stairs, etc. within urban landscapes simulating those in trail running. And what better venue to exemplify this than the historic Spanish and World War 2 settings of Intramuros!
We were lined-up and took our positions at the back for the 4:30pm start with about 500 other 12k runners. I was with Terri Boyce, a Balikbayan friend and a marathoner who had just arrived from California for a very short visit. Seeing some of the old churches and Spanish-era buildings just a few minutes from the start, we decided to be kitschy tourists and had to stop several times from running to snap some pictures on both sides of the road.
The 12k route is grand (on a small scale) and quite scenic taking both the old, unrestored ruins and the newly restored buildings into account. Among other things, we ran past the Palacio Del Gobernador, the just restored and re-opened Manila Metropolitan Cathedral, the San Agustin Church, Ayuntamiento, Revellin De Recoletos and through a lot of old elevated pathways, thick stone wall corridors and narrow streets in the oldest parts of the walled city.
Running the entire route leisurely took us more than 1.5 hours including the photograph breaks and chatting with the marshals who are also friends in the running community. And there were lots of stops where you can walk and just take pictures so this is a run where you just say the heck with the time and just enjoy the fresh ambiance of old Manila.
As for the race, it was well organized–water stops were plentiful and exceptionally managed as there were jugs separately for Gatorade and you can even have ice cubes, if you want. There were enough volunteers in each aide station ready to assist which were strategically positioned so there’s not a herd of people rushing to one area. The marshals were awesome, cheering us whenever we reached their stations (they were all friends, btw).
The only drawback of this race was that near the end of the 4th loop, some of the 12k runners were mis-guided to turn right towards the finish line when they should have been directed towards the last 2km loop thus missing the pink wrist band given somewhere on this loop that would have been a pre-requisite to get a medal.
Inspite of runners’ protest, volunteers at the medal tent won’t give the medals until they can show a pink wrist band. Well, given the ingenuity of runners, they came back to the volunteers after a few seconds dangling the pink band on their wrists! Go figure! 🙂
Over-all, it was a cool and decent race. Got this very nice medal, a nice box of snacks, there was a lot of interesting things to see on the route which I can’t say for other races.
I’ll give this race a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars!!
You can check out the race results here: http://www.results.runningmate.ph/index.php/event/result/173
Here are some pictures taken along the route: