Having pulled through with what seemed to be a DNF (Did Not Finish) situation for me in the first half of my MF42 2015, my heart was filled with thanksgiving when there’s no more trace of stomach pain from Km12 onwards. At this point, I still have 16 kilometers more to tread, starting with the downhill single track to Miyamit Falls, which is more or less two (2) kilometers from AS3. I figured I still have a chance of finishing below eight (8) hours, which is my original target for this race.
The descending path to Miyamit Falls was quite steep, narrow and slippery. These kind of terrain has been my Achilles’ heel in all my trail runs that it slows me down every time because I’m quite heavy, I don’t possess a good balance and have this fear of falling. But alas, my footwear is holding up my 87-kilogram frame quite well! I recently got a Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG and it proved that its deep lugs can withstand those steep, narrow and slippery trails despite my weight, giving me the confidence to run downhill with lesser worries. Also playing a big role in lessening my concerns on the mountains are my Ahon Gaiters, which really prevented those small pebbles, mud and dirt from entering my shoes all throughout. I got zero blisters when I’m done with the race.
Got my second ribbon at the second turning point (Km28) after 5hrs52mins as I stand in awe at the majestic Miyamit Falls. I’m blessed to witness the twin falls in its full force, the current rushing with gusto, probably because of the non-stop rain brought about by the typhoon that hit the area during the week. The cold water was so inviting that I’d dipped myself and relax for a while, spending about 15 minutes refreshing myself as I prepared for the final stretch. It’s also a plus that a few of the trail masters – Ahon head honchos Atty. Aldean Lim and Ronald Declarador, and Ms. Majo Liao, were marshaling at Km28-Miyamit Falls. I didn’t let the chance slip away without taking pictures with them!
The most difficult part of the route, for me, was actually the uphill back to AS3 from the falls. It’s like you suddenly become very lazy after an invigorating bath on the waterfalls. It took me about 30 minutes to climb back to AS3, where I had another round of bread and Nutella, haha!
It was mostly downhill from thereon, including a slippery portion somewhere between AS2 and AS1, where some rocks are covered with moss. My legs and knees felt comfortable in running the downhills, which surprised me because I usually felt pain and fatigue on my previous races if the last portion is downhill. Maybe I would credit it to the strengthening exercises I’ve done religiously at least once a week for my core, hips and legs.
Arriving back at AS1 (Km39) after 7hrs50mins, I knew my sub-8hrs dream is not anymore achievable. But that’s ok, I would be able to finish the race when hours earlier I was considering DNF. Whereas I was running comfortably to complete this marathon, I underestimated that there’s still this one (1) kilometer stretch of uphill towards the Alviera grounds and into the finish line. The weather also became very hot at this point. It seemed like the longest kilometer as I power hiked this segment while pouring water on my head every now and then.
Finally, I crossed the finish line with the RD congratulating me and announcing my racebib number 4019!
As of this writing, I’m still awaiting for the official results to be posted but as per my GPS watch, Based on official results, I completed the course after 8hrs20mins2secs, 50th overall (43rd male) out of 91 finishers within the cutoff time. As recorded by Garmin, I ran 42km with 2,200m elevation gain. It was another humbling and learning experience for me, and I achieved my purpose – which is to acclimatize with the route. I’m grateful to our Lord for giving me the opportunity to see His handwork – the beautiful mountains and waterfalls – and to meet new friends! In fact, some of the veteran trail ultramararathon runners like Mark Tibo-oc and Ian gave me a lot of CM50 pointers after the race. I’ll keep in mind guys everything that you’ve said. Thank you very much and see you in November!
My congratulations to Atty. Jon for a successful event, and my gratitude and salute to all the marshals, volunteers and armed men on duty for keeping us safe, well fed (Nutella!) and hydrated all throughout the event. This is one trail marathon I would surely recommend to all my running friends in Cebu!