“ Salomon City Trail redefines trail running by creating a trail route in the walled city of Intramuros. Salomon City Trail did gave us the usual challenge of a trail run with different surfaces from plain roads, cobblestone paths, grassy terrains, brick tiles and uneven surfaces on the walls. The trail also gave us various shifts in elevation and race environment with stair climbs, ascents on the wall and even a dark dungeon. The 12K distance came in 4 loops, each showing a different look of the heritage attraction of Intramuros. ”
The last time I ran a Salomon event it was the extra difficult Salomon XTrail at Pico de Loro. Salomon has decided to shake things up a bit by coming up with a City Trail concept that creates a really fun and relaxed environment yet still gives us a refreshing view to appreciate. City trail breaks the connotation that trails equals the pure nature setting we usually get to see only outside the City. In fact, we can create our own trail route in the City by taking advantage of scenic bridges, challenging stairs, underground passageways and others that can challenge us like a normal trail would do. Salomon gave us a really refreshing route to conquer in the walled city of Intramuros. This is also a refreshing break from the usual city routes we have on weekends. I’ve been excited to do this one because of the rich heritage of Intramuros and this would be passing some of the areas inside Intramuros that’s not part of the usual tour in the area. This is going to be FUN!!!
The race had four loops inside and outside Intramuros. The first loop was a straight road loop covering Gen. Luna, Muralla Street and A. Soriano. The second loop takes you on the walls from Sta Lucia and passing by the wall overlooking Muralla and A. Serrano. The third loop brings you straight to the outer perimeter of Intramuros (Bonifacio Drive) Coming from A. Serrano and re-entering Intramuros via Victoria before another climb in the wall at Muralla Street. The last loop passes through Intendencia Ruins and sends you for a loop inside Plaza Maestranza before going back to Sta. Lucia and re-entering the walls in Muralla Street heading back to A Soriano and the confides of Fort Santiago for the finish.
It was already a long day for me even before the race as I was already up before 4 AM to attend to some task for Ensure Run at BGC. I also had some work issues popping up on the same day so even before the race started, it was already a hectic and stressful day for me. In the rush of things, I did forget my bib holder and had to go back and forth to the car since I keep leaving my race stuff. I arrived an hour before the start of the race so I had time to calm my nerves and socialize. It was also a festive atmosphere since I know most of the marshals, people handling the event and fellow runners. We were already going over some race strategy and one of which was just to stick together and play cutoff management and enjoy the run.
We positioned ourselves at the back by the gunstart since this was a chill race for us. The first loop was a run at the full stretch of Gen. Luna with all the old shops, event areas and the Manila Cathedral. From the start I went on running at a comfortable pace. Despite the stressful day, my legs felt good for this one. That’s thanks a lot to NY Theraspine for the PT work they’ve been doing for my Shin Injury. I went on to run at a good pace and a kilometer into the race, I looked back and I can’t find the group of Rene Villarta. So much for running as a pack. I changed race strategy and made the most of the road part since I know I would slow down when the race shifts to the wall. We were running beside of the walls at Muralla Street and the roads at A. Soriano passing by the schools and business establishment in the area. I was pacing with Angel of Runners’ World and his husband on this part.
The second loop was a different flavor from the first loop as the run shifted to the walls. We entered the Sta Lucia and went on the walls in Muralla Steet. The walls gave us different surfaces with uneven cobblestone paths, bricked roads, grassy areas that gave us also had a lot of scenic views inside Intramuros from different monuments and ‘baluartes’ in the areas. There were also climbs and descent along the walls. I played this part with my pace determined by the surface and terrain. I slowed down when the surface is uneven or climbing and I took advantage of the bricked and grassy areas where the surface is more flat. I did enjoy this part because of the scenic attractions surrounding the wall.
The third loop had us go around the outside perimeter of Intramuros via Bonifacio Drive. This was a flatter terrain with brick roads. and a short forest type trail with softer soil surface along Padre Burgos Drive. The route passes the Manila City Hall and reenters Intramuros via Victoria. I saw Neville, who was among my bowling mates when I was still in SGV. We were running at the same pace here with a few run-walk sequence on this part. The race heads back to Muralla Street and climbs back again on the wall and descends again with a short loop passing by Intendencia Ruins and doing a loop inside Plaza Maestranza. Plaza Maestranza gave you the feel of a Dungeon and had us running in the dark. I almost tripped here as there was a wooden plank in one of the intersections here. The race then heads back to A. Soriano again for the last loop.
The last loop was a run around the roads of Sta Lucia and beside the wall of Muralla Street before climbing the walls again to get the last loop cord. I was on my cruising pace at this point since I am still away from the cutoff. I already passed on the water refilling stations at this point since I know I would have sufficient hydration with me. When I got my final loop cord from the wall, I then proceeded to A. Soriano for the finish. Before entering the road heading back to the finish line. I took my last sip of Gatorade and then went on to run the last 100 meters of the race going to the finish line at Fort Santiago.
I really enjoyed this one and it was nice to finish a race strong after a tough day. Salomon City Trail gave me four different looks of Intramuros and all of them made me appreciate the rich heritage of Intramuros. It was also nice seeing Team Suunto Philippines and other Salomon athletes and volunteers being the marshals and cheerers of the race. I’m also glad to run the whole race 100% pain-free and injury free. This was a nice feel-good run with a very scenic and historical backdrop. Running can indeed take the bad day away.