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Merrell Adventure Run 2011

On this race, I had my revenge... I reclaimed the victory, and it was indeed a great, real trail-running experience!

Comparing to last year's Merrell Adventure Run at Wawa, Montalban where I almost dreaded the race (read the story here) and disliked the organizer (sorry Sir Thumbie), this time, the Merrell Adventure Run 2011 held at the Timberland Heights in San Mateo, Rizal, exceeded my expectations and I could say, even the expectations of the more than 1,500 runners who participated in the said event.

With only less than an hour of sleep, I arrived at the venue around 4AM together with some Employees/Runners of Agatep (thanks to you as always). It was still early and I have much time to roam around. The temperature was so cool, and the rain shower would come and go every once in a while that kept the ground and the trail course of Timberland wet.

I went to the starting line just to get a glimpse of what lays ahead for the runners, and what first struck my eyes were - mud and muddy-waters! And a few meters ahead of the starting line, all I could see is darkness with some leaves and grass on the sideways. I shivered with excitement coupled with the cool breeze of air. Still having plenty of time, I went to the booth of Alaska which was the first booth that was able to set-up that early, already serving pan-de-sal breakfast and Alaska Milk and Choco for the early-bird runners.

The blue sky promises a great day ahead
Just as the day breaks, more runners filled up the area, a lot of ladies I could say for such a challenging run ahead. Whether they know what a trail run is or not, I'm sure they're all up for the adventure. Some elite runners also flocked in, as well as this "rat runner" (Rey Lumauag) who were there to take the challenge despite being not in good condition as he's suffering from dry cough.

At the starting line after the 21k gun-start fired, the 10k runners were gathered. There I met some aNR-UP Heartbreakers and other co-runners from the Six:30 running group.

As we started traversing the trails, the adventure and challenge almost never stopped. Just the moment you stepped out from the starting line, it was already a challenge how to get past from all other runners as you can't help but to slowdown else suffer an early fall on the slippery rocks and muds. I brought a digicam with me to take shots of the sceneries as I get past to it, with the runners crossing the rivers, trekking the hills, dancing on the mud, jumping on the terrains, falling down and all.

I fell down twice on the entire course, once on my right butt on a muddy downhill going to the river, and the second one was on my left butt on another muddy slope. Slipped a few times, got almost overthrown as I sped down losing control of my strides. Thankfully there were small trees and branches that I was able to grab, while overturning my body to the opposite direction as I hold on. Single track of trails from moderately-easy to traverse to the most challenging one that it almost looks like a "kumonoy" were also unavoidable.

The entire course gave me new knowledge in running the trails, muddy trails specifically. I learned that the techniques in road running (proper form, proper stride) will not always be applicable. Somehow, I was only able to maintain a proper breathing most of the time.

To get past on the muddy trails, you will need not just your forefoot nor your midfoot, but you will need all the parts of your feet even your knees and legs on the ground. Your toes will also play a vital role to help you grip, and you may even crawl if you must. Leg, core, and over-all body strength are also essential to keep you running and protected from injuries. Also most of the time, the sidetracks of the trails have more grip so it'll be a better choice to run on it rather than on the middle-track where all you could see are skid marks or buried shoes. Sometimes, you don't have to run the trails also, side-to-side skipping and leaping will let you easily pass through a flat but muddy trail. And when you fall down, your body's agility and the strength of your hands, arms and shoulder will be your saving partner to help you easily get up if you don't want somebody to notice your butt-hampering moment.

The starting line was creepier in the dark
Some photos of the trail
Seems like it will lead to nowhere

Killer HELL
There's a flat, relaxing course after all
I call this the snake's trail
Breath-taking views of the cloud

Even dogs enjoy the trails
Go barefoot, or go sole-less
Runners refreshing on the shower
Wounds like this gives you a happy mark
The people from Euro RSG Agatep PR
with Ms. Katrina Ong, her Father and brother
More photos can be found on my FB Albums.

What else can I say, but to give everyone a pat on the shoulder. The race was superb, hydrations (from LightWater - really light indeed) are more than enough, plenty of friendly and helpful Marshalls throughout the entire course, and a very good choice of date and venue.

All hail to Merrell Team for such a great adventure;

Two thumb's up to Sir Thumbie Remigio (Adrenaline MultiSports Group) for a successfully organized and well-deserved race;

High-five to Sir Jeff for the given opportunity to be part of this year's adventure run;

Kisses to the "angels" (Nicole, Glaiza, Ei, etc.) of Euro RSCG Agatep PR who let me hitch on their ride for the past two years of Merrell's Adventure Run;

A muddy-hug also to all my co-runners who braved the adventure;

To Ms. Katrina Ong (Zoo York Marketing), nice meeting you again and your family, and congratulations to you also.

Media Special Award: 2nd Place, got consumable goodies from
sponsors and a Spyder Fringe shades


  1. I agree with you Running Atom. it was a well-organized and secured race. We almost saw every marshals at each turning points in the route. I just started to run since last June 2009 so I was not able to join the first Merell adventure run.
    Great story and review

  2. Butt Hampering Moments? lol. I had to laugh at that, as I had not heard that in quite a while. I remember this from last year. I am so happy it turned out better for you this year. So you fell on your left and right butt. Way to go!!! Loved the pictures and all man. Thanks for sharing the experience. I felt as if I were there. Man, I miss Jollibee! lol

  3. Hi Reginald, you wouldn't want to be one of the participants of the first MAR, lol! But hey, that was still a great adventure despite of the race failures. I learned to just look at the positive sides of any race as it gives more fun to us :)

  4. Sir Kenley, long time no words from you, how're you doin?
    I did have a better race on this year's installment of MAR. When are you coming here? We should run this route soon before the subdivision development starts :(

  5. Wow, I love the place where the adventure race happened. Great stuff, nice photos you have. Congratulations to all the racers for a great job well done.

  6. Spartan Ab, yes it was really a great race indeed! When will the Spartan Race be here in the Phils? Drop me a mail should the Spartan race will give us a sweet taste of it :) Thanks for dropping by :)


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