Guest Post: 5 Reasons Running Corregidor International Half Marathon A Must Try

This is a guest post by Jess as she shares her race experience in the island of Corregidor and why it became one of her favorite running events. Apart from running, she loves mountain climbing, swimming, music and traveling.  She’s into the sport of running for two years now. Here’s her story…

5 Reasons Running Corregidor International Half Marathon A Must Try  / by Jess Derramas

10k run at Corregidor was my first race when I decided to take up running more seriously for health reasons.  I was inspired by watching marathoners crossing the finish line. People of all ages, shapes and sizes, seeing the determination written on their faces inspired me to take up the sport. It helped that some of my close friends are into running as well.  They continued to motivate and inspire me to keep on running.  

The Corregidor International Half Marathon (CIHM) is one of the more popular race events in the country.  There is a certain “party” feel to the event.  Maybe because it’s held on a popular tourist spot or could it be the sub-zero beer usually served at the finish line. Whatever the reason, a lot of families and barkadas would congregate in this island every year to participate or cheer loved ones in the events.  There is something for everyone.  For the beginners, there’s the 5K  and 10K side events.  For the more competitive ones, there’s the full marathon and half marathon. For the hardcore “mamaws”, there’s the option of running a back-to-back: a full marathon and doing a “recovery run” of half that distance the next day, like what some of my friends did.

I’m sure each runner that has participated in a CIHM event has his own story to tell and I’d like to share my top five favorites.

1.) Photo-Pace Run (Scenic Route) – White sand beach, rolling hills, WWII relics, need I say more?  This is one race where taking pictures and selfies along the route isn’t discouraged.  In fact, the “photo-pace” term was coined in this event referring to the significantly slowed pace of runners due to the constant picture taking while the race is in progress.   When I first joined this event as a 10K runner in 2014, I stopped at every barracks, every cannon and even laid down in the grassy field for a photo op. There’s no cut-off time, so there was no pressure.  Even as a non-newbie to the event this year, I still gave in and sacrificed a few minutes of my time to get a picture of the breathtaking shoreline.

That's me on the left with Roselle D. and Ily.
That’s me on the left with Roselle D. aka Running Diva and Ily who finished her first 10K.

2.) Malinta Tunnel – The Malinta Tunnel served as headquarters of Douglas MacArthur and the last stronghold of Filipino and American soldiers during WWII.  A lot of Filipino, American and Japanese soldiers died within its dark walls.  The tunnel had a bloody history that echoes until the present time. It’s eerie to say the least.  Some say it’s haunted, some claim to have seen or felt a “presence” or multiple presence within its dark walls.  For those with strong otherworldly senses, passing through this tunnel is dreaded.  A lot of runners reportedly experience that same eerie feeling, getting goosebumbs (even if it was very warm) and even seeing unexplained “shadows”. Whether your third eye is open or not, people seem to naturally want to go faster and spend as little time as possible here, I know I did.  Hey, it helps make up for the time lost with all that picture taking!

3.) Killer Hill – Like most runners that want to embark on a challenging race, I did my share of training.  I thought the rolling hills in McKinley (The Fort, Taguig) would be enough. Boy, was I wrong!!! Nothing could have prepared me for the almost three or four-kilometer (it felt longer) and 45-60 degree incline of the killer hill.  Just when you thought you conquered this hill –as a shopping network host would say, “But wait, there’s more!”  I’m lucky to have two veteran runners pacing me, helping and literally pushed me up that hill, Roselle D. aka Running Diva and Soleus Team member and ultra distance runner Roselle Abajo, I am forever grateful.

That's me again in front taking our photo with the ruins in the background. Behind me are Roselle A. (in Soleus shirt), Roselle D. and Jing.
That’s me again in front taking our photo with the ruins in the background. Behind me are Roselle Abajo (wearing Soleus shirt), Roselle D. (Running Diva) and Jing.

4.) The Finish Line  – Finish lines are always festive, but I guarantee that this is one of the most festive ones you’ll experience.   I guess, it helps that participants are in an island so nobody gets to go home early, haha.    Seriously though,  the finish line is on a white sand beach, there’s a booth serving sub-zero beer, there’s buffet lunch and aside from the medal, the ladies get a long stemmed red rose at the finish—need I say more?

5.) The Historical Value –  Corregidor was the last stronghold of the Philippine Commonwealth government during WWII. Seeing the ruins, the cannons that are still standing and knowing what transpired here, I can’t help but be grateful to our soldiers and everyone who fought for our freedom.  It was bitter-sweet, but especially meaningful this year when the race was dedicated to the “fallen SAF 44”.

Those are my unforgetable CIHM moments, what’s yours?