Salomon XTrail Run Pilipinas 2012

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It was a quarter past two in the morning when I arrived in the assembly point for the participants of the first ever Green Event of the year – the Salomon XTrail Run Pilipinas 2012 at Tagaytay Highlands. Race marshals were already ushering the runners to the buses chartered to shuttle the runners to the venue. In front of R.O.X., the invited bloggers have already gathered. About half an hour later, we all boarded the fifth bus.

It was a smooth ride that early morning of March 31. We arrived at Tagaytay Highlands around 4 o’clock. We then took a van going to the race venue. Most runners were already geared up for the race while the others are still getting themselves prepped up. You can see runners doing their usual pre – race routines, filling up their hydration bottles, catching up with their friends, and what – have – you’s. In my case, I got myself ready as my race category (24k) sets off at 5:30. I wore the Salomon XTrail Run tech shirt, a pair of black tights topped with a pair of Adidas running shorts. A few photo ops with some friends followed. At the start line, I met some more of my friends. A 10 second countdown followed by a gun fire signalled the start of the 24k event.

Reaching the clearing, runners lined up in a single file towards the start of the trail. That was quite an easy part since I have taken that route during the test run of the trail a couple of weeks ago. We passed through the fields, the outskirts, and some residential areas where some folks and kids greeted us. Some kids were even giving us high fives! It reminds me of the full marathon that I did in CamSur in September last year. Running towards the Midlands was purely road. Then the trail started again by the Madre de Dios chapel. This was the best part of the trail in my opinion. And I can say that you guys would agree with me. There wasn’t a single point where you run a flat surface or going down. We run through the bushes, trees, climbed through the rocks, held onto the ropes so we won’t slip. Because if you do, you’ll find yourself lying among the rocks, worse case scenario – getting yourself injured or breaking a hip or even your neck. Young or old, even for female runners, there was no exception! In running, there’s no exception to the rule. Some parts were a bit slippery because of the rain the previous day and due to some loose soil.

It was an arduous climb. But it was a real challenge, both for competitive and non – competitive runners. Overtaking was not really a good option, especially when you have to use the rope to climb up or go down a steep slope. “Traffic” rules were properly observed by giving way to runners who are climbing up using the rope, or to runners on their way down after reaching the U – turn point. Some parts of the trail were purposely created within the forests of Tagaytay Highlands just for this event. You can still smell the minty scent of the freshly cut leaves, the scent of the sap coming from the freshly cut branches, and the earthy aroma of the trail. Here, this is where you can breathe the freshest air! It was not just a trail run. It was pure adventure. Well, running is adventure. And what made it more FUN was that I bumped into my friends along the trail! When we finally reached a clearing, race marshals handed us our U – turn rings. As if we didn’t care about the time, we posed for some photo ops! Ahaha! What a better way to document the unparalleled happiness and satisfaction that your face can ever paint about what you feel after going through the toughest of the trails! The U – turn point is on a plateau overlooking Lake Taal. The view was enthralling. This is the one thing that you just can’t take a pass for. The breeze was so refreshing. And you can feel that you are ready to head back to face another challenge. This time, it’s the challenge of the road.

Passing through Alta Mira, I saw a makeshift cafeteria that serves bulalo (beef, bone marrow and vegetable soup). Driven by so much hunger, I stopped and ordered for a bowl of bulalo to fill my craving stomach. For the record, I finished it in a little under seven minutes! I went back to the road to tread what had been the route that I wished wasn’t there. The road that I wished was different.

Just when you thought the route to the finish line was easier, you’re wrong. There was at least 4 kilometre stretch of uphill road. At half past 9 in the morning when the temperature had already crept up, that was so much to endure. What if you’ve run out of water? You can only wish there’s a hydration station within an arms reach. There were a few vehicles that drove past us and you can hear their engines churning and revving up. You can only think how tough it would be for the runners who already ran a real good 20 kilometers, exhausted, hungry and thirsty, all under the unforgiving heat of the sun. Reaching the last hydration station, which was roughly a kilometre shy of the finish line, was a great relief. I filled my Salomon hydration bottle with ice and sports drink, sipping every five minutes or so. I was totally dehydrated.

The last kilometer towards the finish line was now downhill. I could already hear the sounds coming from the event’s audio systems. Turning right, I could see the race clock ticking. Runners were huddled on both sides of the road cheering the other runners as they approach the finish line. And this is not the time to think about the pains you’ve just been through. Just flash that victorious smile to be immortalized by the photographers’ lenses. And that’s just what I did! I’ve run many races, I always have this great feeling when I hear my friends cheering and shouting my name every time as I cross the finish line. I know you guys feel the same thing. It’s unexplainable.

Finally, I got hold of my 24k finisher’s medal. It was worth all the effort I put in. I may not have the best record for my first trail run, but I had the best experience. It’s a 24k(arat) experience.

On a personal standpoint, the race was properly organized. Even in the toughest parts of the trails, courteous marshals were assigned to assist the runners. Hydration stations with ample supply of cold water and sports drink were strategically placed in various locations. Parking areas were provided to participants who didn’t take the shuttle bus. Food was provided to all the runners.

The organizers made sure that the runners would have the best trail experience. I did have. And I hope you do, too.

Thank you, Salomon Philippines for giving us this wonderful experience!

With this run, I’ve learned another lesson and I would like to share it with you, “In running, you can slow down, but you don’t stop.”

**This race was called a Green Event to highlight the non – usage of disposable cups, as no cups were provided.

Race results are out: Salomon XTrail Run Pilipinas 2012 Official Results

You can check your photos here:
Elvin Pastorfide: Salomon XTrail Run Pilipinas Photos
Mark Chico: Salomon XTrail Run Pilipinas Photos
PEX Running Club: Salomon XTrail Run Pilipinas Photos
VVLF Runners: Salomon XTrail Run Pilipinas Photos


23 Responses to Salomon XTrail Run Pilipinas 2012

  1. Irone says:

    Huwaat?? You had bulalo en route? Inggit ako! Haha! 🙂

    Great article! And thanks for the pic! Andun ako! 🙂 Twas my third trail run actually, but was the longest and toughest! My 21k Merrel Adventure Run last year was nothing compared to this one! I almost literally cried from all the pain (and cramps) on the way back. Good thing was that all runners who passed me gave words of encouragement and motivation to finish the race! Even the cows we passed mooed and barked to cheer us up. Haha!

    See you at the Nature’s Discovery Trail Run on May 27! 🙂


    • @Irone: Congratulations for finishing your third trail run! The one thing I love about running is that you get words of encouragement from people you don’t know, and it felt like you’ve already known them for sometime. It was a great adventure, indeed!See you on May 27th.


  2. Ed Escueta says:

    congrats jared! nice photos! salomon xtrail was a great trail race!


  3. Hey Jared! Great read! Eating Bulalo during the race was such an envious part! I can’t even take any forms of solid when I run because I throw up. Oh well, nice to meet you. Looking forward to your next adventures! Sweet Running! ^_^


  4. QP says:

    kaya pala nakita kita coming off route, nakuha pa magbulalo :)) i was a few meters behind you when you resumed on the road, sir 🙂


  5. Congratulations for the strong finish sir! I saw you on one of the climbs and you even took a photo of me while I was resting. Hahaha! 🙂


    • @Joshua: Thank you! I’m sure you finished strong as well. I’ve posted the photos in Facebook (Salomon XTrail Run Pilipinas 2012 album). Congratulations for conquering the Salomon XTrail Run 24k! See you on the roads!


  6. fcrunner says:

    Congratulations Jared on a great trail run. The medal looks awesome! Sounds like this might be an event you’ll run again. Take care my friend!


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    • Hi, Tracy. I started this blog to tell stories about the things that I’m interested in, and to share my experiences in running. It’s simply a hobby for me. Now, I get to enjoy writing and reading feedbacks from my readers. Please check my profile, I have included my contact details. I’d be glad to hear from you.


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