Finally to conclude my series on The North Face Thrill of the Trail experience, here are my opinions about the race:
- The race was one of the most organized races (of any kind) I’ve seen.
- The Marshals are everywhere, very friendly, accommodating, and informed so they’re not just fillers.
- Route markers are placed along the trail so you’ll know if you’re still on the right trails. There are even kilometer markers so you’d know your distance.
- The difficulty and route of the trail was excellent. Marshals kept giving precautions to runners on potentially dangerous tracks and ropes were placed where needed for additional safety.
- The race participants were limited to protect the trail and make the race more manageable.
- “No race number, no race” policy wasn’t strictly implemented (for forgetful ones like myself).
- The prizes were generous (although the categories were limited).
- The race was fun before, during, and after. The sponsors gave some privilege/discount cards for their products along with some freebies.
- Limited categories for prizes and having to wear (any) TNF product to be qualified to place, although TNF gave special prizes to the fastest woman on 10K even without the required TNF product. This was the only thing I could think that isn’t good about the race, and it’s forgivable!
Since trail running was a new experience for me I could only speculate on what to expect. Now that it’s done I do have some lessons to share:
- Don’t forget your race kit. Some races have “No race number, no race” policy so I was thankful this wasn’t the case.
- Wear trail running shoes. Trail shoes are also good (only heavier and less “breathable”), but not running shoes! Some of my friends learned this the hard way. Running shoes are designed to handle tracks and even surfaces, not rough roads—it doesn’t provide the traction you need.
- Wear “quarter” socks. Any comfortable socks may do but higher-cut socks may help protect your feet from the sharp blades of low grasses or any other low-lying objects.
- Don’t forget to bring your food. This is basically for before and after the race since you may not know if food is readily available on the site you’d be going.
- Bring your own hydration solution. It may be a hydration belt but I’d recommend a good hydration bag: it has much more capacity and you can carry a lot more items with you on the trail. If properly adjusted it’s even more comfortable than some much lighter hydration belt. Chances are water stations would be limited on trails.
- Bring a cell phone. You’ll never know when you’d need assistance and chances are trail runs would be held in areas with cellular service coverage.
- Bring some ID. It’s very helpful in case of emergency.
- Know the place you’ll run. I didn’t expect Batulao to have Tagaytay weather so I didn’t bring my jacket. Thankfully it was still within my tolerance level.
- Know how you’d get there. I also didn’t expect that the Nasugbu-bound buses would take Coastal Road (I thought we’d be passing through South Luzon Expressway, but I was wrong!).
- Bring along some company. It’s pretty nice to have someone to talk to while you run the trails—unless you’re in it for the win. Besides, even if you chose to run alone it’s still nice to have some familiar face to chat with before and after the race.
- Bring a camera (optional). If you don’t have one, bring a friend that has one! If you or one of your friends is able to bring one I recommend you do. It’s very nice to have some evidence of your adventures. Just don’t forget to recharge and make sure you have enough free space.
- GF405 loves the great outdoors! Too bad it does not handle trails of varying elevations well in computing linear distances.
This race was of course initiated by The North Face with the help of the Pinoy Ultra Runners (PUR). Neville Manaois, Team Principal of PUR shared his perspective on this race, being the Race Director of the event. He also answered why the 10K group started earlier than the 20K group. I salute you guys!
Thank you as well to the nice Marshalls at the MPs, I wouldn’t have been officially in the race if it weren’t for you. Special thanks to my running friends for lending me the camera and for the pictures.
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TNF Thrill of the Trail Experience: