Fitness, Hike, Travel

Takbo: Sandugo Pacific Coast Ultra 100 2018

Friday to Sunday
October 5-7, 2018

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I’ll probably ramble on too much if given the chance. But this was just too good of an event to not put into writing. Plus I have already compiled all my pictures for the event, it would be such a waste for me to not post them here.

So without further ado, here is my account of the race, with lots of words and even more pictures.

This is the second year of the race. Last year, I had finished my goal of a 100km finish with the Four Lakes 2017, so I didn’t put much interest into this race. But with lots of positive reviews afterward, I joined this year’s edition just to see what the fuss was about.

There was a lot of noise about this race. It being “flat” and “easy.” But I have never taken any race for granted so I ramped up my mileage a few months before and trained with Khat, who will be running this as her first hundred.

Race briefing with the RD, sir Greg

The organizers prepared a shuttle for the participants at certain parts of the metro, so going to the venue wasn’t a problem anymore. General Nakar was a long ride away so I spent it in dreamland. When we arrived, it was an afternoon of waiting until it was time for the race briefing. After being briefed and claiming our kits, we went to a resort to get some rest.

At the starting line with trail friends

Our initial plan was to camp near the starting line at the General Nakar municipal hall. But fortunately some trail friends offered to share their space with us. Muchos gracias to team Dory’s Resort for the good time.

Me and bebelabs before the gun start

Early Saturday morning, the runners of both 100km and 50km distances toed the starting line. After taking pictures and wishing everyone else a good race, we were on our way. I started the race with a conservative pace, but I did enjoy the initial downhills.

Full energy at the gunstart

At the first aid station, I said hello to team Malditah, who were managing it. Some quick talk while waiting for Khat, and it was back to the trail. I loved the route as it was a trail for the locals to go from baranggay to baranggay. It was reminiscent of the paths in my province.

One of the multiple river crossings along the route

I paced with a lot of different trail friends through the route which had lots of views of the coast as well as bridges and river crossings. Eventually, I reached the 2nd aid station or km25. This was the U-turn point for the 50km runners so I said goodbye to some of them while filling myself with suman and buko juice. I waited a bit for Khat, who was having blisters. She told me to go ahead and so I did, deciding to just wait for her at the turning point of the 100km.

It was pretty much smooth sailing until after the 3rd aid station when things took a turn for the difficult. A hot and long uphill climb greeted me. With no other choice, I trudged on forward, sweating bullets all the way. After that hellish part, we returned to the beautiful coast where I got my groove back. It was more run-walking until the 4th aid station where I stopped only briefly to refill my empty water flasks.

Literally runnning beside the Philippine sea

Some of the 100km runners were already on their way back and they told me that there was one more long and steep climb before the descent to the turning point. I gave them my thanks and continued on. Up and down I went, greeting familar faces as they gave me words of comfort. At my return to sea level, I heard the hustle and bustle of a community and was welcomed by the familiar faces of the resting runners. 55km done. Halfway.

Thank you photographers, your presence makes us run

It was still a long ways from the cutoff and Khat hasn’t arrived yet so I tried to get some sleep after eating the tinolang manok they served. Sleep didn’t come, but I was able rest my legs and recharge my willpower.

Khat arrived and after taking some time of rest, we left the U-turn with 30 minutes to spare. The way back was even more grueling. Those were the longest 50 kilometers of my life so far.

Night fell on us at the quarry but we carried on walking. My headlamp failed me so I was following Khat’s footsteps the whole time. The good thing about the night was it made the steepness of the trail less obvious. We were just focusing on the ray of light a meter ahead of us.

Listening to the other runners at the aid station

We recounted the familiar parts of the trail. We took a break at every aid station and shared miseries with the runners in there. At 11pm, we reached the 50km U-turn. This was the aid station with a baranggay hall so we spent an hour sleeping there. At exactly midnight, we started walking again.

Making coffee to stay awake

Walking every kilometer of the remaining distance was hard, especially with blisters I can’t do anything about. Determined to finish and with a calculated time within the cutoff, we continued on in silence. At the last wooden bridge, we had the luxury of lying down and gazing at the stars for a bit before continuing on.

Finally, we reached the last aid station. Team Malditah was still stationed there, and they served the tastiest lugaw and coffee I have ever tasted. Rye gave some last words of encouragement as we had around 9km to go. We bade him farewell and worked our way up the final climb.

The sun rose and the shorter distance races (25/12/6km) started. We said hi to the familiar faces passing us on our way to the finish. The trail gave way to the cemented roads and finally, the driveway to the municipal hall. And just as in many races before, I crossed the line with Khat’s hand in mine. 100km done.

The finish was festive and filled with faster friends who they congratulated us as we took off our footwear to give our feet some much needed breathing room. After some quick conversation, we went back to the resort to fix up our things and wait for the transportation back to the metro.

Post-finish snapshots

It’s true that this race IS easier than my previous 100, but in no way is it easy. It was still a challenge, but one that I am happy to say is something I can see myself doing again. The distance should always be respected, but being out on a beautiful trail for an extended period of time makes it seem less a chore and more of a vacation.

If I have to sum up this event in one word, I’d have to say it was “pleasant.” Great venue, great people, competent organization and course logistics make this a memorable race to attend. I’d recommend this for runners who want to get familiar with the distance of 100 kilometers or 100 miles. It’s a good and quality gateway race for the ultra distance.

I’d like to thank sir Greg and the Sandugo/Basekamp team for a great race. This is just the 2nd edition but I have a feeling that this race will be one of the most sought after in the Philippine trailrunning scene. Great handling of logistics and also a few extra kilometers of bonus for the runners. Congratulations!

To the marshals and volunteers at the aid stations, as well as along the route, thank you for taking the time to secure the well-being of the runners. You gave us that extra push to keep going. To the different running teams that manned the stations, thank you. To Glairold, A&J, and the others who documented, thank you for your service.

To my fellow runners, congratulaions! from 100 miles down to 6 kilometers, we faced the route with smiling faces. Thank you to everyone I paced with along the route. We tested our strength once again on the trails of our beautiful land, and everyone emerged victorious. Until the next race!

To Khat. Thank you for running with me until the end. It was fun, miserable, and painstaking, but we did it! Congratulations on your first hundred kilometer run. I know you’ll go even further next time. I am always ready to support you.

And as always, thank You to the Big Guy for this opportunity and for keeping each and everyone safe. This was a success because You willed it.


Race Summary

Race: 2nd Sandugo Pacific Coast Ultra 100
Distance: 100km
Finish: 25:12:50 (39/76)
Food: [Self] H2O, Liquid I.V., Vitamin Boost, Beng-beng
Gear: Kalenji Gilet Trail 5L, Feetures Socks, New Balance 590v3, Naturehike Soft Flasks


Full sets of pictures can be found here.

Race swag from the registration

This will probably be my last race for the year. It was an amazing one and I can’t wait for what’s in store next year. Oh, I forgot to mention, we ate Korean BBQ after this race and it was one of the tastiest dinners I’ve had. Nothing to whet your appetite like an ultramarathon!

For now it’s off season for me, but I’ll still be in the area supporting my bebelabs and my friends. Thanks for reading!

Me and bebelabs at the finish || Pitik ni Glairold

Respect the distance, but never fear it.

-jgzn

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