Natures Trail Discovery Run: January 12, 2014 at Daranak Falls

One of the most challenging trail race put up by PIMCO last year was the Daranak Trail Run which was 21 kilometers of scenery, killer uphills and downhills, drop-dead exhaustion but downright awesomeness! The course was grueling, one of the toughest trail route that Pimco organizers has ever come out!

It was one of my most memorable runs last year where all were treated to threading the dark Calinawan Cave, crossing on several arduous rivers where one runner was in the midst of drowning if not for the swift reaction of other runners who rushed to help her out of the gushing water.

But the killer part was the trek to the peak of the Masungi mountain, a single track rocky mountain climb where our calves, quads and knees were screaming in pain!

Now, this race is coming back on January 12, 2014, which is the 3rd leg of the Natures Trail Discovery Run (NTDR) Championship Series and features 5k, 10k, 21k and 50k distances. Aside from the Daranak Falls, it will also feature the Batlag Falls, another showcase of this run. This upcoming race will vary in terrain (trails, dirt roads, rivers, wooden bridges, waterfalls), some really arduous treks but you will not feel disappointed.

Check out my recap of last year’s event here—> dancing-on-the-trails-of-daranak/

The 3rd Leg Race Route will start and finish in Daranak Falls, Tanay, Rizal, Philippines as the official venue.

**This trail race is RECOMMENDED by the JAZZRUNNER!**

​More details of the race from PIMCO’s webpage, here  http://www.pimcosportingevents.net/#!ntdr-ii-3rd-leg/c1py8

PRESS RELEASE:

The race route shows the entire route of all the different categories including the longest route for the 50k Ultra which will reach Sta. Ines, the outermost barangay of the municipality traversing the hills and valleys in the innermost Sierra Madre Mountain ranges.

From the start and finish there are a total of 10 aid stations to cover the entire route along the same route of 5k, 10k, 21k, and 50k Ultra. Aid stations will mostly be for refilling of rehydration bottles and water bags of runners. No cups will be served. U-turns of 10k and 21k will serve bananas while the halfway mark of the 50k will serve runners with bananas, food, and energy drinks.

For the 3rd Leg, no drop bag station along the race route, drop bags will be at the finish line. 50k Ultra Runners must bring in their belt bags and backpack their personal provisions.

Each category must make sure to get the colored string at the u-turn as evidence that they passed the U-Turn or the farthermost route for each of the category. Failure to present the colored string at the finish line will be a caused for disqualification.

Finishers Shirt

REGISTRATION AT MERREL STORES – Sm North Edsa, Trinoma, Market-Market and Festival Mall. Use your Bib to avail of 20% discount when buying trail shoes at Merrel stores.

For Online Registration go to www.pimcosportingevents.net

Fees for the Leg 3:

 Newbies (5k)               – P   550.00         
Advanced (10k)           -P   750.00
Seasoned (21k)            -P   950.00
Masters (50k)              -P 1,750.00

The race route maybe subject to change by Pimco Sporting Events, the organizer and manager of the race event. The change maybe effected upon sole discretion of the organizer for safety purpose or other purposes it may deem appropriate. The decision of the organizer as per the rules and regulations is final.

Runners on the way to the finish will pass beside Daranak Falls.

This is the stairway leading to Daranak Falls on the way to the finish.

Part of the 50k trail along the Sta. Inez road passing through Tinucan

Part of the 50k trail route along the long off road Sta. Inez road

River crossing of the 50k trail route

50k Runners will run at the right side just along this long winding river

Sceneries along the 50k trail race route.

50k trail race route

50k trail race route

21k and 50k trail race route at Barangay Cuyambay

Trail route for the 50k runners

The first 5 kilometers will include this route which is runners can pitch camp overnight to await the early morning gun start

We’ll see you all there!

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Dancing On The Trails Of Daranak

“Trail running is like dancing on the trails. If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” –rv

The Daranak 21k Trail Run has billed itself as the most challenging in the 3 legs of the Nature’s Trail Discovery Runs in Tanay and that proved to be an understatement! The race was grueling, one of the toughest trail race i have ever encountered and i am still limping from my aching quads and hamstrings in run-walking those uphill climbs.

I had expected this to be a difficult course but it was far more torturous than i anticipated, specially on those ridiculous technical climbs and descents. Well that was just the hardest part but for most of the other runners who did the shorter distances, it was a run full of thrills and adventure:

Here is a short synopsis of the race:

THE START:

4:50 am : June and i arrived at Daranak Resort and there were already full of cars lined-up on the streets leading to the entrance. We were asked to park on the right-most edge of the road as vehicles were arriving in droves.

5:10 am: We were greeted at the entrance by Norphy’s Ceasar Valderamma and told to proceed to the convention area where runners collected their race packets. June got his race packet and also took hold of Chito’s who we expected to arrive soon. Chito didn’t make it to the venue.

5:45: It was no less than Mr. Manny Santos, PIMCO Prexy and race organizer who started the countdown while Ceasar Valderamma fired the starting pistol.
During the test run we did weeks earlier, i had expected that we were to proceed to the river directly after the gun start but the organizers seem to have changed the plan.

Instead, we headed directly to the entrance bridge then out to the main street where we parked our cars and to some rough roads leading to a wide bridge. Runners stopped to take pictures. It was so wide a bridge for a river that looked like a single-track trail!

The view from the bridge (Photo by Jeffrey Ubalde)

Approaching the bridge while runners took some pictures

Past the bridge and going uphill

TO THE BATCAVE!

Runners were in for a treat when we approached the Calinawan Cave. I was a little concerned when my headlamp was going kaput when i tested it at home so had to change the batteries. I kept it in a small case attached to my hydration belt and as soon as we entered the cave, i wore it right back and it lit brightly as i turned it on.

I can hear the giggles of some runners when they maneuvered along the dark pathways and some even had to stop to observe the stalactites above them. This became like a school field trip instead of a race! No one could overtake so one has to toe the line and wait to move in tandem with the others.

To the cave entrance

Surprisingly, the walk to the cave was very orderly, no pushing nor shoving. There were marshals who guided the runners inside. Nice job!

The ground was mostly dry this time unlike our test run a month ago which was muddy and slippery inside

There were narrow passages that each runner has to wait to get through

The view inside

THE RIVER CROSSING:

This has got to be my least-liked part of the race when aside from crossing those rivers, you have to climb very wet boulders, secure your footing and cling to whatever your hands can grip on to avoid falling. This was the most dangerous part of the route and saw some runners slip on the rocks and fall down the river.

One scary part was one female runner stepped into a very deep part of the river and was swept by the strong currents and couldn’t hold on to anything. She was dragged a few meters and into a marshal who was standing on top of a boulder watching the proceedings. The marshal held on to an arm of the lady but couldn’t get her to stand up as if her foot was stucked underneath!

The lady was already screaming. She was gasping for air! Other runners scrambled to help and it took another minute before they could pull her up. This was one close call (pictures below).

The river trekking took forever and glad that it ended when it did!

Steep ravine at the edges of the trail that lead to the river

A long winding trail where you could already hear the gushing river at the other side

The first view of the river that greeted the runners

We had to criss-cross the river to avoid the strong currents

Climbing over slippery rocks was not an easy task

Clinging on rocks and getting the correct footing was the order of the day

A runner and a marshal rescues this female runner from being swept by the strong currents

Another runner to the rescue until she was finally pulled-out. The dangers of river crossing.

The river trek was slow. Getting up and down those rocks was a journey in itself

Glad to have avoided that downhill stream

River crossing na, may rock climbing pa!

Rock formations were a plenty during the river crossing. Must be centuries old

Part where a lot of runners slipped and tumbled

These bamboo poles were deemed useless because they were slippery when you tried to step over them

Stairs To OUR LADY OF RAWANG:

The only technique needed to conquer these flight of stairs is to put one foot forward in front of the other, one step after another until you reach the top. Easier said than done as i was going into zombie-mode just half-way this 346 flight of steps.

June poses while scaling the 340 step Grotto stairs

UPHILL CLIMB TO THE TOP:

Climbing up those mountain ranges was one tough battle all 21k runners had to endure and it had to be the most challenging of all legs of the Nature Trail Discover Tanay series. Your quads are going to hate you because they will keep on pounding while climbing on those continuous rocky trails! Many of the rocks had jagged edges and one false move can cut you up real bad.

I had slight cuts and scratches on my legs when moving about on the uphill trails and most of the runners who i encountered during the climb had their share of bruises and cuts too. I saw a runner who was lying down on the ground in pain, apparently of severe leg cramps and was being helped by two other runners.

None of the hard training could have prepared me for the torturous run up Masungi mountain and it was a long 5 kilometer trek to reach the peak! The trails up were priceless though and it had some of the most picturesque views in trail running.

Three hours had gone by when i finally reached the peak at about 1,600 masl. Not much excitement up there where i saw runners who were either eating, resting and taking pictures of the vast Laguna de Bay below. Here we were given a green ribbon signifying that we had reached the turn-around point and had to get back on the same route.

The downhill journey was harsher on our thighs as the pounding doubled, causing me to cramp on both thighs at the 16th km mark. The heat was enormous and I had to stop several times to massage my thighs and the ambulance waiting on the 18th km mark was no big help as they had no liniments nor knowledgeable personnel to give your leg a brief massage.

I noticed at this mark that runners should turn right and make a 2.5 km. circular loop before heading back to where the ambulance stood in the other direction. However i saw many runners skip this loop and immediately turned left without completing the loop. Marshals should have been stationed to man this checkpoint but it was only the ambulance truck that was there.

I finished the 22.1k race in 5:46, a PW (personal worst) but still below the given cut-off time of 6 hours.

Over-all, it was a great race, very challenging and one beautiful race route!

I’ll leave you with some pictures June and i took at the trails:

The start of our mountain trek

The single track trails were nice and easy during the early part but became very technical during those climbs up those mountains in background

Views of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges

Another view at close range

The 5-km uphill trek was both torture to the quads and feet.

Rocky single track uphill trek

On one of the mellower trails

One of the many picturesque trails

Blue skies and hot weather. Got hotter during the latter part

June signals that he is still alive!

Love this part of the trail…

…while June zooms along

Another rocky part

A wide trail

At the peak

Background is Laguna De Bay

Tough race! Congrats to all!

With Goldy, the “Precious” one

With Aquiz, the running photographer

With popular runner Marie Joyce Negapatan

With Manghusi (JR)

Guess what? PIMCO Sports, organizers of this event is going to hold another trail run, the Love A Tree International 50k-trail ultra-marathon on February 10, 2013 which will be held on a new route, also along these great trails of Tanay. An accompanying 6k, 12k and 24k race will be held here simultaneously.

Details will be posted on their Facebook account and website. Yikes, another trail run to look forward to!

A Sneak Peek Of The Daranak Trails: Tanay Discovery Run (Leg 3)

Awed, shocked and  amazed! Three words that described how i felt while running and hiking the trails surrounding Daranak Falls in baranggay Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal. Last Sunday, i had the privilege of visiting this old town known for its gorgeous waterfalls and now for its newly discovered running trails which will be discovered and conquered for the first time by trail runners.

I was in the company of Race Organizer and Pimco President, Manny Santos, Norphyl President (Viking Trail Shoe Distributor) Cesar Valmadrid, Race Director Alvin Balderama and his assistant Christian Candava plus some guides to test run the route of the forthcoming 3rd Leg of the Tanay Discovery Trail Run at Daranak Falls on November 25.

If running trails could be awarded a star for its breath of scenery, then this place comes close to earning 10 perfect stars. Runners entered in this race will surely gasp for breath not only for the raw, mesmerizing vistas but also for the arduous route that will see them crossing rivers, climbing up a monstrous staircase and hold your breath…entering a historic cave that will take you a full 10 to 15 minutes of weaving around the dark, narrow maze from start to end!

A limited field of runners including many foreigners will be put to tasked in running what is probably one of the most beautiful stretches of forest trails in the whole of  Tanay, Rizal. The seemingly endless rugged terrain will transport you past quaint towns with goats that just abounds every backyard, under-ground water streams and spectacular sceneries of flowing rivers.

The entire route, from the 5k to the 21k distances will be manned by marshals and volunteers and this time, drinking water will be made abundant on stations which was an issue during the last Leg2 trail run in San Andres. They are not going to provide paper cups so every runner should bring their own hydration bottles!

Here are some pictures i took of the route.

After a two hour drive, we finally reached the park

The bridge that connects to the resort proper

Daranak bridge

The view from atop the bridge

The view on the west side

The art of rock balancing. How on earth do they do this?

…and this

The race start area

Runners will traverse along this river. There will not be as much water come race day in November than it is at this time so runners will have the option to thread along these waters or go slow by running over sharp rocks on its banks.

Part of the route

Runners have to run/walk this 800 meter stretch

Photo: Another photo of Alvin and Jazz Runner at the bank of Daranak River navigating their way. This is the first 900 meters from the starting gate. The River is awesome parang nasa Whitewater. We check on the tricky part and how long it will take the runners to finish this short stretch but long in action. Jazz Runner commented "Its like I have already gone through 5km after the first 1.5km. Sulit na sulit" Thanks Jazz Runner for joining us in the survey and inspection of the race route. Its great having you there and see how we plan the route for the most special Final Leg of this trail running exploration, discovery, and adventure the Nature's Trail Discovery Run.

Threading our way along Daranak River. (Photo credit to Pimco Sports)

Runners will now turn left here, climb the short flight of stairs before doing a gigantic obstacle course….

…running up the 348-step to the Virgin Mary shrine fondly called by the natives, “Hagdanang Parusa”

It is so steep that you can’t see the top and can’t see down where you started below!

Photo: After taking the mighty Daranak river as seen below, Jazz Runner still able to run the 346 steps of the Grotto. Whew! Lung busting vertical climb for all runners. But this is one part of the route that makes the first 1.5km really special all variations are there.

The running part. Had to “crawl” many times on this stretch! (Credits to Pimco)

Not that i was praying very hard at the Grotto of the Virgin Mary but was reduced to a kneeling position because of sheer exhaustion after climbing those stairs!

Atop the hill you’ll see this farm. I hope they put a leash on the dogs.

Check out the number of steps written in green. With me are, (L-R) Cesar of Norphyl (distributor of Viking Shoes), Alvin the RD and Manny of Pimco

Going out on a real trail this time

The Calinawan caves have been an old fixture in Philippine history wherein our first revolutionaries, the Katipuneros made this as one of their base camps during the Spanish time. Later, during WWII, this was used by the Japanese Imperial Army as a camp.

The street leading to the caves is called Calinawan Pass and is part of the route. Many battles were fought here between the Japanese and the Fil-American soldiers and many Japanese died on this cave so expect some eerie moments while crawling inside the narrow cave. DON’T FORGET TO BRING A FLASH LIGHT! There are some very sharp over-head rocks which you might accidentally bump into so be very careful! There will also be some surprises inside! Boooh…!:-)

You won’t miss this sign at the cave’s entrance

Yes, you’re going to sneak on this hole

This is where many Japanese died during WWII! But don’t tell the race organizers i told you!:-)

Weird things you’ll find inside the cave. This looks like the heel bones of a giant rhino with plantar fasciitis.

It’s not a corpse of a pre-historic animal but a mineral formation (stalactites), i think…

Emerging from the cave

Photo: Jazz Runner coming out of the Calinawan Cave. We entered from one side and we exited at the other side. The longest 10 minutes...ha,ha,ha. We made it to the light :)

The cave’s exit (photo credits to Pimco)

Runners will surely start running out of the cave to gain some lost time

Up in the mountains, you’ll find nice trails like this

Most of the route are shaded except when running on banks of rivers

One long uphill

Single track rocky trail, guaranteed to give your trail shoes a good beating!

The last trails of the route are very technical; rocky, muddy because of the streams that gush out from various origins

I hated this part because it was so slippery so be prepared to get your gear muddied!

Doesn’t get muddier than this!

Photo: The Final Leg as can be shown in this final stretch to the finish line is all action from start to the finish. No boring moment. This is a forested downhill and the sound of rushing water is coming form everywhere because its at the top of Daranak falls. In this downhill stretch some runners maybe tempted to swim as there some portions where it seems to inviting but this finishing stretch wait until the finish, dont be tempted. At the finish line you will be at awe! There you can swim at your hearts desire.

I was still sliding down this slippery trail while Cesar and Alvin check on their shoes.

The downhill trail to the finish

The sight of Daranak Falls as it appears a few meters from the finish line

The falls in all its magnificence!

Bathers enjoying the cool waters of the falls!

Runners will have the chance of dipping in these waters after the race

Thanks to Manny & Alvin of Pimco and to Cesar of Norphyl for a wonderful experience!

Regular Registration are now open at their following Registration Partners –

  • ROX BGC (4-8 pm only daily except Sundays)
  • Chris Sports at SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, SM Mall of Asia, and SM Fiesta Mall at Alabang;
  • ARC Manila.
  • Online Registration will be conveniently available 24/7.

Nature’s Trail Discovery Run Final

Date: November 25 (Sunday)

Venue: Daranak Falls, Tanay, Rizal

Categories:

5-k Trail Fun Run (Beginners) : Entry Fee is P500.00 per runner inclusive of race kit, provisions, giveaways, finishers medals only to the top 25, Finishers Certificate of Finish and Participation to all. Open to Filipino Runners only.

10-K Trail Run : Entry Fee is P850.00 per runner inclusive of race kit, finishers shirt, and medal including breakfast. Open only to Filipino Nationals.

21-K Half-Marathon: Entry Fee is P1,050 per runner inclusive of race kit, finishers shirt, and medals. Inclusive of Breakfast. Open to all nationalities.

Accommodations:

For runners who want to be near the venue you can get accommodations from hotels and resorts nearby such as Sacramento Valley Hotel and Resorts (Contact Infos: 654-1043 Fax: 654-1588); Bahay Bakasyunan (Website: http://www.bakasyunanresort.com/tanay); Momarco (Website: http://www.momarcoresort.com/). They are all in Bgy Plaza Aldea where Daranak Falls is located.

Public Transport:

To get to Daranak Falls using public transportation, you can ride jeep at Star Mall in Mandaluyong City to Tanay market. From there you can get tricycles that can bring you directly to the venue.

Runners and their families and friends who would like the outdoors may get accommodation near the venue. This is highly recommended as there are amenities that you can try your hands for very affordable rates.

Shuttle Services for Metro-Manila Runners:

Additional fee of P300.00 per runner will be charged for the shuttle bus to the race venue and going back to the same pick up points as follows:

Pick up Details:
Date: November 25, 2012

Pick up points:
Shell Station, Makati Edsa
Mandaluyong, City Hall Circle
Quezon City Circle
Masinag, Marikina in front of Mercury Drug

Time of Pick Up:
2:00 am Shell Station Makati Edsa
2:15 am Mandaluyong City Hall Circle
2:40 am Quezon City Circle
3:10 am (Subject to change)

The Bus will passed-by and will not be standing by please be at the pick-up point at the time to avoid inconvenience and present your Service Stub. The Time of Pick-up are estimated arrivals at the pick up locations given.

If you miss one pick up place, you can still catch up by proceeding immediately at any of the pick up points ahead. The Shuttle Bus will not wait.

Time of Return Trip: All Runners must be at the shuttle bus for the return trip to Metro-Manila from the race venue after the race event on November 25 not later than 1:00 pm.

Hydration Stations – There will be hydration stations every 2.5 kilometer distance for free.

Banana Stations – There will be banana stations for each of the race category at the finish line for free.

Breakfast – Breakfast pack will be served

Finishers Kit – All finishers will receive their kits that include the medal, finishers shirt, and loot bag at the Finishers Booth for the 10k and 21k only. 5k has no Finishers Shirt but will have finishers Medal.

Nearby Hotel & Resorts – There are nearby hotels and resorts where runners may choose to stay.

For more info, you can go to their website at: http://www.pimcosportsevents.com/ with telephone nos. 5321645 or 5710524.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PimcoSportsEvents

Review: Nature’s Trail Discovery Run

Coming into the race yesterday, i was doubtful if i would be able to run the 21k Tanay Discovery Trail Run. My left knee was giving me some problems right after my T2N Ultra race the week before and i was still under medication to ease the dull pain and was reduced to a few long walks before yesterday’s race.

I had almost considered the advise of some well-meaning friends just to  forego the race, take another week’s rest to avoid aggravating the pain into a full-blown, long term injury. But this trail run was too good to miss-out so i promised just to do this one race and assured them that i’ll downgrade to just running the 10k.

Part of the Tanay Discovery Trail route

I arrived at the race site in San Andres, Tanay with running buddies June and Darryl in a convoy with Vener and Pedz (Running Atom) who were just right behind. I then requested the race organizers for a downgrade of my 21k race category into the shorter 10k and luckily, they acceded my request. As part of the Norphl Team, the main trail shoe sponsors of the event, i donned the Team singlet and was wearing the Viking Anaconda Trail shoe provided by Norphl.

There is really no simple way to describe the Tanay Nature’s Trail Discovery Run. It is just something you have to experience for yourself:

For me it was:

  • An out-of-town trail run that is very accessible to Metro Manila runners
  • Complete change of scenery with rustic views, cool breeze, laid-down feeling and the breath-taking vistas along the route
  • One of the most engaging trail courses i’ve ever done and the climb to its highest mountain peak (1,960 feet) was heart pounding that you have to stop several times to catch your breath
  • The view of the runners on top, lined-up to summit was awesome!
  • Reaching the top of the mountain rewards you with stunning views of clouds and fogs, mountain fauna, broad valleys and the final section offers sweeping views of the Sierra Madre mountains
  • Water and eat-all-you-can bananas were provided at the mountain top
  • Bits and whole pieces of some shoes’ outsoles, midsoles were scattered along the trails
  • The rivers and streams were crystal clear, refreshing and shallow enough to run over it
  • Running on rocky dirt roads is never too easy
  • The descent down the mountain was made into a playground. Runners sat down and slided on the slippery and muddy trails, crawled with their hands touching the ground for support or made monkey bars out of tree branches to avoid falls
  • Witnessed a lot of runners slid down uncontrollably, slipped down and fell, bumped into each other because of the gridlock. All movements were in “slow-motion”
  • Newly cut grasses along the path were not removed which caused you to slip.  Ropes should have been provided to provide a safety harness on the steepest downhills. Safety here was compromised. If one careless runner decided to run through the muds and fell, he would have put the other runners at risk and the scene would be something like falling dominoes.
  • Runners were shouting, screaming and cursing during this down-ward episode. Some were laughing at the slip-ups!
  • Race marshals that gave you the WRONG directions! Some 10k runners were led to the 21k route!
  • Runners greeting other runners “good morning” along the route
  • Picture-taking galore along the rivers
  • A swaying wooden bridge which felt like an intensity 8 earthquake when 2 or more runners cross it together
  • Hearing Jared announce my name when i was about to cross the finish line in his supladong twang-twang Irish accent. Thanks, bro!
  • Your white shirt turned into golden brown and runners’ shorts and tights bear mud markings on the rear
  • Waiting endlessly for June to arrive at the finish who arrived after 4:30+ to finish the 21k. Whew! Almost sent an ambulance to search you, buddy!
  • Freebies on paper bags
  • Photo-op with the town mayor at the finish line
  • Raffle prizes for 3 Viking trail shoes (worth about P8k each) and no surprise for one winner Pedz, the Running Atom who almost always win in raffle draws!
  • Lots of eats at the Team Norphl table
As i had hoped, i had finished the race comfortably without any hint of pain in my knee. This is indeed one of the best experiences in my running life.
Here are some of the pictures i took during the run. Hope you enjoy them.
I’ll be at the Merrell Trail Run next week! See you there!

The 21k start

Start of the mountain climb

Just above the clouds, Nette is ready to summit

Newly trimmed trail

The part of the trail where you have to sit and “slide” to go downwards

Capt. Arlene Trillanes (in blue) and her sister, Carol who i ran with during the sliding episodes of the trail.

We were on tiptoe mode during this trail. One false move on this muddy parts and off you slip on all fours!

The rough road going to the rivers

Running along these streams was a pleasure

The trail leading to a hanging bridge

You would never know what lies ahead as you get lost running in these routes

And here are the scenes that will take your breath away…

The Sierra Madre mountains at the background

Crystal clear water

My favorite scene when i was in the middle of this shallow river, water gushing inside my shoes

One of the many teams that i belong to. Norphy is the sole distributor of the Viking trail shoe in the country

The hanging bridge. It sways vigoruously when 2 or more people try to cross it together

One of the lowland scenery in the area

The trail near the finish

With Team Norphyl

Vener, June and Darryl

The Trails of San Andres, Tanay: The Nature’s Trail Discovery Route

Every trail has its own unique characteristics… it has its magnet of charms, its allure speaking at you to discover it. It is sometimes gentle, letting you savor its calm terrain and green scenery. But it can also be harsh, forcing you to climb its steepest hills and stumble when you cross its gushing rivers.

Its sternness however reminds us that for every route that we take, there will be gale winds to blow our faces, higher mountains to trek until we are out of breath,  more rivers to slip into its cold waters until we reach the other end and only then would we be rewarded and discover who we truly are.

Yesterday, i was one of those fortunate to be invited to test-run the newly discovered trails inside the inner sanctum of Tanay, Rizal.

It’s in a remote village called San Andres where two Sundays from now on May 27, hundreds or may be a thousand trail runners will be running the Discover Tanay Trail Run to test their mettle in this scenic but harsh route laid out by the organizers of last February’s Love A Tree Trail Run, also in Tanay.

We arrived at the site at about 6:00am with surprisingly cool weather and some morning fog enveloping the area. I was with about 16 other runners and we were greeted by the race organizers themselves led by Sir Manny of PIMCO Sports and the race’s shoe sponsor, Norphyl-Connect, sole Asian distributor of the Viking Trail Shoe represented by its CEO, Mr.  Ceasar Valmadrid.

We did a short 10k run but felt that we finished a 21k because of the arduous mountain climb on its earlier stages.

Highlights of this run will be the 2.3 km long single-track mountain climb (from KM 2.7 to Km 5.0) where i experienced some kind of oxygen debt just trying to put one feet over the other in bagging its peak. Another highlight others would either love or hate are the various river crossings that for sure will get your shoes submerged as you wade in its cold waters. Well, that’s part of trail running.

A surprise was waiting for us in the middle of the run when a small waterfall suddenly appeared  near the trails which provided a cool respite from the sun.

This will be the 1st Leg of several trail runs being hatched by the organizers to culminate in a 50k Ultramarathon Trail run by 2013. The Natures Trail Discovery Run will have a 10k, and 21k distances and promises to be a very exciting trail run as it has everything nature has to offer…cool winds, farm lands, mountain ranges, rivers, wooded forests, waterfalls, a friendly neighborhood and a lot more.

Here are some pictures of the route and trails. Enjoy!

A group picture

Preparing to start for the trail and mountain run

Mountain mists greeted the runners at the start

The front runners that will lead the group on the trails and mountains

It was muddy on most parts of the trails yet tolerable for all to run through

Parts in the open area

One of the views during the run

An outdoor panorama

Entering a small cave resort. The owner was one of the local runners

The small underground cave

One of the many rivers that we had to cross

and another one…

They didn’t want to wet their shoes this early

From single trail tracks…

…to rice paddies

We are the first runners to run these trails

Runner in red is the Running Mhalot

Into a more wooded area

It was still foggy and misty during the late morning

A thin slab of stone was the only way to get thru the ravine. One slip and down you go.

It was all uphill from here

It was a zigzag maze to the top

The view emerges from the top

We were like above the clouds

A few more steps…

Now over the top

The high and mighty!

Our descent…

It took us about 40 minutes to scale up the mountain and just a fraction of that to reach level ground

Back on the rough roads

Another river to cross

Nice place to rest and take a picture

Ed Escueta continues…

Reaching one of several waterfalls

Doing a duathlon?

Breakfast at the end of the run

Great way to end the run!

Thanks to Ed Escueta and Jojo Paulino for some of the pictures used.

May 27, 2012 Races: Choose Your Wild

May 27, 2012, Sunday is deluged with great races both here and outside of Metro Manila. There’s a race for you here, depending on the distance you have prepared for, its location, fees, raffle prizes or advocacy that you choose. Take your pick!

I’ll see you in one of these races…

Nature’s Trail Discovery Run At Tanay: May 27, 2012

From the organizers that brought us the highly successful Love A Tree-Tanay Trail Half-Marathon last February 26, Pimco Sporting Events is once again taking us back to Tanay, Rizal and enjoy the cool scenery by way of a 100% trail and dirt road paths covering four (4) barangays consisting of  San Andres, Sto. Nino, Cayabo and Tinukan.

The Nature Trail Discover Run will have a 10k, 16k and 21k distances which will include single track technical trails, dirt roads, river crossings, uphill climbs, forest trails and lots of cool breeze! According to the organizers, the first 7 kms for all categories will be a torturous climb up a peak at the western side of a mountain which will pass through forest trails then go long downhills only to prep you up for another long uphill up to the peak of the east side mountain.

There will be no highways, no concrete roads, so it is going to be a purely trail/dirt road race.

For the 21k runners, there will be four (4) river crossings so prepare to get those trail or road shoes wet!

An early bird registration is now ongoing at the Pimco Offices so register early before you run out of slots!

Here are some more details of this race:

Nature’s Trail Discovery Run
May 27, 2012 (1st Leg)
San Andres, Tanay, Rizal

Registration Fee:

Early Bird Rate:
March 15 – April 1, 2012
10K – PHP 650
16K – PHP 750
21K – PHP 850

Regular Rate:
April 2– May 15, 2012
10K (Open to all Filipino) – PHP 750
16K (Open to all Filipino) – PHP 850
21K (Open to all Nationalities) – PHP 950

Official Closing of Registration: May 15, 2012

-Additional PHP 200 for Transportation
-Free Camping (bring your own camping gear and tent, a day before / during the event)

Inclusion: Race Bib, Finisher Shirts and Medal all category

Registration Partners:
Early Bird Registration: Direct with Pimco Office
For Inquiries, Please contact: Pimco Sporting Events
Tel Nos: 532-1645 / 571-0524 or check-out their website at:

www.pimcosportsevents.com

Organized by : Pimco Sporting Events