I love travelling, I love running. I love climbing mountains. And last weekend I hit 3 birds with one stone when I joined the test race for the Philippine Internation Skyrace, the Pilipinas Akyathlon.
A 23km mountain running race started from the Kennon Road Toll Gate Plaza (771masl). The first 10km was a steep climb to the peak of Mt Sto Tomas (2257masl). The next 13 km was a fast descent to the finish line at Tuba Town Hall. The totalÂ elevation gainedÂ was 2178 meters.
With the start of the race, I only had 2 goals in mind
- Get to the top of Mount Sto Tomas at 10AM
- To finish strong at the end of the race
The race course description wasn’t joking when it mentioned steep climb. Most of the time the runner before me was not in front but above. It was a physically and mentally demanding course. Running was almost impossible and sometimes I need to quickly change into four wheel drive mode (using my hands and feet) just to climb a certain segment.
The trail was hard on the legs when moving forward, but it offered an easy and relaxing sight when you look back.
But I still have to continue and finish the race even if it means losing a sole.
Run the flats and downhills, and push myself by trekking the uphills. Never giving up, not even entertaining the thought of it. Unlike road runs, I had to look for the blue ribbons that were designated as trail signs, some of which were hard to find. If I don’t find one I may get lost and if that happens, hopefully, I will realize that I am way off.
GOAL #1 REACHED! I arrived at the top of Mount Sto Tomas at exactly 10AM and rested for a while to eat and share my jellyace to other racers.
During my descent, I still have enough strength to push myself but my feet were hurting because of having a shoes with a small front allowance. This was the result when you do panic-buying or get too excited when buying shoes.
How high were we?
I was walking and running alternately, good thing there were still some runners that helped me push myself forward (also to take the photo above 🙂 ).
And after 2 hours and 45 minutes from Goal #1, I saw the finish line 50 meters ahead of me. It was a great feeling when the locals and other runners saw me and started clapping their hands and cheering me to finish strong. Thus GOAL #2 was achieved.
Finishing the great race, free lunch was served from the fresh produce of Benguet… and jump shots were taken.
Thanks to PSA for organizing a great race. The trails were challenging, the air was clean and the landscape was breathtaking. Thanks also to the Municipality of Tuba, Benguet for the support given to the event and the warm hospitality extended to everyone.
For more runs and events on roads less travelled, visit PSA’s event page.
Let’s support sports tourism. 🙂