Every time I finished my trail races, I hold back on pronouncing that I will not participate in the next, but alas, I’m here now and I just recently finished the tougher, longer and more challenging trail race last week at Soleus Valley Trail Challenge which was held at Nuvali. I joined the 30k distance with a bursting support of Manila Water and Laguna Water (provides the hydration stations throughout the race). After a week break, I would like to remember again and write my unrivaled experience of the event. By the way, before I proceed Laguna Water/Manila Water Company had a big role in the event as Soleus Valley Trail Challenge hydration partner.
The first thing that I will never forget about this event is, it was my first time to join a trail run with a gun start as early as 04:00 am and my longest trail run distance of 30k. It’s quite strange but still a vast experience and exploration. When the event formally announced in the community, the feedback was definitely stunning. Slots sold out straight off in a few days, especially the long distance categories; in fact, I am one of those who weren’t able to assure a slot. Simply because of the generosity of Manila Water Company/ Laguna Water I had the opportunity to run and able to leave markers on the trails of Nuvali, Sta.
At precisely 02:30 am we made it at the venue together with Franc Ramon, one and half far from our gun start. While everyone sleeps peacefully in their beds, SVTC participants full of activity in preparing their stuffs to be needed in the expedition. Well, the experience will not be complete without the usual attitude of runners before the race; they keep on sharing what to expect in the race and sending greetings to each other which lifted the spirit of camaraderie. It’s such a nice to see also some of my running friends from various groups and my team SCR. And when we are down to 10 minutes before the gun start, Race Director Jonel Mendoza led a short briefing with regards on trail reminders; he gave us packed of good luck and guidance from above. The dedication of each participant dominates the entire assembly area.
Off to trail, the atmosphere was absolutely novel than the previous trail races I joined. Dark, foggy and smell of wet tall grasses greeted us along the trails. And for the reason that markings as the only guide for not losing the trails, as much as possible I work hard to maintain my pace to stick with the group. My running pace was smooth except in some sections of the trail with unexpected holes that may cause a sprain. In that case, I more deeply valued the presence of headlamp that provides light we bear to pass by. Since the first hydration station located in six kilometer mark, my tail bag carrying two hydration bottles behind. I passed the first station and proceed straight back on the trail. The next two places are situated in the 16th and 26th mark. Indeed, this race is probably a big test from uneven trail routes, hydration spots, etc., but also a great practice as a responsible runner. You must be a good listener and follower. A trail should not underestimate and never be. As I traversed the route, I feel challenged and at the same time I’m blessed for the reason that I was given the opportunity to get deeper into running.
Hearing the cattle rustling and amazed in the broad herbaceous environment, particularly in “New Zealand like”, realizes me not to become worn out in participating trail events. This is the sole chance to connect with our nature.
Going back to the race; when I arrived at the 16km mark wherein the second hydration station situated it such a nice to see my co-participants enjoying the fiesta moment from accommodating and generous staffs to overflowing cold water, Gatorade and fresh fruits. Also, similar to the succeeding station, there’s subsistence to starvation.
For me, the remaining distance is always the difficult one to nail it. Though you are quite excited in crossing the finish line and get the reward you still have to work hard for it. Within my experience during the race in the final four kilometers after 28km the amount of fatigue I covered is relatively serious but unworried. Those remaining kilometers were made more difficult and tremendous when the sun comes out and spread the heat all over the field. Fortunately, even I go through in various challenges I’m a proud finisher of Soleus Valley Trail Challenge 30k with a time of 4 hours and 43minutes powered by Manila Water Company/Laguna Water.
To give emphasizes in organizers effort that makes the event successful, I would like to commend them in the succeeding
Assembly Area/Sponsors/Event Place – The race holds a very supportive sponsors and perfect venue even its quite far from the metro. One hour travel time Manila to Nuvali, Sta. Rosa Laguna.
Gun Start – The race starts on exact respective gun starts.
Race Route – My apology for not placing the complete details route, but all I can say the trail route was great and full of challenges. In particular, I am feeling grateful for some time I was able to see the breathtaking view of “New Zealand like” located in Nuvali, you better watch out for this.
To give a graphical view of the route, see attached map and altitude of the trail provided by Suunto Ambit 2R and Movescount for your appreciation.
Hydration Stations – Honestly, this is my favorite part – organizer did such an excellent prep for the station, FIESTA TIME. Thanks to Laguna Water in providing us an overflowing cold water and Gatorade as well. I would like to commend the Organizer for their initiative in providing fresh fruits and snacks in the hydration stations, no matter how tough to reach the location just to give a remarkable experience for all the participants. Stations located at the 6th, 16th and 26th mark.
Marshalls and the Medics – I salute all the Marshalls that spent too much time just to attain sure that every participant is secure. Special mention to FrontRunner staffs you rock! You took away our tiredness, for the motivation and kindness, thank you. The event is made for runners by people who have a runner’s heart.
Weather – Running on trails as early as 04:00 am was absolutely awesome, merely if the sun commences to shine you better ready of your complete sun protector such as a visor, cap, sleeves and most important hydration bottles. Keep Hydrated!
Lootbags – Lots of snacks and goodies. It shows that Universal Robina Corporation gives a well-support towards the event and in the running community.
Finishers Medal – I had another excellent quality of medal to be proud of.
My Trail Experience – Joining the Soleus Valley Trail Challenge it changed my outlook towards the trail races; from now on, I will join more trail races soon. And by following the instructions and reminders announced before the race, helps me to be a better and responsible runner. Not all the time we should be a spoon-feed runner, have a prospect to explore our passion by ourselves. For this event #nowhining and I personally recommend this event to all upcoming trail runners next year! See you.
Overall: The event is noteworthy. Congratulations and Thank you to the Race Director Jonel Mendoza and Soleus Philippines for a successful implementation of the Soleus Valley Trail Challenge. You and your team deserve a big round of applause!
Congratulations to all! See you next year!
Have fun taking photos with my SCR Team Mates, Ms. Maylin and Ms. Mags – Congrats!
Thanks to Running Photographers and Team Arunkada for the photos! Cheers!
To Manila Water Company, thank you for bringing me here to join the event and supporting my passion!