I seldom endorse a running event other than the BDM and PAU Races. The Taray Pamulinawen is a unique race where you can experience running along the sand dunes on the beaches of South China Sea, the paved roads made to connect the barangays, and the hills and rice field trails of Laoag City. Practically, this is my “playground” whenever I spend my vacation in my hometown which I even extend up to a distance of 20-25 kilometers just to inspect my real property on the hills of Barangay Salet. However, on this particular running event, the race organizers came up with a distance of 16 kilometers or 10 miles to have a glimpse on a particular side of the city.
Due to the 1st BDM 160K Ultra Run on February 26-27, I will be missing this one. But for those who would like to visit Laoag City and the tourist spots of Ilocos Norte, this will be a good reason to have fun and taste the local foods of the province before and after the run!
Those who are interested can register at A Runner’s Circle Specialty Store along Roxas Boulevard (at the Aloha Hotel Building) which opens at 12:00 Noon. Look for Perkins!
The following is the Route Course Description of the race which was sent by Dr Chester Puno, an ultra runner who is one of the organizers of the event:
TARÁY PAMULINAWEN 16K ROUTE DESCRIPTION
The 16km run starts in front of the basketball court of Barangay Talingaan. After about 200mts of concrete, the run turns to Ventura Highway (nothing to do with the song) and dips into the famous sand dunes of Barangay La Paz. This is where the challenge begins. The sand varies in consistency from hard to soft (shoes may get buried). Gaiters are proper if only to minimize sand and pebbles getting inside your trail shoes (But if your feet don’t mind these intrusions, no need to buy/improvise gaiters). Undulations are given. In which case gradients and elevation of the dunes are also inconsistent. Walking poles are allowed. (Although during our test run, nobody brought any, and we still managed to navigate; some of us on all four extremities : ). There are sections where no trail is visible/available and the only guide is a flag. One may take any route towards the flag, if he/she thinks it’s the easiest/fastest way to reach it (the shortest distance between 2 points may not necessarily be the fastest because the terrain is very irregular). On top of the dunes, the scenic view of the sea, sand and the rising sun is best appreciated (for non-competitive runners, it’s the best time to feast your human and mechanical lenses on the beauty of Laoag sand dunes; just be mindful of the 2 ½ hr curfew). There are dried grasses/weeds that dot the dunes in variable heights. Leg abrasions are a possibility; at the least, legs may get itchy from contact. Lower leg protection is suggested (ankle low tights, knee high socks, lower leg sleeves). A water aid station will be available in this stage. The dunes run distance is approximately 3kms, before your feet finally hit concrete in front of the sisters’ convent. (We had to stop at this point, remove our shoes and empty the load of sand within).
The next three kilometers course through the barangay streets of La Paz, Navotas and Dibua. Runners will be greeted by curious barangay folks, a stark contrast from the seemingly empty, unpopulated desert experience. Since these are rural barangays, fields of corn and palay flank the roads. From previous sights of light gray, the eye starts to meet hues of green. At the top of Dibua hill, just before reaching BR’s house, the road turns right into an insconspicuous trailhead. It signals the next stage of the race: 8 kilometers of hills and trails traversing Barangays Dibua, Pila and Vira.
Vegetation gets thicker in this leg of the race. Naturally, the ground becomes uneven and technical at various points. Descents, inclines and gradients are likewise erratic and sporadic. Needless to say, the runner must watch his step. One has to be wary of his/her surroundings as he/she may run smack into low hanging/lying branches and trunks. There are single tracks and double tracks. As these barangays are into farming, an irrigation snakes through the route. A portion of the race requires the runner’s agility as he navigates through wet and muddy fields. (This runner miscalculated and landed straight into mud. Take comfort in the thought that it may at least make you look more hardcore. Think of BR’s picture on the cover of frontRUNNER). Be vigilant as well to cow/carabao dung and horse manure (which I fondly refer to as “teller mines”) that occasionally adorn the paths. The organizers will make arrangements in order to put canine attacks and chases to a minimum. Bovine exposure, however may not be as limited. So far, there has never been any reported snake bites on trailrunners/walkers/bikers in this part of town, although sightings of these crawling creatures (mostly non-crawling since they are often seen dead-flat) are not unheard of. In any case, the runner is advised to take caution, let these wildlife creatures pass in peace and never antagonize them.
As soon as the runner reaches the Marcos Stadium, more popularly called “grounds” by residents, the route is down to its last 2kms of pure concrete, which exposes him to Laoag City proper where cheering city folks will be lining the streets. Now is the time to accelerate and gut it out to make up for time lost enjoying sand and trails. Taráy Pamulinawen will officially finish in front of the festive Laoag City Hall. . . A post-race recovery tour around the city is strongly recommended later in the day.
Good luck and enjoy the run and trip!