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Corregidor International Half Marathon 2014

Posted by on 13. January 2014

The CIHM Tradition lives on.

Distance: 21.1 Kilometers
Date: January 12, 2014
Venue: Corregidor Island
Read About:

“When it comes to epic races, CIHM will always be on top of my list.  The run takes you on different surfaces from the cemented roads, muddy trails, grassy airfields and stoney beach fronts that would have your eyes feasting on Corregidor’s natural raw beauty and rich heritage while your legs takes a beating from the continuous UpHELL climbs covering about 200 meters several times during the race.”

Corregidor International Half Marathon 2014

3rd Adventure at the Rock – Photo by Justin Gomez

Corregidor International Half Marathon has transformed from being a bucket list race to an annual adventure for me.   It’s not the easiest of races as it boast of an uphill terrain that feels like hell and spelled upHELL.  It has its upside with the really scenic natural wonders of Corregidor with the ocean view at the dock and the beach front, the grassy area at the airfield to the forested trails.  It also gives you an appreciation of the valiant past of the island being the fort that guarded Manila Bay in the past and as a result you are surrounded by historic and creepy attractions like the Malinta tunnel, the mile long barracks, the hospital, the lighthouse and numerous ruins, various batteries and military artifacts.  In the end, it’s the satisfaction of getting past 21.1 Kilometers in this terrain that makes each race here really special.  It’s only my second race of the year and probably the last before I do my full marathon next month so the goal was to run a safe race but ensure I get a good workout in the Rock.

Race Route and Elevation Profile

Race Route and Elevation Profile is powered by Suunto Movescount.

The race starts at the South Dock and proceeds immediately to Malinta Hill for a climb passing through Malinta Tunnel covering about 40 meters of elevation for the first two kilometers of the race.  The race then descends about 40 meters of elevation for the next kilometer approaching Corregidor Resort and ascends back to the Japanese Garden of Peace approaching the 4th Kilometer. The race terrain becomes rolling heading to the old airport at around kilometer 6 and goes back to the Garden of Peace approaching the 8th kilometer.  The 9th kilometers descends around 50 meters of elevation passing through the Malinta Tunnel and going through the dock again.  The race then goes up hill covering around 200 meters of elevation over the next 7 kilometers passing which includes the trails and the ruins of the mile long barracks and other historical attractions.  The race then descends 200 meters for the next 3 kilometers before the final steep uphill climb midway the 19th kilometer covering 60 meters of elevation.  The Race then descends back to Malinta Tunnel and then to the finish line at the other side of the dock.

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The Race

Windy Sunday Morning at the Start of the Race – Photo by Jeff Lo of Pinoyfitness

I took the option of the day tour wherein I have to take the ferry on the same day of the race.  We left Manila Bay at around 5:30 AM and arrived at Corregidor around 7:15 AM and to my surprise it was… WINDY and COLD.  I usually expect Corregidor to be a hot race because of the 8 AM gunstart but it was really windy so I took some time to warm up before the race while exchanging pleasantries with other racers at the starting line.  The opening prayer and the flag ceremony came with a presentation and everybody was awaiting the gun start to finally get the body warmed up from the windy weather.

Here We Go – Photo by LigPhoto

The first two kilometers felt the longest for me as I tried to start slow as my legs tend to be stiff at the start of the race and especially this one had the first two kilometers on an uphill terrain passing through the creepy Malinta Tunnel.  I started with a 2:1 run walk interval until my legs warmed up and felt some pains on my left leg at the first kilometers of the race.  As I saw the descent heading to the Corregidor Resort, I reserved my leg strength and accelerated on the descent which was about a full kilometer before resting again on the way back to the top going to the 4th kilometer.

Climbing Time – Photo by Jeff Lo of Pinoyfitness.com

The next four kilometers approaching the airport and back would be under a rolling terrain so I distributed my effort and tried to catch up with the rest by cruising through the descents and running the moderate climbs and walking the extreme ones.  The hydration at the airfield also had a refreshing Coco Fresh Buko Juice.  By this time, it was either I’ve already used to the pain or my leg has already warmed up so I was able to speed up a bit going back and heading back to Malinta Tunnel to wrap up the first half of the race.

It’s an uphill adventure. – Photo by LigPhoto

The second part of the race started around kilometer 9 and it involved around 7 kilometers worth of climbs.  The steeper part would be the first 1.5 kilometer of the run which was mostly brisk walking for me.  By the 11th kilometer, I was able to catch up with Jeff Lo of Pinoyfitness and his friends. I paced with them for most of the climbing part.  I also like that the hydration station here also had marshmallows.  This was the more scenic part of the race so we all spent a lot of time taking photos here.

Got to love trails – Photo by Jeff Lo of Pinoyfitness

The drill was to run on the descents and the moderate climbs and stop for photos at the historic attractions. Little by little we were eating up the kilometers with this routine.   It has now shifted to a chill run yet at the same time we still get to exert efforts on the runs.   It was nice to see the mile long barracks, the trails, the hospital and the lighthouse at this part.

Ready for War with the Pinoyfitness Gang. – Photo from Pinoyfitness

At the tail end of climb was the top side of the Mile Long Barracks and the ruins was really a visual delight though I wouldn’t want to be in this area at night as it has the creepy feel too.

Running at the top side of the barracks. – Photo by Justin Gomez

The next part was the 3 kilometer descent from the peak of Corregidor to the highway by the ocean.  It was time to put in some speed here. I went on faster though was still cautious as the downhill terrain is also tough on the knees.  This felt like a breeze and I know once I hit the bottom and see that magnificent view of the sea along the highway and the rock formation, the next part is the surprise.

The calm before the pain-fest

This is the part which makes Corregidor a tough man’s race as after being treated to a splendid view you get to see a climb like no other.  The next part is over a kilometers worth of a very steep killer climb.  Oh well, a journey to the steepest climb begins with a single step followed by another and another… It was a crawl and it was really tough as even cars would have a hard time at this incline but even the pain-fest has to end as once you reach the top of the hill, it’s all downhill and a creepy Malinta Tunnel going to the finish line.  It’s time to give one final push to the finish.

Approaching the finish line – Photo by LigPhoto

It’s always satisfying approaching the finish line and it was another adventure and another epic story again for Corregidor International Half Marathon.  I always say that this is the race that you’d probably telling your grand kids when you reach that time and here’s my third version of this adventure.  Great Job to the Big Big Big team, Edward Kho and Raymund Martelino and all the marshals as we were well taken cared of during the race and yes, see you next year (January 17, 2015 for Corregidor Marathon and January 18, 2015 for Corregidor International Half Marathon) for another adventure.

And the finish line… – Photo by Justin Gomez

3 Years of CIHM

3 years of CIHm, 3 different medals, 3 different stories.

Race Photos in the following Facebook Pages:

GoPro Video of CIHM 2014


Thanks to Dans Bike Shop and Go Pro Philippines for lending me the GoPro 3 to document the race.

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