Like I’ve said before, i love obstacle runs/races as it mixes running on pavement, trails, and getting past obstacles. Men’s Health Urbanthlon 2014 was my last obstacle run for this year and a is strong candidate for my ‘Running event of the Year.’ This event is one that I look forward to especially after the ‘not-so-much’ satisfaction I had from this year’s Rexona Run To Your Beat. They got the best location (Nuvali is my favorite running grounds), nice race kit inclusions, and it’s an obstacle run, need I say more?
The adventure starts with a 5km run (I was running in the 10k category) around the beautiful estates of Nuvali with houses that cost probably north of 4 million pesos. It was a relaxing run, we get to pass by a bridge with a scenic river below and the houses around the place are beautiful.I decided to run the 5km road at a regulated pace to reserve my stamina for the obstacles.
After the 5th kilometer is where the fun starts, the Nuvali trails. he 1st obstacle before entering the trails was the scaffolding maze. Quite easy, just keep low to avoid hitting your head. The trails are grassy, muddy, and slippery. You passed by a small man-made tunnel that looks nice before passing through a small river.
After the 1st obstacle and the river pass, more trail running on the grassy parts of Nuvali. Though the tall grass can block the view of the surroundings, some parts of the area can still be seen from a distance.
After the trails, the 2nd obstacle was the Monkey Bars. It looks easy, but when you’re actually doing it, it’s harder than it looks. What made it even harder was the slippery bars, it was wet, probably from a drizzle or the sweat from the participants’ hands. Runners may choose to skip an obstacle and just have their name or bib number listed by a marshal for not being able to complete the obstacle (in The Guerilla Race, you are penalized and have to do 30 burpees), but where’s the fun or the sense of achievement if you don’t try hard to succeed? The monkey bars was so tough, my hands keep slipping just when I was about to make it to the other side. At one point I stopped midway and got a cramped leg when it was accidentally stretched while hanging on. I had to repeat it 4 (or maybe it was 5) times before I finally completed it.
After the monkey Bar was the Cargo/Container wall. It wasn’t hard and you have the option to ask for the marshal assistance to pull you up. I made up and down the wall without assistance.
The Bridgestone Tire Field comes next. It looks easy, but if you try to move through it quickly, there’s a chance that your foot might get stuck and pull you down. It happened to me twice, a smaller tire got me off balance and was pulled down.
The Cargo or Spider Net is not hard, but there are times that you have to move slowly to avoid getting a foot slip through the net. There’s a technique where you can lie down and roll downwards for a faster way of passing through, but you still have to be careful as there are other participants around you.
Next was the Asics Hurdle Walls. It’s another easy obstacle as long as you can push yourself up and over the walls. The wall heights get higher, the 3rd wall can be done by either crawling low or pushing up, and the 4th one has a window.
After the Asics Hurdles was a few hundred meters of running towards the last 2 obstacles of the race, the Low Crawl and the Gatorade Wall. For the Low Crawl you just have to, stay low and crawl. Stay low because there is a chance the your head might hit the metal bars.
The last obstacle, the Gatorade Wall, offers 2 options, push your self up or use the ropes. Like the Cargo Wall, Marshal assistance is also an option here. I could push myself up, but a marshal approached me and offered a helping hand and, as the saying goes, ‘it is wise to accept the goodwill of others’ and I was shy to turn down the offer, so I accepted the helping hand.
Once you get pass the Gatorade Wall, it’s just a few meters of running towards the finish line.
And the Industrial design, Bronze medal is the fruit of the hardships you went through.
After finishing the race, participants can still walk around the activity area and enjoy freebies from the sponsors. I got free samples of Quantum Plus Vitamins, but I missed the other awesome freebies.
Men’s Health Urbanathlon 2014 was a great running event, I was smiling and singing as I drove home. Like I’ve said before, they’ve got the best location, good race kit inclusions (aside from the medal, everyone gets a finisher shirt, and for 21k runners, an additional MH cap for that extra distance), the marshals are very nice and attentive, and they delivered a well-organized event (excellent hydration stations and medic) and a memorable experience. I had another great obstacle run before the year’s end and this is definitely in my top 3 best running events this year. The only reasons that kept the event from being perfect was the advertised obstacles, the vertical ramp and the shimney rope, didn’t make it to event, but there was probably a good reason for it probably because of the mud or other safety concerns. For next year, I’m preparing myself for more obstacle and trails runs, Men’s Health Urbanathlon has been included in my ‘Runs I shouldn’t miss’ list and I will make it a tradition to join the event every year. Kudos to the organizer LeadPack for organizing an excellent event.
HIGHLIGHT of the Run:
I was walking around the activity area after finishing the race and I heard cheering and clapping from a crowd around the low crawl area. I checked it out and saw this guy who just emerged from the low crawl. With encouragement from the crowd, including yours truly, the guy even push through the Gatorade Wall. With help from the marshals and fueled by motivation, he made it. A big salute and respect to this guy and people like him who have the courage to start something life-changing, finding a way to work around their limitations, and for getting out there and doing what he can. That’s better than sitting at home and on the couch all day long.
The next morning, my whole body hurts. A pain I’ve never felt before, not even my previous Guerilla Race run (which had tougher obstacles) gave me body pains of such intensity. It was probably caused by the monkey bars. I didn’t feel pain during and after the race, just the morning after. Still, the fun I had at the event overcomes the painful experience.