The Road to Being a Trail Rockstar

Melanie's a Trail Rockstar
Melanie’s a Trail Rockstar

DBB Rockstar Solo was a challenging and beautiful route.  Melanie Hingpit shares her story of the race and her journey to the podium and being a trail rockstar.

The Journey Begins

The finish line is always a sweet place to be.
The finish line is always a sweet place to be.

When I was young, I was very petite and thin and nobody wanted me to be in their team because I look weak.  This is one of the reason why I never saw myself as an adventurous person, like the other people I watch on TV. I can’t even run 500 meters back then.  I never expected to become a mountaineer and a road and trail runner.  It was two years ago that my housemates/BFFs decided to have a healthy lifestyle.  We bought running shoes and ended up just using it twice so I stopped.

A year later an office mate joined RUPM 2015. She’s not also into running but she managed to finish her first 21K run strong. I was like “How did she do that?” Reading her post in Instagram, my thoughts went like “Kaya ko kaya ‘pag ako?”, “Kainggit may medal”, “Gusto ko rin e try kahit once lang”. But even I have those thoughts in mind, still, I am so “tamad’ to run.

To Join or Not to Join

Five months after, while scrolling through my FB news feed, I saw the MGM Braveheart 11km Mountain Trail Run event page. I hit the “Interested” button without any hesitation.It was their last day of registration so I called my BFF Jennifer, who’s an ultra runner to register but she refused to join.  I was torn on whether to go or not as it could have been better to go with someone since I am a newbie.  Even I’m still hesitant, I joined the race even without her. My “hugot” was “okay lang sanay naman akong mag-isa.” I chatted then with the organizer of the event if I could still register and he said yes as long I would immediately do it by Monday.

My Support Crew

At the office, I told Jennifer that I would still go with the trail run even without her. To my surprise, she said that she will go with me because she didn’t want me to run on my own on my very first run. Her affirmation made me even more excited. At that time, the reasons why I joined the run were just for me to experience running in a race and to add it in my bucket list that I ran in a competition. After the race, I got injured due to lack of training and it made me think to just stop there.

Rockstar Solo
Rockstar Solo

But my mind wants more. Seven months later, I have joined seven more races. And now, all in all, I have four road and four trail runs including the DBB solo.

DBB Rockstar Solo

I have always wanted to try an ultramarathon but at first I was very hesitant. I was anxious since it would be my first ultra trail and I’m also afraid of dog barks.  The feeling was like “how could I complete the race if the dogs are barking everywhere?” But eventually I decided to go.  The preparation was running 2 to 3 times a week at UP Academic Oval.  It’s always important to run regularly.   For my training, I don’t bring water during the run. I train myself not to drink and just drink after. It’s effective for me. Although it’s kinda weird, it might be effective for others too. You should give it a try.   Before a race, she makes it a point to drink a lot of water more than the usual. I don’t skip meals and I eat more “saging.”

The Race

I felt so sleepy yet excited and a bit afraid on my first trail ultra. The only sleep I had was on the van along my way to the venue. I was excited and at the same time scared of not finishing the race.  It was not because I won’t be able to but because of the “Beware of Dogs” posted on the event page.

The first loop, I got three “limatik” bites and was almost caught in the current during the river crossing because I have this paper-weight body. My phone almost got wet because of the unlimited chess-deep river crossings (thanks to my height lol). But the most difficult one was when the dogs were barking at me. The best part of the trail for me were all the trails with downhills and the tree shades.  I almost quit the race especially on the time one of the dogs followed me. I really felt like crying. Yes, that’s how I really am, afraid of dogs.

Chest deep river crossing, anyone?
Chest deep river crossing, anyone?

So Many Challenges to be a Rockstar

I heard a lot of dogs barking everywhere for the first 10 kilometer so that was the most difficult part for me.  I almost got caught in the current during the river crossing. Without the help of Sir Felix, I could have not crossed the 3rd river crossing. I even got cramps in the Km 12.  I found out that I got bitten with three “limatik” at around 30 kilometers and I met Sir Arnold who motivated me and helped me along the way. It was a Tapulao version 2.0 trail at kilometer 40. It was rocky and muddy trail plus the heat of the 11am sun made it harder.

Honestly, I don’t know that I was already just a 100-meter away from the finish line. But after seeing most of the participants in the race venue, I felt happy and relieved. I thought, “At last! I can say goodbye to the sun”. With all my cramps, “limatik” bites and encountered dogs, I was more than happy. That was my first 8hrs and 11mins run.

First Ultra Trail and a Podium Finish

Nagmahal, Nasaktan, Nag Podium
Nagmahal, Nasaktan, Nag Podium

I feel so accomplished. Before, I have never imagined myself running under the scorching heat of the sun over a long period of time. But, everything just happened and I liked it. I liked the feeling, the pain, the sweat, the thirst. That feeling when you were hurt already and you were feeling so broken but still you love it and you swear to fight for it. You can do everything with love.

Having usual running sessions 2 to 3 times a week with or without race and often after my work is quite a tough habit to maintain. Even just finishing the race was a great accomplishment already. But I got a bigger bonus, winning the bacon! That’s more than enough.

What’s Next For Melanie?

First off, I will never ever wear shorts again in a long distance run. I got scratches from “makahiya” leaves and “talahib.”  I’ll definitely do it again. I found ultra-trail running more exciting and challenging. Maybe I will be making this a habit already? I gave it all I’ve got in this race and next time, now that I know how the run goes already, maybe I’ll be better. Rockstar Solo was rewarding from the  medal, the trophy, the freebies, the new found friends, the good sleep after the race were good enough. I couldn’t ask for more.

Here’s a lot of Thank You!!!

First and foremost, I thank God for the strength and for the strong finish. I can’t do all of this without Him. Thank You for hearing my prayers not to have cramps again, for accompanying me until the finish line and for everything.

I also thank Sir Felix, Sir Ramy and Sir Arnold, for helping me on the multiple river crossings and for teaching me how to disregards the dogs when they are barking and thank you guys for the good convos. I learned a lot from you all. And to the guy who held my hand to lift me up on a chest deep river near the falls on the first loop, thank you! I could have not finish the race without you guys. You’re part of my first ultra-trail running experience.

Also, my heartfelt gratitude to my ever supportive BFFs: Chelou, Nikkay, Jennife,, Divine, Monalaine and especially to Christy for braiding my hair every time I have a race and whom I used to wake up in the middle of her sleep. To my CUTE family for the cheers and support, thanks!

And to my family from the other island (though they don’t really know what their daughter have been doing with herself … haha), I know I would always have their support and encouragements.

Thanks you #TeamPurgatory, Ren, Thon, and Arnel. Solid!
Thank you DBB and MGM Production for another successful event. Next time ulit!

About Melanie Hingpit

Good things come in small package and Melanie has been all over the place hiking her way to several mountain peaks and blazing the different trails and road runs in the country.

Like Melanie, you can also share your story here at Pinoy Trails by sending your trail stories to contact@pinoytrails.com or sending us a message at our Facebook Page.

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