This year one of the region’s toughest ultramarathon race is back, The North Face 100. For its 2010 edition it would be held in the Philippines’ summer capital, Baguio City (1,500 meters above sea level). TNF100 is not your “typical” trails—the higher elevation should pose a greater challenge.
TNF100 holds a special place in my heart for being my first ever ultra. BDM may be my longest distance-wise and fastest ultramarathon so far but TNF100 still holds my most difficult and longest race time-wise. It’s not surprising that it comes with a 30-hour cutoff. (TNF50 has an extended 18-hour cutoff, 22K with 4.5, and 11K with 3)
Unlike previous editions wherein the 100K can be taken as solo or relay, TNF100 now boasts a new category: 50K solo. This should open the doors to new ultra-trail runners who want to “test” the trails but aren’t up to take on the full challenge that is TNF100. For beginners there are also 11K and 22K categories.
Registration is ongoing at The North Face branches, ROX, and Res-Toe-Run branches but you better hurry as slots are limited: 11K and 22K with 40 slots each per branch; 50K and 100K with 10 slots each per branch. Registration fees for 100K and 50K solo are P2,000 and P500 for 11K and 22K. Don’t forget your provisional receipt (for race kit claiming) and 20% discount coupon upon registration.
For those who would be joining (or considering joining) their first TNF100 (or TNF50) I can only advice based on my previous TNF100 experience in Sacobia, Clark as I am not familiar with this year’s route myself. I’ve only been to Baguio City once and I know for a fact that the elevation may take a toll to “lowlanders,” especially to those who don’t climb. I was running for only about half a year when I finished my first ultra (with only a 21K race to boast), and I’ve only had two major training sessions that prepared me for it:
- Km 0 – 56 (Manila to Tagaytay)
This ultramarathon distance long run was where I had my first marathon distance and my first ultramarathon distance. It was crash-course training for TNF100 that served as my test of endurance as it was a 56K worth of gradual uphill.
- Mt. Maculot Traverse
Not intended to be part of my training, this recreational climb doubled as such when we encountered “surprises” during our climb. It was supposed to be an “easy” climb which turned into a very challenging traverse.
Unexpectedly another recent climb of ours now served as my altitude training:
- Suggested Climb: Mt. Pulag [1, 2]
The tallest peak in Luzon at 2,922 masl, acclimatizing at this altitude would make Baguio City feel like a lowland.
It is highly likely that the mandatory gears of last year’s events are still mandatory this year so you may want to start from there. It is also most likely that the “self-sufficient” rule still applies, so when it comes to it you may want to shop for something like this (note that I wasn’t able to consume it all and ended up hauling a lot of it back to Manila!).
If you still feel uneasy about TNF100 or want to find out what you may expect during race day, here’s my 2009 TNF100 story:
Unlike road ultramarathons you can’t really make a detailed plan on trails unless you’re quite familiar with the terrain of the route. All you can do is take into account what is known and prepare for possible scenarios you might encounter along the way. As what we’ve learned last year being a seasoned ultramarathoner doesn’t guarantee success and inversely even newbies can finish. Believe, and you can achieve! Brace yourself folks for yet another experience of a lifetime! Stay tuned for further updates.