Titanium Race Reviews: CIHM

It’s my first half marathon race event for 2014. It also happens to be the first time that I’m running on this island of Corregidor though not really my first time to visit the place. And right now, out of sheer exhaustion I am really just typing away from my smartphone because I still have what they call a runners high at the moment. So might as well make the most of it.

Our first stop leads 21K runners to enter the historical Malinta Tunnel where Philippine president Manuel Quezon stood his ground against the Japanese invasion forces during World War II.
Our first stop leads 21K runners to enter the historical Malinta Tunnel where Philippine president Manuel Quezon stood his ground against the Japanese invasion forces during World War II.

First thing first, I’ll have to separate the good from the bad. This particular blog post will focus on the good first as with high spirits, let’s not dampen the mood, shall we?

To start off, I immensely enjoyed running the the Corregidor International Half Marathon. If you’ll ask me why in the world should you be joining this event, then the only thing I can give you are more questions than answers.One, how many half marathon race events do you know boasts of a historical significance to Philippine history? As a fellow Filipino, how much of the history of our nation can you muster to remember after graduating from formal educational institutions ? Corregidor is part of Philippine history, especially during World War 2 as this was the last stand of the then President Manuel Quezon.

Fellow runners enjoying having photos taken with the exhibits inside the tunnels depicting the story behind each cavern of the Malinta Tunnel. In most days, you can opt to take a day tour and this tunnel provides a fascinating light and sound show that makes you feel that you've been brought back to that time of the war.
Fellow runners [That’s Jazz Runner of www.jazzrunner.wordpress.com in the white shirt and cap] enjoying having photos taken with the exhibits inside the tunnels depicting the story behind each cavern of the Malinta Tunnel. In most days, you can opt to take a day tour and this tunnel provides a fascinating light and sound show that makes you feel that you’ve been brought back to that time of the war.
Two, how many race events do you get a chance to run through a tunnel with again, historical significance ? Of course, there’s the Cebu Marathon that has a tunnel that connects the South Roads Properties to downtown Cebu City. There are now newer tunnels across the country. But there’s only one Malinta Tunnel. Incidentally, this tunnel really creeps me out. It did not help at all that my race bib disappear in between this tunnel while I was on my last few kilometers towards the finish line. I cannot fathom how the Philippine government fought the war within those tunnels where Manuel Quezon hid and held office during that time of the Japanese invasion.

This old air strip could still be used again but probably needs to get rehabilitated to handle smaller planes.
This old air strip could still be used again but probably needs to get rehabilitated to handle smaller planes.

Three, how much hills can you eat for breakfast? Road races are fun. So are trail runs. But hill repeats is one of the few training regimens that runners shy away from and so if you’re not ready to face hills and eat the road as your breakfast, then the CIHM challenge is not for you. I’ve lost count how many times I had to go uphill across 21 kilometers. And since I’m still getting back into the groove, I decided to mostly walk the entire race, brisk walk it and just run the downhills.

There's Coco Fresh at most  hydration stations during the entire race course. Plastic cups are limited as announced because the race is also doing its best to have limited carbon footprint and is considered a "Green Race".
There’s Coco Fresh at most hydration stations during the entire race course. Plastic cups are limited as announced because the race is also doing its best to have limited carbon footprint and is considered a “Green Race”.

Fourth, how many race events do you get a lot of photo opportunities ? Almost every few kilometers there a historical landmark that one can stop to take a photo. There’s even a mural of the history of all the wars that have ever happened in the Philippines during the last 400 years. And there are relics of the past American base that remind us that this was indeed a fortitude to reckon with. I’ve taken so any snapshots along the route that I completely abandoned trying to get a best time for brisk walking hills.

If you see this mark then it means that you have taken a wrong turn already. I really like these signages by Soleus Philippines! You can really spot them easily a mile away from all the greenery that surrounds the entire race route!
If you see this mark then it means that you have taken a wrong turn already. I really like these signages by Soleus Philippines! You can really spot them easily a mile away from all the greenery that surrounds the entire race route!

Fifth, trail runners will also love this island and this race because the longer distances [42k edition ] covers a longer trail route that provides enough elevation challenge and more jungle cover to make you feel lost but enough to make you ask for more. In fact, I would really like to look forward to doing the full marathon edition of this race event for its next edition.

trailcihm
The race is a combination road and trail route. Not only will you get to feel the hills are alive in this place but you also get to experience the trails that Americans and Filipinos used as part of their training routes when this island was still an extension of the American Army.

 

Sixth, there are precious few places in the Philippines that one can visit and still get a feel of the old vibe of its place especially when it comes to World War II history. The entire place is a remnant of the war. There are monuments, murals and different exhibits that makes you realize just how devastating a war can be. So my point here is that how many places will you get to a place simply by running it? With most places you would really have to take a separate tour to get to know the city and the many things it can offer. In this place, you will already get a feel of the place and its rich history by just running! Amazing!

barracks
The remnants of Middleway Barracks. Part of me would want to see these buildings restored and become functional hotels. This island is worth exploring and I wish that they would do something to beef up the tourism here.

 

Finally, my seventh point is how much do you want to challenge yourself? The Corregidor International Half Marathon and its full marathon equivalent is not for the weak of heart. True, there are not cutoff times for this race though there are qualifying times to do the full marathon. The reason being is that the island does not have the necessary equipment to deal with severe medical situations and the ferry schedules are pretty sparse for the entire day. So for newbies who want to experience the island, the shorter race distances is something to look forward to as there is the 3K, 5K and the 10K challenge. The 21K is daunting enough to rival the best uphill race events across the country. So imagine what it would be for the 42K runners who went around in two loops of this island and into almost every corner of it?

cannon
I am trying to recall which part of the island I took this photo. I do know this.. that the biggest cannons of Corregidor could fire a missile that can land all the way to Imus, Cavite. It is no surprise then why the Japanese wanted this fortification out of the way as it protected Manila Bay from its enemies.

 

Overall,  it took me another day to get back to finishing this but I am satisfied with the race event. Great race route. Congratulations to everyone who did this! And I also like to thank Soleus Philippines for allowing me to experience it.  All photos taken using iPhone 5S with no filters.

 

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