Last weekend, I joined the Sierra Trail Adventure Race 2016, or more popularly known as STAR 2016. It was a trail running event held on Saturday the 10th, in Tanay, Rizal, with 8km, 12km, 18km solo, and 18km buddy categories.
I originally had no plans of joining this race but blogger Franc Ramon, who is also part of the organizing team, offered me a race kit three weeks prior to the event date. He was actually offering me the 18km category but I wanted to cover the event for Active Pinas, so I ended up signing up for the 8km instead. I figured that it will give me lots of time for photographer duties afterwards. Which was a good thing too because I had an unplanned race the week before STAR 2016, which you can read all about here. So 8km was a good call. It sort of became my recovery trail race from the previous week's intense 21km.
The 8km race started a little past 6am. The race started on an uphill road inside Ten Cents to Heaven Adventure Camp, followed by a steep set of stairs exiting to a stretch of road outside. I had a good lead. I was the second female but I lost it when I started slowing down due to cramps. So I relaxed for a bit, paused and stretched my legs. When my legs were feeling okay, I continued running and eventually started passing some 8km runners who overtook me earlier. I got excited when the route entered the trail head going to the Maysawa Circuit. I skipped all the hydration stations since I had my Simple Hydration bottle with me.
Photo Credits: Vanessa of Active Pinas
Upon reaching the U-turn, I slowed down to walk for a bit, and then resumed running after a few minutes. I entered the zone, maintaining my race pace. I met some familiar faces, 18km runners, along the way and cheerfully greeted them. Eventually, I found myself back on asphalt. At one point, there was a steep uphill so I started walking again.
A little more than one kilometer left and I found myself on the trails again. This time, the trails were muddy and slippery, and they were going uphill. I swear, the struggle was real. When the hilly muddy parts were done, I was back on stairs, and then cement, and then grass. The finish line finally came into view and I sprinted to cross it.
Photo Credits: Aquizzed Snaps Photography
It was probably one of the most enjoyable races that I've joined this year. The route was very beginner-friendly, with some views that are still breathtaking. The event was well organized. There were lots of marshals along the way. There was ample hydration, which I skipped entirely. I hope that there'll be a 2017 edition because I will definitely join again.
Thank you to the photographers who captured my awesome photos. Thank you, sir Franc, for the free race kit. And of course, thank you to everyone behind this event, for the awesome race experience.
rank: 17th overall out of 75 runners, 6th female
official time: 1:18:34