Reasons Why I Don’t Run The North Face (Phil) Races
You can see in my profile that I never participated in any of the local TNF Races and I have personal reasons for it. Although I finished my first taste of an Ultra Trail Run at the Bulldog 50K in 2008 in Malibu, California in 2008, I was happy to know that the Main Sponsor for such race was The North Face. By chance, I finished this first ultra trail run using a TNF Arnuva 50 BOA Trail Shoes! Since then, I’ve been using various TNF Trail Shoes and apparel/equipment for my trail runs here and abroad to include my training runs up to the point that I feature them in this blog!
Let me go directly to the reasons why I don’t run on TNF local races. These are my personal reasons and I don’t want that my readers will be influenced by these reasons.
- TNF Philippines did not act on my request for sponsorship for the 1st BDM 102K in 2009 with the reason that it was not an ultra trail run. However, I saw TNF Logos being displayed on the Support Vehicles of Pinoy Ultra Runner (PUR) members who participated in the 1st BDM 102K which simply means that these runners were “sponsored” by TNF. I really did not understand why TNF would sponsor PUR runners/participants in my race when in fact they did not favourably act on my request for sponsorship for the event. (Note: I wonder what happened to the elite ultra runners who called themselves as “Pinoy Ultra Runners”)
- TNF Philippines gave a TNF Trail Running Shoes to a runner-blogger who have not yet experienced running on a trail running race event for the simple reason that the runner-blogger was going to participate a TNF 10K Trail Run along the lahar grounds of Clark-Sacobia area. I called the attention of TNF Philippines about this and complained why they are not giving “something” for the Bald Runner as he was fielding a team of runners from the Elite Team Bald Runner for the past two editions and had been a loyal user of TNF apparel and products. Moreso, that I finished already an ultra trail running event. TNF Phil promised to give a new pair of TNF shoes to me as a result of my complaint but up to now I have yet to receive the shoes. It was a simple case of being envious but it was not fair on my part as I’ve endorsed their products way ahead than the other runner-bloggers. Fortunately, it was one of my BDM 102 finishers who gave me a brand new TNF shoes but he is not in any way connected with TNF. Thanks to July Oconer for the “gift” and generosity. July is also a TNF “loyalist” like me.
- I complained about the condition of my TNF Rocky Chucky Trail Shoes after a 50K Trail Run at Mt Pinatubo and TNF did not replace it. Instead, TNF Phil repaired the shoes by using glue to the detached parts and I got the repaired shoes after 5 weeks (that’s a long time to repair a pair of shoes!). After using the repaired shoes for one running workout, the glued parts were separated again. For once, I praised the customer service of TNF Phil when they replaced my non-operating BOA lock & wire for my TNF Arnuva 50 BOA shoes with a new pair of TNF trail shoes but in this case, their customer service was simply poor and deplorable.
- It came to my attention of a complaint made by a runner who joined the TNF Baguio about his lost drop bags who got an unsatisfactory feedback from the Race Organizers but the bottom line here is that TNF Phil did not give a satisfactory reason why the runner’s drop bags lost during the conduct of the race. BDM 102 “veteran” Eric Socrates would attest to this information.
- On technical matters about the local TNF races. In their 100K trail runs, the prescribed cut-off time is 30 hours. I think this is a very easy requirement to finish an ultra trail run with such distance. You can practically walk all the way up to the finish line even if the terrain is very challenging. The thing that I don’t understand is that the TNF Phil races has the same “point equivalent” with that of a ultra trail running event in the USA which is more challenging and longer in distance. Such accumulated points are needed if you want to qualify for the TNF Mont Blanc 100-Mile Endurance Run (UTMB) in Chamonix, France. So, if you have plans of participating in future UTMB Races, then joining the TNF Phil races will give you the “points” needed for you to be qualified for the race.
- For this year, TNF Phil has scheduled a Trail Run in Camarines Sur on April 30-May 1 as part of the 2011 TNF Pacific-Asia Ultra Trail Run Series. Up to this time, TNF Phil is silent about the details of the race but there is only one mountain that is prominent in the province and that is the Mt Isarog. While I was in Camarines Sur for the Marathon Race last year, I had the chance to talk to the Philippine Army’s Intelligence Officer based thereat. In our conversation, I asked him about the security condition of Mt Isarog and he told me that it is not yet declared as “cleared” from the NPA/insurgent forces operating in the area. I hope and wish that from the time I had a conversation with the said Intelligence Officer up to this time, the Mount Isarog is already declared as “cleared” from the armed insurgents! (Note: I wrote this post 2 months ago and I hope that by this time the security forces in the area had “cleared” the place and they will be there to provide the necessary security for the said event)
- I created a sports federation for ultra running in the country which is the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) under the auspices of the PATAFA and the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU). PAU embraces and covers all running events that are considered farther than a Marathon Distance which is 42.195 kilometers, whether they are ultra trail runs, ultra road races, or multi-day/multi-stage runs. What I don’t understand is that the Race Organizers of TNF Phil are not coordinating with me or with PAU with regards to their races. If these people are professionals, they should have, at least, the respect and courtesy to coordinate with the sports federation on ultra running. A simple e-mail or SMS would satisfy me on this matter. (Note: This observation goes also to those Race Organizers/Directors who are coming up with ultra marathon races in the different parts of the country who do not coordinate with me/PAU in coming up with their scheduled events. I don’t want that the sports federation for ultrarunning will become like our cycling, basketball, shooting & other sports who have two or more associations/federations under each sports!)
- This could be a petty reason but I would like to repeat it (all over again!) as I stated in my previous posts. When will TNF Phil sponsor the visit of Dean Karnazes to the Philippines? I think you know that DK is one of the most prominent athlete endorsers of TNF, if not, the most prominent in the world. I admit that I was strongly influenced by the first book of this guy to get into ultra trail running and eventually come up with the 1st BDM 102K Ultramarathon Race. To describe how crazy I was to meet this guy, I went to Badwater, California for the start of the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2008 (a trip with my wife for 5 hours from Los Angeles where I drove a car) just to personally meet and have a photo-ops with this guy and it later resulted to meeting and talking to him again in two separate events. I hope TNF Phil will not wait till the time when DK is within the age of Jeff Galloway (age of 66) to visit the country.
Now, if you ask me if I will join in this year’s TNF Phil? No way, Pedro! I’d rather run in the San Francisco’s 50-Mile TNF Endurance Ultra Trail Run this December!
Good luck to all the TNF 100 CamSur trail runners & trekkers! Have fun and stay safe!
By the way, does TNF Phil allow the use of trekking poles? Just asking!