Posted in 5k, 5km, adventure, guerilla race, Obstacle Course Racing, obstacle run, running, running event, ToughXRough

A Splashing Return! (Guerilla Race Splash)

The last time I joined an obstacle run or Obstacle Course Racing was 2 1/2 years ago and that was Men’s Health Urbanathlon. But, I am no stranger to the Guerilla Race series, and in fact, I am one of the pioneer participants of the very first Guerilla Race. The last Guerilla Race I joined was the 10k category of the Panther edition in Filinvest City back in October 2014. After that, I wasn’t able to join the other Guerilla events because they were held far from my hometown and I have very limited resources when it comes to joining running events. Now that Guerilla Race has returned to the south with the new water edition, my anticipation is not just at an all time high, I feel ecstatic.

For this event, I was able to get an extra race kit and gave it to my officemate, Jaypee (a Guerilla Race first timer). We arrived at the venue before 4 am and took a warm-up, reconnaissance stroll around the area. For some reason, the race started late at 0530 (suppose to start at 0500).

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Excitedly waiting. Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)

 

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Definitely ecstatic. Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)
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Talking about strategies that won’t go as planned, anyway. Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)
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Rock (Jaypee) and Roll (Me). Photo by Tris (Active Pinas).

I was surprised when the first part of the race route is inside Splash Island and even more surprising for me is the first obstacle…

 

Obstacle 1: the Kayak.

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Me and Jaypee watching and staring at the first obstacle. Photo by Jhunejaved Mindana
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Shock and Stunned! What are we looking at? Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)

To be honest, I was a bit shocked and nervous about this obstacle because I don’t know how to operate a kayak. I kept thinking that I can’t stabilize it and will likely be moving sideways or unlikely to make the U-turn back to shore. Thankfully, I was able to relax, focus, and move it straight. I did bump unto other participants and vice versa, one time four of us bump each other but was able to get free easily. The next obstacle is much easier though…

Obstacle 2: Balsa River.

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Damn, it’s cold! Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)
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Refreshing! Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)
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That time when water is more fun than beer. Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)
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The water is cool, but if there’s a warm spot, you know why it’s warm. Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)
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Now there’s a warm spot =) Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)
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Into the deep (ok, it’s not really deep). Photo by Tris (Active Pinas)
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Whatta watah! Photo by Tris (Active Pinas).
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Jaypee crossing the Balsa River. Apologies for the photo, I used my old and rugged Sony Ericsson XPERIA Active (the only smartphone tough enough for this kind of race) and photos were taken with an old 5-megapixel camera.

This one is easier and relaxing. You just go into the looping Balsa River and you can swim, float, walk, or run. We decided to take our time and just walk this one to conserve stamina. The third obstacle does slow things down a little…

Obstacle 3: Barbed Wire Crawl

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I wasn’t able to take a photo of this obstacle nor find a photo of us doing the obstacle, so I just grabbed an interesting photo from the Active Pinas facebook page.

One of the regular obstacles of Guerilla Race and it will definitely get you dirty and smelly. If you don’t go low enough and crawl, your clothes will get caught (see photo above) or the barbed wires will poke you like it did to me so I got down low and dirty the non-perverted way.

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After the crawl, it’s a few hundred meters of trail running to the next and slippery-when-wet obstacle. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.

4th obstacle, Handrail walk?

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Difficult when wet (because it’s slippery). Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.

I don’t know the official name of this obstacle, but this is one of the most difficult as it requires some degree of upper body strength and good grip because the rails are slippery. To add difficulty, you can only do this one time. As we approach this obstacle, we already saw some of the participants doing burpees as penalty for not passing the obstacle. When we started moving, it seemed very do-able, I was already halfway through when my right hand slipped and my foot touched the ground (as seen in the photo). Jaypee also slipped and we had to do 30 burpees as penalty. Doing burpees depletes your stamina more than the obstacle, so it is better to put effort in completing the obstacles than do burpees.

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Jaypee giving the one finger salute for his dislike of this obstacle and wanted to have another try (same sentiment here) because it is do-able.

Obstacle 5: Window in the Wall?

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This is very easy even in low stamina. Photo by My Run Time.
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The only way this is hard is if you don’t fit through the window. Photo by My Run Time.
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Thanks for this awesome action shot. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.

I think this is called the military wall, but I’m not sure. Designed to just break your momentum, this obstacle is one of the easiest even if you lost some stamina after doing burpees. This will only be difficult if you don’t fit in the window properly, but I’ve never seen anyone having a hard time with this obstacle.

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Taking it easy, taking our time. Photo by Active Pinas.
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Walk like a boss! Photo by Active Pinas.

Obstacle 6: Bamboo Crossing?

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Pain for the thighs.

Dunno what to call this obstacle. The only challenge here is if you feel pain on your thighs or that tight feeling of your hamstrings. It can also be painful on the knees when you’re already overfatigued.

Obstacle 7: Mud Crawl

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Jaypee crawling first so I can take a photo of the obstacle.
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Jaypee crawling out with a smile. Me? not loving the foul smell of the mud. Photo by Active Pinas.
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Doesn’t smell like teen spirit. Smells like raw sewage to me. Photo by Active Pinas.
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But, the water is cool… Still, the smell though… Photo by Active Pinas.
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Don’t let it get in your eyes and mouth. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.
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Out of the sewer! Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.
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Everyone is smiling. Well, I did smile too after I got back to my feet. Photo by Active Pinas.

This is easier than the barbed wire crawl because of the watery mud and the cool water is refreshing and kinda soothing. But, it has a foul smell though, so you need to breathe wisely and close your mouth to avoid fresh dirty water getting in your mouth.

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Slow jog to the next obstacle. Photo by Active Pinas.

Obstacle 8: The Wall.

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I think it’s 6 feet high or more.
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What I did is jump and hang on. Then Pull yourself up. Photo by Active Pinas.
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You will struggle if you’re tired. Photo by Active Pinas.
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But, it’s easier than it looks. Just ask Jaypee. Photo by Active Pinas.
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You have to watch the ground before jumping though, to make sure you land properly and don’t slip or hurt yourself. Photo by Michael Allen Celestial.

The wall isn’t exactly as hard as the 1st and 2nd time I encountered it. In fact, I got it with only 1 try. I just jumped, hanged on to the top of the wall, and slowly push myself up. Jaypee who was very worried about this obstacle earlier got it in 1 try as well.

Obstacle 9: Inclined Wall.

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The Marshal asked the girl to go for the middle part of the wall instead because this side (right) is slippery. She told Jaypee to take this side instead because she thinks he can handle it. I also lined up on this side.
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It can be hard, but there’s a technique to easily climb up this obstacle. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.
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Proper footing and the grip or your shoes (or feet if you run barefoot) is a key factor in completing this easily. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.

This obstacle is easy if you know how to position yourself and pull yourself up. Plant yourself properly, firm grip on the rope and then move your legs and pull yourself up gently and relaxed. You can also run up just gather momentum and with the right speed and it will be over faster.

Obstacles 10, 11, and 12: Sandbag Carry, Walk on Fours, and Tire Field

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Show offs can grab 2 sandbags and help themselves with quicker stamina depletion.
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Yeah on the catwalk. On the catwalk, yeah. I shake my little tush on the catwalk.

Before we engaged these obstacles, we took our time at the aid station to drink and wash off some of the mud on our face. Three obstacles in one go. First you grab a sandbag (grab 2 if you’re strong enough and want to show off the power of them guns) and then walk or run 100 meters (estimate) then U-turn back and drop the sandbag. After that, you run or walk another hundred meters to a point where you have to start walking on fours like an animal (I call it the catwalk). This is a bit hard on the thighs and can be tiring, so it’s better to move at an easy and steady pace. Thankfully, the distance is shorter and once you got up, you walk or run towards the field of tires. It’s better to look at your feet as you make your way through the tire field because there’s a chance that your foot will get caught by a tire and pull you down.

Obstacle 13: Tire Pull and Lift

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I’m not feeling smug, I’m pulling. Photo by Active Pinas.
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Doing it smoothly, feeling like a criminal. Photo by Active Pinas.
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Wax On , Wax Off is how you do this. Photo by Active Pinas.
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The lasso of lies. Photo by Active Pinas.
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Tire? Tyre? Tired? Photo by Active Pinas.
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Like a tire, I run on-road and off-road. Photo by Active Pinas

This obstacle can be done smoothly without affecting much of your stamina. First part of the obstacle is to pull the tire. Just relax and apply just the right amount of pulling power that it won’t affect your breathing. For example, pull with the left hand then breath in, now the right hand then breathe out. It’s that easy and keep your back straight. The second part requires you to lift the tire and put it back at the starting point for the next participant’s turn.

Obstacle 14: Money Bar

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Monkey Bars are regular playground equipment and when I was a kid, it’s easy to do. It’s a different story when you grow up and add some weight. Photo by My Run Time.

This is the second obstacle that I failed to complete. I made I mistake of having my hands gripping one bar apart and it put me in the position of facing sideways to the left. I was stuck and hanging for almost 10 seconds, trying to re-position myself, but I couldn’t and fearing that I might lose my grip. So, I decided to push through and tried doing the monkey bars sideways, grabbing 1 bar apart , and it seemed to be working as I made it halfway. Then I lost my momentum (couldn’t swing anymore and my hand couldn’t reach and grab the next bar) and I fell to the ground. Unfortunately, you can only do the obstacle once, so I just accepted the penalty. Jaypee got it right and avoided the stamina-depleting burpees.

Obstacle 15: Over and Under the bars?

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The added difficulty of obstacles that involves bars is that they’re slippery.

By the time we reached this obstacle, I still haven’t recovered some of the loss stamina from the burpees I had to do as penalty from failing the monkey bars. I allowed Jaypee to go first so I can observe how it’s done. You have to go over the first bar (you can jump if you want), then under on the 2nd (you can roll if you want), over again on the 3rd, and under again on the last one. When Jaypee did this his grip slipped and a 180 degree while still holding on to the bar, so he did not fall on his back. Same thing happened to me and it feels like a technique, just be sure to keep hanging on the bar and let your feet touch the ground to recover quickly.

Obstacle 16, Rope Crossing

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As I pose for this shot, I just realized that those ahead of me are already off the rope. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.
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My kind of hang out. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.

We refueled with cool water at the 2nd aid station (they ran out of cups, so Jaypee and I had to share with one that we cleaned before using) before initiating this obstacle. Balance with a chance of wobbling is best to describe this one. You step on a rope line with your hands grabbing another rope above you and then move to cross all the way to the end point. It’s easy until you end up in the middle with those ahead of you already got off the rope. As seen in the photos, I paused to pose for the photographer. I took my time for the photo that I caused a bit of a traffic and I’m the front guy now. Moving from the middle without any weight applied ahead of me made the rope wobble and it kinda threw me off balance a bit that I actually switched side (now facing right and the photographer on my six) just to regain footing. Once I got my balance back, it was easier to move again and finish this obstacle.

Obstacle 17: Cargo Net

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How’s it hanging? Photo by Michael Allen Celestial.
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Hang in there, baby. Photo by Michael Allen Celestial.

This is the one obstacle that really got me a bit of a scare and thought about doing burpees instead. This version of the cargo net is harder than the pyramid version. Once you make it to the top to cross over to the other side, that’s when the difficulty level goes up a notch. Once you look down, you have a good view of how high you are and then you realize how hard it is to put your foot to the other side. The net is wobbling when there are no participants on the other side to balance it and it makes you feel like you’re going to flip over and fall to the other side if you’re not careful. That is how I felt at the time since those on the other side already got down and there’s 3 (or maybe 4) of us left on the other side. In my mind I think I’m gonna flip over and fall and almost gave up. Until Jaypee and some other participant hold a part of the net to keep it stable and I was able to cross over. It was only until I saw the photos on facebook that there is a technique to crossover properly. Next time, I’ll be ready.

Obstacle 18: Hurdles

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It’s very likely that you have seen her in running events. Photo by Active Pinas.

Fortunately, the last obstacle, the hurdles isn’t as hard as hurdling (running and jumping). You can just walk and jump over and over again. Take your time if you want, the finish line is just meters away.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

The surprise of the event was the actual number of obstacles. There are 18 obstacles instead of the original (and advertised) 12. For me, 6 more obstacles is a bonus, it’s like getting more of your money’s worth. Jaypee and I finished with a minute left before the cut-off time of 1.5 hours. I know it’s slow compared to my first Guerilla Race finish time of 40 minutes and 42 seconds in Nuvali. But, the reason for this is because I wanted to pace with Jaypee to see if he enjoys this event and I really want to take my time and have fun. Also, my first Guerilla Race only had 12 obstacles and I can say that the obstacles in this event is more challenging (and fun) than what I encountered before. I probably would’ve rushed this event and finished the race faster if I ran alone. But, I probably would’ve not enjoyed it as much because in the end, the finish time didn’t matter to me, I was focused on having fun and running with a buddy, and that is both mission accomplished.

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49 minutes slower than my first Guerilla Race, but I don’t care because I had fun running with a buddy. Jaypee finished at 01:29:27 at rank number 100. We made it at the cut-off time. Official results can be seen at myrunti.me

Guerilla Race Splash (as always) is an amazing, awesome, challenging, and fun event. It’s the best way to test your overall fitness level. Obstacle course racing is intimidating to some runners and fitness buffs, but Guerilla Race is the epitome of a balanced challenge. The obstacles can be hard, but they’re not impossible, and finally finishing the race feels like a big accomplishment mentally and physically.

A big thanks to the Guerilla Race Team and mam Nikka Ramos for this fresh and unique edition of the Guerilla Race. We, the fans of this wonderful race series, are so thankful that all of you keep innovating to deliver an experience like no other. You are all continuing the legacy of its founder, the late Lt. Col. Dennis Bumanglag and doing it with excellence.

Guerilla Race Splash is a strong contender for my pick of the best running event of 2017. Jaypee, a first-timer in the Guerilla Race love the experience so much that he’s looking forward to the next events. It got a lot of things right like a reasonable registration fee (which includes a day pass to Splash Island worth 499 php and discount coupons), a good venue (the right choice for the summer season), and a memorable experience (challenging, but fun obstacles). I want to see it grow with more participants and interesting locales in the future. The next Guerilla Race will be at Camp John Hay in November. Stay tuned for the complete details and updates regarding this event once the press release is officially announced.

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Finishers! Photo by Jaypee.
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The freebies and loot bag include 4 pcs of Mega Fiber, 4 pcs of Goutritis Herbal Supplement, 4 pcs of Brai Master Herbal Supplement, Black Mamba energy drinks, and 100 plus.

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EPILOGUE

After the event, Jaypee and I decided to take advantage of the Splash Island day pass to maximize the day (especially since it was the long weekend for us BPO employees thanks to Memorial Day). It was also my first time in Splash Island (yes, I live in the South and I’ve been to Splash Island until this running event), so I have to see and experience the best things the place has to offer. Unfortunately, Splash Island was very crowded at the time with 2 company outings (NIDEC and Villarica Pawnshop) taking place along with the usual weekend visitors. But, I still got to experience the major attractions of the water park thanks to Jaypee’s encouragement (because if I was rogue running (solo) this event, I probably would’ve stayed in the pools) and 40 to 60 minutes of waiting in line for each slide. Tausug Trails is the first slide we took and after that, we lined up for Big Bamboo. Unfortunately, I don’t have an action cam with me to record the experience and I don’t want to hold my smartphone during slides. I was able to take some photos of the slides before I took my turn. Check out some of the photos I took before taking the splash.

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Splash Island Map.
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The attractions.
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The River Calm!
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The crowded Balsa River.
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The not-so River Wild.
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Using a water-proof pouch for my S7 Edge to take Splashing photos.
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Jaypee getting splashed.
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The twisting slides of King Pilipit.
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Rio Montosa, more twists and turns than M. Night Shyamalan’s movies.
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Before our turn in Rio Montosa. Normally this ride requires 4 people, but 3 will do. One person joined me and Jaypee. I screamed a lot during this ride because it feels like we’re about to tip over.
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Seeing that dark and twisty tube of King Pilipit made my heart beat faster than running a 5-minute per kilometer pace.
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Like Mario going down the pipes. My turn. No turning back. In the end, I loved it. Definitely my favorite slide.
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Magellan’s Drop is our last slide. This is the tall and long slide you see along SLEX (coming from the South). Photo taken while lining up for our turn.
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Last slide of the day. Took a photo before my turn. This is definitely the scariest for me since I can see where I’m going. But, I enjoyed it. We couldn’t repeat the slides because of the long queue, so left before 3 pm.

 

 

Posted in 5k, 5km, adventure, fun run, guerilla race, Obstacle Course Racing, obstacle run, run for a cause, running, running event

Running Soon: Guerilla Race Splash – The Water Edition

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Press Release

BEAT THE HEAT AND SPLASH YOUR WAY AT GUERILLA RACE SPLASH – THE WATER EDITION

Summer is all about having fun and creating extraordinary memories. This year, Guerilla Race, the first, premier and only obstacle race in the Philippines, will turn your summer moments into something offbeat as it takes an exciting yet audacious route, daring to infuse water adventure into the race.

Aptly titled as “Guerilla Race Splash –The Water Edition”, the race is a fusion of land and water obstacles.  Aldenver Marketing, Inc., the organizer of Guerilla Race, in partnership with Splash Island will hold a never before seen event, enticing both pro and neophyte runners and fitness buffs in the country.

This unconventional race will happen on May 28, 2017 in Binan, Laguna. It will not only provide extraordinary challenges but also exceptional enjoyment, as racers are expected to plunge into the water and get drenched in several water activities to test one’s versatility, strength and stamina. Fun is an understatement.

The Sprint Category will have the 5km run and 12 obstacles. It will be a combination of water and land obstacles. You can enter as an individual or as a team which has a minimum of four members to ten members. The cut off time is 1.5 hours.

The racekit costs Php 1,250 which includes a singlet, finisher shirt, finisher medal and giveaways from sponsors.

Like any of the Guerilla Race series, part of the proceeds of this upcoming race will go to Armed Forces of the Philippines Educational Benefit System Office (AFPEBSO), an organization that supports education of the soldiers’ orphans. Therefore, your summer will be filled with precious memory because you have helped less privileged people through this race.

The race will not be possible without our generous sponsors : Dermplus, Regroe, Lifesaber, Atmost Fit Elite, 100 Plus, Black Mamba, Mega Fiber, Cranuti, Blackwater, Deuter, Grand Encore International, Iolytes, Curves, Anytime Fitness Fairview, Sta Rosa, Iron den Crossfit, Crossfit Mad Minute, Fitness Unlimited and support from our Media partners – Manila Bulletin, Business Mirror, Malaya Business Insight, ANC News Channel, Philippine Graphic, Pilipino Mirror, Health and Fitness Magazine, Travel Life, Food Health and Scined Magazine, Vanity Life, Pinoy Fitness.com, wheninmanila.com, V81 Radio and ABS CBN Sports and Action.

For inquiries, you may contact Veronica Ramos at 0927-8484533 , aldenver.veronicaramos@gmail.com Also our facebook page: Guerilla Race

 

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Haven’t joined a Guerilla Race before? why? I can tell you as one of the pioneer participants of the very first Guerilla Race in Nuvali, it’s a challenging, but fun race. It tests you physically and mentally. And to preview the awesomeness of the Guerilla Race events, read my race report of GUERILLA RACE PANTHER in Filinvest City. So, if you have the guts to get off the couch and take on the challenge, see you on May 28.

Posted in Obstacle Course Racing, obstacle run, ToughXRough

The gripping scenes of ToughXRough…

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It’s like flying… or slam dunking

We went to Paseo De Santa Rosa last February 21 to check out the TXR scene (and the TBR Dream Marathon 2016 in Nuvali hours before). This is the season opener of the Obstacle Course Racing (also known as Obstacle Run) show that TV5 will be airing soon. There will be a series of events in the coming months and I’ve heard that the finale is the OCR Championship in Canada where the fastest Philippine team will compete. I love obstacle runs and I wanted to join this one because it has been more than a year since the last time I joined one (I think Men’s Health Urbanathlon 2014 was my most recent). Unfortunately, it’s that time of the year when I have limited funds for running events, so I was in spectator mode.

The obstacle course was 3 kilometers in length with 16 obstacles with the usual walls, barbed wire crawls, and cargo net obstacles. But, there are some obstacles that I have never experienced before in my previous runs (Guerilla Race and Urbanathlon) and that’s shock and awe, which is basically a run through electrified wire (I’ve seen this at a Tough Mudder event video) and the 15 feet vertical wall ramp. I’ll be focusing more on the 15 feet wall vertical ramp since I haven’t explored the whole course and its considered to be the hardest one. So, here you go, the gripping scenes of Tough x Rough in photos (apologies for the photo quality, there are cropped because I was faraway and taken with the 13 megapixel camera of Alcatel Flash 2).

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The first obstacle, the 6 ft assault wall
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This is harder than it looks, as you need to have momentum and jump, then push yourself up to go over the wall.
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Momentum + Jump + Pushing yourself up and over the wall
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The course is part trail
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This is called the Shock and Awe. Live wire that electrocute you as you run through it. I’ve first seen this in a Tough Mudder video.
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Girl Power!!! The Elite Women of TXR.
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Walk of Confidence
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If Xena had nieces…
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Wonder Women
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It’s like looking at real-life superheroines. Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Power Girl, Ms. Marvel…
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Lara Croft in the lead?
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The sexier running form
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Even if it’s just a 3-kilometer course, the exhaustion from the other obstacles will take its toll.
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Powerful grip is one of the key to victory…
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Momentum or Sprint speed is another…
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And finally, the capability to pull yourself up.
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Only 3 attempts are allowed. Failure results to a penalty.
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Hang in there…
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It’s like when a cat fails a jump and the poor feline slides down slowly and scratching the wall.
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The easiest side has a rope that you can grab and use to pull yourself up
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The middle part is the medium difficulty
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The hardest side is the highest one. Haven’t seen anyone succeeded here…
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Because it’s really frickin’ hard (unless you’re good at free running or parkour)
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Yep, it’s like a Slam Dunk competition… cue in Goldfinger’s Superman
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Never Quit
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How’s it hangin’?
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Slippery when sweat!
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The Fitness First Girls
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Rope swinging is really helping
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Rappelling like Adam West’s Batman
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Sometimes, we really need a helping hand
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Swing! Just swing it, baby!

It was a great event, made me feel how much I miss obstacle runs. I will be joining the next event and will write about the whole experience. For now, back to training.

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See you on the next Tough X Rough

 

Posted in 10k, obstacle run, Trail run, trail running

The nonparticipant survivor… Men’s Health Urbanathlon: Survival of the Fittest

Men’s Health Urbanathlon and Festival 2014 was my 2nd favorite running even last year. When the 2015 edition was announced carrying the ‘Survival of the Fittest’ name from the international version of the popular obstacle run, I got even more excited and immediately considered this among my top priority runs this year. Unfortunately, due to complicated in-store registration (because I don’t like online registration and have never joined a running event that way), I wasn’t able to join the run. The problem was the in-store registration, I have no idea why Men’s Health didn’t have registration sites in Chris Sports (which was a major sponsor) branches. Instead, they offer registration in Crossfit MNL, Functional Fitness, VXi and JTI offices. It confused me because I’m not familiar with the locations of the sites and when I asked questions on Men’s Health Philippines and Leadpack (the race organizer) facebook pages, I get no responses (worth noting that anyone who asks get no responses and their posts have fewer than 10 likes, so it’s likely that they don’t bother responding. One exception was my inquiry for the possibility of an event day, on-site registration, which they said was not possible). Registration in ASICS store in Greenbelt was opened on November 11 – 20, but I was busy during that week not just in work-related activities, but also preparation for PinoyFitness 21k Challenge on the 15th. My last chance was the registration in their office in CyberGate Tower 3 on November 16-17 and ASICS 3 registration was still open until the 20th. The problem was during that time, the preparation for the APEC Summit was taking place, so extreme traffic and closed routes were the obstacles of the registration process. I did try to register on November 20 at ASICS  Greenbelt(Friday and the last day of registration), but when I heard the bus conductor said that some of the routes in Ayala are still closed (APEC Summit), I decided to just go home and sit this run out. Then I just had the idea to go for a short run in Nuvali and be a spectator of the event. All I can say was that I was very jealous of the participants, they get to run one of the best obstacle runs in the country. So, this article is my race report and review from a spectator’s point of view.

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Arrived at the site before the 5:30 am gunstart.
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The very first wave of solo runners.
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Awesome logo, badass title.
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The stage is set.

After the release of the last wave of runners, I jogged around the area of Abrio to see some of the obstacles. The race course is 10 kilometers with 15 obstacles. First thing I noticed is that they don’t have the large three stacks high cargo container wall from last year. That was one of the best and toughest obstacles (if you don’t ask for the marshals’ assistance) last year, too bad the newbies didn’t experience it. What they have was a mini obstacle course that tests, I don’t know, stepping skills? and lateral movement?

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The Mini Obstacle Course. Since I wasn’t a participant, I have no idea how hard or what this obstacle is about.

The Arm Bar obstacle course was slightly different from the Monkey Bar we had last year. When I first saw it, I thought it was harder than the Monkey Bar, but in reality, it was shorter and seemed easier. A lot of participants easily made it through with assistance from the marshals. As far as I remember, marshal assistance was not offered on the Monkey Bars and it was the hardest obstacle IMHO.

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The Arm Bar is one of the hardest obstacles in any obstacle run. It requires good grip and upper body strength. But, this year, Marshal assistance is an option to make it easier.
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What makes this obstacle harder is the runners’ exhaustion from the 8+ kilometers or road and trail running. The bars were already slippery and anyone can lose their grip. Last year, the Monkey Bar is the hardest obstacle for me. I had 4 (or maybe it was 5) retries before I successfully crossed it. I even had cramps while hanging. 
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Marshal assistance is optional making it easier for anyone. IMO, for Urbanathlon to be considered ‘hard mode’ as advertised, there should be penalty for not being able to finish an obstacle. Like in The Guerilla Race where you have to do 30 burpees if you can’t finish an obstacle.

The Network + Mudpit obstacle is harder going up and down depending on how slippery it is when you step on the ropes.

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Better to climb this with barefoot.
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Going down is easier.
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You can jump down, but be wary of the risks.

The Hill Slide and Ice Bath is probably the most fun obstacles. Just slide and have fun. I have seen some runners hurt their butts by sliding all the way to the dirt.

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Just make sure that the slide is still wet or the marshal just poured water on it and you’re all set. It’s fun.
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Selfie of a jealous nonparticipant.
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The Ice Bath (or pool) is soothing. Just wash away that dirty bum bum.

The Tire Field can surprise you, it can pull you down if your foot got caught. Happened to me last year. I saw some participants who were very tired that they just walk through the tire field slowly instead of quickly breezing through with a bouncy motion.

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Third to the last obstacle of the race. Comparing the photo of the Tire Field from last year, this looked shorter in length.
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Women are quite agile in this obstacle.

And just a few meters away from the Tire Field is the Net Crawl. Bounce for the Tire Field, then get low and crawl (or roll).

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Others crawl, others roll.

The Modified Wall + Stuntman Jump was the last obstacle of the race. Last year, it was called the Gatorade Wall.

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Climb and Jump like a stuntman.

Surprisingly, there are medals for the survivors of Survival of the Fittest. It was announced in Men’s Health Philippines that the medals were dropped, which is disappointing considering that this is an obstacle run. But, to the participants’ surprise, the finisher medals were announced before the start of the race. The medals could’ve motivated me to push through the planned Nov 20 registration despite the heavy traffic and re-routing. Now, I feel even more jealous of the survivors.

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I collect medals of achievement, especially ones from obstacle runs. Too bad I missed this.
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Glory awaits.

I didn’t see the other obstacles, namely the Traffic Jam and Hurdles. The route seems to be the same as last year. The notable difference I know of from last year was the placement of the Arm bar. Last year’s Monkey Bar, was placed at the end of the Abrio trail, this year’s arm bar was placed somewhere in the middle of Abrio and the Fields. The Hill Slide and Ice pool was the most notable addition I saw in the race. I also believe that this year’s Urbanathlon, despite having the Survival of the Fittest name, was easier the last year’s. But, it’s not the ‘Hard Mode’ as advertised, but it was still fun. The only real issue with this event was the registration. The event gathered an estimated 1,800 participants according to takbo.ph, not bad, but if you want more runners like the international counterpart, in-store registration should be prioritized especially locations that can be easily accessed. Last year, you can get the race kit upon registration, this year, it’s either you get it by free delivery by registering early or you go to the Summit media office. Last option was picking it up at the event site in Nuvali (which doesn’t give you time to fit or wash it). I was really jealous of the participants, I don’t like to watch, I want to go out there and rock. I am a survivor, a survivor of the previous Urbanathlon and the Guerilla Races (let’s include the zombie apocalypse run, Outbreak Missions series), but this year, I’m the nonparticipating survivor. It’s too bad that I’m about to close this running year without at least 1 obstacle run (I also missed the Guerilla Races), but it’s not the end of the world. There’s always a next time. Congratulations to all the survivors. Enjoy the glory.

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I’ll run strong next year. See you Urbanatlon. You too, Guerilla Race.  

 

SIDE NOTES:

  • Camera used for taking photos for this review is the Alcatel Flash Plus 2.
  • For a look back at last year’s event, go here: https://theroguerebel.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/the-rogue-rebel-urbanathlete-mens-health-urbanathlon-festival-2014/
  • For inspiration, check out this parathlete’s story here: http://www.menshealth.ph/fitness/fitness-challenge/this-is-how-an-amputee-finished-all-the-urbanathlon-obstacles

 

 

 

 

Posted in fun run, obstacle run, retired shoe, running event, trail shoe

R.i.P Sandugo Helikon

2 great obstacle runs and my 1st backpacking adventure. We had a great run.
2 great obstacle runs and my 1st backpacking adventure. We had a great run.

I bought the Sandugo Helikon for its durability and easy fitting. There was a time I used it on a daily basis as my office shoe. It was gonna be my shoe of choice for a nature trip and spelunking at the newly discovered Cavinti Underground Cave back in 2013. But, it didn’t push through because the cave was temporarily closed for development. It was my shoe of choice for my 1st 5km obstacle run, The Guerilla Race: Sprint in Nuvali, held on the 23rd of February this year. It helped me finish the course in 44 minutes. It once again served its purpose when I joined my 2nd Guerilla Race on 18th of October in Filinvest City. It helped pushed me through the 10km with 18 obstacles course, finishing the race at 1 hour and 52 minutes. It held its last breath, helping me get to the camp site of Mount Pico De Loro on 8th of November. At night time of that day, a trekking mate and I ran down the mountain to search and assist a porter who was carrying some of our mates’ stuff and equipment. We found him and we ran back to the campsite. It was dark, I was carrying a heavy backpack while running, and that was the time my Helikon couldn’t handle the pressure anymore and the outsole detached. I still made it safely to the campsite. My Helikon served me well after 2 obstacle runs and my 1st mountain trek. It is my 1st running shoe to retire. Thank you, Sandugo Helikon. The memories will never be forgotten.

Posted in 10k, fun run, obstacle run

The Rogue Rebel UrbanAthlete… (Men’s Health UrbanAthlon & Festival 2014)

Arrived at the activity area and starting line around 5:21am.
Arrived at the activity area and starting line around 5:21am.

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.

Passing through a small river. There was a slow queue because of the mud and slippery grounds.
Passing through a small river. There was a slow queue because of the mud and slippery grounds.

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.

up and down, uneven ground. tall grass surround the trails, but scenic view can still be seen in some parts of the area.
up and down, uneven ground. tall grass surround the trails, but scenic view can still be seen in some parts of the area.

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.

This was the hardest obstacle of the run for me. The bars are wet and slippery. Dunno if it was from a drizzle or sweaty hands of the participants. photo credit: Leadpack facebook page.
This was the hardest obstacle of the run for me. The bars are wet and slippery. Dunno if it was from a drizzle or sweaty hands of the participants. photo credit: Leadpack facebook page.
It took me 4 (I can't remember exactly, maybe 5 or even 6) tries before I completed this. I hands slips and I fall just before I was about to make it to the other side. I figured out that you have to move quickly whilst tightening your grip, and don't stop midway, so your hands won't slip.
It took me 4 (I can’t remember exactly, maybe 5 or even 6) tries before I completed this. I hands slips and I fall just before I was about to make it to the other side. I figured out that you have to move quickly whilst tightening your grip, and don’t stop midway, so your hands won’t slip. Photo credit: Leadpack facebook page.

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 wall is created with huge containers seen in harbors or seaports. Photo credit: Running Photographers.
The wall is created with huge containers seen in harbors or seaports. Photo credit: Running Photographers.
the cargo/container wall isn't hard as long as you still have the stamina to push yourself up.
the cargo/container wall isn’t hard as long as you still have the stamina to push yourself up. Photo credit: Running Photographers.
A view of the Cargo Wall from a distance.
A view of the Cargo Wall from a distance.

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 Bridgestone Tire Field. Easy and fun to run on, but it can pull you down if you're not careful.
The Bridgestone Tire Field. Easy and fun to run on, but it can pull you down if you’re not careful.

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.

The Cargo Net.
The Cargo Net. There are techniques in getting pass it quickly, but it requires fewer to no participants around you for it to work safely.

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.

The Asics Hurdle Walls. As long as you still have the stamina, this will be easy for you.
The Asics Hurdle Walls. As long as you still have the stamina, this will be easy for you.
The 3rd Asics Wall (behind me) can be accomplished by going low or up (that was the highest wall). The 4th one  has a window.
The 3rd Asics Wall (behind me) can be accomplished by going low or up (that was the highest wall). The 4th one has a window. Photo credit: Running Photographers.
My signature left-handed 'Fight Fear' pose.
My signature left-handed ‘Fight Fear’ pose. Photo credit: Running Photographers.

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.

Get Low. Stay Low.
Get Low. Stay Low.

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.

The Gatorade Wall. Push yourself up or use the rope. Marshal assistance is an option here.
The Gatorade Wall. Push yourself up or use the rope. Marshal assistance is an option here.

Once you get pass the Gatorade Wall, it’s just a few meters of running towards the finish line.

My actual chip time is 01:28:16.
My actual chip time is 01:28:16.

And the Industrial design, Bronze medal is the fruit of the hardships you went through.

According to a 1995 psychological study on the effects of counterfactual thinking on the Olympics, athletes who won the bronze medal were significantly happier with their winning than those athletes who won the silver medal. The silver medalists were more frustrated because they had missed the gold medal, while the bronze medalists were simply happy to have received any honors at all (instead of no medal for fourth place). source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_medal
According to a 1995 psychological study on the effects of counterfactual thinking on the Olympics, athletes who won the bronze medal were significantly happier with their winning than those athletes who won the silver medal. The silver medalists were more frustrated because they had missed the gold medal, while the bronze medalists were simply happy to have received any honors at all (instead of no medal for fourth place). source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_medal

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.

Some sponsor freebies run out before you can even get one because there's so many people lining up. Early bird gets the worm indeed...
Some sponsor freebies run out before you can even get one because there’s so many people lining up. Early bird gets the worm indeed…

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.

That beautiful, warm Sunday morning sun at Nuvali.
That beautiful, warm Sunday morning sun at Nuvali.
A moment of reflection. A great run on a great day.
A moment of reflection. A great run on a great day.
A beautiful Sunday morning at Nuvali.
A beautiful Sunday morning at Nuvali.

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 miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.' - John Bingham
‘The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.’ – John Bingham

EPILOGUE:

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.

Posted in fun run, obstacle run

Pains, Sprains, and Shin Splints… The Guerilla Race: Panther Edition

Seen the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? Steve Martin’s character had to go through a hilarious journey of mischief with John Candy’s character en route to his family’s Thanksgiving Dinner in Chicago. What I’ve experienced in Guerilla Race: Panther Edition in Filinvest last week wasn’t so hilarious, it was a journey through tough obstacles and challenges, it was hard, and after the race, it was all Pains, Sprains, and Shin Splints… but, I love it.

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I’m not new to Guerilla Race, I was one of the pioneer participants who joined the 1st leg in Nuvali on February 23, 2014. It was one of the runs I would consider best ever. I love the venue, the weather was good, and it was the first time I experienced a second wind or the so called ‘runner’s high,’ as I approach the finish line. It felt so good, I felt so strong, I had so much fun after the race that I immediately made the decision to join the 2nd leg ASAP. Unfortunately, because of the change of venue for the 2nd leg and lack of resources at the time, I had to pass the 2nd leg and just wait for the 3rd leg, hoping it will be held at a more accessible area. With imaginary angels blowing trumpets in the background, I was ecstatic when the announcement of the 3rd leg of Guerilla Race is to be held at Filinvest City. I plotted my vacation leaves and registered in the Warrior category (10km + 18 obstacles) as soon as possible.

With a running buddy, Kiko, who was tough enough to take the Guerilla Race challenge.
With a running buddy, Kiko, who was tough enough to take the Guerilla Race challenge.
entering the starting line. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.
entering the starting line. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.

So, the day, 18th October came. A running buddy and I made it to Filinvest around 5am on a rainy morning. Gunstart was slightly delayed because of the weather, but it was still a good start despite the drizzle.

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A rainy morning made the course even tougher…
The 1st wave, The Panther category racers. 21km + 25 obstacles.
The 1st wave, The Panther category racers. 21km + 25 obstacles.
colored smoke grenades initiating the start of the race.
colored smoke grenades initiating the start of the race.

The first 5km and the challenges were even tougher than the 5km Guerilla Race: Sprint we had in Nuvali. Some of obstacles are new, I don’t know the names of all the obstacles, I’ll just describe them. We passed through the fire jump, stepping logs that test your balance, a bamboo scaffolding maze, military up-and-thru wall, an obstacle where you have to pull a cement around for 100m(estimate), a sandbag carry where you have to stop midway to push yourself up an inclined wall (this is where I failed and had to the the penalty of 30 burpees) and then carry the sandbag again back to the starting point. There’s a javelin throw, and an obstacle where you have to pass through large rocks.

Military Up-and-Thru... Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.
Military Up-and-Thru… Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.

Those were the obstacles of the first 5km and it was very exhausting. What got me worried is when my mobile phone app, Nike+, announced that I have reached 5km in 52 minutes. I was worried because this time, there are cutoff times for each category, and for Warrior, the cutoff is 2 hrs. I was so tired by the time I passed through the barbed-wire crawl, and I couldn’t gather enough energy and momentum to help me get pass the 6 foot wall alone. So, I had to wait for another participant and we helped each other out. Then more running through a grassy and muddy field en route to a high climb towards a hill of sand at an area under construction, then down a pit and up again to another grassy, thorny field towards the cargo net. After that, back to the pit where a rope climb with an objective of ringing the bell at the top awaits. This is one of he hardest objectives and despite trying several times and reaching only he 4th knot of the rope, i gave up and just took the burpee penalty just to save time. After that I felt a little bit dizzy because of the burpee and stamina drain. I took a walk and had a small chat with a participant and moved back again to the big, spiky rocks obstacle. A bit slow because we’re all moving carefully, trying not to slip on the dangerous rocks. Then came the most refreshing obstacle, a low crawl with a water spray. You can just slide through the grass or move slowly so the water can clean and freshen you up. After that, it’s the last 1.5km towards the finish line with one last obstacle, trying to get pass through 3 guys (or Guardians of the Finish Line) with pugil sticks. I had a really tough time, I was confident before the start of the race, but was surprised by what they had in store for us, and that’s why Guerilla Race lives up to its reputation. I was glad to have finished under the cutoff time, some weren’t so lucky and finished longer, but a big salute to them for still finishing the race regardless of the time (as the GR motto would say, ‘Finish the Race or Die Trying’) and even without a medal. While getting the dirt rinsed off in the shower area, the pain incurred during the race temporarily subsided. I felt the renewed version of myself, I felt rejuvenated, stronger, very satisfied, I felt great.

Felt rejuvenated, stronger. It's not a good feeling, it's a great feeling!
Felt rejuvenated, stronger. It’s not a good feeling, it’s a great feeling!

There was also a ‘Kids’ category that was quite fun to watch and I give these kids a salute for spending more time in the playground for physical activities than the couch or computer shops playing video games.

Kids category. A salute to tough kids.
Kids category. A salute to tough kids.
Spend more time in the playground and less time in computer shops will do wonders to the body
Spend more time in the playground and less time in computer shops will do wonders to the body

It was only until morning the next day that I felt the many kinds of pain all over my body, but it’s okay, I love the whole experience and learned even more things to improve myself like resilience and strength. Looking forward to the next Guerilla Race, and maybe next time, I could complete all 3 legs and grab that coveted ‘Trifecta Medal’ that I missed this year. Next time, I’ll be more prepared, stronger, faster, even more determined to finish. Kudos to the organizer of Guerilla Race for creating a great event, one that will test your physical and mental limits, a race that inspires or motivates you to be stronger, a challenge that brings out the better version of you.

Feeling stronger after the race
Feeling stronger after the race
Finishing the race. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page
Finishing the race. Thank you, Guerilla Race organizers for creating an excellent obstacle run series. Photo from Guerilla Race facebook page.