Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Immuvit Fearless Challenge Trilogy Culminates in NUVALI



The rainy season is always a good time for trail-running. Unlike road races, many race organizers would opt to cancel a run in a bad weather condition for safety concerns. But for trail running, the wetter, the better. That is why trail-running organizers would rarely cancel trail adventure races on a rainy day. The trail-running community indeed is a special breed of runners whose contentment in running feats can only be satisfied by defying their own physical limitations.



If the uneven rough road texture with mud and rocks can be challenging enough, some rare breeds would even go beyond the natural running obstacles and would customize a series of man-made challenges just to elevate the punishment way higher. And believe or not, many city-slickers would be “crazy” enough to pay for the registration fees just to experience the adventure. So, living the city life can be that boring, huh?

It was also the running debut for my new pair of MERRELL Barefoot Trail Glove


 LEG 1:

The Immuvit Fearless Challenge 2012 is one of those race adventures that require more than running skills and leg power. It is a combination of trail, circfit and metafit exercises, and military boot-camp type of obstacles packed in three series of challenges. The first leg was held last August 26 at the La Mesa Eco-reserve where more than a thousand runners ran fearlessly along the trails and conquered a series of obstacles such as the fire wall, log-hurdles, a shorter kind of military wall, the mud-wall and tire hurdles. All obstacles were experienced by all of the 5 and 10 kilometer distance runners.

After a quick tarpaulin slide...

 LEG 2:

The second leg was quite different from the usual race, because it was actually a test of stamina and core strength. This time the runners were trimmed down to less than 200 brave challengers who battled each other in a series of exercises at the Quezon City Circle last September 28.

20 reps of pull-ups on the RIP: 60...

A group of ten people in each wave dashed away to do 20 counts of pull-ups in the RIP:60 Suspension trainers. Each participant was accompanied by two officials, a timer and a guide. One gets the official time of each challenger per task and the other one checked the accuracy of execution of each exercise made to prevent cheating and short cuts. Each wrong execution made will be added to repetitions of 20 counts. After the adrenalin rush of the RIP:60, challengers ran to an area to do a 20 meter tire-flip, then to another area to do another 20 counts of modified push-ups where, for every push up, a challenger had to move sideways to do another count completing 20 push-ups which was one tricep-buster.

20 reps of modified push-ups...

After that, participants dragged a tire tied on a rope and did a 20 meter loop. A much easier task was sort of a breather to prepare a challenger to another set of gruesome challenge – the lunge walk. Runners sprinted to another area where one did several lunge walking for 20 meters while carrying 40 pounds of dumbbells. At this point, each one was beginning to feel an extreme cardio and muscle fatigue because of the high intensity of the challenges, but the race was far from over because after finishing the lunges, each ran to the last leg by doing 20 counts of the Tabata Burpees. This is executed by doing a standing position and will drop to do one push up, stand up again and jump clap, literally, a life-draining exercise. After completing 20 counts, each will run to the finish line 50 meters away.

Sprinting away towards the first exercise...


 LEG 3:

 The leg 3 is the toughest of all three legs. It was a very tough trail-running with another series of obstacles in the vast nature sanctuary of NUVALI in Sta. Rosa Laguna. Somehow, I realized that the second leg was just a prelude to prepare me for something like this; because it was a 16 kilometer trail run with not just 5 obstacles like the first leg but 13 and definitely much harder than the last one.

One kilometer stretch with 10 kilos sand bag... 

 Dubbed as “No turning back”, the Immuvit Challengers face another set of extreme obstacles both natural and man-made. The trail runners set-off in wave-batches with 10 minutes interval to prevent over-crowding in some obstacles. The first hurdle was a jump over the fire wall, a quick taste of some harder ones up a head. The next were several tire hurdles and tire mound set-ups on uphill climb that made it much difficult to cross.

the first obstacle. a greasy climb...

After a long tiring run in the wilderness, distance between other runners became far apart and I found myself running alone on the trails. Then came the river traversing which was my personal favorite, this was where we navigate our way through the rocks and against the current of the river. I always enjoy crossing through waters because it cools my feet and legs. Other runners don’t find it enjoyable because water carries more weight on their shoes. Obviously, some shoes don’t have better drainage system making them difficult to run with. However, other trail shoes just like the one I’m using, the MERRELL Barefoot Trail Glove, have an excellent drainage system so it doesn’t keep the water in the shoes. The mesh constructions are wide enough to release all the water instantly shortly after stepping onto dry land. But it doesn’t protect you from sand and small stones from entering as well, so after crossing the river, I made a quick stop to empty my shoes of all its small contents.

Fire wall jump...


 After a hundred meters or so of water, we climbed the wall going back to the trail again. There were several obstacles along the way like a military wall which was much higher than the first leg in La Mesa and made a lot of runners feel very exhausted. Just a few kilometers from the finish line, we crossed another body of water, like a pond which was supposedly waist-deep only. But due to the rain from previous days, the waist deep pond became chest high. I was running behind my friend Alfred a.k.a Running Atom, noted for his short and small built, when we arrived at the pond area. While everyone were feeling so tired because of fatigue, there was a short scene of comic relief when we saw Running Atom began to swim through the pond because he was too short to walk through it. It’s a good thing he knows how to swim and every one of us there applauded and cheered him because he was the only runner who did a duathlon feat in a trail running event. 

Ice pool dip...

After two easy obstacles, there was a few hundred meters of running to the finish line and crossing it was never been so sweet. I never bothered to check my time then. I was more than glad to finish it without any injuries. I recalled my experiences in all three legs of the Immuvit challenge and I felt overwhelm by the gravity of the challenges and how I and other finishers conquered them all. It was indeed a fearless feat that made me a more mature runner. With that adventure experience I will train harder with no excuses anddefinitely will not turn back to another Immuvit trail running challenge next year.


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