Race Review: Leg 1-Natures Trail Discovery Run @ Daraitan

The rains were heavy in Q.C. from late Saturday evening up to early Sunday morning, and i was already having second thoughts if travelling for more than an hour to get to Tanay for the Natures Trail Discovery Run was worth the trip.

While waiting for running buddy Jun to fetch me, i even texted Manny Santos, over-all Race Director of the NTDR to ask if the race was pushing through. He was surprised at my message and re-assured me that the race would go on as planned and that only a short drizzle hovered over Tanay the night before.

Truly, the roads and trails in Tanay were almost dry while the rain held-out Sunday morning for the duration of the whole race and we had very good weather over-all.

Jun and i arrived at the venue at about 4:30am and were in for an unusual sight. The start and finish line area was located inside a large multi-purpose gym just in case it rains outside. We then claimed our race packets and in a few minutes we were off, together with the other 21k runners.

Runners start to arrive at the start and finish area

When the starting gun was fired, i was so not feeling it! Felt sluggish, even sleepy that i had to struggle on that first uphill road. Things change a bit when we hit the trails and it was daybreak by then, no need really to use those head-lamps which i forgot to bring anyway.

Having ran this route in a familiarization run organized by Pimco a few weeks ago,  it was nice being up there seeing the Sierra Madre mountain range once again as we crossed small rivers and intruded into small communities where residents were still fast asleep on those early hours.

At one of the river crossings. I wonder why they had to cross this on the right side which was slippery when they could have just easily stepped on that sturdy bamboo pole (lower left portion) which i did.

Passing along a shack

Part of the single track trail

On a hilly terrain

The trail part is short, just about 2.5kms before emerging on the national road on the way to Daraitan. This part is largely uneventful, a mad dash along the highway, vehicles still scarce as you crissed-cross the road to cut corners leading to Gen. Marking Road.

This stretch of road seem to go on forever. It’s a combination of rough and cemented roads, some parts crowded with people while the rest are mostly just  farm fields but with great views of the mountains. Except for a short detour at the Macaira Gardens, it was mostly this road that we had to contend with, an uphill-downhill of rolling slopes.

I was feeling good at this point, met some new friends while re-filling our hydration bottles at one of the aid stations and one thing positive about this race is the availability of ice, lots of it and cold sponges. Some parts of the rough roads were sandy and i had to stop several times to untie my shoe and remove small pebbles which found itself inside that made it uncomfortable to run on.

It was like heaven when we finally reached the wooden bridge at Daraitan after like running forever. The trails were both sandy and rocky but at least, we were in a Nirvana-like scenery, the gushing river running beside us, more mountain views and large, white boulders scattered all over the place.

The Tinipak rocks

At the turn-around point with Rnold Eming

The views at the turn-around point

Nice to take a dip here if there was more time

Another view from atop the trail

Beyond this is the trail to Nakar, Quezon where the 50k runners went further

The way back was a tough one, knowing you’ll be running the same endless road of uphills and downhills. It would now be a test of perseverance, walking ability and still lots of stored patience! Seems that the only way to overcome it is to move slowly during the uphills then get back to the shuffle/run rhythm at the downhills. I was quickly losing steam and all i wanted to do was to get  to the end.

The sponges provided on crucial aid stations were God-sent as i was able to pour ice-cold water on my head may times and that was refreshing! I already knew that the distance we were going to complete was about 28 to 29 kms just based on the distance at the turn-around point which was 14 kms. Nice bonus for us mileage addicts!

An amazing guy, Voltron Visda who, for the whole duration of the race ran barefoot, battling sharp macadam surfaces, rocky terrains, hot cement roads and plenty of strewn broken glasses along the route! My hat’s off to him!

On my way back!

When we finally reached the National Highway, there was another 4 to 5 kms to tackle before the finish line. I got back into a running rhythm, really forcing myself to run the downhills fast and slowing down to a walk during long inclines. Around this time, I went past several runners who were slowing down or were just walking continuously.

At around the 29 km mark, i could now see the side of the roads teeming with people as the area is a highly commercialized one where business establishments abound. The sight of the gas station on the right side signaled that i was nearly there at the finish. And finally, the sight of the Gym where we started about 5 hours ago. Eventually i was inside the gym and crossed the finished line with some announcements of my arrival  (thanks to event hosts, Iris and Nonoy).

The distance was 30.7 kms finishing it in about 4:59 (per my GPS watch). I felt exhilarated, finishing another 30+ km run after running the 32k Run United-2 race, just the week before.

Capping the run was a free 30 minute++ massage and the therapist really worked on both my legs and feet!

Over-all, another great race by Pimco with stunning views to die for!

At the finish line

Thanks to Lito Mallari, Rnold Eming and Voltron Visda for some of the photos!

Test Run: Nature’s Trail Discovery Daraitan Trail Route

The Daraitan trail route is refreshing! And that’s not just a comment on its cool and sparkling river (above). The Tinipak rocks mushrooming on both sides of  the northern side of Daraitan river looks something like large chunks of ice falling down from the sky. Only, it didn’t melt away but gave the river an animating and intoxicating feel, ala scotch-on-the-rocks!

To describe yesterday’s test route run would be quite a task, but Pimco’s forthcoming Nature’s Trail Discovery Run-Daraitan Ultramarathon route this coming June 9 would be another jewel to their crown of showcase trails worth raving about. Pimco’s past trail races like the  Daranak Falls Trail, the Calinawan Cave pass, the Maysawa trails, the Sta. Inez Peak were all worth  every trail runners’ money and time and the Daraitan trail will be no less different.

STARTING LINE VENUE:

I had no clue where the exact location of the test run would start so i texted Manny Santos, big boss of Pimco Sports for directions to the venue. Running buddy Jun and I were set to go and we were taking with us Iris Cortulas who wanted to tag along and try out the route. We bonded together and set off to Masinag where we were meeting other runners so we could do a convoy and leave in tandem for the venue.

Reaching Masinag at 4:15am, we were able to touch base with Ultra runners JJ Layug, Mar Marilag, Bong Alindada together with Milo Fitness Coach Jackie Gutierrez so they followed us in their car with ours, leading. Our destination: The Ynarez Gym at the corner of Sampaloc Road and Marcos Highway in Sampaloc Tanay.

This is also going to be the starting line of the June 9 race.

At the Ynares Sports Gym, Sampaloc Road, Tanay–the venue of the Daraitan Ultramarathon with Pimco boss Manny Santos (in pink shirt) and Race Director, Alvin Valderama, 3rd from left.

THE TRAIL ROUTE:

We arrived at the venue at about 5:45am and were met by Manny and Alvin of Pimco Sports. We couldn’t start as yet as we were waiting for other runners to arrive as some had lost their way and had over-shot the venue. But since it was getting late, our group decided to go ahead and all the others who arrived late will just have to follow so a guide of Pimco was left to wait for them.

The run started at about 6:20am as we were led at the other side of Sampaloc Road, crossing the street. The first kilometer was on a concrete road that took us inside a residential area that led to the start of the trails. The trails measured a distance of about 3-4kms.

This is one of the nicest sections of the route, all trails of mostly single track and offers excellent footing, uphills and downhills, a pleasant scenery including the vast Sierra Madre Mountains, old-growth forests, a river lagoon, farm animals and a variety of trees.

As always, i struggled over those uphill climbs and slippery river crossings but got over those as time went by. Here are some pictures of the trails with short descriptions as we went along:

The trails were mostly single track inside small villages

Uphills will be a continuous fare for this run

There will be wide open spaces but the views are exhillarating

Passing by an old shack

Running along the ridges with nice views of the Sierra Madres

Taking a short break, 2.5kms after our start

Mostly single tracks dominate the trails

Another small shack in the middle of nowhere

Approaching a small river crossing

Runners have to be careful here. These rocks are slippery!

A river lagoon

It’s one crossing runners will pass through

Figuring out how to cross that river and jump over to the other side 🙂

Getting help from Jackie and JJ. 🙂

A smile from everybody. Photo by Jackie

Jackie in her ceremonial dance. Liveliness!

ON THE WAY TO DARAITAN:

Once we were out of the trails, we all found ourselves back on the main highway and it was a short jaunt to the road leading to Daraitan and to the Tinipak Rocks. We couldn’t help but stop on some areas to marvel on some views which you can never find in the city. To hell with smoke and smog, we were now breathing fresh air and savoring the soft breeze coming out of the mountain range.

A quick look on the way to Daraitan:

Coming out of the trails and running the stretch of this highway on our way to Daraitan

Iris leads the way.

Stopping over a bridge over-looking a valley (L-R Me, Mar, Jackie, Bong and JJ)

The road to Daraitan. It’s another 7 kms of rough roads and some concrete portions before we reach the place (I wonder why those bananas were hanging on the signage?)

A pause before we venture the ascents and descents to Daraitan

Start of rough roads going to Daraitan

The Macaira Garden Resort serves as the turn-around point for the 10k runners. However, runners of all distances will pass inside the resort.

STOP-OVER:

Look what we found here! En-route to Daraitan, Alvin led us into an obscure resort called the Macaira Garden Resort which would serve as the turn-around point for the 10k runners. Veering inside astounded us all.

Here is what we saw:

A “blue” pool and an unusual rock formation greets visitors to the resort.

More rocks and a wooded area at the back

The limestones were here for ages

Iris and Jackie atop the rocks

A cluster of limestone rocks and Jackie as its guest model

Owner says there is a cave beyond those trees which we weren’t able to see due to lack of time

A small rest house at the base of the rocks

It was one of the most fascinating views i have ever seen! I cannot even describe to you succinctly how this rock formation came about as even the photos above don’t seem to do it justice. I could here some oohs and ahhs from the group as i could only mutter, wtf!

On to Daraitan!

More of the rough roads going to Daraitan

Emerging from a mountain trail

This is Iris’ turf. The mountain trails

More of the trails. We would reach that mountain farthest on the background later (Thanks for the pic, Jackie)

Endless picture taking

A backdrop of the road ahead. Iris giving the thumbs up

Two “punks” at a convenience store. They listen to Deicide and Slayer Bands

Finally, arriving at Daraitan

Almost dry river bed during this dry month

Trails along the river. It can’t get rockier than this!

The sandy trail leading to the Tinipak Stone river

The group in a hurry

The trails leading to Tinipak

Rocky trail ahead

Nearing the base of the Tinipak stones

Macadam trails

The 21k+ and 50k runners will pass these trails leading to Tinipak

TINIPAK ROCKS:

After about 15 kms, we finally reached our destination! Daraitan with the Tinipak rocks looming everywhere like guards protecting their kingdom. I’ve been to this place once before about 3 years ago and it still was mesmerizing seeing it today like it was the first time i saw it.

The clear river was oozing with its rushing waves, the tall white rocks that everybody wanted to scale as soon as they saw it and the chorus of “WOWs” that emanated from everybody. The sight was absolutely stunning seeing so much of nature even just for a few minutes.

We lost no time in getting ourselves cool and intoxicated with the scene:

Finally here at the start of the Tinipak stones

Eye-catching view of the Tinipak Stones and river

Large rock formation

Jackie, Iris and Alvin

Bong Alindada, below

June Santiago relaxing with the cool waters

Nice views all around us

Climbing atop the rocks. Don’t do this on race day!

“Mt. Tinipak”

“Nagpapa lamig din paminsan, pag may time”

Great way to cool off

Caption this…

A look beyond Tinipak rocks

Group pic

Daraitan’s Ferrari tricycle (take a look at Iris’ expression). Wagas!

With Jackie

Capping our run, lunch of Bulalo, BBQ Chicken, vegetables…burp!

And before i forget, expect the 21k route to have some bonus kilometers added (the orginal 21k route did not include the Tinipak Rock section) and PIMCO has now decided to include this section so my estimate would be a total distance of 25 to 27 kms!

Registration for this June 9 race is still open. You can check out my previous post here: https://jazzrunner.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/natures-trail-discovery-run-daraitan-trail-run-june-9-2013/ or visit PIMCO’s webpage at: http://www.pimcosportsevents.com/

Natures Trail Discovery Run: Daraitan Trail Run, June 9, 2013

Registrations for the Nature’s Trail Discovery Run II (Leg 1), PIMCO Sports’ Championship Trilogy series is now open and will showcase another marvel of a trail route, the DARAITAN Trails, which features the Tinipak River with its white rock formations plus the majestic Sierra Madre mountains in Tanay, Rizal.

The race features a 50k Ultramarathon, a 21k, 10k and 5k with routes ranging from single track trails, mountain passes, river crossings and dirt roads. There will only be limited slots for the race and registration can be done via on-line at Pimco’s website, http://www.pimcosportsevents.com/ or at their registration center at ROX, Bonifacio High Street (3:00pm to 8:00pm).

Here are the details:

Nature’s Trail Discovery Run II
1st Leg, Trilogy Championship  

Date: June 9, 2013 (Sunday)

Venue: Sampaloc-Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal

Categories:

Advanced (10k) : Entry Fee is P750.00 inclusive of race kit, finishers shirt, and medal. Open to all Nationals, Male and Female

Seasoned (21k): Entry Fee is P950 inclusive of race kit, finishers shirt, and medals. Open to all nationalities, Male and Female

Masters (50k): Entry Fee is P1,750 inclusive of race kit, finishers shirt, and medals. Open to all nationalities, Male and Female (One category only).

Beginners Trail Fun Run (5k) : Entry Fee is P550.00 inclusive of race kit, provisions, giveaways, finishers medals. Open to all nationalities, male and female

Limited Slots:

Advance (10k) Category 200 slots only
Seasoned (21k) Category 200 slots only
Masters (50k) Ultraman Category 100 slots only

Newbies (5k) Fun Category open no limit

Registration Venue:

–*ROX:  Bonifacio Global City (3pm to 8pm)

—  Online registration at www.pimcosportsevents.com

*(Suggest you register physically at ROX)

Finishers Shirt for the10k / 21k / 50k

Public Transport:

To get to Tanay 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: June 9, 2013

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 Masinag, Marikina

The Bus will pass-by and will not be standing by so 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 June 2 not later than 2:00 pm

Hydration Stations – No cups will be made available! Bring your own hydration bottles/ hydration belts/ hydration back packs for re-fill. There will be hydration stations every 5 kilometer distance for free you can use for refill of your hydration bottle.

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

Finishers Kit – All finishers will receive their kits that include the medal, finishers shirt, and loot bag at the Finishers Booth for the 10k, 21k, and 50k only.

5k has no Finishers Shirt but will have finishers Medal.

Awards & Prizes for Male and Female Division (Except for the 50k Division which will only have the over-all first 3 placers):

Winners on each of the Preliminary Legs are given Winners Gift Packages (Non-Cash)

Awards and Prizes for all Categories Advanced (10k), Seasoned (21k), and Masters (50k) Ultramen:

1st – Gift Package + 1st Medal + Winners Shirt
2nd – Gift Package + 2nd Medal + Winners Shirt
3rd – Gift Package + 3rd Medal + Winners Shirt

Finishers – Finishers Medal & Shirt + Loot Bags

Awards and Prizes for Newbies (5km):

1st – Gift Package + 1st Medal
2nd – Gift Package + 2nd Medal
3rd – Gift Package + 3rd Medal

Finishers – Finishers Medal + Loot Bags

For more details, check out Pimco Sports website at: http://www.pimcosportsevents.com/ or their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/PimcoSportsEvents?fref=ts

Here are some pictures of the Daraitan trails:

Race Report: Pimco Run2Run Adventure Trail Run

I’m doing more trail races this year than i did the last and i noticed that trail runs are getting more difficult and challenging on courses with steep elevations and sudden descents, near endless climbs, various river crossings and even obstacles that gets you to crawl on like rice paddies!

After the highs of the Merrell Trail Run last week at San Mateo, Rizal, the Salomon X-Trail Run at Hamilo Coast a few weeks before and several practice runs on various other trails near Manila, i was back in Tanay last Sunday to run the Pimco Run2Run Adventure Trail Run.

Runners starting to trickle in at the starting line

The settings were just perfect: The Ten Cents To Heaven Resort is an oasis of calm in the midst of the Sierra Madre mountains with no more than 250 trail runners savoring the cold breeze that is ostensibly absent from Manila. This trail race was a buddy run and i was suppose to run and finish together with my perennial trail partner June Santiago. We didn’t finish together (finished just 5 mins ahead) but we did pace together for most part of the race.

The starting time was supposed to be at 5:00am but since most of the runners didn’t or forgot to bring their headlamps (guilty!), the organizers decided to move the time for about 30 mins more for the runners safety which was okay with me!

The route was a mix of some trails that were used in previous PIMCO trail races and some new ones which were added for variety. From the Ten Cents Resort start, the trails descended for about 1.5 kms then just as soon as we were at rock bottom, we started to crawl up again past pineapple fields and mangroves that i had to stop a few times to catch my breath. This stretch ended up at a Zip-line station where we exited into a concrete road all the way to a local village.

Aerial view of runners rushing downhill during the first kilometer (Photo from Pimco)

The route was familiar to some of us who had done a test run on the first few kilometers of this course a few weeks back. It’s not an easy course by all means because right after passing the trails of Sitio Caumbay, the 21k runners proceeded to one of Pimco’s “showcase” trails, the Maysawa trails.

The Maysawa trails are beautiful but jagged, rocky on some parts, wooded on the inner portions  following shallow and almost dry rivers plus a couple of different ridges through the woods. It throws in a couple of relentless uphills and descents and the terrain on the end part, before reaching Brgy Laiban is a mix of woodlands, creeks, open space and the occasional cultivated field.

Below the valleys of the Sierras

Our late start, although a welcome move for all of us who didn’t bring our headlamps was going to be our bane on the latter stages of the race as the uphills of Laiban together with the scorching heat was too much to bear. I, together with the rest of the runners around were walking like zombies, with only intermittent shades providing short pit stops for us to rest.

The last 3 kms was proving to be another Camp Sinai finish, a reference to the Merrell Adventure Trail race the week before when you had to battle heat, uphills and the sagging energy where the goal was just “to finish”. Another 150 meter uphill on the entrance to the resort, the “Staiway to Heaven” left me with some last kick to spare before heading on to the finish line in 5:02 for the 22.8km distance! A personal worst! Hahah..!

As i said earlier, June came in just a few minutes after me an although we really reeled from that torturous heat, it was one hell of a ride, another exciting journey to the world of trail running!

A big shout-out to Pimco for another great trail adventure and to RD Alvin Balderama for giving us another challenging trail route. We will be back on June 9 for this year’s 1st leg of the Nature’s Trail Discovery Trail Run at Daraitan in Tanay! See you there!

Here are some pictures of the race. Enjoy!

Waiting for the race to start

At Baranggay Cuyambay

Photo

Emerging from the forest trails during the early part of the race (Photo credit to Adsventure Trese)

Along one shaded part of the trails

Little house on the prairie

A small elementary school

One long rocky uphill climb

On the downhill part of Sitio May Sawa

A pause with Jackie and Terri

Beyond this trail are some gorgeous views of the Sierras

A farmer’s simple abode

A closer look

Taking a rest

Approaching some views of the Sierra Madre mountains

One of the best views of the valleys below

This is why i love trail running so much!

At one of the mountain crest

Approaching a river bed in Brgy. Laiban

Just behind buddy run-mate June

Another river crossing

Even with the dry season, water continues to flow on rivers

Hot and humid

A break during the uphill climb with June

The shades offered some comfort while walking on these dusty roads

Great company (L-R) Christian, Jackie and Terri

With friends Maribel, Jun and his brother

PIMCO’s Run2Run Trail Run in Tanay: May 5, 2013

The Run2Run Trail Run Adventure will be held on May 5, 2013 at the Ten Cents To Heaven Resort in Sitio. Mayagay II, Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal, just a kilometer away from the Sierra Madre Resorts. This trail run comes a week after the Merrell Adventure Trail Run this coming Saturday which i will also be running.

I was able to document part of the 21k route during a test run i did with other trail runners a few weeks ago (you can read it HERE) and i would say that this is one nice route, a combination of single track trails, rough roads and the main uphill highway.

One main attraction we weren’t  shown is a hidden trail en-route to Tuntong Falls, part of the 21k course. The race will start at an elevation of about 600-700 meters above sea level so the first kilometer or two will be an all downhill trail. Over-all, the trail run will be an awesome combination of two of the most scenic mountain trails, the May Sawa mountain scenery and the Laiban River trails

Along the main highway

Remember that this is a buddy run where you have to be a pair to register, start together at the starting line and arrive together at the finish line.

Remember that each runner should bring his/her own hydration bottle, hydration back pack or hydration belts as the organizers are not going to provide paper cups as this is an eco-friendly race. Organizers will only be providing re-filling stations along the race route.

View at the starting line

Here are some details of the race:

PIMCO AMAZING RUN2RUN TRAIL RUN ADVENTURE (Buddy Run)

Date:  May 5, 2013, Sunday
Venue:  Ten Cents To Heaven Resort, Mayagay II, Tanay, Rizal

DISTANCES:  5k/10k/21k

ASSEMBLY TIME: 4:00am

GUN START:  21k  —  5:00am/  10k — 5:15am/  6k — 5:30am

REGISTRATION FEES:

5K  :    P550.00

10k  :  P750.00

21k   :  P950.00

REGISTRATION VENUE:  ROX at the Bonifacio High Street (3:00PM to 8:00pm)

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: May 5, 2013

Pick up points:
Shell Station, Makati Edsa
Mandaluyong, City Hall Circle
Quezon City Circle
Masinag, Marikina in front of Mercury Drug
2:00 am Shell Station Makati Edsa
2:15 am Mandaluyong City Hall Circle
2:40 am Quezon City Circle
3:10 am Masinag

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 not later than 2:00 pm

For more information about the race, just visit their website at http://www.pimcosportsevents.com/#/amazing-run2run/4573658703 or check-out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PimcoSportsEvents

Ten Cents To Heaven Trail Run in Tanay: A Sneak Peek

This view up above Tanay is the reason why i like to run on these mountains and the trails that spring up and down below its crest and inside its forests.

One of the grandest views atop the Ten Cents to Heaven Resort in Tanay, Rizal

The pic was taken atop the Ten Cents to Heaven Resort in Sitio. Mayagay II, Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal just as we arrived at about 6:30am. The clouds had bridged several of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The breeze wasn’t as cool as i had expected but it was still far from the warm and humid temperatures in Manila even in the early morning.

Pimco Sports has cracked another winning trail combination and for its May 5 trail outing called Run2Run, with its longest distance, a 21k trail run, the race will start inside this resort, replete with garden trails, pineapple plantations, cement roads, rough roads and single track trails many trail enthusiasts will truly enjoy.

Yesterday, i had the privilege of joining a test run of this route together with about 22 other trail runners, the biggest group who had joined a Tanay test run so far. We didn’t run too far although the 7-8 km scheduled run we were given was a great sneak peek of what we were “partly” to expect for the May 5 race.

Photo credits to Maribel Patañag

We set off at about 7am and were made to run inside the resort as we snaked in around the gardens, open spaces, climbed up stairs…still not sure if this would be part of the route. When we were led at the rear-end of the resort, only then that we knew we were heading outside for the trails already.

The trails starts on a fairly manageable downhill run and we were apparently going down to the base of the mountain since we were situated on one of the highest part of that area. The latter descent parts were slippery, as we held on to small bamboo trunks to keep us from sliding down our butts as many did! We were all very careful as the surface was covered with dried bamboo leaves which didn’t offer much for us to step on the brakes.

The Ten Cents to Heaven Resort has the longest zipline in Luzon covering a total length of 1.1 kms. Since the zipline from the resort extends that distance to another mountain, our objective was to reach the end of this zipline so we had to practically go down from Ten Cents then trek our way up to the next mountain where the zipline ends.  And the 1.1km distance is no walk in the park!

The run up the 2nd mountain reminded me of the recent Salomon X-Trail run where we had to literally crawl up. Only here, its just pure trails, no steps to propel us up and it wasn’t very easy. We all had reached the end of the zipline and that 1.1k distance was like a 5k effort race!

It’s a challenging climb from the bottom of Sitio Mayagay to the top of the 2nd zipline but you’ll be rewarded with one of the most amazing vistas in Tanay. After the zipline, we exited into a concrete road leading to a residential area of Brgy. Cuyambay and from there, it was trails galore.

The trails here offer moderately challenging paths, dirt roads, single tracks and takes in some light streams and the rural scenery of Tanay. As always, we were only offered a sneak peek of the route, a mere 7-8 kms of trekking and running some of the easiest parts. Expect something colossal on race day as Race Director Alvin Balderama will once again unleash his poisonous fangs once we get inside his private territory!

I’m leaving you with the pictures i took on our run. Enjoy!

The air is usually cool here every morning but not to much today in this hot summer

From the patio from where the zip line begins

A closer view of what runners will see during the start of the race

Flower gardens that surround the resort

Our run started with a tour inside the compound

At the courtyard before climbing up a series of stairs

We wiggle our way at the resort’s back exit

Nearing the start of the trails

The trail run begins and starts with steep descents going towards pineapple plantations.

In blue is RD Alvin Balderama waiting for all runners to descend

After this descent, we climb up the other mountain (foreground) where the other zipline is located

Part of a bamboo forested area

This is the steepest downhill part where it’s easier to slide down from your behind

A 12 feet ravine. According to Alvin, ropes will be attached to poles on race day itself for runners’ safety

What goes down must come up!

A couple takes up the rear of the group with Alvin giving support at their back

Maribel taking it easy atop the end of the zip-line

That mountain on the other side is where we came from

A cemented road as part of the route

Taking a break at Brgy Cuyambay while waiting for the others

Elite running couple, Ems and Ron Nills (left and middle) with their equally fast Ilocano-“Kenyan” friend, Hadji from Tuguegarao

At Baranggay Cuyambay, Tanay

The terrain here is rolling with single tracks and rough roads ahead

These rocks are to be delivered to Metro Manila for landscaping businesses

A short rough road that leads to another set of trails

This is part of the 21k route

The road thins out to a trail

Crossing out a small stream

The group follows

Looking for something, Jun?

Alternating between shaded and open part trails

Back to an open space

The trails in this part is generally flat so we just took our time to survey the course

Trails go in and out of secluded areas. Here, we approach another stream

There’s this feeling of peace and serenity just running on these trails

We sort of miss the gushing rivers but nice to have our feet dry this time.

It was a long hike-run on the trails

Coming out of the woods

More of these bamboo trees lined-up in between trails

Entering a small village

A short uphill climb

Taking another pit stop with the group

Last of the trails before heading back to the highway

One last pit-stop

They call this the stairway to heaven, a short cut to the resort

A stair-trail path suffused with flowers

A dizzying climb to the top

More steps to climb, but i didn’t mind

Almost there…

A light brunch was waiting

Teacher Ella Mae was glad to make it back the top

At the cabana

A Chapel inside the resort

For more info of the Run2Run Trail Run on May 5, 2013, please check out PIMCO’s website which you can find here: http://www.pimcosportsevents.com/#/amazing-run2run/4573658703