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Immuvit Fearless Challenge

What I knew about this race, is that there will be five (5) obstacle courses along the route which made it challenging and exciting for the anticipating participants. As exciting as it is, a night before the race, I have been conquering my first obstacle course that isn't even situated on the race route - that is "Insomniphobia" - I feared that my insomnia would come and yes it actually did!.

I got up and gave up my hope of getting sleep at 1:45AM and decided to just have a very early breakfast of CornSiLog (corned-beef, sinangag, and sunny-side-up egg) at a nearby tapsilogan. I always get sleepy after a good meal so I filled my corned-beef and egg with 2-teaspoonfuls of chili-sauce for hopes of helping me stay awake until the gun-start.

Getting ready at 3:25AM, I headed-out to our pick-up point at Shell station in-front of UP Technohub in Commonwealth Ave. - by foot. Walked 2-kilometers and jogged the remaining 1-kilometer just to still keep me awake. This gave me a good warm-up 2-hours before the gun-start (and then it cooled me down)! At past 4:00AM, the shuttle van where Sir Rene and I hitched arrived to pick us up together with other runners, two members from Team Total Fitness, Bloggers Nonoy and Carl, and Ms. Sherleen of Outbound Communications.

Still conquering my first obstacle
When we arrived at the race venue in La Mesa Nature Forest Reserve, the cool-air, green trees, and the hazy dawn so relaxes me that I feel like lying down on the benches provided at the media tent. Aarrrrrr!!! Before I finally lie down and get that dreaded sweet dreams, I stood up and left the chair where I was sitting and grabbed my camera to take some shots of the surroundings while waiting for the gun-start. It was already around 5:20AM when the first batch of runners from the shuttle-busses arrived.

Then... alas, as the runners filled the area, I knew that the sleepy head in me was already over and it was time for an adrenaline-pushing 10K, Spartan, obstacle race!

At 6:00AM, the 1st wave of the 10K took off. I would've liked to join the 1st wave but we were assigned for the 4th wave with gun-start of 6:30AM, at the same time, I'd like to experience the warm-up exercises led by Rip:60 Trainers and Coaches which were helpful enough to activate our chest, hips, and legs. A Capoiera-dance was also introduced (I love that!).

5th wave of 5K Runners doing their warm-up
Now who said that there were only five (5) official obstacles courses? Count again...

1st Obstacle - Fire jump
A few meters downwards from the starting line, runners will get a 10-minute glimpse of the tarp while waiting for the gun-start that reads "Fire jump" and a limited view of what that fire jump is. When one of my colleagues asked me how will the fire jump be, I told him to my limited knowledge that runners will have to run and jump over more than a few meters of coal-fired pavement. I guess that answer was enough to put him in fear and back-out instead of registering for the race (sorry, my bad)!

The fire-jump (photo courtesy of Team USB)
The fire jump actually consisted of two set-apart and horizontally-positioned dried-logs along the trail road. The fire wasn't burning that much when I crossed, but I saw some photos of other runners where the fire was really blazing at legs to about above the hips high. That first obstacle was enough to fire-up your rushing adrenaline.

From here on, the trail route was a rolling up and downhills of approximately 30 to 60-meters elevation change.

Low/Mud Crawl
At less than 2-kilometers, I got surprised with the very-low crawl obstacle, much below I think than my knees. I was having self-doubt if I should crawl underneath or jump over it but it was obvious that I really have to crawl as there was a net that prevented us to step over it, unless we'd try to perform a long jump. :)

My handheld hydration bottle was tucked at the back of my shorts and it gets hooked at the strings that holds the net so instead of crawling from my chest, I just crawled from my right shoulder. There were no mud at this crawl as the ground was covered with tarpaulin to avoid the stones and rocks from surely knocking our elbows and knees. It was from this obstacle that I bruised my left-knee.

Log Hurdles
The log hurdles was of varying height of around 5 or 6 logs spaced evenly. Situated at around the 3rd or so kilometer, the logs wouldn't just test your shoulder strength but also your legs' agility. Pull yourself up from the chest-leveled ones (optional: bear-hug the logs before going down) and just jump over those that are just below-the-knees.

If you think that you've already passed from these tree-hugging, well, here's another surprise: There's another set of logs waiting after a few more kilometers. And these logs are not the same from the first as these set was much higher that they-say-it's only chest-high but I say it's way above-my-chest and it's actually on my neck (the disadvantage of having shorter legs).

(How many obstacles were there so far?)

Military Wall
On my butt (photo courtesy of Team USB)
Now this hurdle was much friendlier, as it wasn't a 90-degree standing wall but was inclined at 45-degrees of about 6 or 7-feet high. There were ropes to assist you on the climb but on my own judgment for myself, it would take me lesser time to get up if I just run towards it with enough momentum, and that's what I did.

The slide down however, wasn't as friendly as the climb, some even doubted their ability if they could go down after they have reached the wall's peak. The smooth tarps of the wall going down was a good cover to accelerate you faster and bump your precious butts on the ground. It was on this slide down that I bruised my two elbows and my right-knee. Now all the four major-joints of my body is bruised!

Tire Hop
This 4x5 matrix of tires was the easiest among the obstacles so far. Learning from my previous Urban obstacle races, I didn't hop on the tires by pair, and instead, I just hop on a straight line of 5-tires, then I was gone.

Mad, errr Mud Wall
After some more running in the mud, a number of short wooden-bridge crossings, stream crossing, and a river crossing (they said that it's just above-the-crotch deep, but I say and I think that Noel and Kyx would agree with me, it was chest-deep, really), comes another unique obstacle experience - a 20-foot Mud wall climb.

There were also knotted-ropes to assist us - the trekkers, climbers, hikers, trail runners, spartan all-in-one! Gladly when I arrived, there were only a few runners left from the 1st-three waves (I was still leading the 4th wave) so there wasn't much line going up. I pulled myself up perpendicular to the mud wall like a mad climber and gladly my shoe clinged so well on the mud that helped me climb easily.

Above the mud wall, a series of branching bamboo trees blocked our way like a maze before we can finally find our way out on a steep, slippery, mud hills (hmmmnn... count that out as another obstacle).

Before reaching the next obstacle, it was a long, single-track running inside the jungle of La Mesa Forest Reserve.

A hundred meter from the finish line, there's still a quads and glutes-burning workout that runners will have to accomplish - a 4 or 5-meter lunges. This one, aside from the Military and Mud wall, put me on halt to relax and take a deep-breath before doing the task.

Imagine that running more than 10-kilometers already and you still have to do a meta-fit workout? Crazy! Then I realized, this might be a teaser for the 2nd leg. ;)

A runner doing his lunges (photo courtesy of Team USB)
Will this count as an obstacle although there was an absence of physical obstruction along the route?

nth Obstacle - Fire jump
Now after that leg-burning lunges, it was a final test for your strength, if you could still jump the last obstacle - the fire wall towards the finish line.

At this point in time, I felt like I was some kind of malicious computer program or computer-virus that has been hiding and running away from the anti-viruses and network security programs on my way in towards a target server. A great amount of money or information is at stake if I could just jump over that last network "firewall".

The last fire jump
(photo thanks again to Team USB)
If you have surrendered on this final obstacle, all the fun and all the challenges that you have conquered from the starting line would have made it all meaningless. That medal, that simple piece of metal, is a simple token of what you have accomplished after facing your fears and giving out your all to conquer those obstacles. Oh how it all applies to real life!

(What's the final count of all the obstacles?)

I was sleepless a night before the event, and this race made me sleep at the wooden floors of my room. It didn't gave me the chance to clean and bathe myself up. I got knocked-down immediately upon arriving home.

Will I see you on the 2nd leg coming in September 15?

Race Profile:
Distance: 10.99 km.
Official Time: 01:06:01
Official Rank: 9th
Total Obstacles: Ten including the 2-sets of log hurdles and bamboo maze after the mud wall. Eleven for me including the sleepless night. :)

You may now view the race results from

Race Info:
When: August 26, 2012.
Where: La Mesa Nature Forest Reserve, Quirino Hi-way, Novaliches, Quezon City
Event: Immuvit Fearless Challenge Trail Run Leg 1

What defines me? Sleeper, lol!
Do not count life's obstacles that you have faced and conquered, it will never end. Instead, learn from it and count the blessings you have received so far, that's more fulfilling.

Some more photos:
10K's 4th wave take-off
Bruises - the fun of trail running
with co-Six:30 and co-Diadora team mate Noel Castle.

with the lovely and fit Coaches Tonette Dimaguila and Jim Saret
and Kuya Nonoy on my left
Here's another reason why trail running is fun :)
If she made it alive to the finish line, why can't you?
More photos can be found from my facebook album.


  1. Pambihira. 1:06, ang galing. Enjoyed my first trail running experience. Nice seeing you in the race.

  2. Inggit me much di ako nakajoin dito waaaaaaaaaah. Next leg let's see.

  3. Congrats bro! Thanks for the pics :)

  4. :)
    Congrats on your first Franc. This means you will be running more trails this time hehe :)

  5. @kalongkong, there will still be trail races coming so be sure to join one and experience the unique experience each trail has to offer. :)

    @Jham, congratulations to you also. See you again on next races. :)

  6. "Do not count life's obstacles that you have faced and conquered, it will never end. Instead, learn from it and count the blessings you have received so far, that's more fulfilling." - I love this passage of yours. Indeed there's much in running than physical fitness. :) I love reading your blog repeatedly. Its always like a good book or a good film to watch over and over again. :) Thanks!

  7. @DaddyCastle, thank you so much for the regular visit and read. I hope I could maintain such good posts for my readers. Nature really does give us great inspirations even after such a tiresome day. :)


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