Time: 2 hour and 52 minutes
Date: December 10, 2011
Pace: 8:09 minutes per kilometer
Ridge Run vs Trail Run
I finally got my answer on which is more difficult between a ridge run and a trail run. The answer is a ridge run and a trail run combined A.K.A. Corregidor International Half Marathon. CIHM has been known to be an extreme marathon since it has an endless amount of killer hills and slippery trails. The race would at the same time be a tour around Corregidor wherein you get to see the ruins and structures in Corregidor plus the Ocean View on some parts and an eerie experience of ghostly proportions.
We came a day earlier and were housed in a Cabana in the resort side of Corregidor via Sun Cruises. We were able to get some stops along the island and at the same time had an idea of the upHELL climb awaiting us the day after. We were also able to attend the Carbo loading night. The Cabana was cozy enough for sleep and had a good ocean view.
Course and Elevation
The race starts at the south dock and leads you straight to a dark and eerie Malinta Tunnel then a you continue to climb towards Japanese Garden of Peace at about the 2K Mark. This is followed by a descent towards the resort side and walking along the trail road just beside the sea and climbing the stairs towards the first u-turn slot. After the u-turn slot you get to climb back to the Filipino Heroes Memorial and then trek down to the airfields wherein you get to pass a long stretch of grass area between the 5th and 6th kilometer. Next, you go back to National Heroes Memorial and head back to Malinta Tunnel at around the 9K mark and is followed by more than a kilometer climb to the other side of the island where you get a 5-6 kilometer stretch of trail and road combination passing through the hospital, mile-long barracks and the light house. From the 16K you get a 3 kilometer descent back to the dock area and kilometer 19 and 20 is the toughest part with a steep climb along the road near the shoreline. Finally, the last kilometer is a descent back to Malinta Tunnel and to the finish line.
At gun start, you immediately go uphill covering a 40 meter of elevation in the first two kilometers followed by a kilometer descending 40 meters of elevation and climbing back again another kilometer. This is followed by two kilometers of slow decent of around 20 meters of elevation to the airfields and climbing back another 2 kilometers of the same elevation. At kilometer 8, you get a kilometer descent to Malinta Tunnel with about 40 meters of elevation. From there you get to start your climb at kilometer 9 wherein you get to cover 180 meters of elevation over a 7 kilometer stretch of road and trail. You start your descent of about 3 kilometers with about 180 meters of elevation. Kilometer 19 and 20 is the toughest part with a 60 meters elevation climb spread out in 2 kilometers. Finally, you get to descent to the finish line in the last kilometer covering 60 meters of elevation.
Knowing that this was an extreme marathon because of the terrain and the trails, I really didn’t know what to expect so I’ll just go with the flow and take it slow and easy.
The first 9K consists of moderate climb and descents so I went slow on the inclines and fast on the descents. I was able to finish this part at a steady time. This course also had you past the creepy Malinta Tunnel twice. The first one at the start of the race and the second one approaching the 9K mark. It felt scary on my second round as the next runner in front of me was 10-20 meters away so I covered this area faster than my regular pace.
Kilometer 10 was the start and the steepest part of the climb. I walked this part of the race to save energy for other parts of the race given this is a 21K race. It does take so much energy to go for climbs this steep.
Kilometer 11 to 15 was a combination of an uphill climb and a trail run so I ran the flat portions and slight inclines and brisk walked the steep inclines and the slippery part of the trail. This was my first trail experience and the rain the day before made some portions of the road slippery but it was also exciting trekking in this trails as it also had some nice views and surprises in between.
Kilometer 16 was the start of a 3 kilometers downward descents. Unfortunate for me, this is where I experienced my first cramps on my right calf muscles just I was about to attack the descents. I thank some fellow runners who assisted me as I fell with the cramp and helped me to stretch and stand up during the portion. I went for a slow jog from there on and good thing it was the downhill part so less stress on the calf muscles and was able to withstand the distance despite the cramps.
This was the killer hill portion of the race so I just walked this part and taking bigger stride to cover more ground instead. It was a tough climb especially coming from cramps but I expected this part of the race so just had to find ways to endure.
Entering the last kilometer, I had my second fall with cramps on both calves. Lucky for me that I landed on grass areas and that a race marshal was nearby. The race marshal help soften the cramped muscles and help me on my feet again. I just walked the remaining part of the race except for the creepy Malinta tunnel wherein I started to jog. It was also a scary idea on what if I cramped again inside Malinta tunnel but fortunately I didn’t. I jogged myself all the way to the finish line.
This was a well organized race by Phenomenon and definitely the most challenging run I ever joined. Water stations were adequate and marshals were all around the course cheering the runners. The runners were properly briefed on the course and also had a few surprises. Of course, I really appreciated the aid station this time from UERM as I was stretched for the cramped muscles after the race. This was a unique experience above any other half marathon. It was a test of will to finish and climb those endless hills.
I may be banged up big time for this one but I was able to conquer Corregidor and this medal stands out from the rest as I practically had to crawl myself up in getting this one. It’s really not a good feeling cramping up during a run but a finish is a finish and I have set myself a new PR… personal records for most cramps during a run at 3 (2x on the right calf and one on the left). Oh well, what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. I’m not yet done licking my wounds but as McArthur once said in Corregidor, I shall return…
Team Total Fitness Running