Conquer 25: And We’re Back at Tanay

The sights and sounds of Tanay greeted us once more as May and I joined Conquer’s latest trail offering, Conquer 25 (which is actually the medium-length distance offered in the the day’s races), last Sunday, September 13, 2015.

We left home at around 12:30 am, just enough time to travel to the race venue, Tanay Adventure Camp. Memories of the venue came back to me as I spent one Freedom Climb celebration there a few years ago with some some colleagues. This time it will be a new trail challenge to Conquer (haha pun intended!).

Since I was the bullied self-volunteered driver, May and neighbor Reyman had the luxury of cramming an hour of snooze before the race during the travel period. Houses and other signs of civilization gradually lessened until the familiar scenery of meandering roads and sparse trees, despite the night being pitch-dark, signified that indeed, we have reached Tanay.

It was also Tanay Adventure Camp’s anniversary (I think), thus there was a lot of music going on in the assembly hall when we arrived. We got there at the venue a good hour before gunstart – enough time for us to claim our race kits and have a light snack.

One of the things I like best about Conquer-organized trail races is that they really do inspect each runner’s equipment to check if all required tems are there. This just shows that they enforce and uphold the participants’ safety above everything else.

Anyhoo, Race Director Jigger Meneses started his race briefing at around 2:30 am. A good 69 trail runners registered for this distance; I just don’t know if there are any DNSes (Did Not Start) for this race.

Runners huddling at the Start Line
Runners huddling at the Start Line
Runners listening to the Race Director
Runners listening to the Race Director
Pati si Batman, makiki-trail run!!
Pati si Batman, makiki-trail run!!
Ready for our trail run!
Ready for our trail run!

And by 3:00 am, we’re off! It was still nighttime when we were started running, so we spent the first two and a half hours of the race running, trekking, and walking in complete darkness. Suffice to say that we would not have advanced even for one kilometer had it not been for our trusty Energizer headlamps.

There were times that the fog was so thick that our headlamps and the fog proved to be a very excellent example of the Tyndall effect (of course, the Science teacher in me was still awake during the entire run!). Because of this, May and I decided to run together all the way so as not to get lost.

We reached Aid Station 1 while it was still dark. The hungry runner could always count on Conquer Aid Stations for a quick refill, and here, there was a choice between kakanin or donut-like bread (with cheese filling) from the local bakery. I decided to have the donut, while May, on the other hand, decided to catch a quick snooze instead.

It was only around 5:30 am when Mr. Sun started to peek through the foggy and cloudy hills of Tanay. That was also the time that we could start to appreciate the sights and sounds Tanay has to offer. The route consisted of a multitude of river crossings, great sceneries of the outdoors, and a taste of the flora and fauna amidst the sleepy communities settled within the vicinity.

May crossing River Number whatever (I can't recall anymore as there was a lot!!)
May crossing River Number whatever (I can’t recall anymore as there was a lot!!)
Selfie with one of the numerous cows loitering all over the trail with a fellow 50-km runner
Selfie with one of the numerous cows loitering all over the trail with a fellow 50-km runner
Low-lying clouds covering the hills of Tanay
Low-lying clouds covering the hills of Tanay
Wading in river
Wading in the river

The wet and muddy Tanay trails
The wet and muddy Tanay trails
Medyo malinis pa (kasi andaming ilog ang pinaglubluban eh!!!)
Medyo malinis pa (kasi andaming ilog ang pinaglubluban eh!!!)
Salute to the members of the Philippine Army for keeping us safe!
Salute to the members of the Philippine Army for keeping us safe!
I just don't know what plant or flower is this... Basta nacurious ako kaya pinicturan ko! :)
I just don’t know what plant or flower is this… Basta nacurious ako kaya pinicturan ko! 🙂
More pretty flowers found numerously along the trails
More pretty flowers found numerously along the trails
Either it's a wild hog or a domesticated one running around freely. Either way, it has a liking for me! Sinusundan ako kahit naglalakad na ako papalayo sa kanya!
Either it’s a wild hog or a domesticated one running around freely. Either way, it has a liking for me! Sinusundan ako kahit naglalakad na ako papalayo sa kanya!
I just had to take a shot of the morning dew before all these completely evaporates
I just had to take a shot of the morning dew before all these completely evaporates
Eh kung huwag ninyo kayang harangan ang trail?
Eh kung huwag ninyo kayang harangan ang trail?
Hi mga kuya!!!
Hi mga kuya!!!
Trekking our way back at the last few kilometers... Pa
Trekking our way back at the last few kilometers… Pagod na! Wala nang lakas!!!

And finally, just below seven hours of leisurely pace, we were able to finish Conquer 25!!!

Photo op at the finish line with Conquer race director Jigger Meneses
Photo op at the finish line with Conquer race director Jigger Meneses
One of the nicest finisher's medals I've ever received! Great, unique design!
One of the nicest finisher’s medals I’ve ever received! Great, unique design!
Elevation profile of the race as per Strava recording
Elevation profile of the race as per Strava recording

We crossed the finish line tired but rejuvenated, exhausted but fulfilled. I personally enjoyed this race kasi mas madali kaysa sa PdL42!!! On the other hand, in comparison with SB21, this race offers less scenic views, but nonetheless, was still able to deliver the adrenalin rush each trail runner was looking for in every race. Too bad May and I were not able to join Conquer’s first trail run up in Tarak Ridge, so we have no point for comparison for that.

After an hour of resting and shower, May and I decided to leave for home. Although there was a boodle fight after the run free for all race participants, we decided not to take part of it anymore, and instead, go home and rest. However, our grumbling stomachs were not forces to reckon with; we stopped by one of the bulalohans beside Mang Vic’s (puno na kasi kay Mang Vic nang dumating kami!!)

Lunch consisting of bulalo, menudo, ginisang monggo, and adobong atay with fellow runner and mountaineer, Louchie
Lunch consisting of bulalo, menudo, ginisang monggo, and adobong atay with fellow runner and mountaineer, Louchie

Once again, Conquer was able to meet the expectations of trail runners like myself. With the right choice of trails and proper organization, I am looking forward to even more trail runs by Conquer. Kudos to your team, Sir Jigger!!!


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