The start of the race is at the biggest military base of the Philippines, more specifically at the special forces unit.
Fort magsaysay, as the place is called, is a 4-5 hour journey from the capital, Manila.
When I arrived at around 2pm the day before there were only a few other runners who'd arrived.
After being shown to my room I got to meet the race director,
Sir Novice, a retired general AKA bald runner.
At first I didn't know what to expect, because it took him 6 months to reply my mails! It wasn't untill a week or two before the race when I finaly got a confirmation, but soon after meeting him I found out he is an interesting caracter.
Together with his lovely wife and a few other runners we shared our (running) stories.
step by step more runners were coming, I was introduced to them and by 6pm we all went to the briefing area.
Only about 20 runners were present at the briefing, including last year's winner and course record holder of the 50 mile. He is not actualy a runner, but a member of the special forces, these guys are well trained, know the terrain, are user to the heat/humidity and learned to survive with little provision.
I'd probably have to compete with these guys for a top 3 position rather than the actual runners.
runners showed up at the start early next morning of which 16 would be running the 100 mile and only 12 the 50 mile.
All of us started at 5 am.
One of the soldiers and myself took the lead and soon after it was just the two of us. We ran together for the first 4 or 5 hours untill he couldn't keep up the pace and then it was just me leading.
At the next food station I was 1 km ahead of him.
Everything was going well. Good markings along the way, marshalls at every junction and a race official on motorbike showing me the way at junctions. So no way I could get lost this time! :-)
We, the 50 milers had to run one big loop, which was mostly flat and partly paved. (Yes...that sounds quiet boring in a trailrunner's ear doesn't it? ) and two inner loops. The 100 milers doing the same thing twice.
Anyway...after about 45 km I suddenly got a terribly painful cramp in my leg and a bit later in my other leg a well. I still had 5k to go before I would reach fernandez hill, the main food station that would have an ambulance and a warm meal.
I was seriously thinking of quiting. I could not go on with this kind of pain.
Arriving at the food station I had some massage, a good meal and...salt! I noticed I lost a lot of salt (because of the heat I guess)
The temperature had risen up to about 35℃.
The only thing I could do was hoping for the cramps to get better...and it worked! After about 45 min. I decided to try and finish at least 1 inner loop.
Meanwhile the 2nd runner had arrived as well, he left the food station a few min. before me and when I started the 3rd runner arrived.
Just before the end of the 1st loop I caught up with the other runner and the second loop was about the same scenario.
We started the last 6 km to the finishline together, we were going fast, but after about 1 km I decided not to force my legs any longer and just settle for a 2nd place.
In a nutshell: it wasn't the most beautiful race, but the people were super nice, the organisation small scale, the runners all know eachother and the friendship is more important than the ranking.
They see it more like a friends get together instead of a race.
I'm glad I could take part. It was another succesful race!