On the last week of July, I went to Fort Magsaysay and make a recon on the trail route surrounding the Taklang Damulag Mountain. I mentioned in one of my previous posts about my trek towards the peak of the said mountain where I timed 52:37 minutes to reach its peak from Fernandez Hill, a distance of 2.7 kilometers. The trek to the peak was only a part of the 25-kilometer distance that I run & walked/hiked during that day and the trail loop towards the mountain peak from Fernandez Hill and around as it covers a distance of 13 kilometers. It took us 5+ hours to cover the distance (25K) as most of were hiking and brisk walking. If we tried to jog and run the flat portions of the route, we could have made it in 3+ hours. This part of the Taklang Damulag 100-mile run consists of the “inner loop” of the course.
The following were the pictures taken during my recon run at the “inner loop” on the last week of July:
Last Thursday afternoon, together with one of my elite athletes, Jack Espana, I went to Fort Magsaysay and slept overnight in one of the transient facilities. We were already in bed at 9:30 PM and woke up at 4:30 AM of Friday. At 5:30 AM, we started our run from the Starting Area of the Race by hiking the first 2 kilometers as our warm-up. The purpose of the run is to recon the first 40K distance of the route which is considered as the “outer loop” of the TD 100 route. The trail route is located outside the cantonment area of Fort Magsaysay passing through Barangays Pag-asa, Dona Josefa, Bacao, Langka 1 & 2, Palale, Cattle Stock Farm, and Nazareth.
Practically, we left on the northern side of the camp and run through the trails on the eastern side of the camp and then re-entered the camp from the south direction. The route traverses through rolling hills and mountains with maximum elevation of 375 meters with lots of stream crossings through spillways and river crossings. What made the run very relaxing was the scenery, clean air, overcast sky, rain & showers on mid-day, and some conversations with the residents along the route.
We had two “pit stops” along the route. These “pit stops” are sari-sari stores that sell anything from assorted bread & chips to drinks. We took some time to eat solid foods on these stores and were able to talk to the owners. The people were surprised as they always asked us where are our bicycles as we tell them where we came from. Bicycles? What bicycles are they talking about? They told us that a group of cyclists on mountain bikes would usually pass along the said route. Well, we told them that we were running, jogging and walking along the said route. It appeared that we were the first ones whom they see (as outsiders/visitors) to be running & hiking the said route.
We finished our recon run before 3:00 PM as we reached our Starting Area. After a quick shower, we were out of Fort Magsaysay as we headed towards Eva’s Restaurant near the boundary of Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija and La Paz, Tarlac where the best and very hot Bulalo is being served.
Getting back from the result of our recon run on the TD 100 route. So far, I have run through a distance of 65 kilometers from the 80K-loop of the trail route with an aggregate total time of 13+ hours. And since the remaining 15K route is on an easy rolling and flat terrain, it could be covered in another 2.5 hours. Adding these times would total to 15-16 hours to cover one loop of the course! However, my recon runs had averaged a pace of 12-15 minutes per kilometer which was basically a “hiking” pace! So, from these data, an average ultra runner could finish one loop in less than 15 hours.
The actual measurement of the course is done! The next thing to do is to finalize the administrative and operational needs for the race!
Guys, I only need 25 “brave and hardcore” runners for this another historic FIRST 100-mile trail endurance running event in the country. Let us help one another in putting our country in the world’s map of ultra trail running.