Bravehearts Mountain Trail Run- March 12, 2016

“Bravehearts is a newbie friendly trail run”. 

“This is not a race. Its a picnic!”

“It requires bravery to do something no one else around you is doing. So be brave!”

—MGM Productions description of their upcoming trail run event, the Braveheart Trail Run

To which trail runners responded:

“It’s A Trap!”

I was amused and laughing when i read these Facebook exchanges on the forthcoming BRAVEHEARTS Mountain Trail Run to be held on March 12 in Baras, Rizal. It might be MGM’s stab at humor but knowing their record of organizing very challenging routes that frays the edges of your patience (Mt. Batolusong Trail Challenge, Mt. Sembrano Mountain Run, to name a few), their races are no laughing matter. For most, their uphill courses gets your heart pumping non-stop, yet the views are spectacular that any trail runner would love to come back for more.

Though the Braveheart Mountain Run will only be for 11 kilometers, no one (outside of the MGM organizers) have made an actual test run of this route but expect this to be another lung-busting climb. If MGM is going to be true to their word, this run will just be like a picnic at the park and will have a newbie-friendly trail route. But then, they ask runners to be brave, to face the unexpected! And that has put jitters among the trail newbies and even the regular trail runners.

Nevertheless, Race Director Rayman (DBB) Delos Angeles assured that runners will be rewarded with a myriad of adventurous panoramas like waterfalls, dams, rocky paths, pine trees, the grand views of the Sierra Madre mountains and Talim Island at Laguna De Bay which i tend to believe (check out the pictures below).

It’s a very calming claim to call an MGM Productions event one newbie-friendly trail run but it’s also hard to ignore that one requires bravery to do something out of the ordinary to probably survive this race. Even the name of a waterfall where runners will pass by near it, “KINAMATAYAN FALLS” is a prelude of things to happen!

But factor in a cool dip beneath this waterfall (will you?), enjoy the low clouds lying below the Sierra mountain peaks, cascading rivers and streams and a grand finale of a breakfast at one of the picnic tables of a resort while getting a glimpse of Laguna De Bay and you’ve got plenty of reason to enjoy this race.

Whether or not it’s a newbie-friendly trail or a race for the hard-core, no trail runner will want to miss a MGM-organized trail run! Hope we come out alive! 🙂

Here are the details of the race!

Bravehearts Mountain Trail Run (11km)

Distance :11km (Cut Off Time- 3:30 Hours)

Start Time: 6:00 AM March 12, 2016 (Saturday)

Starting/Finish Area: Check Dam, Sitio San Roque, Brgy. Pinugay, Baras, Rizal

Registration Fee: Php 800.00

Inclusive: Finisher Medal, Singlet, Race Bandana and Personalized Bib Number

Registration Period: February 03 – March 01, 2016

Registration Procedure:

Deposit the registration fee to Account Name: Rayman D. delos Angeles BPI Savings Acct Num: 3199-1456-56
Send a scanned/pic copy of the deposit slip to mgm_bravehearts@yahoo.com with your name, gender and size of finisher shirt . Subject: MGM BRAVEHEARTS REGISTRATION”. Please keep and present the deposit slip when claiming the race kit on the race day.

LIMITED SLOTS ONLY!

The event takes place RAIN or SHINE!

This is the perfect start for the grand slam of the MGM Production Trail Running Series.

 

Race Director Dabobong Rayman (Rock Star) Angeles showing us one of the highlights of the mountain run, a lagoon from the Kinamatayan waterfalls located upstream.

 

 

Pictures of the KIMATAYAN Falls:

Valley Trail Challenge 2015: My Short Race Experience

The instructions from VTC Race Director Jonel Mendoza were succinct and to the point. “Runners get lost when they do not follow markers laid down along the trails. Don’t follow the runners in front of you for they might be lost too–it’s the ribbon markers that should be observed and followed, and back-track if you stray from the route, is that clear?”

This seems to be the de rigueur last minute advise Jonel has been giving all throughout his trail runs, an all too familiar brief that not only Jonel but other trail RDs emphasize as a last-minute warning. I haven’t given much thought on this advise not because i refuse to believe but because i have NEVER been lost in a trail race, ever! Always, i have an eagle eye on markers and being at the tail-end part of the race often, i still don’t rely on those few who are in front of me. “The presence of markers are your best bet that the group in front are right on track”.

RD Jonel Mendoza addressing the runners (c) Rai Cabanig

Well, shit happens! It wasn’t going to be my day when 400 meters after the turn-around point for the 15k runners (at about the 8.3km mark), I was just trying to take it easy on my 8-9 minute pace when i missed the single neon green ribbon with a red tail towards the left and went straight to the main road instead. And then you run by your lonesome with nary a runner in front or behind you. And you realize that you haven’t seen any marker for the next several hundred meters but still forge ahead hopeful that you might find someone. You suddenly reach a main highway which is definitely not part of the course, with no runners in sight and you finally realize then that you are f*#%!n lost!

It’s really disheartening, specially when you are alone and not even a stranger on sight to ask where you are, the lost time spent. As i mentioned, this is the first time i got lost in a race. So refer to what the RD was telling all along, “back-track” if you get lost.

Back-track i did and after nearly a kilometer of going back on the same route from where i was earlier, i felt relieved when i saw some of the 32k runners making the correct left corner turn on the trails. They knew that i got lost as they saw me coming towards them from the other direction. They told me that they got lost too several times and had to rely on strangers to ask where the other runners had passed through. One of those days!

The 15 km course was an out and back course and it was two years since i last ran the Valley Trail Challenge although this course was also part of the TNF100 route which i was able to run 2 weeks ago.

At the trails (c) Rai Cabanig

I like the size and aura of the crowd as i chatted along with old friends while waiting for our race to start. The number of runners was large enough to get the race feel, but small enough to still be intimate.

The first four kilometers went by really pleasantly as the trail was in perfect condition just like it was during the TNF race. It was a little damp but not muddy and there was just a little congestion when we crossed a small creek.

I started out at a very slow pace as i was still concerned with my acid-reflux as it triggers to shorten my breath if i run fast too early so i just concentrated on running relaxed and easy. All my runs now are geared towards like a training run rather than a race, so I was just out there to put mileage on the legs, hopefully for as long as I could before acidity sets in the stomach.

For the first 3.5 kms, i was privileged to be running side by side with old friend and present ultra trail king Manolito Divina who was doing the sweeper role for the organizers. Although there were more runners on my back whom he could have paced with, he insisted for a little chit-chat with me until the 3.80km mark when the first aid station appeared.

With “Tolits” Divina

I wish all trail races had aid stations like this race where everything were properly laid out like generous servings of different fruits, fruit juices, sports drinks, bread, chips and other trail food which were placed in presentable trays and jugs.

Great aid station!

After that aid station, the route was pretty flat with mostly single-track trails until reaching the U-turn at about 7.8kms. Surprised that no water station was placed there although i still had enough on my water bottle to sustain me for the next few kilometers. I was picking up the pace a little, passed some runners on the return until disaster struck!

I pulled in back into the one and only aid/water station with 3.8km to go before the finish, took some bananas, slices of watermelon and filled up my water bottle for the last haul ahead. I wasted about 30 minutes finding my way back from that “lost” episode so my main concern now was to finish the race in less than 3 hours. However, i started to slow down considerably that i had to walk some parts, then run again. The walks gave me time to recover and be able to keep a good pace on the flats and downhills.

Finished in 3:03, which i thought was good enough considering the lost time i had in the trails. This trail race was a completely surreal experience for me, a little bit stressed and disappointed but overly satisfied with the end-result.

If you want a small and well-organized trail run, this yearly Valley Trail Challenge is a great one for beginners and hard-core runners alike. It has a wonderful variety of charms and definitely one trail race for keeps!

Thanks to RD Jonel and Con Mendoza for the wonderful “lost and found” experience!

Thanks to Rai Cabanig for some of the photos!

With trail running friends!

With the AHON Team

Valley Trail Challenge: June 28, 2015

The trails and meadows of Nuvali will once again come alive with the rumblings of cows and the footsteps of runners! It’s Front Runner’s Magazine’s return to Nuvali for their trail running event, the VALLEY TRAIL CHALLENGE, a 15K, 30K and 50K trail race this coming June 28, 2015!

All runners will be treated to great views of Nuvali’s trail frontier… forest woods, open valleys and single track trails. Those experienced runners and familiar with the route will enjoy the challenge and exploration of new territory and those new to the trails will also discover a whole new world of running where the course is beginner-friendly that will entice you to embrace trail running as a complement to your road races!

Experience your own trail running-induced euphoria at the Valley Trail Challenge! Whether it’s your first trail run, a chance to set a personal record, or simply going out trail running with friends, you’ll be glad you ran at Nuvali!

Here are the details of the race!

REGISTRATION FEES (part of registration fees will go the HERO FOUNDATION). LIMITED SLOTS (Updates will be given as to availability of slots)

15k- P900.00 pesos- Swag: Event shirt and Finisher’s Medal, Post-race meal and drinks

30k- P1200.00 pesos- Swag: Event shirt and Finisher’s Medal, Post-race meal and drinks

50k- P1500.00 pesos-Swag: Event shirt and Finisher’s Medal, Post-race meal and drinks Registration starts on March 16. Limited slots only and registration period may end once all slots are filled up. This means there will be NO onsite registration/extension. 15k Start: 5:00 AM, Cutoff time THREE hours, 3:00:00  30k Start: 3:00 AM, Cutoff time SIX hours, 6:00:00  50k Start: 2:00 AM, Cutoff time TEN hours, 10:00:00 (25-Kilometer Cutoff, 5:00:00 Hours. Runners not able to meet this deadline will be declared as DNF and be brought back to the finish line.)  REGISTRATION PROCEDURE

    1. Bank Deposit: HARDCORE PUBLISHING HOUSE, INC. BPI 2371 0034 71
    2. Print your name, shirt size and distance on the deposit slip together with your signed and duly-accomplished registration form and waiver DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM: REGISTRATION VTC5
    3. Scan or Camera-capture and email to 2015valleytc@gmail.com. You will receive an acknowledgement thereafter. Please do NOT post on facebook.
  • Incomplete details on deposit slip will not be honored.
  • For inquiries only; frontrunnermag@gmail.com

Other Info: *Registration will be accepted from March 16 – June 16, 2015. *Registration at 100 Miles Café begins on May 1, 2015. *Race kit claiming will be on June 19 and 20, 2015 from 11:00 AM-7:00 PM at 100 Miles Café/Galileia Events Place, BGC. RACE DETAILS

    1. Please read and understand all details thoroughly.
    2. Start/Finish Line: EAST NATURE AVENUE, NUVALI.
    3. Please be on time. Latecomers will NOT be allowed to officially join the race anymore. However, they are still entitled to post-race items except the Official Finisher’s medal.
    4. Assembly Time: 1:00 AM (for 50k), 2:00 AM(30k) and 4:00 AM(15k) / RAIN or SHINE.

RACE KIT CLAIMING will be on June 19 and 20, 2015 from 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM at 100 Miles Café/Galileia Events Place, BGC.

  • THERE WILL BE NO RACE KIT DISTRIBUTION DURING RACE DAY AT THE VENUE.
  • All runners must wear their race numbers in front, pinned on the shirt or shorts.
  • Runners will make a turnaround at their respective turning points and make their way back to the finish line.
  • There will be aid stations located at Km 6(Gate 3-15, 30, 50K), Km 15(Mirriam-30, 50K), Km 20(Gate 5-50k) and Km 25 (Nuvali Boulevard corner East Conservation Road-50k) where all runners are free to refill and eat. Take note that since this an out and back course, you will be passing these aid stations twice, except for the Km 25 station.
  • Littering is absolutely prohibited. Violation of such will merit outright disqualification. Garbage bags are available in all aid stations.
  • Race route will be marked by ribbons and/or directional tarpaulins.
  • Runners who decide not to continue the race must contact the Race Director or inform the nearest aid station marshals for proper accounting.
  • No time credits will be given for runners who get lost therefore all runners are encouraged to pay attention to race markers/signs.
  • NO shuttle service to and from NUVALI is provided.
  • FREE parking is available at the designated parking areas. While security will be provided, runners will be solely responsible for securing their belongings. Race organizers and management will not be held liable for any damage or loss to personal items.
  • Baggage deposit counter/toilet and bathroom will be available at the same site.
  • The Race Director may, at any time, make revisions on the course and race details/rules for the benefit of all runners and reserves all the rights to use pictures and videos taken by any participant for publication in any form of media without any consideration, monetary or otherwise. Owners of published photos/videos will be duly recognized.
  • ALL RUNNERS ARE REQUIRED BRING THEIR OWN HYDRATION BOTTLES/PACKS. YOU ARE FREE TO REFILL IN ALL STATIONS. THERE WILL BE NO CUPS AVAILABLE IN ALL AID STATIONS IN KEEPING WITH THE “LEAVE NO TRACE” theme.
  • Enjoy, have fun and absolutely NO WHINING.
  • Race Director’s decision is final.

A Closer Look At the Trails of Mt. Sembrano

Here’s a set of pictures of the trails of Mt. Sembrano in Pililia, Rizal taken by Ninya Regalado, a mountaineer and trail runner during one of her mountain trail runs. I’ve always been intrigued as to why many runners, hikers and mountaineers enjoy visiting this place as they say it’s so hilly, open and hot specially in the summer. But having seen these photos of the trails, i can see that they offer some of the best views here in these parts.

The forthcoming 2nd DBB Uphill Mt. Sembrano Trail Race Challenge on April 18, 2015 will prove another opportunity to see and conquer this rolling grassland hills to the tilt. And through these pics, you’ll see why last year’s runners have been raving about the ascents and descents that literally kept them on their toes!

Check out the views over-looking Laguna Lake, Talim Island and the other mountain ranges which are arresting and very scenic.

You’ll see why running this upcoming 15k and 30k DBB Mt. Sembrano Uphill Trail Race Challenge is worth it when you see these picture postcard worthy sweeping views. I’m nowhere close to being able to run this trail yet, but that will surely change when i get to run with some of the most fun and serious trail runners come April 18!

See you there!

Registration is still open. For more details, you can check my previous post at https://jazzrunner.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/mt-sembrano-trail-run-challenge-april-18-2015/ or the event FB page at https://www.facebook.com/events/814150221978573/

All photos by mountaineer, traveler and trail runner Ninya Regalado who documents her adventures in her blog, http://www.proadventurer.com.

Mt. Sembrano Trail Run Challenge: April 18, 2015

If you enjoy hardcore, moderate to steep rocky trails through open forests, mountain ridges, steep ravines and magnificent views of Laguna De Bay and Talim Island then this race, The DBB Uphill Challenge, Mt. Sembrano 15k and 30k Trail Run on April 18 is just the perfect trail race waiting for you!

The mountain trails offers an elevation of from 625 meters to about 745 meters. Between these elevation gains are single track dirt trails, grassy mountain ridges, hilltops and a waterfalls that will surely be refreshing for those tired and overly exposed to the sun.

This race is a week before the 2015 Salomon Trail Race on April 25, 2015 so the Mt. Sembrano Trail Run Challenge will be a perfect tune-up race for those running Salomon.

Here are the details of the race:

Date & Time:  Saturday, April 18, 2015 @ 6:00 a.m.

Start/Finish Location:  Brgy. Hall of Malaya, Pililla, Rizal

Course Description:  Rough roads which leads to rocky path; numerous mango trees; grassy summit which is fully exposed to the sun with the great view of Laguna Lake.

Cut Off Time: 6hrs (15km) / 10hrs (30km)

Awards:  Top three finishers for each race, both male and female.

Camping:  Runners are welcome to camp on the grounds Friday evening.  Camping is available at an assigned area on the covered court with facilities near.  Showers are available.  Please take out what you bring in.

Registration:

Make your deposits to:

Account Name: Rayman D. delos Angeles
BPI Savings Acct Num: 3199-1456-56

P 1,000.00 / 15km Mountain Run

P 1,200.00 / 30km Mountain Run
Inclusive of Finisher Medal, Shirt and Post Race Meal

Send a scanned copy of the deposit slip to mgm_dbbmtsembrano@yahoo.com.ph  with your Name, Gender and Size of finisher shirt. Subject: MGM MT. SEMBRANO REGISTRATION. Please keep and present the deposit slip when claiming the race kit.

Elevation Gain/Loss for the 15k Run

Packet Pick-Up:  Saturday April 18, 2015, 3:00 a.m.

See more of the Event Details at our Facebook Page MGM Productions : DBB Uphill Challenge (Mt. Sembrano Mountain Run 2015)

View of Laguna Lake and Talim Island

 

View from the top (Pic from Asanyas.com)

Another view of the summit (Pic from B. Lakwatsero)

Other pics taken from the DBB Facebook page.

1st Waldorf Trail Run: A Race Recap

My appreciation to trail running started when i joined my first trail race at Timberland Heights, the All Terra King of the Mountain Trail Run way back 2009. Trail running wasn’t that much popular then as now although The North Face Race series was already staging trail races much earlier.

I was so fascinated by the experience of running through wooded forests, river crossings, communing with nature and much more that i made it a point to run as much trails as i can, if time and opportunity permits. Succeeding races and training runs at Timberland ensued.

So last Sunday, i was back here to run the inaugural Waldorf  10k Trail Run. The Manila Waldorf is a school located inside the Timberland Heights, Filinvest Estate, just a stone’s throw away from the trail head. I wasn’t even aware that there was a school located inside this estate as we didn’t give much notice to the ongoing development in the area. After all, we came here for the trails!

Woke up early and arrive at the Centris Mall near Quezon Blvd at about 4:30 am so i could avail of the service vans which will take some of the runners to the race venue. I met with Mike Antigua, one of the race organizers who was overseeing the transportation of the runners and long-time running friend Dennis (the RunningPinoy) who was also running the 10k.

The race started a few minutes late as it was still dark in the area but we were off as soon as brightness lit up around us at about 6:15am. It was nice to be running on familiar terrain, the cool breeze was invigorating as we tackled the single track trails around the hill-tops at the beginning with the views of the Sierra Madre Mountains visible on either your left or right side.

As always, i brought in my camera and record some of the new trails that were part of the course.

There were adequate hydration stations every 2 kms of the route but i didn’t expect that this was going to be a no-cup race so you had to bring your own hydration bottle or container. I just had with me a bottle-full of Gatorade so when i wanted to have water, i used the cap of the blue plastic container that were on the tables, poured water on it and scooped right from it!

Approaching kilometer 8, we were diverted into a unused trail that cuts-off from the main road leading to the finish and the views here were wonderful and serene. I was on a roll during that time but stopped every time i saw a good view and took shots from my camera.

Race marshals were adequate although i wished they had deployed some during the last kilometer when runners were distracted at a road construction site where barricades were blocking the road so we had to stop and ask the workers on which direction to go.

Other than that, the over-all organization, water stations, trail route and volunteers were laudable! There were adequate food stalls selling breakfast meals at the school grounds although you could line-up and get free hot dogs on a stick or in sandwich buns as many times as you like.

However, one concern of mine was on the ruling with regards to the winners. They did not have separate categories for the over-all male and female winners. They just awarded the top 3 placers regardless of sex which i think was unfair to the female 1st placer. I brought this concern to Mike and he said that he would rectify this issue immediately.

Over-all, i think Waldorf did a commendable job in staging its first race and learning from some of the bumps on this fun run, they should be able to stage a better race hopefully next year!

Here are some pictures of the event:

With friends before the start

With Dennis Ravanzo (Running Pinoy)

The start was delayed for a few minutes because it was still dark

Busy taking some pics above these hills

Lucky to have good cool weather this morning

Downhill part slows down the runners

The route was gently rolling, no major shifts on elevations

Yours truly (in blue) keeping up with the pace (Photo credits, Carlo Unson)

Inside the forested area of the Timberland Heights

Many scenes like this inside the forest trails

Trail in one open area frequented by bikers. Luckily, no bikes were allowed inside the trails during race day.

A rotonda, of sorts

Part of the scenery, overlooking the wide Sierra Madre mountains

The last 3kms offered some very nice trails

Last 2.5 kms.

This is a new trail that wasn’t open to races before and i’m glad they let us pass through here for the first time

At approximately the last 1.2 kms.

There’s more of this hillside trails

A downhill dash

Then another short uphill…

The one final push before hitting the dirt road and to the finish

Long lines at the finish to get some free hot dogs

Families and friends were gathered to greet the runners

The Waldorf School “picnic grounds”

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

Photo