Columbia Sportswear, although no need for an introduction, here I go anyway, is a world famous outdoor brand for apparel, equipment and accessories. It has long been a strong promoter of responsible outdoor lifestyle, and as part of their advocacy, hold annual trail run in the Philippines.
When I first saw the poster for Columbia Eco Trail Run Pinatubo 2012, I signed up immediately for 2 reasons:
(1) I’ve not done any outdoor activities since I’ve been back from my round the world trip, and
(2) I’ve never been to the Pinatubo crater and thought I’d hit 2 birds with one stone.
Peak vs Deep
My Philippine travels consist basically of dive trips. I’ve been to most of the popular dive sites in the Philippines (Tubbataha, Malapascua, Dumaguete, Coron, etc.) but yet to climb any of our peaks. The truth is I’m a wimp when it comes to any form of running, trekking, or climbing.
“Miss Physically Fit” my friends would mock me now because of the number of trek, trail, bike rides I did while in my RTW. It’s because especially when traveling South America, nature is the main attraction. It means that if I’m not going to do anything physical, I’ll end up spending my time eating fried food.
Anyway, my point here is that I’ve done treks and trails and while I always complained when doing it, often swearing never to trek again, I kept signing up for one. A friend I met traveling analyzed, you must like doing it but are just used to complain about it. I was thoughtful for a minute. Maybe she’s right.
Pinatubo Trail Run
2.30am October 13, we converged at my house to set out for Clark, Pampanga. I’ve been trying to get sleep since 9p.m. with not much luck. It hadn’t been one hour when I finally fell asleep that my alarm went off. The consolation was that I didn’t have to drive and we’ll be taking Dino’s handsome new Strada.
The starting point is at Clark Nayon Filipino. It was up and happening at the staging area that I was actually quite perked up when the gun shot at 5:45am. I also met a lot friends from R.O.X., Dispatch, and PTB so it was nice to catch up with them.
The trail consists of a short stretch of concrete road but soon lead to the valley of lahar. I expected some river crossing but it turned out to be quite dry with water not even ankle deep. Guess we’re lucky that it was sunny as Pinatubo trail could get really dangerous with landslide and lahar flash flood. I’m not sure if the 25km runners encountered more water. I’m registered in 12km category.
The trail was not hard for me as it was flat. I knew I could wing the 12km without training since I’ve been really active during my travel. And it is my intention to continue being active so as not to get unfit and fat (well, not that I was before my trip). My time though was not impressive (2hrs) because I was not really running but walking as if I was not on a race. I feel like being in one of my regular treks while traveling. I was even wearing my usual backpacker trekking outfit. We would also occasionally stopped for photo op with the stunning landscape and the Aetas on the roadside.
However, the trail did not lead to the Pinatubo crater. We would have gone after the Columbia event but we had a fully packed Saturday agenda. So Mount Pinatubo remains on my list and will have to be for another time.