The North Face 100, the Philippines’ toughest ultramarathon race is back on its third year, this time on possibly its toughest leg, Baguio City. TNF100 was always on a league on its own and with Baguio City as its stage it surely would be an adventure of a lifetime.
TNF100 2009 in Sacobia, Clark was my first ever ultra, even earlier than my first marathon, thus having a special place in my heart. Last year I was one of the few “lucky” ones that finished it, and this time around I’m back to prove to myself that it wasn’t just “luck” that allowed me to finish—it was hard work, and I can do it again.
Coming into this year’s TNF100 I was anything but ready, physically speaking. My right leg hasn’t recovered completely yet, and knowing how difficult last year’s leg was being “scared” would be an understatement. I’m probably the only participant with a DNF (Did Not Finish) already at the back of his mind even before the race started. With my situation my goal was simple: finish at least the first loop of the hundred kilometers (or 67K)—I’d cross the bridge when I get there. But of course I will not throw in the towel without a very tough fight.
The Calm before the Storm: Shop & Dine
Friday, April 23, 2010: we arrived in Baguio City around 9:30AM and after settling in our transient home we were able to shop for added supplies and have a quick tour of the city. I decided to purchase all my hydration needs in Baguio saving me from carrying a bigger and heavier pack—the Baguio advantage. I was carrying a lone 40L bag for the trip (a single big bag is better than multiple light bags as I’ve learned from last year’s TNF100) containing all my supplies including more bags—lighter is better.
Must Try: O’ Mai Khan, a Mongolian grill and hotpot which is just around the vicinity of Burnham Park was our pick for lunch. They offer a buffet, Mongolian grill style, for only P195! A perfect choice for our “carbo-loading” complemented by fresh veggies. Of course they also serve ala carte items on their menus and desserts are also great.
After lunch it was off for SM City Baguio for some last minute shopping and afterwards, rest. The ladies in our group were able to catch some quick nap, whilst we guys spent the afternoon chatting! Excitement? Probably. We were just passing time before we attend the final briefing in Baguio City Hall before the race.
Travel Tip: SM City Baguio, like its Metro Manila counterparts, also offer fast and free Wifi
The final briefing was pretty short but concise. The proud Mayor of beautiful Baguio, Mayor Reinaldo Bautista, Jr. was also there to share with us how proud the city is to host the event, and also give Neville Manaois, TNF100 2010 race director, and Jundel Llagas, TNF Marketing Manager, the key to the city. We were also shown this year’s finisher’s token—a hand carved woodwork:
Free dinner was also served to participants after the briefing but since we were in a hurry to return back to our transient home to rest we just opted to take dinner elsewhere.
The Adventure of a Lifetime Begins Anew
This year the 100K (together with the new 50K) leg starts on an earlier time, 3AM, so there’s hardly enough time to snooze after the briefing, should one be able to. Luckily I was still able to catch some and before we knew it, the time has come, and we’re off to the Starting line. This is it!
TNF100 2010 Chronicles: