The All Terrain Race can be described as salvation for Men’s Health—the race was n a different caliber that everyone seemed to forget the past mishaps of races by Men’s Health. This was of course made possible by the race’s new organizer finishline.ph and with that, blazing fast race results.
It’s either I’ve had too much trails under my feet or I’m just too demanding—I find the trail route of this year’s race, to put it bluntly—pretty boring. I know it’s very difficult to find good trails to hold a race but coming off TNF100 you can pretty much understand what I mean. The trails were dull because it was virtually flat and man-made—nature still is best when it comes to outdoor activities. In fairness to the organizers, this was in fact the first “real” trail run I’ve ever had because you can really run 100% of the route—you can even set a new PR since it is much like running on unpaved roads except for the winding course and mud puddles. It is excellent for a trail run but the degree of difficulty is very low making this race an excellent venue for beginners to be introduced to trail running.
We arrived at the assembly area more than an hour before call time so we had a lot of time to spare—taking pictures!
The 15K trail run started at 5:41AM. We initially planned for the “picture-taking pace” but the narrow trails and numerous runners eventually got us separated. Add to that the lack of interesting views to take pictures, before we knew it we were running on our own.
Not before long I realized that the trail may not be as interesting as I had expected—there were no mountains nor hills in sight—only tall grasses and the ridiculously winding trail that was made specifically for bikers. It was nice that the air was fresh but eventually you’ll tire of the endless grass. There were a few interesting spots along the way though.
Being a bike trail there were bike-oriented features along the route, including my favorite spot on the course, the bike ramp.
As if the repetitive view wasn’t enough we had to endure the first 5K of the 15K route again for the final 5K leg. The most surprising thing about this race was getting to the 15K mark—it’s not the finish line! The 15K mark was well within the trails—the 15K route was actually 15.4K!
Coincidentally I met some of my friends running the 10K course on the road leading to the finish line so we were running side by side for a good several meters. I didn’t want to ruin their “photo-finish” so I sprinted ahead to be able to take their pictures. So there I was sprinting to the finish and there was a person ahead of me, walking. Of course right after crossing the finish line I’d inevitably overtake him because of our difference in speed but I was a bit ticked off by one of the lady “marshal” that said “no overtaking please”—it’s not like after a sprint to the finish line I’d stop dead on my tracks to avoid overtaking the person ahead of me. Besides our time were already logged so it wouldn’t matter. To those who may potentially encounter such in the future, don’t stop! Stopping abruptly may cause injuries on your part, just make sure that you don’t bump into the person (or any object) ahead of you.
For the first time I had a free massage after the race. There were also some free items from sponsors and raffles. There was also a live band to keep the crowd entertained as the bikers arrived. Of course PhotoVendo was there to take our souvenir pictures, and as a part of takbo.ph we even had a group picture (although with a small group set as the others haven’t yet arrived at that time). Overall this was one of the better post-race assembly areas I’ve seen, although for the bikers it was their pre-race.
- Easy trail perfect for introducing trail running to beginners
- Accurate kilometer markers along the route
- Lots of marshals along the route
- Plenty of water stations
- Excellent location
- Lively assembly areas
- Quick results
- Trails had low level of difficulty (for me at least)
- Trail distance was longer than announced (for 10K and 15K)
Overall Rating: Good