The North Face 100 2016

My North Face Race Experience. – Photo by Jose Ramizarez
  • Date: May 1, 2016
  • Venue: Camp John Hay, Baguio City
  • Distance: 22K
  • Organizer: The North Face Philippines

The North Face 100 is about Breaking Boundaries.  Whether it’s your first time at trail at 11K, pushing for a stronger 22K run or testing your limits with the Ultra Distance of 50K and 100K.  It’s all about pushing ourselves to the limit.   

The North Face

The North Face Adventure x 4 years

The North Face 100 is among the most important trail event in the country and in the region. This is one of the reasons I never dare miss it. I’ve been a part of the event for  the last 4 years.  It was extra effort this year as I was in Singapore for a business trip and had to rush my way to Baguio City just for the event.

Race Route and Elevation Profile

Race Map powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports.
Elevation Profile powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports

The Race Starts at the Open Grounds. It starts with a short 500 meter parade loop before entering the Eco Trail, which is a 3-kilometers out and back trail with rolling ascent. The race shifts to the yellow trails passing at the side of Le Monet for another 2 kilometers worth of rolling trails until the aid station. The trail goes on a net descent of 200 meters over the next 5.5 kilometers. The trail goes on a climb back the Aid Station until kilometer 16.5. It goes to the upper part of the yellow trail and descends to the Embassy area until kilometer 18.5. The race goes back to the yellow trail and the finish line.

The Race

Awaiting Gun Start

Camp John Hay is practically my training ground as I love to visit the trails every time I am in Baguio. It was a familiar trail for me but I also was fatigued and rusty coming from my Singapore trip. I will try to race smart and play it by feel.

With Pinoyfitness Peeps and Myk of Go Pro before the race. – Photo from Pinoyfitness

It starts with a short parade loop to spread out the runners before entering the trails.  I started fast here just to make sure that I would be in the less congested group entering the Eco-Trail.  The Eco-Trail was slippery so I shifted to a slower and more cautious pace for the first two kilometers.  There were also some bottlenecks along the trail.  The slower paced helped me warm up a bit and shed of the rustiness.  I went at this pace until the u-turn and increased the pace on the way back, which had a lot of descents.

Towards The Yellow Trails

Starting to warm up on the trails.

I started to play the terrain game at the yellow trail. I went faster on the descents and rested on the inclines. It was a faster pace now as I was running with a group of runners.  One thing I like about the yellow trails is that it’s run-able.  The weather was cool, the trail was damp and I really love the rich pine reserve of Camp John Hay. It was always refreshing being on the trails.

With Hansen and Iris.

We proceeded to the adjacent trails which would lead to the lower part of the Yellow Trails after the aid station midway the 6th kilometer. It was a steep descent for the next 500 meters and I opted to speed up.   The descent was followed by a kilometer worth of climb and another two kilometers on rolling terrains.  There were a few technical trails on this stretch so I had to slow down on that section.

Loakan Trails

With the Multi-time TNF Champion and this year’s runner up for 100K, Majo.

At about the 9th kilometer, we exited the trails and headed to Loakan to explore the next two kilometers of descending trails there. The trails were a bit technical so it was more at walking pace on the descent and the short climbs. I would run on the fire tracks and slow down on the steep single tracks. The trails also had the common pine facade of Baguio and it led us to the trails heading to the DENR area. This was also the lowest part of the trail and what goes down, must go up.

It’s Climbing Time

It’s time to switch to poles. – Photo by Active Pinas

It’s climbing time!  I brought out my trekking pole since the next 10 kilometers would be mostly climbs. It really helps using two poles as it uses the upper body to crawl yourself out of an uphill climb.  It was a long climb so I took it a step at a time.  I tried to just be consistent and with the help of the poles, I was able to endure the next two kilometers of climb in the Loakan stretch.

Back In the Yellow Trails

With the Great Jared who just did 100 K.

I shifted back to the Camp John Hay trails. I was not used to running with poles so I just went at a brisk walk pace for now. I was felt exhausted after the climb so the brisk walk pace on the flatter area would keep me fresh when I go for the steep climb at kilometer 17. The 17th kilometer was a killer climb as you had to hurdle 100 meters of elevation in 500 meters of distance. It took a lot of heart beat raising steps to reach the top of the climb. I’m just about 5 kilometers away from the finish line.

With Jazzrunner Rene and Iron Iris

The next part was the upper part of the yellow trail. which is among the more run-able part of the trail. I had a mental footprint of the route and the 17th kilometer should have been the toughest climb of the race or so I thought. I really thought that they would just do a simple out and back on the upper part of the trails.

Surprise!!! Surprise!!!

That’s A for Ahon!!! – Photo by Jose Ramizares

After nearing the end of the trails, we were asked to head down the embassy area. We had to descend 100 meters of elevation over the next 300 meters of distance and climb it back. It was one of the steepest climb and descends I’ve ever had. The trails were technical and the pine needles made the trails slippery. It was important to be strategic on this part. It was crawling pace especially on the climbs. I had to stop several times to catch my breath. Needless to say, it was my slowest kilometer of the race. TNF goes unli… unli uphells, I meant.

22K done.

After this stretch, I was certain that this race is over as it’s basically on flatter grounds. I took the next half kilometer at walking pace just to catch my breath and after that it was time to speed up for the finish line and I managed to finish faster compared to the last time TNF was held in Baguio City. It was a tough race but I guess I’m a lot tougher now. Great job TNF!!!

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Post Author: Franc Ramon

Franc Ramon is a Marathoner, Mountaineer and a Duathlete. He has adopted the fitness lifestyle since mid-2010 and loves sharing them in his personal blog . While he's not on the trails, the road or on an adventure, he spends his time in the finance field.