Wifey and I joined Conquer’s Jagged Peak trail run last Sunday, June 4, 2017, with its starting point at Kaylaway Elementary School in Kaylaway, Nasugbu, Batangas. After being in hiatus for almost two years due to her pregnancy and birth of our lil one, this actually served as some sort of our comeback run. We also realized that this was also our first run as a married couple! Weeee! 😀
This race was actually the third edition of its series. We were able to join the first one, formerly named Sandari-Batulao 21k race. I’m not just sure why the race series was renamed as such (Maybe Sandari-Batulao’s rental fee was quite expensive? It was, after all, quite a nice place for a starting point.)
From our Airbnb accommodaton in Tagaytay City, we left for Kaylaway Elementary School at around 4 a.m. of Sunday, and arrived there a few moments later – plenty of time still left for a light breakfast and some stretching.
We only signed up for 10 kilometers for this race as we were absent from trail running and even in training for more than a year due to wifey’s pregnancy and our lil one’s birth, thus, we need to break in our bodies again slowly. We felt some envy seeing the race bibs of those running the 21k distance. “Dati-rati, 21k ang tinatakbo natin. Ngayon, balik tayo sa 10k!” were the words running in our minds.
Anyway, the morning air was abuzzed with adrenaline as runners in both 10k and 21k categories were prepping up for their races. Different teams were present, and runners of all sorts were hyped up for their runs. The orientation started at 5 a.m. led by Conquer’s race director Jigger Meneses.
The race started promptly at 6:00 a.m. via mass start – both 10k and 21k runners started at the same time.
All runners traversed the same route for roughly the first 3.5 kilometers before separating. 21k runners took the right fork while we 10k runners took the left one. These first 3.5 kilometers already had a fair share of ascents and descents which left our hearts pumping. After the second descent, we were rewarded by an amazing view – a field of cogon grass sporting pinkish flowers. It literally looked like cotton candy scattered across the vegetation!
The 10k route, going through several fields and communities, was pretty much straightforward afterwards until the u-turn slot.
Since we were still breaking-in ourselves after the almost-two-year hiatus, we took our time resting at the u-turn slot. Lo and behold, the harkor 21k runners suddenly appeared out of nowhere, already running towards the finish line, with our route as the last segment of their run. Suffice to say that when we were on our way going back, several of them passed us by. Ambibilis nila!!!
We finished the 10k race with an absurd time of THREE HOURS, FOURTEEN MINUTES, AND TWENTY-NINE SECONDS hahaha!!! 😀 😀 😀 We literally hiked almost its entirety. Although I had started my training several weeks before, wifey was not able to do her share of training as she is busy taking care of our lil one. As such, I needed to go by her pace as well; I promised her I’ll finish the race by her side. For better or for worse, di ba? 🙂
Here’s my Strava elevation profile and my Relive video of our 10k run:
Race results can be found in the Webscorer site here.
My personal take on the run:
- Organized registration process. I’ve been joining Conquer races several times now, and what I always like about their races is the organized registration process. Simple yet effective. Timely acknowledgement of your payment from Race Director Jigger Meneses himself. Easy to contact organizers if ever you have any queries. Plus they now also have online registration via www.trailandbeyond.com this year (or did they also have this before this race?).
- Well-stocked aid stations. Bananas. Snacks. Softdrink. Water. What else can you ask for? Oh, hopefully they have Nutella next time. 🙂
- Organized distribution of loot bags and post-race meals/snacks. As usual, each runner already has his or her loot bag pre-arranged and just needed to be picked up after the run. No more waiting for your loot bag to be arranged right on the spot; no more news of your shirt size gone, compared to some of the races I’ve ran before.
- Strong presence of partner sponsors present. Special mention to Mark of Team Subimonte, sweeper of the 10k run. It was our first time to be swept by the sweeper! Anyhoo, we chatted with him since he was with us anyway. The race was not just run by Conquer volunteers but also by their partners. Mark was part of Team Subi-Monte, and they acted as sweepers and marshalls during the race.
- Amazing venues of races. Pico de Loro, Tanay, Tarak Ridge, and now Batulao. The mountaineer and trail runner in me sings for joy whenever we join Conquer races.
- Discounts on Conquer products for every registered runner. Well, this is how I got my Conquer tadpole tent at a discounted price!
- K-Pop celebrity present to entertain the runners. Oh, sorry. Si RD Jigger pala yun! 😀
- Cosplayer dressed as Sanji of One Piece present to entertain the runners. Ooops. Si RD Jigger pala uli yun! 😀
- Inattentive marshalls at key points (1). Sorry to say this, but the marshall at the fork separating the 21k and 10k runners might not have been doing his job effectively. There were several 10k runners who turned right, not knowing they were running the 10k route, only to find out their wrong turn a good tad few kilometers already. What a waste of time! 😦 My heart extends its sympathy to the very last 10k finisher. We passed by her when we were already on our way back to the finish line, and it was clear in her face that she was so disappointed with what happened, add to the fact that she was already quite tired after running three kilometers well into the 21k route before backtracking. Maybe next time, this key point could have several marshalls instead of just one.
- No distinction between the 10k and 21k ribbon markers. Especially after the fork, it might have been helpful for runners to avoid confusion if there were different markers for the 10k and 21k route. Different color maybe? Or at least a written “10k” or “21k” in these red ribbon markers would have been a great help.
- Inattentive marshalls at key points (2). The marshalls for the 21k u-turn point at Km 16 (?) were busy chatting with the marshalls at the 10-km u-turn/aid station when the lead 21km runner suddenly appeared out of nowhere. They were caught by surprise, and as fast as their legs could carry them, they were not able to catch up with the harkor runner. He ran all the way to the “supposedly u-turn point” about 500 meters away, only to realize there was no marshall there, resulting in him missing the u-turn point and running all the way to the main road! Again, a waste of time and effort!
- Disorderly assignment of designated tent-pitching areas and parking spaces. Kaylaway Elementary School actually has wide areas to pitch tents and park vehicles, but the situation could have been improved. Runners who slept there the night before put up their tents wherever they wanted, while vehicles kept entering the next morning, parking in wherever space tents were not pitched at. One tent was actually standing and blocking the middle of the “driveway” even until past 10 a.m. as its owner might have been taking his or her time in the 21k run. Cars needed to maneuver around the tent instead. Maybe next time, one field could be designated as a tent-pitching area while another could be as a parking space.
- Lack of manpower to attend to finishers during the awarding ceremony. There were several 21k runners who crossed the finish line while the 10k awarding ceremony was going on. Sadly, not everyone of them finishers were attended to immediately since everyone’s attention was on the awarding ceremony. I could practically read their minds as they crossed the finish line saying, “Saan ako pupunta? Ano na? Lahat nanonood ng awarding ceremony. Wala bang mag-aasikaso sa akin?”
Despite its shortcoming, I always enjoy the trail runs organized by Conquer, and am looking forward to join their runs in the near future. Kudos to RD Jigger and the rest of the Conquer Team!
See you along the trails! 😀