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Corregidor International Half Marathon 2015

Posted by on 16. March 2015

The hardest half marathon can be finished by patience and great company

#4Peat is what I can say about #CorregidorInternationalHalfMarathon and it has transformed from just a bucket list race for me to an annual event.  This feels like a Bachelors degree in #CIHM and this one was the hardest of all the four editions I joined because of the scorching heat of the sun.  I guess when you’re used to crossing the finish line, you’ll eventually find ways to overcome the obstacles that this race has to offer from the really hot weather to the long stretches of UpHELLS.  The raw beauty of the island and the historical significance do make up for those countless shut-up leg moments and test of mental fortitude. Tough people endure and that’s why were called Conquerors.

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Bachelor of Science in CIHM\

I wonder if I can add the title Bachelor of Science in CIHM as doing the event 4 years in a row feels like a degree on it’s own.  I guess CIHM is a the science of getting past the tough parts during the race and it doesn’t get any tougher than Corregidor.  Hill are spelled HELLS in this part of town and definitely feels like HELL with not only long uphill stretches but also steep and lung busting ones.  Then there’s a heat factor that made the hardest half / full mary even a lot harder.  Brave men fought for the country and for this island and we get a little bit of that valor in being conquerors of the challenging race.  It’s all not tough times, shut up legs moments and lung-busting climbs in this island as the heritage and raw natural beauty makes it a visual enticement to go around the island by foot for hours.  The journey to my 4th CIHM medal was not as easy one with the race event getting bumped of to the hotter month of March because of the Pope’s visit last January.  It’s a totally new race with this being the hottest of all previous runs in corregidor.  I also had a bad tummy going into the race and a little bit sleep deprived coming into the race with an event the night prior to the race.  No Excuses, I’ll just find ways to finish this one.

Race Route and Elevation Profile

Race Map is powered by Suunto Ambit 2S

Race Starts at the South Dock and proceeds to Malinta Tunnel and climbs Malinta Hill for the first two kilometers before a short drop going into the Japanese Garden of Peace and the Corregidor Resort approaching the third kilometer of the race.  The climb goes on until the 4th kilometer at the Filipino Hero War Memorial before the rolling terrain going to Kindley field in the 6th Kilometer.  The race goes back on the Filipino War Memorial and heads back to Malinta Tunnel,  After approaching the north dock, the long climb at the Ramsay Ravine starts which then heads to the mile long barracks going to kilometer 12.  The route switches from road to trail covering some of the barracks and heading to several battery area in the 12th to 14th kilometer mark,  The race then heads to the other side of the barracks and Pacific War Memorial heading to the 15th kilometer and enters the freedom torch and trails going in the 16th kilometer. The next 3 kilometer is downhill before the long and steep climb at the 19th kilometer before heading back to Manilta Tunnel and North Dock for the finish.

Elevation Profile Powered by Suunto Ambit 2S and Suunto Movescount

The race starts with a climb at Malinta hill for the first two kilometers before a steep drop and climb going to the 3rd and 4th kilometer. The course shifts to a rolling terrain with mostly descents entering the Kindley Airfields going to the 6th kilometer and climbs back on the next two kilometers.  The race then heads downward to Malinta Tunnel before the long climb starts at kilometer 9 until kilometer 16 of about 200 meters of elevation.  The race goes on a long descent of 200 meters until kilometer 19 before going on a really steep climb of 70 meters going to the 20th kilometer.  The race ends on a descent headed to the Malinta Tunnel and the Finish.

The Race

Had my Handy GoPro Hero 3+ for my Race Coverage – Photo by Rene Villarta

Two days before the race, I had a bad tummy and I hope to recover before the race.  The night before the race I had to attend an event which would take away a lot of my sleeping hours before the race.  The day of the race, I was looking for a way in CCP area since there was a run ongoing during that time.  Each of this situations made me think if this was the year I would miss Corregidor but as always, I found ways.  I parked my car at SM Mall of Asia and got a cab who was wily enough to find a way going to the ferry area.  I was able to reach the ferry on board Corregidor for a day tour including the run.  I was planning to sleep during the ferry trip to at least catch up on some lost sleep but I wasn’t able to sleep instead, I caught a glimpse of this.

Catching sunrise on the way to Corregidor.

I was able to catch sunrise on the way to Corregidor, which I rarely see.  The trip took over an hour and we were able to reach Coregidor around 7 am.  It was hot already and this was one of the effect of having a race in March instead of January. Honestly speaking, I wasn’t ready for a hot race so I’ll just see how it goes and adjust my pace and strategies.  I saw a lot of familiar faces at the starting line and after the ceremonies, it was gun start at 8:15 am.  I tried to start fast just to get the feel of how my body would react to the heat and I was tiring out faster than I usually do.  I tried to attack the hills 2-3 minutes at a time.  Of course, I couldn’t resist stopping by the creepy and famed Malinta Tunnel.

Before entering the tunnel about 500 meters in the race.

The Malinta Hill was about a 2 kilometer stretch of moderate climb and took it slowly though whenever, I had a good song on my playlist since I’m using the Yurbuds Leap Wireless, I’d speed up.  With each water station, I’d take time to stop, drink water and El Lobo Drinks and pour water into my head to douse the heat.  After the climb, I took advantage of the descent going to the Corregidor resort to speed up and went on to go 30 seconds run walk on the climb heading to the 4th kilometer.  It was extremely hot already and instead of just pouring water on my head, I was practically taking a bath with several cups of cold water and sponges to cool down.  I have to commend that the hydration was really overflowing.  I also started bring in a tube of water for more regular dousing.

The view from Corregidor Resort.

It was terrain management starting from the Filipino War Memorial heading to Kindley fields.  I would speed up on the descents and walk on the climbs.   The route had nice views on the side and the barren Kindley Fields felt even hotter along the 5th and 6th kilometer.  The road back to the Filipino War Memorial were mostly climbs so I was trying to insert some efforts in between but the story is the same that I can only sustain small surges of runs with the terrain.

Scorching Hot Kindley Fields.

I was also taking some photos of the race since I had my GoPro Hero 3+ with me.  I would stop once in a while for a good view or a familiar face to take some photos.  At least, it gave me more to time to recover during the run.  I took the descent back to Malinta as a chance to speed up since this would be the last descent before the very long climb that starts at kilometer 9.

Heading now to the second part of the race. – photo by Rene Villarta

The second part of the race was the tougher but more scenic part.  The next 6-7 kilometers would be mostly climbs.  There was a big climb at kilometer 10 and 11 heading into the mile long barracks area.  I switched to brisk walk on this part.  After 2 kilometers of climbing, I felt I was losing the mental part of the race so I went on more runs at the mile long barracks area.

The Mile Long Barracks.

The legs were there but I was really tiring fast so I went with shorter run – walk intervals just to cover the mileage faster.  It was a bit mentally draining here, not to mention creepy, as I had a large area with a few runners nearby. I was planning to go patiently with the shorter run-walk interval for the whole race until I was able to catch up with my friend from Ateneo Graduate School of Busines Menoi and I decided to pace with her.  One way to finish the race is to put some efforts consistently and another one is to spend it with good company so you can appreciate the views better.

Hello Menoi!

We went on a slower pace especially that we started on trails that had views of the barracks.  The 13th – 14th kilometer had several of the old batteries in the area.  We also took the chance on the descents to speed up and recovered on the climbs.  The longest barracks, the war memorial zone and the freedom torch can be seen in the 15th kilometer as well as another set of trails.

Back in the trails

Even if it was not a fast pace, I guess time and mileage moves faster with company.  The trail was about a kilometer heading to the next 3 kilometers of descent.  We discussed on whether we’re going on suicide mode and do the descent at a fast paced. We decided to just go on at our relaxed pace.  It would prepare us better for the dreaded 19th kilometer.  My favorite view is the road approaching the 19th kilometer as from the dock, you get to see the West Philippine Sea, the rock formations and nearby islands and after the beauty comes the beast, with a very steep 1 kilometer climb that’s really lung busting and really tough on the legs.

Oh that long-endless steep climb called kilometer 19.

One good thing about the relaxed pace on the descent, we were fresh on the killer climb of the route.  I tried using bigger strides here and was able to get past some of the runners struggling on the climb.  With patience, consistency and just going and on and on and we were finally at the end of the exhausting climb.  We had our last water stops and it was downhill from there for the last kilometer.  After the third trip to the Malinta Tunnel, we went on to sprint the remaining part of the race for a solid finish.


This was definitely my hardest half marathon to date because of the heat and lack of preparation, I’m just glad that Corregidor will be back on it’s usual cool January event date next year.  It’s 4 years of CIHM running and it’s 4 different stories to tell.  Let’s see what’s the story on year 5.

Thanks to Team Smart for keeping me accompanied during the tour around the island.

Outfit of the Race

This was my outfit during the race: Top – Oakley (designed by Breakout Design), Shorts – Under Armour, Shoes – Adidas Ultra Boost, GPS Watch – Suunto Ambit 2S, Eye Wear – Spyder Nomad H, Earphones: yurbuds Leap Wireless Visor – Pinoy Fitness, Compression Sleeves – Zensah, Socks – Under Armour, Muscle Tape – Rock Tape and Camera – GoPro Hero 3+

More photos here: FB Page

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