All Thrills At The 2nd Valley Trail Challenge

Well, i would have to say that this has got to be one of the best and most challenging trail races ever. The no frills, all thrills tag put up by RD Jonel Mendoza, well-describes this event and i’m just amazed at the high-level of enthusiasm and support this race has generated.

All ears on RD Jonel (not in photo) for last minute instructions before the 25k start. Among the instructions, “Don’t disturb the cows!”

What was surprising too was the high turn-out of runners who came to run either the 25k and 50k distances. When June and i arrived at the Fields Clubhouse in Nuvali at about 4:30am, there was already a crowd lining-up to get their race packets and the large parking lot beside the building was slowly being filled-up. The collection of packets went smoothly, donned our hydration belts and we were about ready after the 50k runners were sent off.

The route began along a pave road then immediately turned left into a grassy trail. Here, the muddy paths began,  and we knew the course will be downright soggy from the intermittent strong rains that started 3 days before. Running on the sides was the norm and that persisted from start to finish.

The trails had everything it had to offer; mostly single track paths inside forest enclaves, sweeping open vistas, gently rolling hills, secluded barangay communities, portions of the main highways, cows that grazed in open fields and the great runners that i ran along with.

Regardless of where we were, there was going to be an obstacle on how to get pass the thick mud as some parts were really soft that your shoe sinks-in below you, down to your ankles that made your shoes a kilo heavier.

There was even a short 3 meter incline,  so slippery that as soon as i got to the middle, i would slid down as fast before i could even  make the next step! Good thing this guy (in blue) who got past over buy jumping literally to the top of the edge offered help by pulling us all up. Part of the fun of trail running!

There was this stunning scenery of green rolling hills that looked like pastureland minus the black and white Holstein cows. There was no shortage of the Bakpin cows, though. And yes, we left them alone to graze.

I was wearing my FILA Volcro Trail shoe for the first time in a trail. During the first 5 kms, i was feeling the all too familiar nagging ache on my plantar, similar to what i felt during the Salomon trail race where i DNF’ed while wearing a new Mizuno shoe. Luckily, the pain subsided and was running pain-free from the 8th km onwards.

The last 10k was ran in scorching heat! One stretch we were on trails then we exit along an open private road then we’re back to the trails again, all under the open. I experienced cramps on my left hamstrings and had to stop several times to stretch it. Good thing there were refreshments and food available at some of the stations and we were able to re-fill our water bottles and even carry Pocari Drinks during the last stretch.

I finished the race in 5 hours flat that measured 29.7 kms on my Soleus GPS.

After finishing the run, my legs felt as though someone had beat them with a sledge hammer. I haven’t experienced this soreness in a trail run before, but even with this discomfort and pain, i wouldn’t trade this for the experience in running on these trails!

The organizers have done a tremendous job in putting up this race! Lunch was open to all finishers, the freebies were more than you could ask for although i think the medal and finisher’s shirt were tops already. This is one of the races you want to promote and be part of and i can honestly say that this race is a poster event of trail running!

Congratulations to all finishers and to Jonel of Front Runner Magazine! Job well done!:-)

With my aNR UP Heartbreakers Team

With ultra-vets Chito and Mel (Team 90%)

Just one of dozens of muddy parts of the route

A short respite from the ragged trails

On a paved road. The smiling won’t last forever. (Thanks to Gey Enriquez for the photo)

The setting inside Nuvali

One of the shaded parts of the trail

This is just at the 7km mark

Mt. Makiling gazes beyond

At the Pastureland (Gey Enriquez)

Runners were seen far ahead and behind..part of the “Pastureland” stretch

A long way to the top

Time-out for these two to savor the views

Near the finish line wondering where it was only to find out that it was just a few meters at our left (Photo by Dianne Salonga/Justin)

With June, JR and his friends