The TNF 100 Baguio: Breaking Boundaries

Photo Credit: Yongsky Photography

Getting off from work that Friday morning, April 20, I hurried home to finish packing my things for what is going to be my greatest challenge in running to date – running a 100 kilometre trail in Benguet.

When I registered for this race, I didn’t feel any pressure. I felt I was capable and fit enough to take on the challenge.  But a few days before the race day, I started feeling nervous.  I was even asking myself “What am I getting into?”

I arrived at the Victory Liner bus terminal in Cubao around 9am. I bought a ticket bound for Baguio, but it was for the 11am trip.  I took my breakfast in a nearby fastfood and when I came back to the terminal, I was lucky to get a seat in a 1030am trip. A lot of things were going in my mind. I was excited because I’m going out of town. It’s my second time in Baguio. And I love travelling alone. It gives me the opportunity to ponder on a lot of things.  Sitting by the window, I could see the city and later on, the rural areas pass by.  It’s going to be 6 to 7 hour trip, and based on my calculation, I should be in Baguio by 530 or 6pm. Not having slept the night before since I had to report for work, I tried to snatch some sleep, but I can’t. I put on my earphones and played whatever’s on my iTouch. Feeling a bit bored, I connected to the wi – fi provided and check on my Facebook account, or Twitter.

Text messages keep coming also. At least, I got myself busy and forget about some feeling of anxiety.

Five hours or so passed, and we started with the ascent. We’ll be in Baguio in no time. Easing our way up, pine trees came into view, and at a far distance, bright colored rooftops peek from the dark blue and green background. Looking out the window, the streets were filled with cars, cabs, people with backpacks, some pulling their trolleys, carrying their luggage. It was then that I realized, it was time to get off.

Photo Credit: Yongsky Photography

I took a cab to Camp John Hay to attend the briefing for 100k runners. It always felt good to hang around with friends whom you shared the roads with. Well, this time, trails. And what shouldn’t be missed? Photo ops, of course! Since I didn’t have much time left before the organizers shuttle the logistics of 100k runners to the Logistics Point 2, I had to unpack in front of R.O.X. to prepare my logistics for the next 50k. I think that’s how it was.  One has to be a critical thinker at times. And what’s in my logistics bag? A jacket, a couple of cans of Century Corned Tuna, a couple of bars of chocolates, trail food, and more trail food. Looking at it, it was like I was going to a picnic! Ahahah..!  Being my first time to do trail, and an ultra at that, I thought that I’d rather have more than having less. And since were taking the trails, there won’t be any stores along the route, at least within the next 25 kilometres or so. And besides, I have already anticipated that would hit the 56th kilometre by nightfall.

Photo Credit: Jesselyn Domingo Morales

With the company of the TNF Warriors – Jess, Yongsky, Gerald and Bob, we stopped by the Brother’s Burger for a carbo refill.  After dinner, we proceeded to Hotel Henrico.  The evening breeze was chilling. When we got to our room, I prepared my stuff needed for the run which took me about an hour to finish. I then dozed off to sleep.

I woke up around 1:30 in the morning. Took a shower and dressed up for the most anticipated ultra trail running of the year – the TNF 100. For the first time in my one year of running, I was on a pair of Vibram FiveFingers for a race. For some reasons, I didn’t feel any amount of excitement at all. I was nervous. Too nervous.  But it’s here now.  There’s no turning back. Got to get on with the race.

We proceeded to Camp John Hay. I had my logistics checked. And I got a problem. My jacket was in the zip lock shuttled to the Logistics Point 2. I had to borrow another runner’s jacket just to have my mandatory gears checked. Jess had to wake up Gerald in the hotel and have him bring Yongsky’s jacket. It was 15 minutes before the 3am gun start. We had to wait for about 20 minutes or so.  The 100k runners had already left the start line. I was in the sidewalk, still waiting for the jacket. The 50k runners have already gathered up in the start line. Five minutes past 3, I got the jacket, made my way through the 50k runners and set off. All the runners have gone far ahead. It was a chilly morning. For security purposes, I turned on my headlamp and the blinker. It was dark in some parts of the road, and I was the only one running at that time. It felt a bit creepy. At some point, I could feel a little relief when I can see a lamp post. Then, up ahead it was dark again. Some scary thoughts were running in my mind. As if some supernatural beings at anytime would hurl at me where it was dark. It’s as if I could sense a couple of those big eyes looking down at me from the hilly parts where the big pine trees were lined up.

I just kept on making those little steps to save up on my energy. I have a long way to go. I don’t know how far the runners were since there were no road markers, but they could be at least a couple of kilometres or so ahead. Being the last runner, I was totally oblivious of the route. I told myself that I could have studied the route map. But it won’t help me anyway since I’m not familiar with the roads. I reached a hilly part and saw a guard post. I asked the guard if it’s the way the runners went, just to find out that I took the wrong way.  The runners have turned right towards the Country Club before they reached the foot of the uphill slope . I retraced my steps and took a left turn. A few hundred metres ahead, I saw some of the runners walking. I felt totally relieved. I felt the assurance that I’m no longer lost. Running past them, we reached a clearing going towards what was the entrance to the endless trails.


6 Responses to The TNF 100 Baguio: Breaking Boundaries

  1. Noel says:

    hehehe! I’m scrolling down and found nothing below the pic.. Nabitin!! 🙂 Running alone in the dark and on trails? Spooky! Tuning in for ur next post sir. 🙂


  2. @Running Castles: working on Part 2 of The TNF 100 Baguio Saga. Will post it very soon. Thank you for checking out my blog!


  3. bossotep says:

    more more more!!


  4. Leo says:

    Also had the same experience of running in the dark 4am middle of all those pines of Baguio, i was with the 50K batch. Yun nga lng may mga kasama ako kaya hndi ganun ka-spooky. Interesting account of the event, cant wait for the Saga II.


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