16 May 2012


Whew, I finally had the time!


This was the 5th edition of TNF100 here in the Philippines. The first one was in 2008 in Batangas which was my first 100K. That 2008 race was hard and painful for me but I was hooked since then :) I ran all editions except the CamSur in 2011. The race last April highlighted for me the importance and significance of proper tapering. I did not do that because I considered the 2012 edition as a training run for WS100. Coming into the race, my legs were tired and the strength was not 100%. So my wish to come under 18 hours (established in 2010 also in Baguio but different route) to best my previous time was unwarranted. Ultrarunning is really a learning process notwithstanding you have been at it for years.  

So the expectations or improvements in all facets of the race for the 2012 edition were high and for obvious reasons. This was the most competitive and star-studded edition given the fact that no less than Iker Carrera and Julia Bottger of Salomon Team showed up and topped the race albeit their respective time was below their usual standards. Race results here:   


With 55 finishers out of 200 who signed up speaks volume on how hard this race was. The heat primarily is the culprit. It could be 34C way up in the mountain during the daytime. There were some exposed parts which made the conditions very hard for the runners especially the 12K or so downhill route to Kenon Road. That was one hot and exposed road (yes, mostly concrete) mixed with loose rocks. Very hard to run.

When we got to Kennon Road (KM50) to pick up and access our drop bags, we noticed they were hot. Meaning, the bags seemed to have been left to fry under the sun which was obviously a mistake. All our solid fuels which were sensitive to heat turned into squidgy, slimy substance and our fluids, tepid. Imagine a lukewarm bottle of Pocari or Gatorade to greet you after running for several hours in extreme heat. It ain't fun. One runner even quipped that it was "lame" to cross the hanging bridge just to drink some cold water after accessing the drop bags. It was only reasonable to expect from the race organizer to put everything the runners needed in one place or station. Also, the aid stations have not improved a bit in terms of the fluid and fuel they offered. There is a  simple reason why they call it 'AID' stations. They are meant to AID runners from station to station. Offering measly bananas and kamotes as fuel was, to put it mildly, wanting. One can argue that I don't have to right to speak up since I got a free entry into the race. Well, somebody has to do it and besides, I mean well. How can they learn?             

On the bright side of things, the location of the Start/Finish line is nice. The quality of the race shirt is superb!  Even the material and design. Really at par or even better than what other international races offer. So it is a shirt I can proudly wear ... anywhere. Another good news is that this race earned a massive 3 points for UTMB (starting in 2013, 7 qualifying points are required instead of 5). Wow!


Two weeks after TNF100, I got the chance to climb Mt. Matutum down south. I have now this habit of always searching for a place to run whenever I get the chance to travel. The idea of Mt. Matutum came from Joe Matias of ARC through Facebook. So when my wife said that I could hitch on her trip to General Santos City (tuna capital of the Philippines) which I had not visited yet then, I had to know where I could run some trail.

At 5AM of 6 May 2012, I was in a cab (on special arrangement) heading to the mountain. From the highway, it is still more or less 8-9km on a single motorbike. The way is a dirt road and hilly. It passes through the biggest pineapple plantation I have ever seen. I was told it belongs to Del Monte ... no wonder. After registration at the DENR/Barangay station, I headed out together with the guide for hire. For backpack, he was just carrying a improvised bag made of "sako". Amazing. Details on Mt. Matutum:

Tupi, South Cotabato
Major jump-off: Sito Glandang, Brgy. Kablon, Tupi
LLA: 6°22'N, 125°06.5'E, 2293 MASL Days required / hours to summit: 1-2 days / 4-6 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 5/9, Trail class 3
(Source: http://www.pinoymountaineer.com/2008/01/mt-matutum-2293.html)

Honestly, I was not really so keen on visiting the place. I just needed some training and figured this was the best place to do so. As it turned out, one of the best runs I have had mostly on account of my guide. He said this was the fastest climb he did after years of being a guide. We reached the summit in 2hours and 20 mins and finished in 4 hours and 18 mins (16 minutes at the peak ... more than necessary really) and broke his shoe from running (picture below). So he was one foot bare during the last 1-2 kilometers Too bad it was too foggy at the top to see the entire landscape. What I dislike about the climb was leeches. Small but terrible. However, the town folks seemed used to seeing climbers from out of town.   The town exudes a certain serenity like Kayapa. Anyway, so one can imagine how nice it was to devour some tuna after the climb in GenSan. Yum!

Phase/Camp 1. Guide was eating.

The guide said I could see Mt. Apo from here. Nada. Too foggy.

In 4:18. Sorry, your shoe gave in.


WS100 is around the corner and most likely, all of the 417 runners selected to run the 39th Annual Run of Western States on 23-24 June 2012 are peaking now in their training. Last week, I was feeling good to cap off my training week at 100k - 70% or so on trail and the remaining percent on hilly road with  speed workouts thrown in here and there. The highlight of the week was the weekend back to back of around 40K at Miyamit and double climb at Mt. Arayat. 


Don and I managed to start at 3:30 in the morning for the Miyamit run minus the falls last Saturday. From the junction leading to the falls and the peak, the trail was covered with overgrown grasses that mutilated our bare legs. It was a mistake on our part not to have anticipated it and to quite figure out with accuracy the fluid needed for the run. The view was still beautiful though. We met some 40 or so climbers along the way heading to Pinatubo. One of their guides was the same Aeta who helped us to clear the trail for CM50. Now that Jerry Guiao is not around, I can ask him to show me the trail to reach  Mt. Pinatubo to make CM50 a 100K or so race :) The 2nd edition of CM50 is set on 25 November 2012, Sunday. 

Don at the peak (find him)

Our lousy way to protect our legs from scratches.
For CM50, the trail will be cleared. 10K to the peak is not that long.

One of the views I missed.

From Crow Creek to the falls, most of the dirt road have been widened like this.


Simon and I had done the double climbs before at Mt. Arayat in preparation for UTMB. Last Sunday was different though. Despite the Miyamit run the day before, my legs were fresh and I strangely had more energy for these climbs. The trail was dry but not slippery. The mountain seemed "relaxing" and "inviting". Also, it seems we have managed to establish what could be the fastest climb so far.  First peak in 1 hour and 20 mins and 1st round at 2:26. Of course, these times are far from world-class time. So please bear with us as this is just part of our amusement :) We enjoy running after all. Details here: 



Distance: 11.40 mi
Time: 5:04:24
Avg Pace: 26:49 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 8,268 ft
Calories: 762 C

Time: 5:04:24
Moving Time: 3:31:45
Elapsed Time: 5:04:31
Avg Pace: 26:49 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace: 18:34 min/mi
Best Pace: 6:17 min/mi

Elevation Gain: 8,268 ft
Elevation Loss: 8,251 ft
MinElevation: 358 ft
MaxElevation: 3,301 ft

We could have made it in sub 5 hours but the detour to "white rock" (lower elevation peak) cost us those extra minutes. Anyway, next time. It was a blast running downhills. What an exhilarating feeling! Simon is training for TNF50 in Washington DC on 02 June 2012 and UTMB on August. Pictures below:

Round 1 at the peak with Simon

Climbers at the white rock

Simon at white rock (which is not white)

Group of French climbers in the background. 

Any attempt to break 1:20 (peak) or total 2:26 should start at this mark/area.

Jon (excited for WS100 as things are coming into play :)


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