Baguio City, the country’s summer capital has not only drawn tourists this season. For ultramarathoners, this is their ultimate trail running destination!
This year, The North Face 100 has finally returned to the highlands to answer the trail blazers’ call for the country’s biggest off-road run, right at the challenging terrains of Baguio and Benguet.
Check out TNF 100 2012 Photos HERE.
The bulk of the attendees signed up for the 22-kilometer and 11-kilometer races, where they sampled Camp John Hay’s famous pine trees.
The main events were the grueling 100-kilometer race and the 50-kilometer race where, for the first time, over 250 runners signed up for the biggest long-distance trail race in the country.
Before the race, runners took their time to gear up and cheer each other for their upcoming challenge. As soon as the gunstart was fired, everybody was just raring to start their exciting journey. It was still pitch black and the sun was going to rise in a few hours.
The break of daylight slowly crept the mountains and for runners, this is their signal of their looming battle ahead. The highlands gave these racers not only cool breeze but also The North Face’s signature taste— treacherous high-altitude ascents and sloping downhills. For the participants, this is exactly the kind of thrill they wanted and they knew that challenges sometimes come with the best rewards.
From breathtaking pine tree forests and spectacular terraces, to towering peaks, each runner was treated with nature’s out-of-this-world splendor and even a thrill-inducing cross over a hanging bridge.
While most runners were barely halfway their journey, world’s famous trail running legend Iker Karrera showed his supremacy with his fast mark of 12 hours 27 minutes and 19 seconds. Baguio’s homegrown runner, 31-year old Joel Bengtay, took the second spot and his third 100-kilometer finish. For the distaff side, Dutch Julia Boetiger grabbed the 1st place with a huge lead, taking the title for her first TNF race in the country.
The 50-kilometer race meanwhile showed the highland warriors’ prowess with Baguio City’s Dino Mantilez and Benguet’s Josiah Ballagan zooming ahead of Hong Kong-based champion runner Ryan Blair.
Mixed martial arts and wushu champion Eduard Folayang also joined the running fray. Team Lakay’s fighter may have trounced the hardest blows on his record, but this race was a different story for him.
While the top contenders have already finished their 100-kilometer,
most of the runners were still breaking boundaries to meet the 30-hour cutoff time.
The finish line was the final mark of TNF 100’s punishing challenge. And for runners, this is the place to applaud the new friends they’ve met along the way.
Covering 100 kilometers is not only an achievement but a profound way of communing with nature, discovering one’s self and breaking boundaries that will surely last a lifetime!
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