Date: November 16, 2013
Place: Del Carmen, Siargao
Read about: Incoming: Siargao It Up
“Nothing evokes hope during troubled times than seeing nature in it’s raw beauty as everything around you has been shaped through time and the events that transpired. Siargao It Up is not only a run but a showcase of Siargao’s raw beauty and the hospitality of their people.”
My track record for contest and raffles is not much so when Running Host Boy Ramos called me as the winner of plane fare and accommodation to be a part of Siargao It Up, I was really surprised but of course, really excited to see the place after having our eyes being awed by the wonderful presentation about Siargao. Fast forward to the day before the event, I was now headed to Siargao with my sister via a Cebu Pacific flight to Siargao. Even before touching down, you get welcomed in Siargao by the splendid view of the Mangroves.
Seeing the lush green mangroves from atop was really breathtaking and you get a preview of Siargao’s natural wonders. We were in the same flight with the MVP Group of Volunteers who would also be a part of the activities for the event. The event for the rest of the day was packed with inauguration of donated structures and the induction of over 300 students as Junior Environment Scout as they got to learn the value of being guardians of the environment even at a young age. It was Corporate Social Responsibility at its finest and I’m glad that I’ve been able to join a few of their activities. We stayed in Solaria at General Luna, which is around 42 kilometers from Del Carmen and was very near the famous cloud 9.
The next day, a group of volunteers from the Shore It Up of the MVP Group went for a diving clean up drive. We decided to stay at the hotel to prepare for the run. We did take time to visit the Cloud 9 nearby. The shoreline had limestone and granite formations and the water was clear wherein you can see the sea creatures in the waters. The waves was not at its best during the time of our visit but we were able to see once surfer conquering the water during our stay their. We then headed back to Solaria to catch lunch and our pick up to the event place.
Race Course and Elevation Profile
The race starts at Numancia Central Elementary School and heads towards Siargao Circumferential Road where you navigate 10 and a half kilometer for the u-turn before heading back. You get to pass by Sayak Airport at around kilometer 9. The elevation part is a bit tricky with a climb to start the race before heading downhill til Kilometer 2. There’s a big climb after the second kilometer before the course shifts to a rolling terrain where you go on a series of climbs and descents until kilometer 9. The race descends a bit until the halfway point where you get the usual hilly and rolling terrain on the second half of the race.
The unique feature of the race was that it happens at 3 pm under the scorching heat of the sun so this is gonna be a perfect heat training for me. This is gonna be training pace for me and will be using a run walk strategy. The pre-race stretching was led by Jojo Macalintal of Trimac. There were only a few runners for the 21 kilometer distance but I’m joining distance to be able to explore more of Siargao by foot.
After gunstart, people went on to a really fast start which as usual also dictated my pace. After finishing my first kilometer at below 6 minute pace. I pulled myself to the back of the pack and resumed my run walk strategy. The heat and the hilly terrain was also fast draining my energy fast and also keeping my heart rate high so the walking breaks was the balancing part. The good part was that hydration was sufficient with a water station every kilometer. Running in a rural environment was really refreshing with large fields of greens surrounding you and throngs out there watching and cheering you on. The community really came to support Siargao It Up!
The terrain was mostly uphill stretch for the first part and after which it shifts to rolling terrain wherein you get to do short climbs and descents, which makes it harder to maintain a pace. I was managing the scorching hot environment and the rolling terrain so I was trying to find the perfect balance of run, walk style to maximize the descents and be able to rest a bit on the climbs and at the same time being overwhelmed by the scenic backdrop and the cheers of the people of Siargao. I took water stops at every station because of the heat and started to count down the kilometers until the first half of the race and also wished it would rain as it would really be refreshing for rain to come at this temperature. Unfortunately, the rains only came after the race.
After a more than an hour of running, I was now on the half way point of the race and the weather has cooled down a bit as nightfall approaches. We were handed a banana and headlamp at kilometer 11. I had second thoughts on taking the head lamp as it would be additional weight I would be carrying the second half of the race though I eventually took the light as I know it’s gonna be dark by the time I finish the race. I took a leisurely walk while eating my banana before resuming my run. I now shifted to more frequent but shorter run-walk intervals so I was more relaxed the second half of the race. I felt better the second half of the race and started counting down the kilometers to the finish line. I was able to overtake a group of runners. By kilometer 18, it was already dark so I switched my headlamp on and a short while later a motorcycle convoy came beside me to light my path to the finish line. So with the motorcycle convoy beside me, I tried doing longer stretches of runs and fewer walks. In a few while, I was back in the fields of Numancia Central Elementary School crossing the finish line.
I crossed the finished line at 2:43 mark and that was a really great heat training for me. This was a really another well organized race by Without Limits with overflowing hydration (1 per kilometer) which also doubled as kilometer markers, all out local government, community and corporate support and being able to overcome the logistics issue of handling a race in a remote island. This is really ground breaking in terms of coming up with quality race in other areas as well. Post race, we watched the band competition before we headed of to after party in General Luna where the food, prizes and activities were overflowing. Special thanks to MVP Group for making us a part of the event and taking care of us from pre-booking until we got back to Manila. I really admire the CSR work you did for Shore It Up and Siargao It Up. Thanks to Ralph Balamaceda and Running Host for all the assistance during the event. Congratulations to Without Limits for another great race and to Photo-ops for the a great photo coverage.