Rough N’ Tough was well… Rough and Tough… and it was Wet and Wild too. The climbs had the added challenge of the soft muddy surface and the descents required a lot of courage and “bahala na si Batman” kind of attitude. It was a character-defining race that has started to become he flavor of the trails this rainy season.
Rough N Tough
I missed the first leg of Rough N Tough Mountain Run series, which made me excited for the second leg. It was raining the day before the race so it’s expected to get extra rough and tough. I actually enjoy the slower trail better as it would require more strategy and less on speed. I was running with Princess, who’s also training for Lantau 2 Peaks in October. Mackio joined us in our group as he still new in trail running. Well, we’re just going at a slow and steady pace but this should be fun.
Race Route and Elevation
The race starts at the basketball court near the tourism office in Wawa Dam. The race goes straight on a climb for the first three kilometers before the intersection. It goes rolling for the next kilometer and goes on a steep climb on really muddy surface on the 5th kilometer. It goes on a slippery descent on the next three kilometers before going on rolling surface heading to the finish line.
Arrived at the Wawa Dam with Princess an hour before gun start for kit claiming and warm up. It turned out the other distances gun start were moved because of the rain. There were some last minute re-routing of the course owing to the strong rains the day before the race. Mackio, who’s doing his first trail train requested to join our group. I’m a bit familiar with some of the course since I had done several races and recons here. The big difference now is the extra muddy character of the trails now. Even if you go to the same trail several times, it’s always a different experience each visit.
At gun start, we went with the pack on the run as there’s just a few flat paved surface on the runs. The first kilometer was fast though we switched to hike pace on the second and third kilometer to save on the energy. It’s about 200 meters worth of elevation on the first three kilometer so we just held our pace for the first 3 kilometers. The 4th kilometer was rolling terrain on muddy surface so we tried to speed up a bit to take advantage of the descents. It was also starting to be a more scenic trail with the mountain ranges and sea of clouds in full sight.
Going to the 5th kilometer it was back to climbing. This time, it was soft muddy and slippery terrain. It was really a struggle as the sole of our shoes ate mud and we were slipping each step we make. Princess and I were able to adopt to the surface faster but Mackio was struggling since he was wearing road shoes and it was his first time in a trail race. I lent him both my trekking poles and just went on without poles. It was a difficult kilometer filled with slips, slides and a lot of mud but we endured.
It was a relief getting past that muddy stretch. We’re back on more solid grounds for a few meters at least, and it was back to muddy run once again. We tried to brisk walk a bit despite the slippery surfaces until we reached the aid station. We took a break in the aid station cleaning ourselves a bit. The view was beautiful so we took the chance to have our photos taken.
It was now all downhill so it was time for the easy part, right? Well no!!! Whenever the trails are wet, gravity is not your ally. For the next two kilometers, we struggled on the descent. I was just allowing myself to slide on the mud trying to hang on the few twigs and tree trunks I can hang on too and just hoping not to fall. Well, I also had my series of slips and falls in the trail but that’s part of it. Just get back up and resume the race.
Despite the difficult and almost suicidal descent, the views made up for it. We were crossing streams of water. The view of the rives and the forest was really mystical and beautiful. There were muddy surfaces, slippery granite surfaces and unlimited amount of streams. It felt refreshing as we crossed each stream of water even if some were about knee deep. Sometimes, we’re against the current and sometimes, we were checking out the depth of the water. It was a wet and wild adventure.
Then it we were back in more solid surfaces. We took the chance to speed up. Well, it was Princess speeding up so I had no choice but to catch up. I really need to train more to keep up with this Trail Chick. It was a fun stretch as the hard part was over. We still had a few slippery bridges to cross. I also tripped and almost fell directly to the river. Slowed down a bit after that incident just to gather myself back. I noticed that there were bottlenecks in the trail so I really didn’t need to run fast so I switched to brisk walk pace but still maintained my distance with the rest.
When we were near Wawa, which is about 3 kilometers to the finish line. It was time to speed up since it was now mostly flat and solid surface. Of course, we still stopped at Wawa Dam for our photos. It was starting to get warm now and I guess it was time to wrap up the run.
After Wawa Dam, we went on to run all the way to the finish line. 12K Rough N Tough Adventure in less than 3 hours. I’m starting to get used to the wet and wild trails and looking forward to more. Great job to Thumbie and Rough N Tough Team for a really exhilarating and challenging race.