Adventure Race: Eco Challenge and UJAR

Before triathlon competitions, there was Adventure Race. 

My first adventure race was the Subic Bay Eco-Challenge in 1999. I raced with James and Joseph. It was running from the start point to the finish line in the middle of the Subic forest. Our trail guides are yellow straw string tied on branches. They were hard to see when the sun shines on them, but we finished it. It took us around six hours to finish. One of the food that I have was Pringles. It was as if we walk in the park eating chips. 

Then in 2004, I raced with Jeof and Gibo for the Samsung AXN Challenge in the metro. We did finish it. It was one that I regret, though. My teammates are competitive, and I did not train. At the back of my mind, I held them back. It was a rookie mistake, I suppose. 

How I wish I can remember the exact dates of each adventure race that I joined in 2006. My memory is drained with the details, but each significant event is vivid in my mind. I see my teammates as if it was yesterday. 

I had a great race with Sharleen, famously known as Shaq. I remember hearing the race director said that these ladies like to challenge themselves by signing up to the elite category. He had no idea that Shaq was smart to join it so there is a better chance of winning. There were just 7 elite teams. We finished fourth on the 1st Rudy Girl Challenge in La Mesa Eco Park at the watershed side. We're supposedly third, but we missed a turn. 

I remember towing a bike with Serg, a San Beda Mountaineer, because of a broken chain going uphill to the entrance of La Mesa Eco Park in Fairview. I was the last resort because of their female teammate back out. A day after, I was with Cris, of Triathlon Philippines, Lemuel, and Shaq as their support team. 

I teamed up with Carlo and Nico in the Sierra Karera Adventure Race organized by the Maria Aurora Outdoors Club. It was a grueling one whole day event where we did not finish. I was not able to swim on the swim part and we got lost in the orienteering part, but it was one great adventure. Losing the right path lead us to another adventure. The race took place in Maria Aurora town in Aurora Province, where one of us needs to eat a frog at the end of a leg. None of us did. My teammates were vegetarians, and it was a non-bearing situation, so I passed. Hehe.

Ana, whom I met in the Sierra Karera, then invited me to take part in the All-Women Category of NOMADS Orienteering Race in Cavite. We biked around the Molino road. We got lost that we raced backward. Hahaha. We got a consolation prize, though, outdoor sandals. On top of that, I gained a great friend. 

The last race I had was the three days Sandugo Adventure Race around the province of Rizal. We biked in the middle of the night, passing through a mountain with a lot of fireflies. The tree illuminates with thousands of them around it. We slept where we can. We got disqualified on the second day because of time constraints. My teammates were both U.P. Mountaineers, Anna, and Doc Eric. 

I was an inducted member of the Mapua Institute of Technology-Mountaineering Club in 1997, where I met most of my teammates. I just realized that I paid the registration fee for these events to take part in their adventure. Winning was never on top of the goal. Finishing and experiencing every leg and activities were. 

Of all the wrong turns, miscalculations, and walking instead of running, were all part of me that put me where I am right now. All those people that I met along the way, some are forgotten, some stayed, some passed by, influenced me to be a better person. I can never thank enough for each memory. I deeply wish that they are safe and sound right now. I hope that they are reading this with a smile on their face recalling the moment that we had.

From the left, Lemuel, I, Sharleen, Grace, and Cris

Navigation was my weakness before and now it is my strength. (or so I believe)

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