Nice cool breeze, newly discovered trails, beautiful scenery, a gigantic almost 90 degree descent and another chance to discover the vast highlands of the Sierra Madre Mountains! What else could there be?
We were one hour late after the gun start of our 21k run thinking that the race would start at 5:30am (instead of 4:30) so we were caught off guard when the last batch of the 5k runners were just sent off as Jun Santiago, Jackie Gutierrez and myself where still inside Jun’s car trying to find a parking space near the starting line. So we rushed to the registration area and as soon as we got our bibs, we immediately were off, treating this race as an LSD trail run instead of getting a fast time so, no pressure at all.
Pimco Sporting events, the organizers of the Tanay Natures Trail Discovery Run series has provided one of the best trail routes, mostly located in Tanay. However, PIMCO boss Manny Santos is having his last bow as this would be his last managed race under PIMCO and is letting his main race director Alvin Balderama continue with the trail series under new management.
As this was PIMCO’s final leg of its NTDR trail series, Manny wanted it to be his ultimate offering, something that would galvanize Tanay as the mecca of trail running that he so popularized. And he did not disappoint! The route was grandly arduous but there’s no mistaking the rapturous enchantment felt by the trail runners themselves.
It was a trail retrospective covering the small Baranggays of Cuyambay, San Andres, Cayabu, Sto. Nino and other small sitios. It launches through rice fields, dry single track trails to mountain ridges, heavily wooded areas, waterfalls, uphills and a killer downhill where we went sliding with out butts holding on to tall grasses to break the free-fall!
It doesn’t take long to recognize that RD Alvin Balderama has made the route another challenging one and it’s sometimes a hassle treading on a very technical course without the presence of any “safety net”. Alvin is an incredible trail finder who has a knack for discovering new, untapped trail routes. With his energy and enthusiasm, he knows the ins and outs of the trails in Tanay, being a resident there!
The course was clearly marked and there’s no way you can get lost especially with the orange string markers hanging above the trees and volunteers telling you where to go, so there’s little to no confusion on where you’re headed.
Manny describes Tanay as a great trail destination, whether you’re new to trail running or an elite–there’s something for everyone and that’s exactly what it is. He left us some beautiful views of mountains and rivers to discover, some brutal uphills and downhills and a pile of fascinating trails and waterfalls–a trail running mecca, near the heart of Metro Manila.
Thank you Manny for the discovery!
Here are the pics of NTDR’s final offering. Enjoy!