You can have all the bright ideas in the world but if you don’t have people to execute its just bound to be an idea. After the successful Sierra Trail Adventure Race 2016, it took time before I was mentally ready for its sequel. I also needed the experience and expertise of Be Trail Ready team and the full backing of the sponsors just to make sure STAR Trail Challenge would be a success.
STAR Trail Challenge
It took time for Pinoy Trails to finally decide on the sequel of the Sierra Trail Adventure Race. It was a tough road heading towards the race in 2016 from cancellations, losses and a lot more but after all the happy faces during the race, it was worth it. We learned a lot of lessons in the 2016 edition. In 2017, there was no urgency to do the race as I had to prepare for my own races and also needed up helping some race organization and brands to promote in the trail community. I also needed a team that share the same passion and would be there against all odds. Then there was Be Trail Ready Team spearheaded by DBB and Hazel. We’ve been to their races, had chats during recons and it was a good mix. We still needed one more ingredient to make it a good treat for the runner and it was the sponsors.
The first up was to get Hoka One One, who I’ve working frequently for several campaigns. They would be the key sponsor and we wanted to use the race to help promote their shoes and help runners appreciate the Downhill Challenge. Hoka One One was originally designed as a downhill running shoes with its excellent cushion, support and traction. The original team alongside Rene and Jun of Pinoy Trails initially had a course in the Sampaloc loop but had to redesign the route to make way for the challenge. A race within a race and I’m starting to love the idea of STAR Trail Challenge.
We also had Nuun, Lightwater, Vitamin Boost, Gu and Del Monte for Hydration and Race Giveaways. We had Amihan as our race gear partner. We had Gu as our nutrition partner. We also had Milesyone Pod, Drymax, Runnr, Fuel Belt, Trail Junkie, SanctBand and Under Armour. Thanks to all the sponsors that we had a lot of prizes and giveaways on race day. Everything given to us were given back to the runners because STAR Trail Challenge is a Runners Race.
Venue was Tanay Adventure Camp, which has easy access to a lot of trail routes. We also love that’s its an outdoor haven and they share the same passion with us. Special Thanks to Tanay Adventure Camp for being such a good venue partner and also to Tanay Tourism, who always fostered events like STAR Trail Challenge.
Pinoy Trails handled the sponsors, promotion and marketing while Be Trail Ready handled race logistics, venue, registration and the recons. It was really great working with Be Trail Ready team and we’re looking forward to another STARry race with them in 2018. Manila Box Office was our registration partner and it really made our job a lot easier which allowed us to focus more on the race.
It was also nice to have several trail talks heading to the race to promote the trail lifestyle. Aside from our usual trail talks, we (Me and Princess) conducted several trail talks aimed at newbies and we’re happy to note that we were able to recruit several no-bies (no running experience at all) to get to try the race. We really wanted STAR to be a venue for newbies to enjoy the trails yet keep the route exciting for the experienced ones.
The race was for Be Trail Ready to do what they do best on the trails. They operated like a well-oiled machine from route markings, to route supervisions. I joined Hazel, Princess and the rest in the venue. I was just there to fill in any gaps. It was raining so we had several plan Bs in store and yes, we were ready for anything this time. I actually liked that it rained because it added another fun element on the trail. As we were unleashing runners, things felt lighter for us. We had to adjust several times but it’s all good.
You can’t really plan everything perfectly but it was important that we were able to make adjustments along the way. I ended up doing several task, including bring Vanessa of Active Pinas on the route, manually carrying cases of Lightwater from one side of the hall to another, to being a sweeper for the kids race, being part of the opening and closing ceremonies, brewing coffee and a lot more. It was a good working as I probably did several kilometers being from one area to another, lifted a lot of weights too. That’s what I do best, just be the glue to try to make things work even on a supporting role.
Of course, the runner in me would have preferred me running the course. There were a lot of reasons I enjoyed STAR Trail Challenge. It was a lot of happy faces. It was people telling stories about their awesome adventures. It’s the sponsors getting a good mileage. It was nice to see the original Pinoy Trails Team (Rene, Jun, Arvin, Mike and Jose) and friends. It was the new segments like the kids race and the downhill challenge. I hope both this challenges get to get more exposures in other races. The kids race though it was a side event did make me really happy to see kids play outdoors.
“Joma: Kids, gusto nyo ba mag parlor games na lang (since it was raining)?
Joma: Kids, gusto nyo ba tumakbo sa ulan at maputikan?”
With that, we allowed the parents to join the kids in the race and they look so cute and so natural on the trail. After all, this is a race for everybody. We saw a lot of newbies brave the trails, a lot of elite runners show their wares and a lot of passionate runners cap their running year with STAR Trail Challenge. It was a fun day at our rainy trail playground and I hope everybody did have fun and eventually continue to love the trails. It’s time to recharge a bit for me and when I’m done, it’s back to the drawing board again with Team BTR and sponsors for another Epic STAR adventure.