Prior to the Brooks Run Happy 3 race that was held last May 11 at Sierra Madre in Tanay, Rizal, a friend asked me about this event curious and eager to know what is Cross Country running: "are you really going to cross to another Country?". That question was too familiar to me as I have also asked that myself a few years ago and it made me wonder if at some point, did a similar question also crossed the minds of the other runners as well.
Generally, a Cross country run is very much similar with trail running, except that Cross Country races have governed rules and guidelines from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), specially in the US, Canada, Australia, and a number of Countries in Europe where it is most popular. The race course is mostly laid out in an open area that are grass-covered, majority of the route is trails of all sorts, but may also have some pavement along the way, rolling terrain with frequent but smooth turns, and with distances varying only between 2.5-km to 12-km. In contrast, trail running is loosely governed and is run over longer routes and mostly single track.
So if we look into the distance category, we can define Brooks Run Happy 3 as a combination or mix of both Cross country and Trail running. One previous race that is closely similar to a Cross Country race is the Biodiversity Run held in UPLB way back in 2010 and the 1st leg of the Immuvit Fearless Challenge (if without the obstacles).
|24K Runners at the starting line|
|16K Runners took-off from the starting line - photo by Photo-Ops|
From the starting line, runners went off to the highway for about less than 100-meters and turning left entering Brgy. Laiban towards a steep downhill fire/dirt road which covers around 4-kilometers. This made it easy for us to gain our momentum and warm-up our legs. The continuous downhill gave me a pace between 4:10 to 4:30-mins/km but this gave my toes a hot friction short of having an early chafing, so I slowed down a bit and tried to land more softly on each stride. Being an out-and-back course, this same downhill becomes an upHELL of a climb on our way back!
Ankle deep river crossings were also aplenty despite the summer heat although most no longer bothered to soak or tread their shoes on the streams, but to conserve time, I just wade through and savored the still cool, flowing waters. Unfortunately the wide but short Maysawa waterfalls at the U-turn area was dry, so the runners who were hoping to splash through it were dismayed -- nobody's fault though!
|16K U-turn at Maysawa Falls|
Going up to the descent we took at the start was the most challenging part of the route (oh wait, there were also obstacles waiting near the finish line) -- what goes down, goes up! As the ascent began, I hit it with an all through out powerwalk and sometimes reverse walk. My lack of speed and hills training was slowly taking a toll on my legs although my cardiovascular was still coping up. I was trying to go beyond my maximum 180-bpm heart rate during the ascent but it was my legs that can't go anymore when during my good-feel powerwalk, my left calf just suddenly twitched and cramped. After pausing to wait for the muscles to relax, I proceeded with slower walk until both my left and right calves went cramping happily, errr... alternately.
|Uphill at a dirt road|
|and an uphill towards a concrete road|
|the pain.. oh, the pain!|
|What made Tanay so hot! - photo by Roy Agsunod|
|with the Mamaws of the trail|
|The route, pace (white lines), and elevation profile (orange line) as recorded with Suunto Ambit 2S. Click the image for more details.|
|Captivating views at Brgy. Laiban|
|Short mountains at Brgy. Laiban|
|Sweltering summer heat cannot defeat the beautiful views|
|Inclined wall - photo by Roy Agsunod|
|Military wall - photo by Roy Agsunod|
|Net climb - photo by Roy Agsunod|
|Tire skip - photo by Roy Agsunod|
|Program area at the camping grounds - photo by Roy Agsunod|
|Unusual finish line - photo by Roy Agsunod|
|It starts there...|
Official race results may be downloaded at... (oh, it's not yet out?)