There are so many reasons why I joined this running event. Let me enumerate some.
1. Baguio City is the place where I started running seriously, in the early months of 1970. Being a college student of the University of the Philippines in Baguio and just passed the entry to the prestigious Philippine Military Academy, running had been part of my treatment for what the doctor had suggested to strengthen my weak lungs and heart. I was then 17 years old.
2. BRENT Run is organized and directed by very good friends who have passion in running. A week prior to the event, I was with Jingle Melanie Ku Marquez, the Race Organizer and Jonel Mendoza, the Race Director of the event, in a hiking trek to the TNF 100 route along the PHILEX Ridge in Barangay Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet. It was during our hike that the invitation to run the event was offered and I immediately accepted it. Thanks, Melanie & Jonel!
3. First time to enter and see BRENT School Campus. I have stayed for so long in Baguio City as a College Student, Cadet of PMA, Officer assigned in Region 1 from 1978-1983 and then PMA in 1986-1988 but I never had a change to glimpse at the said school. The Pink Sisters Convent is the farthest establishment that I’ve reached on the road that leads to the school campus. The campus has trails around its compound!
4. Find out how it feels to run shorter races after doing some ultras, trail runs, and peak bagging feats. I opted to run the 7K race and find out how my body would react to the altitude and the terrain. The plan was to run the race without walking, except while approaching the water stations to take a sip of water. I was glad I was able to stick to the plan and jogged on the uphills and tested my knees and quads on the downhills.
5. Running with ultra friends and having fun. Saturday, the day before the event, five of us (BR, Benj Termulo, Judge Henry Laron, Michael Lafuente, and Bong Alindada) had a hike from the Bridal Veil Falls in Camp 1, Tuba, Benguet (along Kennon Road) to Mt Kabuyao along the so-called Andolor Trail and peak bagging Mt Santo Tomas with an elevation of 2,245 meters above sea level, the highest peak in Baguio City. It took us 9 1/2 hours to finish the distance of 22 Kilometers. The group expected to make the BRENT Run as a recovery run for our tired legs!
6. But wait, it was also a “warm-up” run for another hike up to the mountains. After the run, we were scheduled to continue our mountain hike to the other side of Baguio City which is the so-called PHILEX Ridge. We were joined by another ultra runner from Manila, Ronnel Go, who opted to join the 22K race. After waiting for Ronnel Go to cross the finish line, we already enjoyed the breakfast food as part of the “loot” of the race and we were prepared for the next adventure hike. We finished our hike along the PHILEX Ridge in almost 5 hours!
7. Getting back to the “basics” of road racing. It was nice going back to experience how it feels to be a “newbie” runner to join in a very simple set-up for a running event. Melanie and Jonel made the event so very simple yet fulfilling for the participants. Very orderly race for the safety of the runners and nice breakfast treat for all the finishers. But what makes it more memorable was for us to meet and gain more friends from Baguio City. What I appreciate most is the seriousness of the runners that I could hardly heard any complaints or “whine” or curse about running on those steep uphills along the course. Runners in Baguio City really love those challenging hills and inclines!
8. Training Run for a Bigger Event. I finished the 7K Run in 52+ minutes and I take that result as my gauge for my future race within the area/region. Since the bigger event is an ultra race, making it within the range of 4-5 kilometers per hour as average speed for the event would be a nice goal.
If you ask me if I am going back for the next edition of this race, I would say “Yes”!
Congratulations to all the Finishers, to Melanie and Jonel, and to the whole Team of BRENT Run!