The Mt. Pinatubo Eco-Trail Run: Weirdest Place I’ve Ever Ran!

We got lost going to the Nayong Filipino grounds at Clark, Pampanga, site of the start of the Columbia Mt. Pinatubo Eco-Trail Run last Saturday. The driver of our media bus got lost as we were already heading straight to Capas, Tarlac instead of Pampanga so imagine our dismay when the driver realized his mistake after several frantic calls with other bus drivers who were also bringing other runners to the site! so we turned back and when we arrived at Clark, we were still groping our way inside the former airbase.

By the time we finally arrived at Nayong Pilipino, the 25k runners, the distance i was to run had already been fired-off, a good 15 minutes ahead and now the 10k runners were about to be sent off! Wow, this is the second time i had been late at the start, the Rexona Run a few weeks ago being the first one but that was just about 5 minutes late! The runners in my group were still struggling to get their bibs and gears ready and as we proceeded to the starting line, the 10k runners were now sent running. Oh such pressure!

As we struggled at the tail-end of the 10k runners, i realized that i had forgotten to put water in my water flask and if this wasn’t still enough, i felt some growling noise in my stomach, not a good sign for somebody who was going to do a 25k run! The first 2.5kms was running like hell, a lot of things going into my mind as i knew i was far behind from the original 25k group and had nobody to run with the rest of the way.

Finally the first water station appeared, the growling in the tummy had gone away by then and i was finally able to take a few sips and fill up my water bottle. So now, it was time just to enjoy and concentrate on the race.

This race is dubbed the Eco-Trail Run but if you look at the course itself, it sure looks far-fetched from the ordinary forest trails we’re used to running. If this is a trail, then this should be the widest and biggest trail in the world! It’s like running in a wild-valley, almost similar to trekking in a moon-like surface with vast ash fields and rushing river streams.

I made a photo-blog of this run for you to see the place. Enjoy!

Less than a kilometer from the start, we turned right into a short trail leading us under a bridge to start our journey to the Pinatubo river bed

An ash trail of about a km long leading to the open river

The first water station, right before the main route. Drinking water, at last!

The main route now visible and ready to be conquered

This is it! A vast field of sand, streams and the mountains of Pinatubo

The runners kept on the left side which was drier and the route seem endless

Pockets of streams were ever-present during the earlier part of the route. The rivers would be flowing on the latter part

The “widest” trail in the world!

River streams begin to emerge after the 6 km mark

No matter which part you went, the sea of streaming water seem endless. Safest part was on the left side going towards the crater

Approaching a crease, one of several near the 9 km mark

Here, the streams seem to be the trail itself!

Approaching runners on their way back

Now more of a river trail, you can’t stop on your tracks because once you do, the sand below you would sink to about the height of your shoe so you have to keep moving

The waters here are about 3 to 5 inches deep. No dry part on sight

The feeling of running through the water is indescribable! You just have to push and wade along

Getting through between these mountains was a relief after seeing an open space view

He took my picture as i took his. Way to go, bro.

From Raiders of the Lost Ark!

Lady offered me an energy drink! Thanks, mam!

Ultrarunner Jhunbie Serna emerges with his wife tagging along

Time out to remove sand off the shoe

My own time-out

Thumbs up for a nice run, so far

Marie Joyce Negapatan

Gey Enriquez and her friend, Neil

A few meters from the turn-around point (12.5kms)

At the home stretch

Finished the 25k. No, that was not my time

My Fila Everest Volcro Trail shoe, part of the outsole detached from the midsole after it had endured so much water and rocks during the run.

Oh and also, if you ran this race and want to know your time results, check it out here

Columbia Eco Trail Run 2012 At Pinatubo

Excited and so looking forward to run the Columbia Eco Trail 25k Run at Pinatubo in three weeks time. This will be the first time for me to set foot on this lahar-savaged town of Pinatubo in Pampanga and it will not be an easy trek as many who have run this route before have told me.

Race Director Thumbie Remigio will be at the helm of this eco-trail run as he lays out a new, unexplored route cutting through crevices, streams, technical terrain of rocks and river crossings. Too bad that this route will not reach Pinatubo’s crater but still, there are enough sights and the challenging terrains are there to enjoy.

Gun start for the 25k will be at 5:30am and cut-off time for the out and back course will be 4.5 hours (10:00am) as they will be  sweeping away participants still in the route after this time. According to the organizers, there will be six (6) hydration stations along the course but since this is an eco-run, runners are obliged to bring their own hydration bottles.

Here’s a short description of the race itself, as sent to me by Ms. Laira Legazpi of Primer Group, main sponsors of this trail run.

Columbia Sportswear sets its sights on Mt. Pinatubo

October 13, 2012 (Press Release)

Columbia Sportswear, a pioneer in the design and manufacture of outdoor sports apparel and accessories, announces its latest challenge to all those passionate about the great outdoors: the Columbia Eco Trail Run in Mt. Pinatubo, which will be held on October 13, 2012.

From the starting point Clark Nayon Filipino, Pampanga, all participants will get to run a route consisting of valleys and river crossings. This run consists of a variety of paths perfect for those looking for a weekend adventure, and more experienced trail runners. Interested participants may join the 5K, 12K, or 25K categories. Registration for the Columbia Eco Trail Run will be at Php 600, Php 800, and Php 1,000 for the respective categories, for both men and women.

The way to Pinatubo has become both a weekend getaway for the adventuresome, and Columbia Sportswear longs to bring more awareness to this site. Those who will successfully rise to this challenge will have the chance to take home cash and other prizes.

Gun start  time: 5:30 am for the 25K, 5:45 am for the 12K and 6:15 am for the 5K category.

Sapang Bato trail in Pinatubo

Plenty of these to run at Pinatubo (Photo from Bee Yen’s blog, Kamoterunner)

The 5K winners in the men and women’s categories will receive:

  • 1st Place – Php 3,000.00 cash and  Php 1,000.00 gift certificate from Columbia
  • 2nd Place – Php 2000.00 cash and  Php 1,000.00 gift certificate from Columbia
  • 3rd Place – Php 1,000.00 cash and  Php 1,000.00 gift certificate from Columbia

The 12K winners in the men and women’s categories will receive:

  • 1st Place – Php 5,000.00 cash and  Php 1,000.00 gift certificate from Columbia
  • 2nd Place – Php 3000.00 cash and  Php 1,000.00 gift certificate from Columbia
  • 3rd Place – Php 2,000.00 cash and  Php 1,000.00 gift certificate from Columbia

The 25K winners in the men and women’s categories will receive:

  • 1st Place – Php 8,000.00 cash and  Php 1,000.00 gift certificate from Columbia
  • 2nd Place – Php 5000.00 cash and  Php 1,000.00 gift certificate from Columbia
  • 3rd Place – Php 3,000.00 cash and  Php 1,000.00 gift certificate from Columbia

Part of the river crossing (Photos from Reylynne’s blog, Runvocate)

Columbia Sportswear has long been known for promoting an outgoing lifestyle, and the Eco Trail Run in Mt. Pinatubo is another example of how the brand is committed to this advocacy.

25k race route

Registration begins on August 01, 2012 and will end on September 30, 2012 at the following places; Columbia Alabang Town Center, Columbia Gateway, Columbia Greenbelt 5, Columbia Festival Supermall, Columbia SM Annex North Edsa, Columbia SM Mall of Asia, Columbia SM Megamall, Columbia Harbor Point, and R.O.X. Bonifacio High Street.

Columbia Eco Trail Run Singlet (Photo credit to Rye Castro of the Hikezillas blog)

The Columbia Eco Trail Run Pinatubo is organized by Adrenaline Multisport headed by Thumbie Remigio. For inquiries you can contact us through:

For updates and announcements, please refer to Columbia’s Facebook fanpage:

Columbia Sportswear is distributed by the Primer Group of Companies, Asia’s next retail giant.