Trail and Obstacle Races are already redundant since a trail is an obstacle on its own with its uneven surfaces and and varying terrain. Men’s Health Urbanathlon gives you a long stretch of paved roads for the need for speed, a rolling trail area to challenge your legs and tough obstacles to live by its theme, Survival of the Fittest. The harder they are, the more fun they are as it made earning the coveted finisher medal and survivor shirt a lot more satisfying. #MHPHURB
Men’s Heath Urbanathlon
Men’s Health Urbanathlon is the signature event of Men’s Health Worldwide and had been among the most awaited races during the past few years. It’s just a unique race. You have 10 kilometers worth of urban and trail assault course in Nuvali, Sta Rosa, Laguna. You have obstacles that test your skills, endurance and your overall fitness. Teamwork also came into play as there were also Buddy and Team Categories aside from the usual Solo Category.
How many urbanathlons have I done prior to this one? Err… Zero. I’ve been invited for the last three urbanathlons and something always came in the way. So I made it a point not to miss this year’s staging. I’ve been to obstacle trail races before but urbanathlon is the premier obstacle race, which is a really competitive and adrenaline-filled running event that challenged participants to run, crawl, and leap through different obstacles all the way to the finish. In other words, it’s a complete race with you legs doing the pounding on the paved road stretches, your balance getting you past the uneven trails and your upper body strength powering you past the obstacles.
“For 10 years, Men’s Health Urbanathlon in the Philippines has evolved and became increasingly challenging for comebackers and first timers. We bring in new elements every year to make sure that each Urbanathlon is bigger than ever. That’s why for our 10th year, we called it Survival of the Fittest, says Allan Madrilejos, Men’s Health Team Editor.
With the 10th year of Men’s Health, the distance was locked at 10 kilometers but what they lack in distance, they made it up with obstacles. Despite the tough race, there were still about 1800 brave participants who went through brand new obstacles like hurdles, traffic jam, mini obstacle course, and arm bars, and upgraded one like the network with a mud pit, hillside with ice bath, tire field plus a net crawl, and the classic modified wall that also had a stuntman jump that goes with the 10K road and trail adventure. They also had a water shower before crossing the finish line on their way to being not only urbanathletes but also survivors.
Men’s Health Urbanathlon is co presented by Gatorade and Avida with Major Sponsors, Chris Sports and Asics with TAG Heuer as the official timekeepers. Get to know more about the race too at menshealth.ph or follow their facebook account https://www.facebook.com/menshealthphilippines, Twitter and Instagram @MensHealthPH You can also catch them on your favorite News stand, bookstores, convenience store and supermakets nationwide or get their digital edition via Apple Newstand, Buqo and Zinio.
Race starts at the fields in Nuvali. The race immediately heads out to Nuvali Boulevard going to the Rotonda and the Nuvali Main Road up to Kilometer 4 for the u-turn slot. The race heads back to the Rotonda and descends to Nuvali Boulevard before heading to the trails in Abrio at kilometer 6.5, which is about 2.5 kilometers. The last 1 kilometer is the road section from Abrio Trails to the road section heading to the fields after going through a series of obstacles.
I usually do a lot of preps before a race like going over the course, elevation and obstacles. I didn’t do much for this one as I have been out of the country for most part of the week of the race. I opted to use my adidas Ultra Boost, which is not a trail shoes since I noticed that the course has a higher stretch of paved roads. That will keep me fast on the road stretches and would suffice in Nuvali Trails since the trails are not too technical. All the obstacles would just be a surprise for me on race day. I had an early drive to Nuvali from Makati on race day and I had enough time to warm up and chat a little with the Men’s Health Team.
I didn’t set much expectations for this since I missed a significant portion of my training. The plan was to go fast on the road until I can and relax on the trails. It was a fast start especially with the paved roads matched with significant stretches of descent at the first two kilometers. Going into the third kilometer, it was the short but steep climb to the Rotonda and the descent going to Nuvali Main Road. I walked half the climb and made up for it on the descent on the other side.
After descending to the Nuvali Main Road, there were several hurdles, which I took slowly but surely. The race started to go on an long climb up until the u-turn slot at the 4th kilometer. I had to make do with a run walk on this stretch to inch myself through the long climbs. The pace of the group was a bit fast so I was half-hoping that the race enter the trails so it can slow down a bit but since the trails were still on the way back, I just had to keep in pace. After the u-turn, I took advantage of the descent to speed up once again on the other side of Nuvali Main Road. I ran most of this stretch, had a recovery walk on the climb to the Rotonda and resumed running after the climb. It’s always a challenge to balance effort in Nuvali as the terrain is rolling with long stretches of climbs and descents.
I was back again at Nuvali Boulevard but this time instead of taking the road stretch, we had to enter the trails in Abrio at around kilometer 6.5. We had to pass another obstacle, wherein we had to squeeze ourselves in a series of tapes / cords on the way to the trails. It was time to slow down a bit since the uneven surfaces and the rolling terrain can be a challenge. It’s always nice to slow down in the trails to appreciate the views and surroundings. I went on to run the flats and descents and recovered on the climbs. It was not as fast as it was on the road but I was maintaining a decent pace. The trails were challenging on its own because of the varying surface and the climbs including the steep one after the creek.
After 2.5 kilometers of trails, It was time to do most of the obstacles. There was an obstacle course wherein we had to do high knees on the ladder and skip alternately on the cones. There was the monkey bars that required all our our upper body strength to overcome. The hardest would have to be the modified network, wherein we had to climb on a net reaching the top of the truck which had a mud pit inside. The climb was a bit high and became even more challenging as the net was shaking from other participants climbing the net too. After the mudpit, I descended on the other side of the truck where I missed a step but luckily I was able to hold on to the rope to prevent me from falling.
After the network, we had to climb a short hill and then slide to the other end followed by an Ice bath. Some participants opted to remove their shoes before dipping in the pool but I just went in the ice pool with my shoes since it’s approaching the end of the race plus the shoes had vents anyway, so I don’t have to worry about water staying inside the shoes. After the ice bath, it was a short run going to the fields area, where we had to go through a tire field, a net crawl and the dreaded wall. One thing I’ve learned in doing obstacle races, once you’re in the obstacle, you’ll eventually find a way to overcome them and I did find a way. I did the stuntman jump after the climb and went on to the shower area and sprinted to the finish line.
And that’s how I survived my first Men’s Health Urbanathon.
I had to run, crawl, climb and leap for this medal and I loved every minute of it. I also finish with a decent time. Great job Men’s Health and Leadpack!!! I stayed after the race for the post race activities where I was with the Men’s Health team and I met Jinri Park too. Let’s do this again… Next Year.
Outfit Of The Race
- Top: adidas Climachill with #TaleOfTheTrail Design by Breakout Design
- Compression Shorts, Calf Sleeves, Trucker Cap: Under Armour
- Shoes: Adidas Ultra Boost
- GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
- Socks: Features
- Arms Sleeves: Men’s Health