It’s been 6 years that Corregidor island has been holding half marathons and only the 3rd this year for a full marathon. It’s basically a race course around the island that passes through historical backgrounds with a scenic view.
RACE KIT INCLUSION
For P2,600 registration fee (42k), you get a dri-fit shirt (pretty much your finisher as well), bib, race belt (which ran out), P1,000 gift certificate from Soleus and Soleus sling bag.
A late 6a.m. (Yup, you read that right since electricity is limited to only some areas.)
CUT-OFF & NO QUALIFYING TIME
None. (Perfect for those doing their 1st marathons. Believe me! We met a lot of 1st time marathoners that landed a spot in the top 10 male finishers. Amazing! That’s you, Erwin! :D) The only cut-off would be the time you should be back on the ferry going to Manila.
42k runners were required to be there a day before the race (Friday) because of the Sun Cruise schedule. 21k runners on the other hand have the option to go there on the raceday itself (Sunday) via Sun Cruise as well.
* Upon talking with runners from the Cabalen team prior gunstart, we found out they had taken small boats coming from Pampanga. So yes, there is another cheaper alternative if you feel like traveling all the way to Pampanga first rather than taking the Sun Cruise ferry from MOA.
You can check-in the hotel or opt to camp out where you can bring your own tents or rent one.
* You can also stay in the dorm as what the Cabalen Team told us. You’ll just need the contact info of the person there to inform them ahead of time.
The Corregidor Marathon has been dubbed as “Asia’s Toughest Marathon” for a reason. The Killer Hill will really kill your legs. I have to say that this has got to be the longest (roughly 100 meters) steepest hill I’ve ever ran (or tried to run) on a race course. How steep? I was told it was um, just a 45 degree incline. 😮
Most of us non-elite runners were actually walking like apes — shoulders forward with arms dangling on the side or on the hips or back. “Kiss the Wall” was what a runner called it once. You get to say hello to the Killer Hill just 800m into the race. You run it, or perhaps walk it again on your 2nd loop and say good-bye to it on your last 2km stretch to finish line.
The race course was mainly road made up of rolling uphills and downhills. There’s a part of the route that goes through a grassy area (Air Field) which you’ll be doing twice.
You’ll go through the creepy Malinta Tunnel thrice.
Then there’s also trail made up of a long one and a short one which you’ll be doing two of each.
Is it hot? Well, if you’ll be taking THAT long to finish, it will be. Although, you can always choose the shady part of the road to run on as most of it is covered with trees.
All in all, it’s a road and trail marathon rolled into one. It’s like an ultramarathon minus all the vehicles, people and dogs, but plus goats and several monkeys 😀
Plenty! No need to worry about this as they have you covered. They have water, a neon yellow colored energy drink (which no one would tell us what it was… probably not sponsored), chocolates, sugar-coated jelly cubes, raisins, X-O candies, bananas cut into 2 inch sizes (they should do this in races in Manila… 1 whole banana is just too much to consume during a stop), rock salt, honey in disposable sauce cups and jelly (I think) which was placed in ice candy bags. I know, I know… don’t try anything new on raceday, but everything looked so yummy. Ice was only delivered to the hydration tables at around 9:30a.m. They distributed sponges at one point at a later time which weirdly smelled like corned beef. 😀 (or perhaps I was already delirious :D).
They had the friendliest marshals I’ve ever come across in a race. Everyone at the hydration table was just so full of energy ready to hand over water filled cups. One guy even suggested he fill my Simple Hydration for me while another asked if I wanted a drink with salt in it… Tequila. Kidding about the tequila, but he did hand me a drink with salt that didn’t taste salty. Just don’t know what it was.
Marshals who stood solo at some points cheered on endlessly. There were the funny ones, too, as when I told them how creepy it was running through the tunnel, they asked if I didn’t hear anyone running just behind me. *Cringe* Then there are the marshals who’d kid about taking the tour bus down or offered a lift until the corner. :p
At every hydration table was a first-aid kit.
There were no portalets. Period. Easy for the male runners as they could easily turn their backs to relieve themselves. (One male runner running 10 feet ahead of me just stopped, faced left and did just that, not minding that I was right behind him).
For the female runners, there are some buildings that have toilets, but you’ll just have to ask the marshals which ones. Peeing in the bushes at the side of the road can’t be done for us ladies as they were mostly steep slopes. Hubs proudly told me that he and some other male runner buddies helped a female runner as they served as a wall while she peed with their backs turned. 😀
FINISH LINE GOODIES
There is no finisher shirt. The shirt you get is pretty much it. You do however, get a huge 1/2 kilo 5″ medal. It’s bigger than Milo’s marathon medal… really heavy when hung on your neck. Promise! You’ll also get an Endurance magazine and a rose for the female finishers.
MY RACE STORY
My plan for Corregidor Marathon was just to finish it. I trained for the run (actually just the heat training part) and I had no intentions of breaking my PR given the tough course. This was after all my first time there and the idea was just to run without bonking and dreading the run forever.
I ran, or rather tried to run (as the killer hill came with it) the 1st 5km as warm-up. After that, it was Galloway for me with an interval of 3 minutes run and 30 seconds walk even if I felt I could extend the warm-up even more. I ignored the intervals whenever I came to downhills as I made most out of it with the help of gravity, still taking extra precaution not to stumble and get injured. I also ignored the intervals when the hills were too steep to run or too long to sustain.
I hated the grass field on our first loop as I found it difficult to have to lift my legs higher to get over the tall grass and I felt the soil was taking all the impact that I to push harder off the ground. 2nd loop was better as the the grass where the runners ran was already flat and had created a path. 😀
Running through the Malinta Tunnel gave me the creeps, especially since I knew about it’s history… thanks to having joined the tour the day before. I think the 3x that we went through the tunnel was parts of the race course that I ran faster than usual especially for the 2nd time when I ran alone from end to end. 😀
The trails I loved, too! It was a break from all the road running. It was my first time to actually run on trails. I enjoyed running under the trees on soil covered with rocks, roots, twigs and leaves. It wasn’t noticeable, but there was a portion that had big blue ropes tied on the right side of trail — we were running beside a cliff. On our 1st loop and 1st time on the trail, this was where I noticed how some runners slowed down. I then remembered what a runner friend of mine JN, had told me before. He said my being a mountaineer (like um, 13 years ago) will serve as an advantage during trail runs because I’d be familiar with the right footing on where to step and where not to. I guess he was right. Glad my mountaineering skills wasn’t that rusty after all. :p
During the first part of the race, I saw runners running together, mostly in twos, in teams and several running solo taking selfies and documenting their run with goPros. Later part of the 2nd loop going onto the 3rd, we were all spread out. The gaps were quite big and there were times I feared of having made a wrong turn whenever no runner was in sight.
My pace all throughout the race was relaxed. I love this run. Seeing the pictures after, it wasn’t the usual me.
My shoulders weren’t pinched up to my ears, my hands weren’t that close to my face and I wasn’t heel striking which usually happens when I’m super drained out already. I guess the intervals really helped.
In my last few marathons, I’d usually run all the way before being forced to do intervals as I’d be burnt out already. You know the dreaded feeling of not wanting to continue and just forcing yourself to keep going? When you start counting how many kilometers you’ve got left to go and just keep looking at your watch? THAT! Well, that feeling surprisingly never came. I felt my energy was very well distributed all throughout that made me just really enjoy the race.
For the first time, I wasn’t pace and distance conscious and would only look at my watch to check my heart zone once in awhile. The view kept me busy. Even just as we started the race, I had myself saying , “I love this marathon”.
WHAT WAS I THINKING?
“Oh my gosh! Ang tarik nga!”
“Wala pa bang naglalakad? Ang lalakas ng mga to!” (1st few kilometers)
“Shugs! Ang hirap pala tumakbo sa grass. Ayoko na mag trail!”
“I love this run!”
“Jah, don’t look up. Look down. Run. Sinabi ng don’t look at the side, e! Basta, run!” (Malinta Tunnel)
“Oh, shoots! 3 monkeys on the road. Should I walk? Will they hurt me? Should I run? What if they run after me? *whew*”
“May trail etiquette kaya na bawal mag overtake sa trail? I’m so new to this. I wish I knew.”
“Tama ba tong dinadaanan ko? If I am lost, I hope someone would see me and bring me back. Ayoko na balikan. Huhuhu…”
“Ugh! I need to pee!!!”
“Darn! I should’ve brought some money. Sarap sana bumili ng Coke… at chips. Baka naman pwede palista muna tapos balikan ko after the race?” (Souvenir shop)
“Pwede kaya maki pee sa mga cabana? I’ll be quick, I promise.” (Near Cabana accomodation)
“Ops! Green zone. Masyado ka ng relaxed, Jah.” (Checking Heart Zone on watch)
“Yey! I peed! Now, I can drink more again.” (After using comfort room)
“Talaga bang kailangan e-include ang stairs sa race course? Ang sakit sa legs! Aguy!”
“Pano kaya mga nagchecheat dito? Magtatago sa puno tapos babalik na? Parang imposibleh, e.”
“Musta na kaya si Butch? Asan na kaya yon? Hope his back isn’t hurting.”
“Ugh! HRM keeps sliding down. I think I put too much Vaseline.”
“Pain is temporary. Glory is forever.”
“What goes up… must come down. Yey!” (Downhill)
“Last 2k na nga lang, paakyatin pa ulit. Ano ba?”
“Pwede kaya overtakin to? Ay, wait! Sabi ni Baldrunner No-no ang pag overtake pag last stretch. Wag na nga.” (Near finish line)
“I soooo love this run!”
I have to say super Thank You to my official sponsor, aka hubs. 😀 for agreeing that we run this race together in place of my running Tokyo Marathon alone. 😀
To Allan, for the interval suggestion even if you had no idea why I was asking. Same with Tanya, who put into my mind the word “Conserve” during the race. To all my running friends who have served as an inspiration seeing you guys keep up with your programs.
To my kids, for understanding when Mommy has to run or Mommy has to rest that you guys have learned to fix up a sandwich or snack by yourselves.
To the other marathoners (newfound runner friends – you guys know who you are, old runner friends present – TBR batchmates Rex and Ryan, Sherwin and the other snails, Rhodel from PIGS, guys from Cabalen team) and all those I chatted with along the way who made the run lively with their “Malapit na!”, “Kaya pa!” or high fives.
My two personal angels, Papa and Mommy who I know proudly watched from above the heavens and to the big guy up there who gave me the strength and endurance to finish the race.
MY FINAL SAY
I rocked the norm
and surprisingly ended up 2nd place for the female category with Luisa Raterta, 1st placer (She’s the 2015 Milo female Champ! My gulay! She did sub 4 in this race!) and Ces Yuson (frequent podiumer of The Corregidor Marathon and other ultras). Medyo OP ata ako. 😀
I guess I was just really lucky. Here’s why.
There were only 27 female marathoners, something I found out only when the results came out. No wonder. It’s also because most of the elites weren’t around for this race, probably busy preparing for other races or perhaps haven’t discovered this race yet.
Still, I owe it to luck. I was given a chance to know how it felt to be given a small cardboard ID to hang around my neck that said “2nd Place- Female”. 😀
After having gone through this one in a kind marathon experience, The Corregidor Marathon automatically goes to my Fave Marathon list.
Oh, I sooo love this race. Oh, I already said that.
Try it yourself and find out why. 🙂
* Photo credits: Running Photographers, Run Corregidor, Running Jack Morales