Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SynRUNize your adventure…

For the past five years, the running phenomenon that has grown exponentially brought many people to engage in a thriving health and fitness lifestyle thanks to the many running events that happen almost every week not just here in Metro Manila but also in other major cities all over the country. With the growing running population, many organizers have raised the norm by giving runners extra challenges and twists in the usual fun run events. 

A few years ago, I had the opportunity of joining adventure trail running events with obstacles along the routes. They were 21k distances with add-on challenges that we needed to hurdle along the way. A 21k distance can be very challenging as it is, but with various physical obstacles added to the route, it could become a gruesome battle of physical limitations. This type of races simply separates the men from the boys, which is why many newbies do not dare to try.  

It's a good thing that the Guerrilla Race organizing group made another version of this adventure run in a much shorter distance. Last week, I encouraged my wife, a newly converted runner to join me at SyncRUNize, which was held at the new ARCA South by Ayala Land Inc., a fun run event for the benefit of HERO Foundation Inc. It was a 5 kilometer distance obstacle race located at the old FTI Complex. This “fun run” adventure race featured a mobile app that measures your performance as you go through the obstacles that comprises not just physical challenges but tests of wit as well.

Since it was Ruth’s first time to experience this kind of race, I decided not to be competitive and just enjoy running the course alongside her. The participants were dispatched in waves and we were among the first batch that took off. The first obstacle was math problems solving and, since both of us are not fond of math, it took us a while to figure out the solutions. 

The first few obstacles were very easy for my wife but she met her match when we got to the monkey bars. She made several tries but failed to go all the way, so she decided to just skip the challenge and accept the 5 minute delay penalty. As we went through the obstacles, things even got harder but I’m so proud of her because she pushed herself to her limits. I’m really glad I was there with her to set the pace and make the challenges a little easier for her to conquer. 

The last two obstacles involved some military boot camp drills that were manned by Philippine Army soldiers, which added more pressure to the course and made us feel as real Army recruits. 

The final obstacle was a vertical wall climb with almost no footholds to step on. Thus, one needs to get help from other participants to get over it. However, Ruth was exhausted by then and didn't want to make the effort anymore. She once more took another 5 minute delay penalty before we finally proceeded to the finish line.

But wait, there's more...

Just when we are about to cross the finish line, four gladiators barricaded the path and played a short "patintero" with us for the last time. 

For me, SyncRUNize was a good adventure race for first timers. The experience will help them prepare for more serious adventure challenges in the future. As to Ruth, it was a very new and yet very challenging experience, but I’m quite sure she had fun doing it.

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