Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The North Face (TNF) Baguio 22km - Worst Race!

All those weeks of training to tackle a hard trail run in Baguio City had gone to waste on that Sunday morning when the 22km race category was just at 13.5km according to my Garmin watch. Post-race I compared with other runners having the same bib category and their watches ranged from 13.5 - 14km for this "half marathon" trail run.

What happened to this?

No idea but there were some hearsay from some runners that a marshal wasn't in his assigned post so instead of us going down further in the trails, we all climbed up instead and headed out towards the finish line.

Another runner said that the organizers shortened the route for safety reasons. Safety reasons? What safety reasons?! There was an ongoing 50 and 100-kilometer race for this event. Why didn't we just follow their race routes as it was already plotted and ongoing?

If "safety" was really the reason behind it, why didn't the organizers inform the runners about this prior to the race? That way, they could refund the registration fees for these runners so these runners won't waste their time and effort to travel to a city 280-kilometers away from where they lived to run a 14-kilometer race.

The race was 40% short its promised distance! This is unheard of!

As of now, there have been no mention of this from the race organizers. Their facebook page account remains silent on this issue.

This was an international race (as part of The North Face Trail Run series that covers China, Australia, and USA among other countries).

To give examples of how I felt when I crossed the finish line, it's like

1) Watching a great movie and not seeing the last third part of the movie just when the action was about to start.

2) Watching a big concert and said band just performed for 15 minutes before leaving the stage

3) Ordering your favorite cake from the bakeshop, opening the box and seeing it had no icing on it or half of said cake was gone!

4) Reading a very nice book and finding out that the last 50 pages were missing!

I could go on and on about this but the best way to describe it for a runner is simply training hard for a marathon, travelling far for the said race and finding out that the distance was just 15 miles (24 kilometers) but just the same, you received a finisher medal at the finish line. Can you still say you were a marathoner after this happened?

So I still can't say I'm a half marathon trail runner given what happened here..

SUCKS right?

Still excited pre-race

the start and finish line


Anonymous said...

So weird! North face did not explain why?


Anonymous said...

I've been comparing my GPS data as well vs. their published 22km route. Generally it matches except for the Happy Hollow part. Unfortunately, even adding back the Happy Hollow part, it still doesn't look like it will add to 22km. 18-19km maybe.

anonymous said...

10 pesos lang naman ang finishers token ng 50km at 100km. walang kwenta barrel man.

Marcs said...

End of the day, the main event naman was really the 50km and 100km distances. As long as those segments were handled well then I think this is a good event. I'm sure it's a logistical nightmare to cover that 50-100km stretch of race route, and I'm hoping TNF continues to offer this kind of races in the future, because I eventually want to do those distances.

daytripper1021 said...

My ofcmate ran the 100k version and he and other runners were disappointed as well since the route turned into one mountain climb after another, causing them to decide to stop before 60k due to safety reasons. He said TNF was frustrated with the race organizer as well. Madami pa syang nakwentong horror stories so I hope the organizers explain and apologize for this mishap.

junkurtiv said...

that's why i didn't register may be next year they can fix that.One problem they told me was the 100 and 50 K finisher has no medal whaaaa

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed too sa rota ng 22k.. though pang-pito ako, am not happy.. nagtaka ka nga ako kung bakit ang time ko ay 1 hr 18 mins. sa milo nga ang time ko ay 1hr 35 mins sa 21k. road pa!.at ng tanungin ko kasama namin na may GPS ay 14k lang or 18k kung sama elevation. dapat sinabi nila na shortened rota before the gun start para naman alam ng mga runners ang gagawin nilang diskarte. We hope na hindi ito maulit next year.

Anonymous said...

for the blogger, you have a very good point, really doubtful if the reason is indeed for safety.

@Marcs, even if the 22k and 11k are just "side events," it's the organizers' responsibility to satisfy their participants (at the very least be true to their offered distances). worse, they made it unannounced before the race.

Marcs said...

that's true. actually I don't think na last minute change nga to. parang cover-up na lang yung safety and technical reasons. reviewing their map it doesn't look like it will hit 22km talaga.

i also hear from friends that no trail clean-up has been done so far. yellow trail is still littered with 100Plus Bottles, gels, TNF markers etc. Would have been nice if runners had been more careful in disposing their trash, pero as event organizers TNF should have done some trail clean-up also

Marcs said...

sorry I read it wrong, it looks like the original route would take 22kms. Seems the portion from the US Embassy to Cadaclan was cut and everyone was re-routed straight to the lower yellow trail.

So the 11km runners, they probably ran only 5kms or so as well?

Daves said...

what a bummer!

Anonymous said...

Tapos top 5 pa binigay na awards sa 11k and 22k samantalang ang 100k at 50k na mas mahirap ay top three lang.
Maski man lang sana acknowledgement sa stage for the top 10 for the 50 and 100k finishers di pa nila magawa.

Anonymous said...

I was at the awarding ceremony and one of the race directors explained that the 22 and 11km route was cut because of safety and security reasons. They did not explain what it was really but let's just wait for official announcement before we judge.

And to the anonymous commenter that said that the top 10 for the 50 and 100km were not recognized, they were recognized after the award was given to the 100km winners.

I think over all it was a good and organized race. Ran the 22km and had a hard time. Feel ko parang nag 100km din ako hehe. I think people join this race not for the token or giveaways, but for the satisfaction that they were able to finish an extreme trail run and also for the experience. People who join runs for tokens or giveaways and who complain like a little girl are pathetic, materialistic and are poser runners. You really need a token/giveaway just to prove that you conquered something?

Just my two cents worth :)

Anonymous said...

one more thing...
11 & 22k - top five podium finishers
50 & 1ook - top 3 only
WTF... it should have been the other way around... in fact, all 100 and 50km finishers and even the 22km finishers should have a medal.. everybody's expecting this event to be a quality race but it turned out to be a race event that needs to be fix..... and whats with the small barrel man??? come on TNF!!! a quality race has its price!

Anonymous said...

^^ I joined and finished, actually I'm not really after the token, but I think what's a bit insulting really is that they provided us with a very unremarkable token. In fact, being a green event I would have wanted na wala na lang token kung ganon din lang. Laking insulto.