Race Recap: Salomon Penitencia X-Trail Run

As the final Lenten week approaches, i will again witness bare-chested males marching in the streets of Pampanga, flagellating their bodies with bamboo whips until blood oozes out from their backs. Eventually, i will also get to watch on tv actual crucifixions where either men and women will be nailed to the cross for real!

These are Lenten rituals of some Christian devotees, an act of penitence to atone for their sins, give thanks for curing their illnesses or to grant their wishes.

Yesterday, I, together with a thousand others were subject to another form of penitence, not because we wished to repent for our sins and ask for forgiveness from the Almighty but because we, devout runners, had to scale ridiculously steep mountain trails of the Hamilo Coast in Batangas for this year’s Salomon X-Trail Run that in the end, we were asking for his salvation!

I didn’t expect it to be this difficult and even though i had only managed to enter the 12k run, it seemed like we were pushing at double the distance, much more for the 24k runners who were finishing it from 4 to 6 hours!

The mountains had undulating steep inclines and there were many more of it when we finished the beach run and started to ascend on the second mountain trails. The trails were pretty narrow on some parts so a single line were formed and it was rare that one could pass through other runners except when downhills would offer that chance. Every trail goes up until it comes down.

The run along the beach on our way to the second mountain

At the rocky shores before the first uphill climb

At the 2nd mountain

This was the scene for most of the trails. Like zombies wandering aimlessly!

One rare chance we get to jog (Photo by Runaholic)

I was feeling very sluggish and heavy during the ascend on top. Many times, i had to stop and so did the others as i felt my chest was about to explode or you get to drown on your own heavy breathing. Nice to have those small tree trunks to propel you up but it mattered very little when you were scaling continuously on top.

The downhills were much easier for me although i think you should have that level of self-confidence because any hesitation or doubts on where to land your feet would require much more energy or slow you down as i saw many runners who stopped, hesitated then fell on all fours on the steepest of descents. I had a misstep on the 8th km myself when i hesitated and missed the small rock i was to land on and the result, a fall on my butt that resulted to cramping on my left calf muscle.

One complaint i have on this race was the utter lack of hydration stations in the mountains. The organizers should have made the effort of hauling those gallons of water atop those hill crests as this is where runners need it most. One female runner even asked me if i could spare some from my backpack so i took the pack off, poured some water from the water bladder into her water bottle. She was safe in the meantime.

Rest muna, teh..

One instance when we all had to stop and catch our breath

One runner leaning on the trunk of a small tree

This runner seems to be like she was stretching

Despite the difficulties, i would love to come back on these trails again

Despite the slight rains the night before, the trails were dry and no marks of any muddy tracks, whatsoever.

There was to be a cut-off time for all the distances and so many of the 24k runners did not managed to make the 5-hour cut-off even if they announced late into the race that it was extended to another 30 minutes.

During the last 3km, i was just exhausted to even make a run for the cut-off time of 2:30 for the 12k distance even if it was all downhill so i just took my time. I just shrugged when i saw my time at 2:45 upon crossing the finish line. My usual 21k time on road races was even faster than this.

This is probably one of the hardest trail races i have ever done. I am however glad that i took part in it, getting to feel what a mountain race is all about.

Kudos to all runners who participated and finished this race!

With friends after the run

My next trail race will be the Merrell 21k Trail Run in San Mateo, Rizal next month. And before i forget, i saw Thumbie Remigio, the organizer of the Merrell run who was in the middle of the pack during the early stages of the 24k race! I hope he won’t upstage this Salomon event by changing the Merrell course into a more difficult one like what we experienced here at Hamilo Coast.

If that happens, someone is going to get flagellated this time! 🙂

Hamilo Coast Trails: A Peek At The Salomon Trail Run Route

One characteristic that The Salomon X-Trail races have lately is its unique locations, often on exclusive residential mountain resorts with stunning views of mountain ranges, lakes or oceans. Last year’s venue, the Tagaytay Midlands and Highlands offered lush mountain ranges with its cool climate, high peaks and great running trails.

This year, the venue will be at the mountains of the Pico de Loro Cove, part of the Hamilo Coast situated in Nasugbu, Batangas where i, together with several runners had the chance to discover and run parts of its trails that will form part of this year’s Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas 2013 race.

The venue is an exclusive country club and beach resort with fine white sand, condominium housing units, hotel and restaurants and all the amenities you’ll find in an upscale resort. However, we were here for the trails and what it has to offer runners for their upcoming road to trail run on March 23, 2013.

Me and about a dozen other runner-bloggers and the media left before daybreak from ROX at the Fort and arrived at the Hamilo Coast-Pico de Loro Cove 2 hours later. After some light breakfast, we were given a brief background on the event led by Salomon Brand Manager Janice Tanada and apprised on the route for the race by Pen Nepomuceno, one of the event’s race directors. Thereafter, we were led outside for the actual trail run and did parts of the 6k route.

Since it was only going to be a short run, i didn’t bother to bring my hydration vest any more and instead, opted with my trusted water bottle waist pack which could carry about 26 oz of water. The starting area is just at the  mouth of the residential condominium units. The first 400 meters was immediately on an uphill going to a rotunda where we would turn around and go straight to the beach shores. Then, we were on to the trails.

The Pico de Loro Cove mountains are lush and green, have challenging hills in the form of stair paths which are quite slippery when wet. The old-growth forest possess some tall trees and are quite peaceful. The 6k route forms part of the other 12k and 24k distances and is the only spot where the range dips down to greet the ocean via its view-deck.

The trails are mostly single tracks, gnarly and has undulating climbs with views of the South Philippine Sea.

Here are some pictures i took in sequence the moment we were sent-off up to the end of our run. I hope this will give runners who will be joining this race a good idea of what the trails look like. Enjoy!

(For more details of the race or on how to register, you can check out my previous blog here: (details/registration at salomon-x-trail-run-2013-now-set-at-hamilo-coast-batangas)

Mariel Flores leading the runners to the starting line

This is where the race starts, just a few meters away from the Pico de Loro club house

The starting line view, at the mouth of the Pico De Loro cove

No wasting time, first 400 meters was uphill!

The Running Atom (Alfred) leads the way

From the road, a view of the Pico de Loro Cove

We make a u-turn at the small rotunda

The pathway to the ocean-side then to the trails

Nearing the shores of the cove

I could just imagine runners making a stop at this berth and taking pictures. That’s Christine, Mars and Blas

Trail to the sea shore

Ms. Pen, one of the race directors guiding us to the entrance of the trails

A sign mark of the Eco Trail route

The trails begins here

Dried leaves and small roots take stage

Runners can still speed-up here before the uphills occur

Nearing the foot of the mountains

The start of the dreaded “stairs”. It’s all uphill from here!

Didn’t know that Ms. Mars is an excellent climber!

Surging up non-stop

A break from the stairs on the way to the peak

The views of the ocean are on the left

A nice teaser leading to more uphills…

The trails seem not to have been affected by the rains the previous days. It was dry but windy

More of the stair trail here

More uphills to the peak

My 2 friends seem to be nearing the peak

And there’s the peak with some guides waiting for us

The signs that says, “Highest Peak” at 115 meters but not so high for regular mountain/trail runners. Higher elevation will be encountered by the runners in this route.

The views along the peak

Birds eye-view of the Pico De Loro Cove

At the left side of the peak

More of the trails going to the view deck

With Ms. Pen, one of the race RD

With runners from the media

An ascend to the view-deck

150 meters away before the view deck and turn-around point

Turn-around point

View-deck

The south Philippine Sea

More views from the deck

On the way back (photo by Rodel/Blas)

Return up to the trails

Some scenes on the way back

Met CJ and Laira on my way down

Taken at about 11:30am, the sun was right above us

Running back to the beach club

Our group at the Pico De Loro Beach club

Finally, a sumptuous lunch of the middle eastern cuisine

 

Salomon X-Trail Run 2013 Now Set at Hamilo Coast, Batangas

After my debacle in March of last year to finish the Salomon 24k Trail Run at the Tagaytay Highlands due to severe pain in my Plantar, i am now looking forward to joining this race again in a few weeks, this time at Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas. The pain of my heel was pretty bad that it didn’t allow me to make another step without wincing in pain at about the half-way mark. Tough luck!

It was a little upsetting of not being able to finish but i always embrace this set- back as something you work on to get stronger and better so this is something to look forward to, kind of a score to settle.

But this will not be an easy one. Any run which starts from the Hamilo Coast and dubs itself a mountain run will surely scale the mountain trails of Mt. Palay-palay enroute to the famous Pico De Loro. I’m not sure though if this will be part of the route. We shall know the exact path after we do a test run this coming Saturday.

The annual Salomon X-trail Run will be held on March 23, 2013. This year’s race will be held in the beautiful Hamilo Coast with the back drop of the Pico De Loro mountains in Nasugbu, Batangas City. New trail routes will be created exclusively for the event, with the Salomon team projecting to attract more trail running enthusiasts and trail runners hailing from different levels.

Moreover, runners will surely enjoy the breath-taking view around Hamilo Coast. The trail sections overlooking the cove are steep and technical, with sharp and loose rocks, as well as roots and thick foliage. The view also boasts of hills, mountains, valleys, and lush greeneries – an overall perfect setting for a one-of-a-kind adventure.

salomon

Salomon X-Trail Pilipinas 2013

  • Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu, Batangas
  • March 23, 2013
  • 6k / 12k / 24k

– Race Day Schedule

Gun Start

24 km : 5:00am

12 km : 6:00am

6km : 7:00am

Registration Fees:

6km –  P850.00 :  with race bib, timing chip, Salomon Xtrail technical jersey. All finishers of this distance receive a Salomon Finishers’ bag which includes freebies).  Post race meal will also be served.

12km – P1,100 :  with race bib, timing chip, Salomon Xtrail technical jersey. All finishers of this distance receive a Salomon Finishers’ bag which includes a Salomon arm pouch, and other freebies.  Post race meal will also be served.

24km – P1,300 :  with race bib, timing chip, Salomon Xtrail technical jersey. All finishers of this distance receive finisher’s medal & a Salomon Finishers’ bag which includes a Salomon arm pouch, and other freebies.  Post race meal will also be served.

Optional:

  • Add Php 500 – get a Nathan handheld bottle (worth P990), till supplies last.

Cut-off times

24km –  5 hours

12km –  2.5 hours

  6km –   1.5 hours

**10:00am – ALL PARTICIPANTS WILL BE SWEPT BY THE MARSHALL’s VAN.

RACE REGISTRATION

Registration starts on Feb 1, 2013 until March 20, 2013. You may register via the ff:

1)      Online registration via credit card – http://www.salomonxtrailpilipinas.com

2)      Online registration via bank deposit – Fill up the online form & deposit payment to (Runner’s Runner Bank details at above link).

3)      Registration Centers :

1)       R.O.X. Bonifacio High Street , Fort Bonifacio Taguig, 3/F, Runner’s Runner Booth

2)      Salomon Store – Glorietta 3, 2/F Glorietta 3, Ayala Center, Makati City

Wishing the route takes us here

The trails above the mountains of Hamilo Coast

Hamilo Coast trails towards Pico De Loro (Photo credits to Jackie Gutierrez and her friends from her FB photos)

Transportation:

  • Add Php 450.00 –Bus slots from R.O.X. to Hamilo Coast & back will be available to the first 300 participants, for an additional Php450. To avail, please click on the tickbox in the registration form & include payment with the race registration fee.
  • Each registrant may avail of ONLY 1 additional seat in the bus (maximum of 2 seats per race participant). Please save the Bus Stub in your registration form/waiver. This will be surrendered upon boarding the bus on race day.

Accommodations:

Special Rates at Pico Sands Hotel at Hamilo Coast, exclusively for Xtrail Participants range from  P6,500 to P7,000.

For accommodations inquiries & reservations, please email accommodations@salomonxtrailpilipinas.com. Leave your contact number  & We will call you the soonest.

PRESS RELEASE:

RULE THE ROAD: TAME THE TRAIL

Salomon Philippines holds X-Trail Run 2013 at Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu, Batangas City.

It is once again time to push the boundaries as the world’s number one trail running brand, Salomon, holds this year’s X-Trail Run. Held annually since 2008, the gut-wrenching event has been held in different countries around the globe including Southeast-Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

On March 23, 2013, the Salomon X-Trail Run is slated to present its annual event in a yet another premiere location. Participants can expect the trail to have a combination of different terrain surfaces including dirt, rocks, sands, and concrete paths. The 2013 race aims to set a new record as one of the most-attended trail run races in the country.

This year’s race will be held in the beautiful Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas City. New trail routes will be created exclusively for the event, with the Salomon team projecting to attract more trail running enthusiasts and trail runners hailing from different levels.

Moreover, runners will surely enjoy the breath-taking view around Hamilo Coast. The trail sections overlooking the cove are steep and technical, with sharp and loose rocks, as well as roots and thick foliage. The view also boasts of hills, mountains, valleys, and lush greeneries – an overall perfect setting for a one-of-a-kind adventure.

The Salomon Xtrail Event has 3 categories: 6km, 12km, and 24km—all with a “Road-to-Trail” nature. The 6km category welcomes beginners to explore the world of trail running. The 12km category invites runners with basic trail running experience to level-up their game with the inclusion of technical terrain.

Finishers of these 2 categories will receive a finisher’s bag with freebies. For experienced runners who are bent on exceeding their boundaries, the 24km Mountain Run will present technical ascents and varying terrains. The category will simulate ascents of Skyrunning races – an arena wherein Salomon dominates. Finishers will receive a medal, a Salomon Finishers’ bag with freebies.

The registration fee for 6km is P850, 12km for P1, 100, and 24km at P1, 300. All the runners will be given an event jersey, race bib, timing chip, and post-race meal. 12km and 24km participants get a limited Salomon Arm Band. For an additional P450, first 300 registrants get a bus slot from R.O.X. to Hamilo Coast and back.

For another P500, registrants will receive a Nathan handheld bottle until supplies last. Accommodations with special rates are also available for participants in Pico Sands Hotel at Hamilo Coast exclusive for X-Trail participants.