Am I contradicting myself? How can I laud and judge something as one of the most fabulous trail/obstacle race (yes, both are packed in a single race), but not having experienced it first hand? Well, do I need to? Or how about the faces of whacked out runners with a smile and some twinkle in their eyes as if hiding a secret among themselves of something gratifying? How about the profuse promise of coming back for more of this one of a kind experience albeit with a year of waiting time? How about the pictures? The pictures‼!
Before browsing them and getting engrossed in the engaging hardships posed not only by the obstacles but of the rugged but picturesque terrain of secluded Ternate Cove and the distinguishable pleasure of conquering them, let me provide some of my experiences though limited and uninspiring.
A Gloomy and Rainy Start
It was a rainy and dark very early morning race day, with cold winds blowing in coordination with the torrential rains and a bed enticing for more romance (with the bed, I stress). But I need to wake up and get ready for a promise of a beach party in some secluded paradise which is but a little more than an hour’s travel from the metro. And how about getting some murky water dousing courtesy of the tricycle driver approaching the flooded streets at full speed not minding his own passengers’ welfare?
So the stage was set early on for a grumpy diva walking by the dark sidewalk full of potholes and some flooding from Gate 3 to the very Philippine Marine barracks some few meters away where the meet up place was earlier set by the organizers. This place, the Rurdiardo Brown Hall, was bereft of a specter of even a candle light to indicate some welcome presence of a human soul or that something with one is welcomed! Talk about waking up and stepping into the dark and gloomy side of the universe! Government property, anyone?
The Miracle and the Paradise
And the miracle happened! Upon reaching the Naic, Cavite area on board the Philippine Navy bus in convoy with an M35 military truck, the gloomy universe slowly dissolved to reveal a brighter perspective as if the skies and those directly below them were put in a gradient of light and shade. My mood responded likewise like a bipolar in a sudden mood swing.
Behold the paradise and the Karera Lakas Pilipinas, a gem of a race in itself. As such, it is something that only a few were privileged to experience. I found myself in between by being there but not being able to run the course. I am still cursing that unfortunate bike accident I had a day previous that gave me these nasty wounds and bruises in my arms and knees which I very much need to utilize to finish this race.
The pictures‼! The pictures‼!
Bravo to these People!
First, let me give some commendations where it is due – the men and women behind the success of Karera Lakas Pilipinas:
- The Philippine Marine Corps with Col. Stephen Cabanlet on top of this event for pulling all the strings to have this race a reality.
- The event organizers all together with Marissa Falvo and Coach Zhi, the race director, who seamlessly and efficiently made do of the natural terrain while creating some challenging obstacles to go with it in a well-planned and laid out mix that made this one very fun and memorable. The handling of the registrations, the checking in, and the race technicalities were handled in a way one expects them to be done each time, professionally.
- Special citation goes to the men and women of the Philippine Marines for making sure that every critical part of this route is well covered and marshaled to ensure the participants’ safety.
Karera Lakas Pilipinas is one of the best local obstacle races for me for these reasons:
- It combines the natural ruggedness and diversity of the terrain for an exciting trail run with man-made commando-style military grade obstacles for an even greater challenge.
- The place where the event was held is a secluded cove with lots of picturesque sections.
- The start and finish line is a white-sand beach where one can immediately plunge into right after the grueling race.
- The boodle fight and the band playing right after the race.
The Category I Missed the “Fabulousity” of!
I should have known that in the Bangis (triathlon) category –
- The swim leg is a very manageable 200 meter open water swim even for uber newbies like me (well, this is my first time to witness one and believed immediately that I can cover the distance and the open water challenge or at least in this race).
- The military M35 trucks transported all bikes from the metro to the staging area and back! This is always my primary concern being a cheapangga that I am with no means to privately transport my bike!
- The bike leg was done in a cemented road and not in a technical trail! The former I embrace and the latter I fear.
Had I previously ascertained all these facts, I could have joined this category, or not! Well, the wounds and bruises, remember?
The Never Ending Fun!
The fun did not end with the race; remember the finish line at the beach? The enticing cool waters of this white sand beach awaits each dogtagged finisher for a refreshing “cleansing process” after a grueling race which had them all mudded up! I cannot imagine a better reward than this being a beach person that I am.
The awarding of the winners and the giving of certificate to all followed. A festive boodle fight with the marines ensued right after and it was indeed a celebration of communality with our heroes, the very people who are willing to sacrifice their very lives to protect us, the civilians. It was a great honor of mine to be trading barehanded “subos” of pancit, talong with bagoong, adobo and rice with them. Awwws. This is only my second boodle fight experience and I am looking forward for more.
And the celebration went on and on. Everybody was wishing to stay for more. The organizers made sure there would be entertainment for them until almost the 3 pm event closing time. The military band played captivating songs to up the tempo and even engaged the audience who stayed on for more!
The pictures‼! The pictures‼! Okey, here are some.