Before heading on to my adventure I want to take this chance first to thank the Primer Group of Companies most especially to Aileen Frugal for taking care of us during our stay in Baguio, for continued trust and support. The story of this great journey wouldn’t be possible without you guys, thank you for the great opportunity.
Trail Running is one of the best I have done since I came into running. This is the only time that you will see the majestic sights and a chance to appreciate the beauty and greatness of our mother nature. A week ago, we, group of media and bloggers has given the opportunity again to partake in one of the prominent trail running in the country and in Asia, the North Face 100 Philippines. It attracts hundreds of local and foreign hardcore runners. As one of the participants of half-crazy 50k distance I must say that on trails “struggle is real” yet the race experience is worth to keep and share.
I joined the last year’s toughest TNF 100 (TOUGHEST, according to the runners who had been racing in previous events of the North Face) and I myself actually witnessed the anguish passed on by the participants as I conquered the 50k distance too. The unlimited rolling hills along with the intense heat of the sun will definitely test your physical and psychological limits. 😀 From then, all the good and bad experiences from my very first ultra trail served as a lesson for me. Lessons not just hand round to become a great runner but a good person.
“For you to be able to stay in your career/passion never underestimates the path, give respect and put your best effort.”
I might say that TNF 100 Philippines is a must-to-experience trail run. But in order to earn courage to signup you have to be fully prepared in any circumstances that might see or face along the trails. You always expect the worst. There are no easy trails. It has a minimal presence of the road. The paths are maybe rocky and slippery. Some of the trails are well-established, some are not. You will surprise by unlimited steep hills but once you reach the peak you will just realize that all of your hard work in running ups and downs the mountain is worth it and rewarding. I am not discouraging you to try in fact I am inviting you to try for once; I promised you will love the trails most especially if you will meet random people working out in the same passion then afterwards become your friends. Have the privilege to emerge with the nature.
Digging my experience in this year’s TNF 100 was totally like chalk and cheese compared to my previous trail races. It’s my routine to do a post even write up but this time it’s completely different from the old ones. The story is not all about me; it’s all about us, between me and the people that I met along the trails. Perhaps, we have differences inside of us however I have one thing that I am sure that we have in common, the love of passion despite of fatigue and hardship.
Prior the big event, the organizer conducted a short briefing to all the participants. The best time to get to know more about the event, cut-off times, rules and regulations, chance to meet and greet the participants from various places.
The 50k participants sent off by 4:00am, a foggy and cold morning from Camp John Hay. Traversed in a dark well-established trail then went off to the single path, technical route up to the mountains of Baguio and Benguet. At first, I experienced difficulties in breathing; the air coming in is very minimal. Since it’s my first time to run in the place, I took a run and walk to adopt the environment until I sweat out. I breathe in and breathe out. Out of the starting line to the first Aid station familiarization of the surroundings occurred until I settled down that I am comfortable. After the first station, the business is far different in the first. Traversing down to the mountain was fun but it’s too painful to my knees. I have to take care in stepping in and stepping out to uneven trails for me to survive the entire race without suffering from any injuries. Aside from injuries might crossed, there’s another thing that frustrates me – the CLIFF. In just one mistake “wala ka ng forever” :D. Majority of the route especially the single trails passing through the cliffs, all you need is extra careful.
On the way to Aid station 2, the weather is getting hotter and the route becomes more difficult. The wide stretch rocky trails up to the Aid station 3 are totally surprising. I have to rest for about every 100 meters, I’m gasping for breath like a horse. The scorching heat added torture in the trails.
While at the top of the mountain going to Aid Station 3, the situation becomes tougher. Even then the situation, I feel relieve with the fresh air and breathtaking views of the mountains. It’s absolutely different to my common place which is congested and no place for fresh airs.
I arrived at the Aid Station 3 by 10:30am, a bit early than last year. Prior to the turnaround point along with the other runners we dropped at the store and take some cold drinks. From the u-turn slot meters away located the station 3. The station greeted us with a tasty arroz caldo, rice cakes, bananas and choco drinks. While in the area, runners are keep on coming. I had some fun conversation with my fellow runners, sharing thoughts and perspective towards the remaining distances. We are all feel grateful!
Before I went back to hit the trails I anticipated that the remaining distance is no easy feat. So, while heading to the course I met three runners who’d later on become my companions. We are all battling and aiming for one, finish the race. We decided to get together until we reach the finish line, no matter how challenging and painful the remaining distance are no one will let go.
I’m a bit worried in one of the members of the squad; he is suffering from mild cramps on his legs but for him it’s manageable. As we continuous traversing the mountains I didn’t notice the number of runners joining the group gradually increasing. Every time we found a spot to take it easy we take advantage to share some thoughts, do the required photo ops while enjoying the nature’s best sceneries. As much as possible we never force ourselves to run the route particularly in the ascend parts of the route. If we can rest for a minute, we rest. If we can run, we run. If we can walk, we walk. We did it over and over again as we consider that some of the members of the group are suffering from pains and weary. After we surpass the rolling trail paths and reach the wide open trail the excessive heat our challenger that time.
For us to break the agony of the group despite of the heat, ascend and descend path awaits us I invite them to take a rest and halo-halo situated along the trails. And yes, it was that. Refer in the photo below, it shows how we spend and enjoy the trails in spite of the complexity of the route.
“This chance is one of the rewards that you will earn in trail running. We all started as strangers, got to know each other during the middle parts of the run and finished as friends. Trails leads to camaraderie and unity among participants.“
Around 4:00pm the mood changed then suddenly the rain falls. Along with the large drops of rain and cold breeze we climbed up to a concrete flight of steps after we crossed the hanging bridge. It’s tedious! The unlimited ahon never hold back. It tests our patience and confidence to each other. We hid the vertical route one a time. The laughter and support to each other overcomes the difficulty of the situation. We pass through all the way to the Aid Station 1, estimated 3 kilometres from the finish line.
During our stay inside the trail few kilometres away from the finish line, everything runs smooth and calm. The one and only thing that bears in my mind and heart is joy and gratitude to almighty God. After a long day, we guided us away from the unforeseen situations and strengthen our belief that all the trials we passing through has its own cause.
When we crossed the finish line together I became emotional because I’ve witnessed how TNF 100 Philippines sealed our relationship as passionate runners. We are 9 runners reached the finish line together, nothing left behind, and everyone in the group fulfilled the goals!
To my fellow runners who’d become my companions during the race, thank you! I thank you guys for your motivation and support. Hope to see you again in other races! Sir Roy, Ate Gina, Onin, Froy, Bob from Singapore, Jonathan, John and Bar
To my media and bloggers friends, thank you guys for the great time and unwavering support!
Papi Rene, Rhoel, Running Diva, Adrian and Dennis.
See you again next year! Congrats!
The Race to Outdoor Revolution – TNF 100 2016
Boundaries. They’re made to be broken. This is the mantra of those who never stop exploring and pushing themselves to their limits. This is the mantra of the participants of the TNF 100 2016.
The North Face (TNF) held its annual TNF 100 last April 30 to May 1, 2016 at the Camp John Hay Country Club in Baguio-Benguet. The route which showcased the scenic mountain ranges and trails of the Cordilleras, is a favorite among runners and outdoor enthusiasts. This year, even more adventure seekers thronged to Baguio for this race as TNF 100 opened up its trail courses to 100 km, 50 km, 22 km, and now, to 11 km.
This is no small feat for those who know the perils and the thrills of trail running. Training in the outdoors is more than just moving your exercise regimen’s geography. It is pushing your mental and physical limits to adapt to the constantly evolving and oftentimes, uncontrollable nature of the outside environment. It is about always being ready to explore, and that is what The North Face is all about.
True to its core values, The North Face has launched its official training regimen—Outdoor Training this year. This revolutionary workout program will be practiced in the open, subsequently harnessing the athlete’s mental and physical agility, strength, balance, and core power like never before. Because the outside elements can be unpredictable and extreme, it is imperative that the practitioner uses apparel that gives superior breathability and durability that complements their training.
This is why The North Face developed its Tekware product line, Mountain Athletics. This performance wear line of The North Face applies technology specifically suited for the outdoors, making its wearer Get Better and Go Further in their outdoor training. It is the gear that the athletes use to make them perform their best in the TNF 100 2016, which is now bigger than ever.
TNF 100 2016 is one of the most important events this year as it lines up with The North Face’s 50th year Anniversary. Tim Sedo, Regional Marketing Manager for Hong Kong and Asia markets, and a dedicated skateboarder, snowboarder and outdoor enthusiast himself, has flown in for this very special occasion.
Exploration is a journey, a race if you may, and The North Face is at the forefront of this race, blazing a trail so that others may follow. Like @thenorthfaceph at their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram to know more about how you can be a part of this outdoor revolution.