Saturday, May 26, 2012

Merrell Adventure Run 2012: It‘s not just trail running…It’s an adventure!

My very first trail running race was last year’s Merrell Adventure Run 2011, where I also made my first blog post on trail running from that experience. After several fun runs on the road, I took it as a personal challenge on how I would do on the trails. It was also the debut run for my newly bought Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove, which helped my transition to do barefoot running eventually. Indeed, after the MAR 2011, I was a transformed runner.


I few months back, Thumbie Remigio, a longtime friend and also the race director for this year’s Merrell Adventure Run 2012 shared to me several snap shots of the Timberland trails where MAR 2012 is going to be held and it looks so extreme and wicked. I got so excited so I made several emails to friends and Merrell Philippines and I conveyed my interest (more like desire) to run in MAR. After a week, lo and behold, not only did I get a complimentary race kit but also got an invitation to attend a test run and get the first-hand feel of the newly trail-blazed race course Thumbie made.

 group shot before the test run...

With several media friends in the running circuit and friends from Merrell Philippines, we went to the trails of Timberland Heights in San Mateo, Rizal. At the trail head, all of us were briefed on the trail condition and we were divided into two groups. One group was tasked to field test the 5k course and the other group, where I joined in was for the 10k and 21k course. After a quick stretching and gearing up, it’s lock-n-load time!

 pacing with Thumbie Remigio

At a slow start, we all paced with Thumbie and enjoyed the scene around us which was quite familiar from last year’s MAR. The trails in the first two kilometers was wide and rough so I made sure to take some mental notes on the condition of the course so I can give a good intel for my barefoot running friends who plan to run at MAR 2012 on barefoot. Earlier that day, it came to my mind to do barefoot as well, since I already experienced half-marathon trails barefooted before. It’s a good thing I decided to bring my ailing Merrell Trail glove along. But even with it, I can still feel the sharp rocks of the trails.

This has withstood more than 1,000 kilometers of running...


 a rough and rocky terrain...

The next stretch was an incline that brought us to higher ground where we can see a panoramic view of the course up a head. Next was a gradual descent that led us to one of the highlights of the course: the river-traverse. This is the point where the course became exciting. After traversing along a hundred yard stretch of the river, we came to the portion where there is a falls and all are required to jump to the waters below. The height was around 15 feet and the depth of the water was around eight feet.

 a panoramic view of the trails...


 a refreshing plunge awaits 10k and 21k runners...

After that refreshing plunge, all of us re-grouped at the river bed where Thumbie oriented us to the next portion of the trails. First, it was a short steep climb that eventually led us to an open field of grass lands. These portions are narrow, rolling and long but very refreshing while running at a constant pace and direction with much lesser turns and sudden drops. This area was also part of last year’s race which led us to a long climb where we ended on a wider trail again.

 after the falls, a steep climb...

an open grass land...

At this point, exhaustion was starting to kick in but was still very manageable. The trails are much wider with a distance of less than a kilometer long where it leads us to a narrow path with deep “rats” or crevasse caused by some off-road moto-cross bikers who also visit the trails. Soon after, we descended on that portion, an area where another exciting challenge awaits the runners, and these are the mud-pits. All categories are required to get down and dirty crawling in mud.

 dug by the tires of moto-cross bikers...




When we arrived at the pits, it was still under-construction, so at least that’s one part of the course we didn’t have to test, but I’m sure it will be grueling challenge to all runners on the race day. After passing the mud-pits we ran another 1.5k to get to the finish line. 

 Series of mud-pits...

a variety of terrain...

We all converged with the rest of the field testers and we happily exchanged thoughts about the course. For some who planned to do a 21k distance before the test run, we were having second thoughts of changing it to 10k instead. But as for me, I think I will stick to my original plan to run 21k. Because if this race is an adventure, then why end it too soon?

Note: Photos courtesy of Julito "Jojo" Pauly

Post a Comment

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...