first 5k trail run where I placed 7th but didn't even reached the 1-hr 10-mins cut-off, then the following year I was able to grab the sweet spot of 2nd place for media category award at a 10k trail distance, then last year I went to a farther distance upgrade, enjoying the muddy 21k route where I took home a lot of Timberland's red-orangey mud.
For this year's new adventure, I was privileged at the last minute to have my slot upgraded from 10k to 21k distance, if it weren't for that, I would've just repeated the test run that we did previously, thanks to Ms. Kaye Ko of Merrell.
What sets this year's edition apart aside from the new route and its picturesque views were the slimey-waist-deep rice-field stinking mud (or was it carabao poop?), river crossings, elevation gain and loss that were aplenty compared to the previous adventure runs. The starting line was situated at an overlooking view in Mt. Sinai at an altitude of 436-masl and dropping the 5k and 10k runners to down to 361-masl and 354-masl respectively, while the 21k runners went down to as low as 73-masl upon reaching the Kasili and Wawa rivers. This much of uphills made the course difficult that in return most of us made more walk, the steep downhills with crevices in the middle also made it difficult for us to balance our run.
Sir Thumbie -- the race Director, still wasn't contented with the natural obstacles that were presented to us along the route as he went much farther with more obstacles which includes the log-hop, his famous mud-crawl (thankfully there was no longer "imburnal" this time), the bamboo barricades situated at the final 4k -- a really good location to annoy and challenge our already aching body (but a welcome massage for the butt). The muddy, stenching rice-field has also become an obstacle with its waist-deep "kumunoy" (quick-mud). We could've went easy on this one if we've been allowed to just pass on the paddy instead on the middle of the rice field where the mud seemed like it was a water-buffalo's bath tub that made it really deep and slimey.
The last part of the route, that final 1-km to the finish line was the most trying times for me -- where runners already have a glimpse of the finish area, the giant stone tablet of the 10 Commandments atop Mt. Sinai, hearing the voice of the event host, and all while watching other finishers waving their hands at you or seeing them already seated at the mountain-side while watching us struggle and crawl towards the final uphill to the finish line under the heat of the sun.
For a better view, watch the video in higher resolution
(pardon as I'm still looking for better video editing tool)
Each of my Merrell adventure experience has its own and unique story with unique challenge and surprises. It has always fulfilled my hunger for a trail run adventure despite some minor disappointments from the early editions. This time, the elevation from Wawa and Kasili River towards Mt. Sinai has me reached my physical limit and almost touched my emotional, cry-baby, self-pitying state with the tough uphills and burning sun which I haven't experienced from the previous routes of the Merrell adventure run. I could say that this race has become one of my hardest trail run, second (2nd) to my experience with PhilSky's 1st Mt. Ugo Akyathlon, even almost surpassing the hardship that I experienced from the 24K Mountain run in Tagaytay highlands.
Official Time: 03:25:49
Official Ranking: 94th out of 386 overall 21k finishers
When: Apr. 27, 2013.
Where: Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal
Event: Merrell Adventure Run 2013
|The 2nd uphill just before reaching the 2nd km mark|
|Before the first river crossing|
|Runners crossing the taro-filled Wawa river|
|Another Wawa river crossing|
|This one's at the Kasili river|
|Sir Rene mudded from the mud-crawl on his way to the rivers|
|One of those dreaded and endless uphills|
|The 10k runners emerged here, no more river crossing to wash the muds off|
|Forced to run after seeing Sir Thumbie|
|A peek at one of the peak|
|Last 10k for the 21k runners, my battery died here already|
Sir Thumbie and Merrell really did a job greatly done to ensure the adventure and success of the event. Thumbs up to the Organizer and the people behind who made this race, this tough! *wink*
Thank you also to the Marshalls and staff of Merrell for taking care of us before and during the event and congratulations to all the finishers.
On the side note, I haven't seen the Agatep ladies (Misses Nicole, Glaiza, Ei, and Johanna) who've been my angels from the past adventure runs!
Race results may be viewed from Strider.ph