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A Short Rave Run at Mt. Pinatubo

The first time I step afoot at Mt. Pinatubo was during a fund-raising trek from Capas, Tarlac towards the crater. Together with my runner-companions Argow, Maridol, and Victor, we were still able to run a few distance while on back-pack and slipper. That day ended with hope inside me that someday I could run once again on this lahar-land that will cover more distance.

That hope was somehow fulfilled more than a year after, and it was thanks to Columbia Sportswear and Primer for bringing the Columbia Eco-Trail Challenge to the participants last 13th of October 2012.

The finish arch before the race start (photo by Columbia SportswearPh)
It was a sleepy night during our travel towards the venue, having only slept for around 2 hours. Thankfully I was only running for 12K distance as I still have another 21K obstacle race for the next day (will blog about it soon). It was supposed to be a relaxing start if our shuttle bus didn't get lost going to the venue at Nayong Pilipino grounds, Brgy. Sapangbato in Angeles, Pampanga. As soon as we got-off the shuttle, a gun-start was already fired. I was in confusion of the gun-start if it was just for the 25K yet or 12K category until the people around told me that I should start running already.

I haven't warmed-up yet and my joints still felt stiff but seeing the 12K runners going farther and farther from the starting line, I just opted to join them as soon as I left my baggage and pinned my bib. The short amount of stress from getting late and being left behind, and the thought of having to chase a number of them urged me to give way to the surging adrenaline rush. I did until a bottle-neck going down from the road towards the start of the lahar bed below a bridge stopped me.

Soon as we get past the bridge, the lahar adventures began, and my inner-right knee (which first acted up from my previous MetaTrail race) started to ache little-by-little. At this time, it wasn't the knee pains that I was complaining of, but the fact that I don't have a camera with me to take a snapshot of the surreal environment. The digicam that I used to bring with me when running already lost its flash and focus after it got wet during one of my rainy day race. However, you can check out the photos from JazzRunner and RunningPinoy who both ran the 25K distance and were able to take magnificent shots of their route.

photo by RunAdoboKing
Still powered by the adrenaline rush, I was already speeding up at the 2nd kilometer, not minding the gravels and uneven surface that I am stepping on. And that move took a toll on me as soon as I reached the 3rd up to the 6th-kilometer where I truly slowed down, felt my chest pounding hard, and calves getting tighter.

I began to walk for 100-meters after running around 600-meters distance, and took the walking time to wander my eyes at the surroundings, while still getting astonished with the streams of flowing water, the shallow rivers, and the formed walls while wondering what could be beneath and under the wide lahar-covered area. Were there previously roof houses where I am stepping at right now? Or rice fields perhaps? How about remains of farm animals, dogs, or even people who used to live by during the eruption way back in June 15, 1991? Who knew?!

My wandering mind was taken back to reality when I saw Drew Arellano and trailing him about more than 2-kms away Rovilson Fernandez on their way back already.

photo by PinoyFitness
After reaching our U-turn at the 6th-kilometer mark and walking a few more hundred meters, my chest cleared-out. The air was still cool after all, no vehicle-caused pollution, no warming from tall buildings, all but mother nature around you despite the wet-desert-like lahar trails. As soon as I started to run, it seemed like I got a renewed energy that I am already running like I am just treading a flat road except when my foot sinks on a soft bank or on the river streams.

The non-ending wet-desert though wouldn't bore you and wouldn't seem like a gray or monotonous view as the combination of lahar ashes, sands, and small pebbles would continue to challenge each stride of your legs. I reached the finish line after 1-hour and 16-minutes from the time I left the starting line. It was only then that I felt that I have overworked my feet that the front-side (near the midtarsal joint) of my ankle aches on each flexion. A good 20-minutes of cool-down stretching helped ease the pain and relaxed my muscles back.

Aside from the route and venue that I have loved, I was equally impressed with the cup-less hydration and the organizers program where runners are encouraged to not just throw away their empty water pet-bottles. Instead, these pet-bottles were exchange for a pet-can of cold coke. Truly an eco-race!

Race Profile:
Distance: 12km.
Official Time: 01:20:00
Official Rank: 33rd

Race Info:
When: October 13, 2012.
Where: Brgy. Sapangbato, Angeles, Pampanga
Event: Columbia Eco-Trail Pinatubo Challenge

Unique piece of medal

with Kiko Rustia and JC Tiuseco
1st time to meet Kuya Allan, older brother of my College classmate
with co-Six:30 and 1st time trail runner Teton
with Gab, James' girl/friend, James, Ed, and me
You may view your race results at

1 comment:

  1. wow! I am not a runner, but I envy runners....all my friends are actually, and I always get left out every time...:)



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