The North Face 100 Asia Pacific series are always challenging and claimed the Philippines’ edition as the hardest in Asia.
This year, the TNF 100 is back in Bagiuo-Benguet for the 3rd straight year, which has the most challenging trails, routes, and elevation as witnessed by the participants.
More details here: http://www.thrillofthetrail.ph/
Last weekend ( May 3-4 2014 ) I was given a chance to challenge myself and joined my 1st ever Trail UltraMarathon (50k run) with the given cut off time off 18hrs. We arrived at the venue – Camp John Hay around 2:00am, I was with my friend who’s newbie to ultramarathon as well, her run started at exactly 3:00am for the 100k race..while waiting for my turn, I have my gears checked by the marshals and made sure I have the complete mandatory gears. Time passed and I felt chilling due to the weather within Camp John Hay plus the excitement and nervousness. I took pictures in the event and talked to some participants, walked around and doing the “warm-ups” before my turn.
At exactly 4:00am my 1st ultra trail run started, I was at the middle pack and on “normal pace” along with group of runners. As we run downhill I slipped due to wet trails resulting wound/abrasions on my right knee, it’s still dark and there were no marshals or medics nearby. I wiped my right knee using my bandana wrapped on my neck and poured a little amount of water to cleaned it out.
As I reached the first station after couple of hours, I asked them to clean it and sprayed with antiseptic. I sipped few amount of hydration and took salt stick to maintain my electrolytes level. Sunrise came and we witnessed how beauty the scenery in Benguet, somehow it eased the pain and exhaustion we felt. As we moved on I took pictures, stumbled while roaming the trails in Benguet and checking my watch at the same time to make sure I will make it within the cut off time. Hours and Kilometers passed I felt pain on my thighs and feet due to the technicality of the route, “uphell” and “downhell” trails.. I knew from the start this isn’t going to be easy, deep inside I prayed for the guidance and asked for strength to finish this race whether I will make it within cut-off time or not. I took time to rest, eat and “listened to my body” to check if there’s something wrong .
Upon reaching the last aid station (40km) I didn’t noticed It’s already 12 in the afternoon, it’s really hot that time and and it adds additional burden to us, I briskly walked as I can’t run anymore. My mind still wants to run but my body says no..heck this is what I get in joining this race. I reached Camp John Hay again around 3:00pm and to my surprise I was able to creep up some runners who were also battling fatigue, finally I saw the finish line, looking at my watch its almost 4:00pm and I’m not sure what came to my mind but I rushed all the way to the finish line, smiling and tears came out suddenly.
A Finsher’s medal, snack were given and also interviewed by Lady MC asking where I came from and told I was the 85th finisher out of 400+ runners.
Finally after 11 hours and 55 mins of gruelling race I was able to conquered and finished the The North Face 100 Ultra Trail Challenge – 50k. This experienced taught me a lot of lessons.. one of those is ” Never never ever give up, despite all the challenges and trials. Just believe in yourself and have faith.”
To sum it all, this was a test of Physical and Mental endurance. One of the best experience as a runner and adventurer. Will I join again next year? 100k? let’s see then 🙂