I just realized that this is my 3rd participation in the Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas. This 2016, Salomon brings us to where they started the annual tradition sharing trail love which is at the mountain and hills of Subic Bay. I wasn’t there when they debuted the race so it was an amazing opportunity to see why they chose to go back at Subic, Zambales. I really liked the coastal trails and views of the previous trail runs at Hamilo Coast and Anvaya Cove so I was excited to see how the forest trails fare as I heard it’s quite technical. Four categories again for Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2016 – the 6km and 12km Road to Trail Run and the 24km and 32km Mountain Run. I decided to stick with the 12km Road to Trail Run as I wanted to get better time from last year and second I didn’t have a long preparation.
The 12km Road to Trail Run
I think it was only this year that Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas 2016 required runners for the Mountain Run to present Medical Certificates. Personally it was a good move to make sure all participants are fit to run. Road to Trail runners were not required. We started our run at 7:00am. The initial trail was a paved road until we entered Pamulaklakan Village on the 2km turn. This is where it gets a lot more interesting. We had to cross a stream, others just jumped into the water, others smartly found a set of rocks to jump on so they wouldn’t get wet. I jumped in on the water and I liked cold.
The next 2km trail is a hilly wide dirt road. The ascending part challenges your endurance but the descends challenges your speed and stability. On the final 2km stretch after Tower 40, it was an open trail and a large part of the area is burned by kaingin (fire clearing) so it felt hotter than usual. The turn back was anti-climatic. We went back the same way but no longer passing through the stream. The final obstacle before the finish line was a mud crawl. I thought it was fun but had to secure my things first before I the plunge.
I thought this trail offered a good amount of challenge for those new to trail running. The road trail inclines were steep but not really that technical. I still liked the trails from Pico and Hamilo in my opinion. I was expecting more on the turn around point in terms of scenery but somehow felt short. I guess the Mountain Run offered more. On a personal note, I did improve a bit on my personal record. I finished the race in their unofficial record of 1:46:22 (compared to 2:01:28 last year) and ranking 80 overall among 300 runners in the category (compared to 125 out of 227). I don’t know where Salomon Pilipinas Xtrail would be going next year but I’m sure it will be another interesting one.