For Men

This is not a trail run, it's an adventure race

STILL TALKING - Enrico Miguel T. Subido -

Each step was an ordeal. The mud and gravel had filled my socks, weighing down my feet, eliminating any thoughts I had of establishing a rhythm to my stride. For a moment I thought of how it would be different if the trail had been packed and more solid. Energy would then bounce back and recycle through my legs because of the ground’s resistance. Less energy would be spent. Ah, physics: my old friend. The daydream would be over just as quickly, the moment a deeper mud hole threatened to devour my shoe. Back to reality: the ground is squishy. And there’s still a mountain biking component to get through.

And an obstacle course, and a bridge to rappel off. These activities were included in the Third Annual Columbia Greater Outdoor Challenge, held recently at the Nuvali Eco Community in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. This would be my first time to visit the area. What better way to experience it than with a crazy all-terrain, multi-sport race?

The crowd that turned out for the race was a varied bunch, with males, females, young kids and older folks alike. Some had their game faces on even before the starting gun, while others were just chilling and taking it easy. It was easy to spot who was there to win it, and who was just there to exercise with an interesting Sunday routine.

Well, let’s rappel: An interesting part of the race was the rappelling component. (Notice the mud this time around.)

“Outdoor adventure junkies, from amateurs and weekend warriors to professional athletes, are always on the lookout for new challenges to push their skills to the limit,” says Tiffany Batungbacal, Columbia brand manager. “We believe that the Columbia Trail Masters Greater Outdoor Challenge allows these thrill seekers to test their mettle in a way they’ve never experienced before.”

The trail at Nuvali is pretty straightforward, with good combinations of undulating terrain and graded road sections. As for the bike trail, there was nothing very technical about it, with limited switchbacks, no drop-offs, and easily negotiable downhill sections — a good trail for the beginner rider. But that’s not taking into account the mud. It was the mud that made it difficult. Because of heavy rains in the days prior to the race the ground was saturated with water, making the terrain somewhat akin to quicksand. It wasn’t light mud at all.

The race coordinators must be commended for including several river crossings in the foot race route, though. This was quite unique, and it gave participants a nice way to cool down and enjoy the scenery, while still taking part in the race. This was perhaps the highlight, with everyone taking time to enjoy just walking down a shallow river, others pausing to have their pictures taken. The feeling of cold water washing away the mud from your shoes is quite delightful, too.

Gear is not everything in a race but surely, it can make things a lot easier. Columbia’s involvement in this race needs little explanation. “This annual event also allows us to orient and showcase the importance of wearing the proper gear in sports, particularly for high-impact craft outdoor racing where the weather, terrain, and climate are your worst enemies,” says Batungbacal.

The river crossing was perfect for cooling down and enjoying the scenery.

In the end, however, only a select few came out on top. Bagging first place in the men’s 10k run was Willy Rotich, while the women’s division was headed by Shella Ninobla. In the 40k open, the pair of Julius Zape and Ricardo Zamayo took the top spot, while Maritess Bitbit and Timmy Santos claimed gold for the mixed division. In the 60k category, Robeno Javier led the pack at first place. All the winners took home generous cash prizes and gift certificates from Columbia after clocking in impressive times.

I was happy just to get through it all in one piece.

* * *

Columbia sportswear and equipment is exclusively distributed by the Primer Group of Companies, a top retail and distribution conglomerate with presence all over the country and Asia. In the Philippines, Columbia has branches in SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, Greenbelt 5, SM Annex North EDSA, Gateway Mall, Festival Supermall, SM City Cebu, SM Baguio, and Limketai, Cagayan de Oro.

E-mail me at [email protected].










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