I never got the chance to write my Salomon trail race experience, which took place in Morong, Bataan last year. Suffice it to say I loved the course and there were many moments to remember while racing. Thanks to Salomon Philippines for having me during the route reconnaissance and on race day itself.
Though I have run the shortest distance, which is six kilometers, it was an unforgettable one—somewhat difficult terrain (harder than this year’s edition), beautiful scenery, first podium finish in a Salomon sponsored trail competition. So happy with a fifth place performance considering a number of strong trail runners in said race category!
This year, Salomon had their trail race in Subic, Zambales. So to at least level up in terms of trail distance, I signed up for the 12-kilometer category. To me, it was a good choice since the race route allowed participants to run part of Pamulaklakin Forest Trails, home of native Aetas. So on race day while we were running up the hill toward the trail, we met along the way some of the natives walking down the dusty dirt road unmindful of the hilly terrain.
After a few kilometers of running a steep hill, I heard distinct huffing and puffing behind me. The ‘pacer’ mode suddenly switched on (where you have to look for the welfare of a fellow runner), and because of it, I slowed down my pace a bit to ask if he’s okay. Walking fast now, I asked him to breathe into his belly, contract his abdominal muscles, and let air suddenly out of his lungs by shouting, “Haaa!” Funny thing was the rest of the runners behind us followed suit. The “Haaa” sound echoed from one runner to next. Two runners became my newfound friends along the trail. Then both decided to pace with me all the way to Tower 40 and to the trail part.
If we suffered a bit during the uphill run, the downhill part seemed to ease it a bit. To me, running downhill is easier since gravity is working to move you forward, but downhill running can also beat up your quads, hips, and lower back when not done properly.
Back on the road and surprisingly still running strong, we all ran the last two or three kilometers passing groups of runners who are already walking, and finally making our way to the finish line. Nothing beats trail love, running, and nature!