Brooks Cross Country Challenge: A Short Race Recap

Downhills, uphills, rocks, an almost dry waterfall, mountain scenery, stream and river crossings, town folks cheering, a near fall from my rappelling–these may well be the gist of my run at last Sunday’s Brooks Cross Country Challenge in Tanay, Rizal where i did the 24k distance.

Though i’ve ran here several times before, i still marvel at the views like i’m running it for the first time. The trails in Laiban, the mountains and rivers towards Maysawa are impressive. So was the race itself. Adequate water and Gatorade stations every 3 kms (except for the last 2 kms when they ran out of those containers), presence of marshals and unlimited fresh air are what we experienced along the route.

With some of the running bloggers

At the start, with friend Ener in raised fist

One thing unique about this race is that the starting line is located inside the grounds of the Sierra Madre Resort and Hotel, within backdrop of pine trees and not off the street fronting it, as you might expect. This hotel area has been the jump-off point of many trail runners and serves as an access in exploring the many labyrinth trails of Tanay.

You got to love this place as it epitomizes the perfect start of a trail race. The Brooks Cross Country run is a challenging course and don’t let the starting downhill fool you. The downhill road represents most of the first 4km descent and had us rolling easily. However, being an out and back course, these hills haunted us back with a vengeance.

The temperature was surprisingly cool when the race started at 6am but after 2 hours passed, the sun was really blazing down on us but i guess that was part of the obstacle and many more man-made obstacles during the last kilometer of the race.

It was dry, most of the streams were just ankle deep and even the waterfalls at Maysawa which many had hoped to splash and wade under it turned out to be a “falls-alarm” as runners jokingly defined, like reduced to just trickles of water dripping down from a kitchen faucet! Summer woes!

Directions of the route was marred when somewhere at the 9 km mark before reaching the Maysawa Falls, many 24k runners missed going to the Falls for the first turn-around and instead turned right directly to the 2nd turn-around point. When marshals realized the confusion, they immediately set up wooden barriers to block the right turn path. By then those runners whom we overtook were now ahead of us on the return.

More pictures here:

Water falls no more

With eventual Champion, Lito Divina

Those last 3 km uphills were the worst part as i struggled walking, together with those around me just to make it 100 meters at a time. The inclines were tough and so was the very warm temperature.

Entering back to the Sierra Madre Resort for the finish, we still had to run about a mile around the resort grounds and hurdle several man-made obstacles that were erected. I nearly fell and got bruised during the first rappel when i went off balance and partly slid off the ropes, my back againts the ground.

Clinging on the ropes, i froze momentarily for a few seconds trying to figure out how to recover from the situation. With all my might I made a reverse turn as the marshals were shouting to hold the ropes in between my legs. Slowly, i lowered myself to scale down the last 12 meters off that ravine! I got a nasty cut on my elbows and wiped off the blood several times with my gloves.

Unofficial time: 4:25. Ugh!

Shout-out to the organizers of this event, Ian Alacar and Ben, his father for a very challenging race! It was great seeing and greeting other friends along the route, Ener, Franc, Jham, Erick, Chips, Pedz, Irish, Norma, Alvin, Lito, Weng, James and many others. Good job to you all!

Thanks to Vimz Mendoza and to the other bloggers who were all part of this race!

(Thanks to Ener and Photo-Ops for some of the photos!)

A Sneak Peek of the Brooks Run Happy Cross Country Route

The Brooks Run Happy Cross Country Challenge will be bringing their race in the beautiful town of Laiban in Tanay, Rizal on May 11, 2014. It’s a great venue for a trail event, a nice escape from city running to enjoy nature and grind through tough mountain roads and endless river crossings!

I had previously written about running in the trails of Laiban and the scenery speaks volumes of what runners are going to experience come race day. The trails are quite moderate to difficult, with long uphills and downhills and you have to cross mild streams and small rivers many times over. There are about 6-8 river crossings (one way) and the uphills on the way back is really heart-thumping!

This route stretches from the back of the Sierra Madre Hotel and winds down on an asphalt pavement before settling in on dirt roads over-looking the Sierras. Overall the scenery and views are great for running. This is a wide expand of forest and trails very close to some series of rivers as you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.

Transportation and Hotel Accommodation

Runners could avail of the Transportation and Hotel Accommodation upon registration. For more details please visit: www.brooksrunning.com.ph/runhappy

ADVISORY: NEW GUN START SCHEDULE

 

Brooks Run Happy 2014 Registration Centers:

BROOKS RUN HAPPY 3: CROSS COUNTRY CHALLENGE!
(Press Release)
Brooks Run Happy is back! On May 11, 2014 Brooks will give you a race that you will surely enjoy. The challenge that runners constantly look for will definitely be served in the form of obstacle courses and uphill grinds incorporated in our nature inspired route. With a mix of on & off road terrain and the scenic view of Tanay Rizal, this race will be one epic event you should not miss out on.
 
A closer look at the route: