At the Trails of Hamilo Coast (Salomon XTrail Run Chronicles)

Hamilo Coast is just beautiful, but hiding behind its scenic coastlines and terrains lie some of the toughest trails I’ve ever been to, and the recent Salomon XTrail Run was just one of the toughest trail runs I’ve ever had.

Leaving Metro Manila so early in the morning…

Because of Hamilo Coast’s distance from Manila, everyone, especially those in the shuttle service, had to leave very early in the morning to catch their respective races.  The shuttle bus departed Bonifacio High Street about an hour and a half past midnight, but my race (6K) would start at 7AM.  For most of us, it was a “no sleep” event.

Early morning traffic at the gate of Hamilo Coast

We arrived in Hamilo Coast around 4:30AM, just a few minutes before the 24K leg starts.  That early, the traffic at the gate of Hamilo Coast was heavy due to the number of participants.  But despite the good turnout, it still is reminiscent of races of a few years ago: intimate.  Salomon XTrail Run is a trail run so the number of participants was expectedly limited.

We have arrived!
The baggage area
My gear for the trails…
Camping by the beach, nice!
Just looking around…
The sky slowly starts to lighten up
Here comes the sun…

Fast forward to 7AM, our leg, 6K, begins.  While it’s so easy to underestimate the distance, the truth was that the trails that awaited everyone were not easy.  I knew this right after our test run that’s why I didn’t mention anything about bringing cameras on the trails, even if it was really, really beautiful.  I did bring my phone though, not because I intended to call or get online inside the trails or even to take pictures—I brought it just to map my route via GPS.

Salomon XTrail Run 2013 6K Route

As expected, the 6K was not easy, but it was slightly modified from what we tried during the test run.  Let’s just say that the actual race day 6K route was a bit “easier,” but that perception of mine may also be due to the fact that I’m wearing “proper” trail shoes that helped me quite a lot!  I’m not sure if it’s the effect of running in the actual race, but at the back of my mind (as I was on my way back to the finish) I was thinking that I should’ve taken the 12K for some extra “sightseeing.” 🙂

Entrance to the activity area

As proof of the trail’s difficulty (with the added “trail traffic”) I finished my 6K race in over an hour!  Wow, that was really long!  But still it was quite early for me to lay back, rest, and even swim at the beach, as planned!

What trail running event can you think that would
allow you swim at the beach after?

After the race, participants were presented with food, finisher’s medals for the 24K, and an outdoor shower area.

A huge and lovely tree, perfect place to rest after a grueling race

Overall, this year’s leg of Salomon XTrail Run was one of the most difficult trail events I’ve had recently, but it was also one of the most fun and memorable!  I may not have had the chance to experience its most difficult leg, but I didn’t mind as I already had my day’s “quota.”  If there’s a chance that it will again return to this spot in the future, I’d love to join the longer legs.

I always look forward to coming back to Hamilo Coast 🙂

To Salomon, thank you for setting up a challenging but very fun race!  I’m sure there are a lot of trail runners that weekend that won’t soon forget this race.

To all the finishers, Congratulations!


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