The recently concluded The North Face 100 (TNF100) ultra trail running marathon held in the mountainous terrain of the Cordilleras last April 21 – 22 attracted close to 300 runners.
The participants tested their mettle against elevation gains of up to 6000ft throughout a distance that reached a maximum of 100km. Only a third of that number survived the course under the cut-off time of 30hrs with Spain's elite runner Iker Karera covering ground like a conquistador out to claim the new world. He registered a record of 12hrs and 15 mins. Cordi's veteran Joel Bengtay came in second while TNF100 2010 champ Modesto Madalang was 3rd.
“TNF100 was a great event to test the skill level of our local athletes against international standards,” said Jundel Llagas, Division Manager of The North Face, who has been organizing the event for the last 5 years. “The course this year earned a rating of 3 (4 being the highest) from the UTMB, the mother of all ultra trail events, which puts it at par with the best in Asia, add the abundance of foreign participants and what we have is a legitimate claim to be one of the more prestigious legs in the TNF100 Asia Pacific series,” he continues.
As if to validate the claim, Karrera had this to say: “It was one of the most technical and difficult terrains I have ever run on. It will be a welcome challenge for European runners to come here and experience for themselves.” Many will probably heed that call as preparations are already underway for the 2013 edition, with LGUs committing their support and the Dept. Of Tourism- CAR leading the charge to promote the Cordilleras as a trail runner's haven. “We seek to host the TNF100 for more years to come, to make the Cordilleras an adventure sports destination and to proudly say to the world that Trail Running is More Fun in the Philippines!” chimes DOT Regional Director Pura Molintas.
Overall, more than 1200 runners distributed among 100K, 50K, 22K, and 11K categories ran the courses, the longest of which went through the pine covered trails of Camp John Hay, out to the spectacular mountain ridges of Itogon, up to the chilly peaks of Mt. Sto Tomas in Tuba before winding down again to the finish line in front of R.O.X. South East Asia's biggest outdoor superstore. The event was made possible with the major support of AXN, 100PLUS, Ayala Techno Hub, and the local government of the Cordilleras.