I woke up amidst drizzles of rain yesterday morning to get ready and test the new trail route Pimco was organizing for its October 13 race in Tanay. It’s a new trail venue called the Epic Park Rainforest Camp located in Sampaloc, Tanay and seeing the vast 200 hectare property with its vast secluded rainforest, wildlife and greenery for the first time took me by surprise!
Regular running buddy Jun arrived at around 4:30am to pick me up then we proceeded to our favorite pre-run breakfast hang-out where we had pipping hot, lugaw and egg. That would carry us over whenever we had scheduled runs together.
We reached Tanay an hour later and met up with the group of Erwin (Power Grid Rrunner) who seem to have been lost in getting to the venue. So we set off together until we reached the entrance of Epic Park, going past a security gate then finally into a large sprawling area of cottages and pine trees which reminded me of Camp John Hay in Baguio City. There, Manny Santos of Pimco, Alvin Balderama, Race Director of the Pimco races and many other runners were already waiting.
A group pic before the start of the trail run
I think this is by far the largest gathering of runners who have attended Pimco’s test runs, most of whom are first timers and we were lucky indeed to run on these still untapped trails. This is a great trail discovery by the Pimco team to stage their next trail race on September 1.
The ambiance of this place is quite alluring and there is a Camp John Hayish feel to its surroundings, with pine trees as tall as their counterparts in Baguio City. Far from pollution, the air here is fresh, not cold nor warm but just the right setting to have a great run within and outside of its confines.
There are four major trails inside this sanctuary, all with individual names that more or less describe each. One is called Elma’s Trail which was perhaps the most rugged of them all! It was inside a forest, with very long perpendicular and slippery down slopes and equally steep ascents that one has to be pulled or pushed-up on his butt by another runner in order to scale over the obstacle.
I was lucky enough to be trekking with some of the female staff of Epic Park who were adept and familiar with the terrain as i was guided like a lost sheep while taking pictures of the trails. There were small trees and vines to hold on while trying to scale down the muddy slopes but there were trees whose trunks were spikish… sharp, big thorns that i got pricked many times over. Wearing gloves here is a must! Also an arm sleeve would be advisable as ants would surely feast on your arms and even down your spine.
What i was most scared about were the very narrow trails, just about two feet wide and slanting on the right side facing a deep ravine. I had to thread that part very slowly clinging to whatever trunk or vine i could hold on to as one false move and you plunge into this 50-foot ravine with sharp rocks that cover a dry river bed below.
The other trails were more scenic and tolerable, the Durianan and Dagat-dagatan trails. They were rugged, muddy but it was outside the dark and murky forest and you get to see more of the outdoor scenery.
To those running the 21k+ and the 50k ultra race of Pimco’s Natures Trail Discovery Run (NDTR) 2nd Leg on September 1, the route will pass through the majestic Daranak and Batlag Falls which will serve as the turn-around point for the 21k runners. The race will run on on 85% of trails/dirt roads and 15% of concrete which is barely noticeable.
Here’s a glimpse of the route. Enjoy!
Starting inside Epic Camp with wonderful views of tall trees and the ever green surroundings
This route goes further down the so-called rainforest
There’s this part of the route that goes up this flight of stairs
We now enter inside the rain forest
Trails were so dark inside the forest
Thanks to these wonderful Epic Park staff who guided us during the first stages of the run. Special mention goes to Maritess (?) and MM who pulled and pushed me from impending dangers of the cliffs and ravines!
One of the most slippery parts of the Elma trail where you had to literally slide down on your butt!
One of the hanging bridges inside the Park. Caution: Slippery when wet
One small hill at the outskirts of the park
My push going into the wilderness
Parts of the trails that runs within the rainforest park
Many parts were muddy brought about by the recent trains but anything goes when trail running!
Hoping for a drier surface come race day on September 1
Just to show you that most parts of the trail are technical, like this one…If you have trail shoes, use it!
A brief stop while waiting for the others
Nothing beats exploring new trails! The joy of trail running!
Another of those moments posing against the mountain backdrop
Jagged, rocky and maybe muddy–this is what trail runners should expect on September 1
Three sexy running buds! :p
Prepare for the many uphills along the route!
Feet takes a break from the ragged trail
Iris taking the mud off her legs
The clean, gently flowing stream that’s so soothing to the feet!
With Usana Jackie and Iris 🙂
Reaching the entrance of Kalinawan caves, near Daranak Falls
That’s the cave’s entrance at our back
21k runners will get to see this nice river
Jackie doing one of her planking antics. One mistake and she’ll plunge to about 100 feet below..
On our way back!
This is what it will look like on the way to the finish. Best to walk it and with a buddy!
As some parts of the trails were wet, this part was just right
With Bel, my running buddy during the last 2 kms. Gatorade “endorsers”!
An obstacle along the trail
Back into the wilderness!
This is going back to Epic Park
Well maintained dirt road
Some bird poop must have dropped over my head. Good thing it was a small branch stem!
Back to where the tall trees are
Not a single soul on these trails other than us
Will see you on September 1st!
Getting ready for lunch. With Manny, June and Alvin
For more information about the race, you can check my previous blog here: https://jazzrunner.wordpress.com/tag/epic-rainforest-park/ or visit Pimco Sports webpage at: www.pimcosportingevents.net or Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/PimcoSportsEvents
Thanks to Erwin Hermosa (Power Grid Runner) and Jackie Gutierrez for some of the photos used here!