Ultra Trail 50 and Grand Slam Quest Sealed

Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up!

The quote spoke life to me because I literally did all of those at the end of my grand slam quest of the Mapawa Trail Run Series 2018. Less than a week ago, I was able to redeem myself from my failed attempt to earn a grand slam finish last year. The recent Ultra Trail Fifty finish was truly one for the books for me. It was very memorable as it brought me from my lowest to lowest to my highest to highest physically, mentally and emotionally. Me and my team prepared for it, we trained hard, made Mapawa our training and playground for almost 2 months. I personally had guidance from a seasoned ultra trail runner so I was kind of confident that I’ll make it to the Finish Line in one piece this time. Goal was to finish strong but first get pass through the initial cutoff (9 hrs) as it was at this point last year that our 50km race ended then be at the finish line before the cut-off.

Race day, we were more excited than nervous. It was great to see friends from the growing trail running community in Mindanao, most of them I just see on Facebook. Personally met some elite trail runners too and also met new friends.

Pre-race chill! Good friends (ultra runner Kai) and Elena while waiting for Gun start
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Surviving the Mapawa Full Trail Marathon 2018

Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. – Amy Poehler

This quote speak so much to me as I go back to what I have accomplished recently in the sport I never thought I’d ever venture on. So guess what?! I just finished a FULL Trail Marathon for the second time! This time the preparation was better compared to when I ran my first 42km Trail Marathon last year. Thanks to my team for consistently including weekend LSDs for weeks prior to the race and to Sir Celso Castillo Callo (C3) for helping me out with my training plan and for reminding me most of the time to train! Also for taking the time to have a pep talk with our team RunFree CDO 2 days before the race. We really appreciate your time and learned so much from all your tips that we all took seriously and applied at the race! Some even did your climbing technique stance :D. It all paid off definitely.

Team RunFree CDO – Race day

Pre-race Pep Talk Session with Sir Celso Castillo Callo – Tips, Thrills and Tricks for the Mapawa Trail Marathon – T3 with C3

I wasn’t the fastest, in fact I finished late than my projected time and got to the finish line right on the nick of time. But to make me feel a bit better, it wasn’t just 42km, most of my friends’ tracker read 45km so I guess my time still improved from my last year’s finish. Well anyway, I am not all about stats and recognition. I just wanted to finish strong, injury free, and prove to myself that I can do it! To be honest, I had so much reservations in this race. I wasn’t telling anyone but I was honestly clouded with doubts. Doubt if I can take another round, and doubt if I can finish it on time. I seriously doubted my own strength and ability to endure the race. Indeed, the demons in my mind crept in, nagging, wanting me to just give up without even trying! But what I am thankful for is having a team composed of determined people who does not back out on challenges. That’s why I am saying that the quote above speak so much to me. If it weren’t for the team who took the challenge and inspired one another, I wouldn’t have taken the biggest step to be in that race – the registration! To me, that was the turning point. It left me no choice but to train and prepare.

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Completed 21km Trail Run – Mapawa Trail Series 2018

April 29 – Endurance warriors toe the line at the Mapawa Trail Series’ first leg ready to experience and conquer the challenging trails of Mapawa Nature Park. More than a hundred of excited and dauntless faces showed up at the starting line in Mapawa Nature Park to take on the first longer distance challenge for this year’s Mapawa Trail Series. Though the Mapawa Trail Run have been around for the past 6 years, this is only the 2nd year for the Mapawa Trail Series where the event is composed of 3 legs (1st leg 5km & 21km in April, 2nd leg 10km &42km in July, 3rd leg 15km & the ultra trail marathon 50km in October). I have participated in last year’s series and was aiming to go for grandslam (meaning I had to finish the 3 longer distances per leg) but failed on my ultra50 attempt due to not making it on time in the initial cut-off. That was a tough blow for me and the team, but it gave us valuable lessons which we make sure not to commit this time on our second attempt.

This year, the Mapawa Trail Series made a huge improvement in terms of organizing the event. For one, the medal have improved (though we didn’t receive the finisher’s medal right after the race due to supplier’s non-deliverance of the ordered medals on time) but design-wise and material-wise, it improved a LOT!, and there’s the finishers shirt (we didn’t have one last year) which I love by the way because it made an emphasis on the “TRAIL” finisher on its design at the back. Every runner who crossed that finish line should be proud wearing that finisher’s shirt because what we went through in order to cross that finish line wasn’t a walk in the park. The abundance of water, drinks, and runners foods at every Aid Station was also a great help!

Another great improvement is Mapawa Trail Series teaming up with RaceYaya an online registration portal for runners and a complete race registration management portal for race organizers which made this year’s series very convenient and efficient from registration online, distribution of race kits on promised dates, to claiming of timing chips and registration during the race, tracking each runner, and finally the prompt availability of the race results allowing the runners to evaluate their trail run race performance. Shoutout to RaceYaya’s staff for a great job at the event – and being friendly and accommodating to the trail runners on the side.

Crossing the finish line! My second 21km trail run finish. My second time but why was  I still emotional? It didn’t actually show because I am so good at hiding but deep inside I am screamingggg damn! that was tough!

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