In all honesty, writing and maintaining a blog is becoming a chore for me lately. Don’t get me wrong, I love to write and share things. But I just wish that blogging platforms would make it easier for bloggers because social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are really easy to navigate, easy to use and far easier to share things that I’ve come to rely on those platforms much more than my own blog.
And so, as much as possible I have now resolved and made it a goal that within 24-48 hours of a race event that I’ve finished, I will write my review about the entire experience. And there will be times that even my own review will deviate from the “format” of how I reviewed an event simply because I want to explore other ways of sharing, of writing and possibly other ways of presenting information.
First things first, there were several race events yesterday and most if not all got cancelled with exception to the NUVALI TRAIL RUN organized by FRONTRUNNER Magazine. In fact, I got several text messages, PM via Facebook and email inquiries [sounds Jurrasic when I say email inquiries] if the event will push through. How so? There was a major typhoon passing thru the nation and it affected a large portion of the entire country spanning the provinces of Luzon, Visayas and parts of Mindanao. Storm Signal No. 2 was already raised by the local government weather monitoring team called PAGASA and so there were bursts of strong rains coupled with some wind.
Part of me wanted the race event cancelled and another part of me doesn’t want it to get cancelled. I don’t want it cancelled because my friend, Kelly Lim and Sharon spent considerable amount of money flying from Singapore just to join this event and it would really be a bummer to them if they suddenly found out that they don’t have a race to run on Sunday morning. Still, the NUVALI TRAIL RUN pushed through promising runners a muddy and difficult terrain ahead.
First things first, there’s absolutely NOTHING NEW about the race route for me. Running in the dark for several hours and not appreciating the scenery isn’t exactly something inviting. I’ve done so many trail runs and road runs in NUVALI that this place has also become plain for me. I’m not saying that the trail run isn’t challenging anymore. It’s just that I can’t give myself a reason to return to this place on a regular basis just to do a trail run. Besides, the place is not convenient for commuters [those who just take the bus] because there’s a defined schedule and the buses going to this place is quite limited. People are better off bringing their own vehicles or renting a vehicle if going with a group. So yeah, it’s not INVITING for me to do an event here. But what makes this event SPECIAL is the fact that it was raining before, during and even after the race event. The rain made the trails treacherous, slippery and exceedingly difficult to navigate. The rains made the event special because runners who ran this race event each year have a different experience as the first one was exceedingly hot and humid, while the second edition was a mixture of heat and rain.
Second, it was my first time to navigate a trail with lots of mud. I’ve encountered mud but I’ve never encountered mud running up hills, mud running down hills and avoiding slipping on a rock or two and pools of mud that promises more than sand in between the toes of my feet! It was fun because I realize that the cool waters of the rain in the “pools of mud” relaxed my feet on regular intervals making me run much faster and smoother. In most road races , I can feel the heat of my feet building up after two hours of continuous running. Though the sensation of heat does not bother me as much as the pain associated with the burning sensation, it kinda gets annoying. So learn to count your blessings in any road condition.
Third, I actually felt good running a trail event again as it’s been about three months since my last trail run. Running across this trail in NUVALI made me realize that I will also miss running the trails here. I will miss it because majority of the areas that runners ran yesterday are actually going to be developed into business areas with buildings or housing projects. In short, NUVALI trail runs of the long and ultra distances will become the stuff of legends and only shared through the memories of runners who have stepped out of their comfort zones and who blazed the way to embrace a life of mud, heat and perspiration along these trails. For this, I salute Frontrunner Magazine and Jonel Mendoza for the opportunity to run at this event. I hope that there will still be trail runs in NUVALI in the years to come before it becomes totally unrecognizable and unfit for trail running.
Fourth, it felt good to meet new people and new faces at this trail running event. I hardly knew anybody at the starting line of the 30k distance with exception for the Botabaras and Judith of L Time Studio. According to the stats, about half of those who joined the 30k distance are newbies into trail running. I could just imagine that it’s also the same for those who joined the 50k edition. I love it when there are newbies because it is a testament that the running community is still getting fresh blood. Some people say that they are tired of joining road race events that’s why they’ve started doing trail runs. Me? I am not a trail runner. I am a road runner more than a trail run. But I won’t deny that the trails do provide me a different perspective in life that road races cannot offer.
Fifth, I like the fact that the race event is small but big enough to host more than 200 runners. According to the race registration stats, more than 200 runners joined this event but about less than 200 were at the gunstart. All the runners who crossed the finish line were given a finishers shirt, a medal for completing the race, some freebies such as MILO and bottled drinks but here’s the BEST PART — there was FREE BREAKFAST for all the runners at the finish line! But wait there’s more! The race organizers were sensitive enough to provide food for vegetarians like me or non-meat eaters! That’s so sweet of them! I guess they’ve finally learned that not all runners are the same and this makes this event even MORE SPECIAL to me because I can barely recall a race event were they provided food for the media or for runners where I managed to eat anything from what they could offer.
Sixth, this event is a RUN FOR A CAUSE. It’s aim is to raise funds for HERO FOUNDATION. It’s a non-government organization whose aim is to help put kids of fallen Filipino soldiers to school. It’s like WORLD VISION only this time they are more specific at helping children of a particular sector and not just the impoverished sector in general which is handled by a lot of NGOs out there. I like this foundation and I’ve promoted their cause in some of the race events that I’ve encountered them because I believe in their cause. Education is such an important thing not just to get a job but also getting a proper education helps in making citizens make better decisions in life because the knowledge of a craft or discipline helps them achieve their goals in life.
Besides, a lot of Filipinos aren’t aware that we lose a lot of soldiers through small wars within our own territories. The war in Mindanao is far from over though the pockets or resistance are limited to the mountain areas and not in the key and vibrant cities there. I am a staunch advocate of a stronger military for the Philippines. But getting back to HERO FOUNDATION, they simply realized that children of fallen soldiers don’t have much of a chance when their parents are taken away from them. And I am not talking about just the men here but even fallen women soldiers who serve our nation.
Overall, in spite of the strong rains, the mud and the lack of sleep at this event I am giving this event my first ever TITANIUM level review for BEST TRAIL EVENT executed. I do not give that lightly and I am even benchmarking this across international trail events hosted by the biggest brands. Indeed, sometimes it is the NO FRILLS and SIMPLEST events that are the BEST.