My Corregidor International Half-Marathon 2010 Run

      

Over lunch yesterday after finishing the Corregidor International Half-Marathon (CIHM), Dante, Tonet and myself were whining about the difficult climbs that made us walk on long stretches throughout the hilly course. Maan Briones, a yoga practitioner who together with her daughter accompanied hubby, Dante in this race commented that there should be a cessation of races during the month of December. When i asked why, she simply said, “December is party time…most runners are in no condition to run races!”

True enough, the nightly Christmas parties, drinking and eating binges which sometimes lasts up to the wee hours of the morning and the erratic training really took its toll on us where we had to stop and walk many times just to catch our breaths. With very little sleep three nights in a row before the race and the last long run being the QCIM two weeks ago, i wasn’t expecting much from this run in terms of a good race except that this was just going to be a “picture run” as Alfred V coined it..running while taking pictures of the scenery.

With just 2 hours of sleep the night before, Tonet and i arrived at the Folks Art Theater a little past 5am and left Manila by 5:35. There was just a total of about 350 runners who registered in this race, a far cry from the organizer’s expected 800 runners. It was however, good to see just a small number of participants, sparing us the chaos during starts of those mega races held in Manila. The race started promptly at 8:00am and it was nice to see race organizer Edward Kho sporting a new “barber’s cut” hairstyle doing the countdown.

I felt real bad during the first kilometer or two as it was a slight uphill going towards the Malinta Tunnel and my heart was really pounding as i couldn’t get into my usual rhythm. The first turn-around was a bit of a struggle as we had to go back that uphill past the Japanese Gardens and saw for the first time runners who were now walking.

I was a bit surprised to see the first off-road grass path as i didn’t see that during our test-run a few months ago. It was like a mini runway except that grass was obviously trimmed to create a pathway for the runners. We had good weather and the wind was breezy and i enjoyed this part very much. The second trail was the longest and i noticed that the wild grasses were really trimmed completely to make room for the runners. Good job by the organizers!

I reached the 10k mark at around 1:08 which was inside the cut-off mark of 1:45.

The top-side and middleside parts of the islands were the most arduous as these are where the hills are located. While walking these side of town, i heard one runner commented that this race has become one long “walkathon”! Although the water stations were generally well-stocked, i sometimes encountered some tables where station marshalls were struggling to contain the crowd that were getting water that runners had to wait their turn in getting their cups filled-up.

One innovation that this race had was that they offered honey placed in small sip-locked plastic sachets which were really good tasting. I didn’t really notice how it affected my running but its good to have them specially in longer races.

Approaching the 19th km, one couldn’t miss the killer hill that really reduced us to walking zombies! Some walked backwards while the others took one step at a time and it was really funny to see how runners reacted climbing this hill…some were cursing, some laughing and it came at a time when muscles were at its sorest!

I finished the race in 2:36 and got one of the most elegant finishers medal i have ever received! Over-all, the race was well-organized, helped by the gorgeous weather and a nice lunch to boot!

Congrats to Edward, Raymund, Vanessa and the rest of their organizing team!:-)

Here are some of the pics taken before, during and after the run. Thanks to Jinoe and Alfred for some of the pics.

Far left: Dante, daughter Isabel, wife Maan, Tonet and me.

With Au of Runnex

With Dante

Arriving at Corregidor

Running friends, Dave and Alfred with their lady friends

With Dante, Tonet and Reylynne

With Au, Vince and their friend

The first of three trail courses

Getting the feel of soft grass

 

Start of the 2nd trail course

Two months ago, this trail was almost covered with tall native grasses.

Near Battery Barracks

 

Part of the route on the 19k mark

Shot taken while running

Approaching the killer hill! The most difficult part of the course..even while walking!

At the finish!

All smiles...

L-R: Second Placer (W), Reylynne, Women's Champ, Michele, Junrox, Me and Dave

 

I got KO'd here!:-)

Corregidor International Half-Marathon: 12-19-10 (Part 1)

Corregidor has been described as an “open museum”, where remnants of a battleground like the Mile-long Barracks, Malinta Tunnel, the artillery/batteries, old hospital, a cinema, and many more structures still stands mighty proud that showcases the courage and bravery of the Filipino soldiers. And that’s just part of its attraction. 

Sweeping vistas of richly dense forests and the serene ocean surf seem as common as the wild birds that hover around the giant Yakal trees on all parts of the island. When i ran the Conquer Corregidor 10 Mile Challenge last year (my review of last year’s race), i dubbed it as one of the most scenic routes i have ever raced on, but equally amongst the most challenging, with its undulating hills that seem endless. I didn’t expect the Corregidor race to offer anything like that.

This year marks another great running event in the island which envisions to attract runners from around the world. The Corregidor International Half-Marathon (CIHM) is going to be staged on December 19, 2010. This will exclusively be a 21 kilometer race and like last year will only be limited to 800 runners. The CIHM will have a new Race Director in the person of international marathoner EDWARD KHO who was part of the organizing team of last year’s 10-miler race. 

Last Saturday, we were invited by the race organizers led by Edward himself, Atty. Raymund Martelino and Vanessa Ordinario thru the courtesy of Sun Cruises Inc. to visit Corregidor for a 10k test run on parts of the 21k course which included trails that was not originally part of the race course last year.

Inside the over-sized jeepney taking us to the docking area, with Junrox and Vimz in front. Let must have swallowed a sour tamarind fruit

Inside the Sun Cruise Ferry Boat taking us to Corregidor. L-R: Raymund, Vimz, Edward and Junrox. Back: Doc Marvs, Z and Let

There were 12 of us runners who joined Batch #2 of the Corregidor test run

Arriving at Corregidor

L-R: James, Cindy, Roselle, Doc Marvs, Zinnia, Erick, Let & Junrox

After a hearty buffet lunch, we were immediately briefed by Edward on the proposed mechanics of the race; the route, prize money, accommodations (for those who will be staying overnight), water stations, buffet lunch for all runners, excellent race shirt, back-packs and a cut-off time at the mid-point of the race where “bouncers” are to be deployed to haul-off all runners who will not make it to the cut-off times into waiting tranvias. No sir, this is not a fun run nor a run for the meek but is intended for the really serious runner. 

If you’re getting excited already, i am too but we’ll have to wait for the race organizer’s final presentation in a few days time. 

Race Director Edward Kho (L) briefs the runners on the upcoming race and proposed route

Presentation on I-pad with Atty. Raymund and Vimz assisting

We had started the 10k test run in scorching heat, past 3pm which baked the whole island. Fortunately, trees were abundant for most part of the course which gave us shade and we were able to appreciate Corregidor’s topography and some wildlife. We were able to spot some tree-climbing creatures munching and meandering courseside, observing with an apish stare of indifference as you rasp past in oxygen debt. Oh those hills! 

At the start of our run in front of the Corregidor Hotel with the ocean as backdrop

Going uphill

A good uphill work-out

Vimz trying to rest incognito. Hmm..she must be on to something...

Towards Malinta Tunnel

Entering the gates of hell!:-)

Runners looking for something different from the usual weekly city races will be drawn to this island for its enchantment too. Be it a training run or a race, Corregidor’s the perfect place. The landscape is spectacular although temperatures can be fiercely hot during the middle of the day. 

Emerging from the tunnel, the roads go non-stop and the views are stunning too!

Views from our right side

Let, me and James

Our runs took us to roads leading to the various historical sites, the silent ruins are intact and they’re all there to see. We walked the hilly parts while taking pictures and the trails are spectacular on their own. (Will blog about the trails later). 

L-R: Vimz, Zinnia, James, me, Doc Marvs, Cindy and Let at Mile Long Barracks

Middleside Barracks

The whole group!

At one of the top side artillery camps

Our own version of Corregidor "cheaters" getting off the white van with two kilometers to go. Lol!

Aha! Huli kayo!:-)

We concluded the run in roughly two hours, not even completing the whole 10k course, but it didn’t matter. On a good day, i would assume that all runners will run 30 minutes to 45 minutes slower than their normal 21k time. And on a bad day? I wouldn’t even want to think about it. 

I guess no one will run a PR here but the Corregidor course definitely scores a “Personal Best” in the scenery department. Few runners could run along the top of ridges over-looking the oceans and not be awed. Edward promises a unique race and has lined-up various pre and post race activities like a carbo-loading party and a concert with known bands that all runners will enjoy and remember! 

So save up and when registration starts, register early! 

(Some photos courtesy of Atty. Raymund)