TNF Thrill of the Trail was held January 19, 2009 within the premises of Evercrest Golf Resort in KM 72, Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas. It’s basically a loop around some very good and challenging trails, with the 20K having two laps of the approximately 10K loop.
The starting area was very easy to find, it was along the highway and even public transport were very accessible so we had no problems of getting there. It was actually my first time to go to the area, and my running mates and I decided just to use public transport so we can all be spared of driving (and getting lost).
There are Batangas-bound buses in Pasay, we took one that goes to Nasugbu, and 67 kilometers later we were there. It was pretty cheap too, just P111 from Pasay to Evercrest. Be wary of the time and day you travel as these buses use Coastal Road on the way to Batangas—we learned it the hard way so we lost quite some time to heavy traffic, nonetheless we arrived with enough sunlight to spare and enjoy the breath-taking sunset.
Evercrest Golf Resort gave discounts to TNF Trail participants who wanted to stay for the night. I’m not sure how much the original price was but for me and my running mates it was worth it, the room was excellent: there were two beds (we had an extra one since there were three of us), hot and cold water on the faucet and shower, there was even a bathtub along with standard hotel room amenities, and the package included breakfast and massage for two.
The view was excellent around the resort and we had time to goof around and took some pictures while there was still sunlight. (For reasons of privacy I’d basically post only photos with permissions 🙂 )
The weather in the resort was very similar to that of Tagaytay: cool and windy. The sky was clear but it’s probably as cool, if not cooler, than the bus we rode. This was quite unexpected but very pleasant to experience.
Having a race outside the Metro for the first time also meant bringing along a lot of stuff. I kept reminding my running mates of things to bring, and guess what, I actually forgot one of the things I reminded them to bring—race bib. I had some tendencies to forget this but this was actually the first time I actually forgot it! I only realized it during dinner when I saw a fellow runner’s race bib. I just thought, “oh no, this isn’t happening… I actually forgot my race bib.”
I really intended to be a support to my running mates, especially that one of us is having a 10K debut. I brought my hydration bag with me on the trail to provide space for any items they may want to bring along. With my forgotten race bib I thought that I may not join the race and just be a full-pledged support crew for the team (although in this case my support was limited to taking in-race pictures). I wasn’t really expecting to win anything on the race (especially that I’ve not a single TNF item with me) but I was sad of the possibility that I may not be included in the race results (and be on the DNA list). Sigh.
Having a room that’s about a stone’s throw away (literally) from the starting area was a convenience that we really enjoyed—we didn’t have to travel to get to the race, we were well rested, and best of all we don’t have to wake up that early!
One of the problems we had was the cold breeze: it’s one thing to have a low temperature but to have wind blowing at your face—that’s another! We didn’t expect it to be that cold and windy so I and one of my running mates didn’t bring any jacket. We only had our regular running attire (shorts and singlet) for the race so it’s quite a challenge for us to even come out of our room. Only our 10K debutante had warm clothes (and we’re supposed to be the pros at these).
We can’t do anything about the weather so we just ignored it. I just wore my running attire like the usual sans race bib (I was wearing the event singlet so at least they’d know I’m “licensed” to run the trails) plus my hydration bag and off we go to the starting line. We went to the assembly area just a few minutes before the start and just walked off the cold weather (that served as our warm up). Apparently I wasn’t the only forgetful one in the race but that didn’t deter us from running, and I think the Organizers were aware of this issue as well so even if I’m not wearing my race bib nobody stopped me from joining the race. Just being able to join my comrades in the trail was enough for me. Besides, some other runners probably had their race bib under their sweats and jackets!
The race actually started at 5:59AM (based on GF405). It was still dark then and curiously, the 10K runners were first off. The sun was slowly rising as we progress the race so we actually saw sunrise during our trails, and during which we were on high elevation so the view was very good. The cold weather was no longer an issue a few hundred meters into the race because of the effort exerted in running. We were actually breaking sweat long before arriving at MP1!
More pictures and the continuation of my trail experience on my next post.
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TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience: