The Thrilling Adventures And Stories Of TNF100 2016 – Part 1

It Feels Good To Be Back The Second Time

I have always looked forward to joining the The North Face 100, popularly known as TNF100, every year. When the news that this year it’s going be staged back in Baguio, I didn’t have any second thoughts about registering even though it would mean enduring almost 30 hours of body pains, testing my mental toughness, running under the scorching heat of the sun and freezing cold temperatures in the mountains. Yes, these are the kind of things that I anticipate whenever I think of TNF100.

It always feel good to back in the City of Pines, trails and the thrilling experience of being in the race. #TNF100PH

It always feel good to back in the City of Pines, trails and the thrilling experience of being in the race. #TNF100PH

In April, I was back in Baguio for the 2016 edition of TNF100. Arriving in Baguio on a rainy Friday afternoon, I headed to the race briefing venue to pick my race kit, deposit my drop bag, and for the last minute gear check to ensure that I got everything I needed for the race. Before heading back to the DBP Convention Center where I was billeted with running friends Edrick and Shamal, I stopped by a 24 – hour convenient store for some food items.

Before retiring for the night, I prepared my running gear – race bib, hydration gear, light jacket, sunblock, trail food and energy gels. As it has been my practice in the last two years, I also packed some chocolates and bite-sized gelatin and tucked them in my hydration pack. That surely weighed a bit heavier. I got mixed emotions as I took under the cover. Dozing off to sleep, I felt excited for the race but the same time a bit intimidated just thinking about the route.

Perhaps it was the fear of missing the gun start, I woke up earlier than my 1am alarm! After taking a bath and a light breakfast, I gathered my gear and headed down to the gate. It took me a while to get a cab that will take me to the race venue at Camp John Hay.

The early morning air was chilly. The race venue was getting packed with runners in the 100 – kilometre category, and spectators who were as excited as the runners were. I’m so glad to see my friend Gladice and her son Nikko, who were on a vacation that weekend, coming to the race venue so early that morning. The race venue exuded an exciting ambiance as I, along with other 100K category participants waited for the gun start. The most awaited hour came. By 3 o’clock in the morning, we have set off for another race that’s about to unfold. Joining the pack, the race started smoothly through the concrete road going further away from the start line. Turning right, the concrete road transitioned to a trail planked by towering pine trees and bushes. The pitch dark night provided a contrasting backdrop to the lights emanating from the headlamps, blinkers and reflectorised vests worn by the runners which looked like stars on a clear evening sky. At this early stage of the race, runners were still clumped in groups – the lead pack, the middle group and the ones taking their time still.

These trails have become familiar to me, despite of it being dark. Trail runners are only visible with their reflectors. #TNF100PH

These trails have become familiar to me, despite of it being dark. Trail runners are only visible with their reflectors. #TNF100PH

Whilst it was still dark, the route seemed all too familiar to me. The cold and crisp scent of the morning air filled m lungs with every breath. And with every step, the memories of the TNF100 back in 2014 were like a movie unreeling in front of me.

Passing the first Aid Station (AS1) meant that I’ve already covered at least 8 kilometres. And that’s just a small portion of what lies ahead. We passed a few villages, a steel bridge, and walked through the vast rice paddies disturbing the stillness of the early morning. The dogs were barking and growling as we came through. The route seemed easy at first with some flats, then the course turned to uphill and downhill slopes. The large groups of runners have thinned down into smaller packs running through a small trail in a single file. The cold wind was cutting through my skin and I was starting to feel numb. Looking far ahead, some distant villages came into view as specks of light emanated from the houses and lamp posts.

Dawn was forthcoming. The sky was painted with dark purple and orange hues. In no time, the world came into view. Everywhere was green. It was an absolutely refreshing view.

Whilst making long descent coming from Aid Station 2 (at 19th kilometre), I was foreseeing what lies next. The next 10 kilometres will be very tough. In about two hundred metres or so, the long climb commenced with a slight inclination, which dramatically and drastically shifted to sharper and steeper climb. So steep that I felt like crawling upwards, my knees almost touching my chin. As the ascent was getting tougher, the temperature was already creeping up as the sun rays pierced through the trees. Each step was getting heavier that I had to pause for half a minute every now and then, taking a sip from my hydration pack. Now, there were only a few of us walking past each other every time we took quick stop. The climb seemed endless. I can tell you. I would let out a sigh of relief whenever the terrain became slightly flatter or going downhill. And the fact remains that I haven’t covered even a quarter of the race. Along the route, race marshals were strategically stationed in critical points to ensure that all runners were guided and properly accounted for. Though limited in number, they became our source of strength as they gave us the extra push we needed.

The refreshing view of the pine trees lining up the trail provided relief and comfort to the tired runners. #TNF100PH

The refreshing view of the pine trees lining up the trail provided relief and comfort to the tired runners. #TNF100PH

The sight of the concrete path after the seemingly endless trail was totally a breather. Up head, I can see the towering telco relay station. The locals call it a radar. And so that place was christened the Radar. Reaching a small hut in the middle of the mountain and nothing but trees, I joined the others runners who were having their snacks, catching up on each other with their stories and exchanging laughters. It was an oasis.

After I finished my biscuits, I gathered my gear and continued with the race, passing by the locals – adults and children who were standing by the roadside. The bewildered look on their faces left me thinking if they were actually amazed seeing us or if they find us weird running a crazy 100 kilometres.

I arrived at the 3rd Aid Station in Ampucao three hours earlier for the 8 – hour cut off time from gun start. At this point, I’ve already covered 30.3 kilometres. Three more quarters to go! I checked in to have my bib number recorded. I refilled my hydration gear, refuelled with some boiled bananas catching up with some friends. Once a bit rested, I gathered my gear and went on my way.

The Mt. Ulap part of the trail route going to AS4 down to AS5 is up next!

Soleus Cross Country Challenge

Soleus Cross Country ChallengeEvery trail has a story to tell. Perhaps, this is the reason why many runners have gone to the mountains not only to run away from the busy streets of the metro but also to listen the story of the trails.

Be detached from the noise and dark fumes in the city, and be awed by the amazing beauty of nature as you take each step of the trail. See how beautiful the sunrise is as you ascend to the peak. Have your own tale to share when you join the Soleus Cross Country Challenge!

Scroll down for the race details.

Soleus Cross Country Challenge
10 July 2016, 5am
Mt. Sinai, San Mateo, Rizal

Registration Details:

Race Category Registration Fee Gun Start Inclusions
21k Php1,000.00 6:00am Finisher’s Medal and Certificate, Snacks
12k Php900.00 6:20am

Where to Register:
L Time Studio

  • Megamall
  • Mall of Asia
  • Market! Market!

Time Gear Trinoma
Planet Herbs Cafe Guadalupe

You may also register via Bank Deposit.

  • Banco de Oro
    Account Name: Mirjam Ann G. Del Rosario
    Account Number: 003980196644
  • Landbank of the Philippines
    Account Name: Liziel Tan
    Account Number: 1476105036

Once payment has been made, email the scanned copy of the deposit slip with the following details: Name, Age, Contact Number, Running Team and Shirt Size to

An email confirmation will be sent once bank deposit has been validated.

21k Race Shirt: Solus Cross Countr Challenge 21k Race Shirt12k Race Shirt: Solus Cross Countr Challenge 12k Race ShirtPhoto Credit: Pido

Medals:SCCC medals

Race Kit Claiming:
July 1-3, 2016
11am to 8pm
Events Place, 3rd Floor
500 Shaw Zentrum, Mandaluyong City


  • Top Finishers will get a Soleus GPS Cross Country watch and Medal
    12k Male and Female
    21k Male and Female
  • Second and Third Placers will get a Soleus Running watch

Age Group Winners – Top 3 Male and Female will receive a Medal and Gift Packs

  • 29 and Below
  • 30 to 39
  • 40 to 49
  • 50 to 59
  • 60 – above


  • Team Hardcore
  • Team with biggest delegation

Water stations will be strategically positioned along the route.
Please bring personal hydration bottles and hydration packs, trail food, energy gels and personal hydration needs.

See you at the trails!!!

2013 TNF 100: The Sweet Finish!

Lesson 4. Stay with the Pack

It was getting dark and the route was going uphill. The cold air was adrift, refreshing, could even bring some chills down to your spine despite the rising body temperature. I caught up with at least ten runners and joined them through the trek. It was night time and staying with the pack was not only strategic, but it was also fun. We were a multinational group composed of runners South Korean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Irish (yes, that’s me) and Filipinos. 

From the time we left AS6, the route was practically a long stretch of uphill roads and trails. The light emanating from our headlamps guided us through the deserted roads and seemingly endless trails, lined up with trees and tall grasses on each side. Nocturnal birds and insects inhabiting the place have awaken, providing some background noise as we got farther into the forest. We had to look for TNF markers to stay on track. We can’t afford to lose some time here because we need to be at AS8 by 1am, and there’s roughly 20 kilometres of road and trails to grind. Looking up ahead, we could only see a silhouette of the peak of Mt. Sto. Tomas at 2,203 MASL. The night sky was clear of clouds. Far ahead, you can only see nothing but darkness. Having been in on the race for at least 18 hours, with sore muscles, limited food intake and the dropping temperature, each step towards the Peak was becoming a challenge. One of us took the liberty of leading the group while one stayed at the back so that no one got left behind, changing positions at some point. Every ten minutes or so, we halted for a three – minute rest to recharge or to squeeze in a power nap. Out team leader was very strict with time. The moment five minutes is over, it’s over. Everyone should get up and start moving in a single file making careful steps through the maze of trees, shrubs, boulders and everything in the forest. At almost midnight, a group of race marshals acknowledged our presence by making short bursts of light. When we reached AS7, we had our longest five minute break in three hours! 

We made it through the killer peak, all in one pack enjoying the precious three minute rests. AS8 is about three clicks away.

Lesson 5. Expect the Unexpected

I felt so much relief when we reached AS8. The marshals helped us with our food – soup, hard boiled eggs, a rice meal and hot drinks. We were an hour ahead of the 1am cut – off time. I couldn’t help but doze off whilst eating. The chilling midnight air was seeping through the jacket I was wearing sending my whole body to shiver. I was so sleepy that I found it quite difficult to resist curling up in an empty seat. When I learned that most of my companions have left, I asked for a cup of soup and hastened to catch up. 

I thought the soup wasn’t so hot. But I realised it was scalding hot when I took a sip from the cup.  One thing I like about trail running is that there’s a lot of adventures and twists as you go along. Passing through the chicken wired gate, the cemented pavement ended up in a rocky downslope. 

While going up the peak was a big challenge, going downhill was a bigger challenge. The downhill course was very tricky. One misstep and you’ll end up rolling down the protruding sharp – edged rocks. 

We passed through a village, disturbing the stillness of the night. I could hear a soft music, though the tune was so unfamiliar to me, I knew that it was a song from the heart. Not so far away, a man was playing an accordion, his silhouette created by a light coming from the living room, his music soothing to the tired soul of the runners. It was like a welcome music to me, the sound fading as we got farther.

Lesson 6. Remember, it’s all in the Mind.

Hours passed. And in a couple of hours, we’ll see the first light of day. The dawn was breaking. The most treacherous part of the route was over. The trails led to the main road, where the marshals took our bib numbers for recording. 

The route included an alley in a residential compound, where domesticated dogs barked at the intruding strangers. The alley pointed to a dead end, and the only way to get going is to take hills. And I knew right there that it’s going to be another set of uphells. I was never wrong about it. Approximately, there’s still 15 kilometres to cover and I had about three hours until cut off. 

The morning temperature had again started creeping up. Thanks to the trees that shielded us from the burning rays of the sun. It helped delay muscle soreness. I had to do a lot of catching up, running whenever I had the chance, especially on downhills. I was starting to feel the exhaustion building up in me. I could feel some relief when I learned I was ten kilometres away from the finish line. I was hungry. My food and energy gels were all gone. I could only rely to my hydration pack. From trail to road, and now back to trail. And yes, it was another uphill route. And I was just hoping that it was the last stretch. I was just so grateful that the route marshals had some apples and salt in their station. I took a half of the apple to sustain the tiniest bit of energy that I had left. I wanted to just stop and sit down and be done with the race without crossing the finish line. My tired legs and sore muscles can only bear just a little more. But I had to remain focused. I slowed when necessary, and go back to running as soon as I recovered.

Lesson 7. Always Say ‘Thank You”.

More runners have taken the trails now, running towards my direction. I was on the verge of breaking down. Seeing my friends, receiving well wishes and congratulatory remarks, and a hug from a runner who do not even knew me was like getting a shot of adrenaline. I can see in their eyes and the expressions on their face how well they admired my courage to take on the 100k challenge. Thanks to the countless friends and strangers who selflessly pushed me to keep on. 

It was almost half past 8 in the morning. The last group of marshals stationed along the trails informed me that I was 200 metres from the finish line. I flushed my face with water to feel and look refreshed (I don’t want to cross the finish line looking groggy and wasted!).

Lesson 8. Smile.

The sound coming from the audio system was getting louder with each step I took. More and more people were lined up along the side of the chute to the finish line arc. There were congratulations, woohoos, good jobs, and thundering claps as I dash towards the finish line. 

I made it. 

It was a sweet finish. 

I knew right there and then that the biggest smile was just painted all over my face. 


I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Brooks Run Happy 3: The Cross Country Challenge!

Click the image for a larger resolution.

Click the image for a larger resolution.

Summer is not just about the sun, the sea and the beach. It’s about Fun and Adventure. This summer, experience the thrilling adventure in a one – of – a – kind race as Brooks Run Happy 3 brings you to the magnificent views of the mountains of Tanay, Rizal. 

On May 11, 2014, join us in a 5k, 10k, 16k or 24k distance challenge. The nature is going to take you to an unexploited race course which you will surely enjoy! 

Race details are as follows:
Date: May 11, 2014 @ 6am
Venue: Sierra Madre, Tanay, Rizal 




Registration Fees:

5k: Php600.00
10k: Php950.00
16k: Php1,450.00
24k: Php1,600.00 

Where to Register:

  1. Brooks SM North Annex
  2. Toby’s Mall of Asia
  3. Toby’s SM Megamall
  4. Runnr BHS 

Race Kit Inclusion:
Race bib, Race Shirt, Gloves and Whistle

16k and 24k will receive an additional Fitletic Race Bib Holder on race day. 

Participants can avail of the Transportation and Hotel Accommodation upon registration. Please visit for details. 

Medals await the 16k and 24k finishers! 



1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place
24k P6000 + Shoes + Plaque P4000 + Shoes + Plaque P3000 + Shoes + Plaque
16k P3000 + Shoes + Plaque P2000 + Shoes + Plaque P1500 + Shoes + Plaque
10k Shoes + Plaque Shoes + Plaque Shoes + Plaque
5k Plaque Plaque Plaque

For more race details and updates, like us on Facebook:; Or visit 

Register now!

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