TBR RACE REVIEW: TNF 100k
Overall rating (10 highest): 8
- Unique and different race experience.
- Race started on time.
- Marshals along the route. Even one to lend a hand in a difficult climb.
- Directional signs along the 10k trail.
- Adequate water at stations.
- Handsome singlets.
BETTER JOB NEXT TIME:
- Bottleneck at the trail start.
- Lack of km markers along the route.
These days, it’s not about rolling out yet another predictable race, but offering runners a unique running experience. The TNF 100 did just that and more for runners used to the city roads.
A trail run is a completely different animal from a road race so the usual criteria for review does not apply. It was also my first trail run experience so I don’t have a benchmark to compare it with. Having said that, however, this race was more organized than other road races in the past as it provided water stations, signs, marshals and other basic requirements for a good race. Add to the mix, the adrenaline rush that comes from running through rivers and trails and, for me, it was a near perfect run.
For runners like me who are new to trail running and want to get their feet wet (literally!), the 10k was a good beginners trail run. More experienced trail runners (or those who tried TNF last year) took the 20k which was much tougher than the 10k. The 100k was more challenging for both organizers and runners alike due to the tornado and rains that wreaked havoc on the course the night before. The organizers handled the matter professionally and almost cancelled the 10k/ 20k race to ensure runners’ safety. Fortunately, the weather improved and a safe, successful race commenced. Overall, this was a great race. Count me in for next year.
[Better Safe than Hurt]
The evening before the race, as I lay on our comfortable beds in Holiday Inn, Clark, Pampanga, I received an SMS message from Jay informing me that the race might not push through. The starting line, he said, looked like a disaster area and the 100km runners were asked to stop to ensure their safety. 100km runners waited at the assembly area for over 2 hours with lactic acid building up in their legs. A lot of ultra runners decided to DNF.
Upon hearing the news, the first thing that came to mind for a first-time trail runner like me was: Better safe than injured…or hurt. No race is worth risking my life for.
Good thing though that, by dinner time, we got news that, after a thorough evaluation by TNF and Finish Line, the race would be pushing through. That was great news. But, honestly, I was scared to death. At first I was fearful of twisting an ankle or breaking a limb. Now, I had to worry about tornadoes and floods. Great.
[Couples for Trail Runs]
We arrived at the assembly area to see hundreds of 10k and 20k runners at the starting line. This was a relatively small race so the atmosphere was more relaxed. 20k runners were off at exactly 5:30 and, after 10 minutes, our 10k race started as well.
Hubby and I ran together with two other couples for most of the course: Solemates’ Jun and Mariel and Techspec’s Taki and Charmaine. Walang iwanan, we said, as we planned for this to be a fun, enjoyable run. In fact, we took our cameras along for the adventure.
We ran through less than a kilometer of concrete roads before hitting the trails. This could’ve served as a warm up as we were chatting and laughing all the way until the roads ended.
[And the Trails Begin]
By the time we hit the start of the trails, the laughter died down as we all waited for our turn to slide down the narrow, slippery path leading to the lahar grounds. What have I gotten myself into, I thought.
When my feet touched the lahar, it was soft and easy ground to run on, almost like running on the beach. We ran at an easy pace, in one straight line, occasionally brushing off the grass that would strike our faces. It was so much easier than I thought…and so much more fun! There were times when I viewed the landscape around me in complete awe of my surroundings.
When we reached the river (which was not the rolling rivers I expected but shallow water that, at the most, reached the ankles) we first tiptoed like ballerinas (even the men) in a futile attempt to keep our shoes from getting soaked. After many more little river crossings—and with wet shoes and socks to boot—we weren’t as careful and enjoyed the experience.
[Mud and More Mud]
As we went deeper into the trails, the ground was less lahar and more slippery, sticky mud. Often, we had to slow down to a walk to avoid slipping and sliding. This is where I was thankful for my Rucky Chucky trail shoes. The traction on that shoe was impeccable and my husband said the same about his TNF Voza. There was one climb up through a narrow trail and another one down where I felt like we were trekking instead of racing but the trail shoes allowed me to climb with ease; I rarely felt the need to hang on to something.
– Lovin’ my first trail run –
From 2k to around 8k, we ran on the trail and majority of that course we were able to run through at an easy pace. I’m sure if it hadn’t rained, it would’ve been an even faster running route.
[Back on the Road]
By around 8.5k, we hit the highway and made our way back to the finish. It was here that hubby and I ran alongside each other and enjoyed the great experience we shared. We crossed the finish line at 1 hour 31 mins. Very slow time, but with all the amazing pictures we got, it doesn’t really matter.
Coming soon: TNF 100 Part 2 (a lot more photos)