After almost two years I am once again treading the road of Puerto Galera as a participant of the 2nd Puerto Galera 50k and 25k Run organized by Prince Multi Sports Event, Inc. which was held June 27, 2016. After running 25k in the 1st edition of this event held November 29, 2014 I thought that would be the last run I would be doing in Puerto Galera. However, when the 50k Nueva Ecija Ultramarathon also by PMSEI failed to transpired last year and I could not get cash refund for my registration to it, I decided to transfer my registration from the latter to the Puerto Galera run under 50k category. Another problem arose aside from the cancelation of the Nueva Ecija Run was the sudden and late rescheduling of the PMSEI events 2nd Puerto Galera Run and 3rd Taal Volcano Trail Run to the dates that run smack with World Vision Run and GNC Run respectively which in both I am also registered. As a result I had to give up my race kits for World Vision Run and GNC Run so that I can run at the two PMSEI events.
Unlike in the previous version of the Puerto Galera Run, I along with running acquaintances Victor, Albert, Arniel and the spouses of the latter two were accommodated at White Beach Resort since aside for the beach area there was more suited for swimming than that of Sabang White Beach was originally only 10 minutes away from the previous Start/Finish Area at the Municipal Office of Puerto Galera. However, PMSEI did not just change the date of the event, but also the Start/Finish area which now was relocated at Sabang Beach 35 minutes from our accommodation. Another unanticipated change I encountered with this race was whereas before I came to Sabang via a ferryboat, this year I rode with Victor on his running buddy and boss, Lyndon’s SUV which had us hopping on a RO/RO and landing at Calapan, Mindoro Oriental about 60 kilometers from Puerto Galera. The crossing of the sea took a little more than 2 hours while the road travel had us spending another more than two hours along the zigzagging Calapan-Pueto Galera Western Nautical Highway. Originally the provision stuffed SUV which cost Lyndon P3,000.00 to ferry across the sea was intended as support vehicle. But Lyndon incurred a foot injury and could not come along with us to Puerto Galera while Victor downgraded to 25k there was no need for the SUV to dog any of us during the race.
The Welcome Arch at Sabang Pier served as the Start/Finish of both category of the race. From the latter upon gun start at 2:00 am the 22 50k category participants immediately encountered steep uphill going out of Sabang Town proper. From the onset it was already clear I would be among the stragglers since most of the runners seemed to have sprinted the uphill. Nars a runner I first met at PMSEI’s Makiling 360 and 1 of the 4 women 50k participant was also struggling brought about by her lack of sleep and 2 week long coughing. We would be pacing each other until a little before the 30th kilometers. The portion of the route ran for about 4.5 kilometers after which about a kilometer runners passed by the Municipal Office of Puerto Galera and about 300 meters to a junction where the Aid Station 1 was located. Runners of the 50k took the route heading off towards White Beach. Initially we could still see a runner ahead of us who was supposedly also suffering injury according to Nars. But pretty soon he either speed up or our pace was terribly slow we soon lose sight of his blinker. In a little more moments we began encountering runners who had already made their turn at the U-turn. Among them the 67 year-old longhaired Moses running fourth when we saw him. While Batanguena Runner led the women followed by Nancy whom I met in one of the Cordillera Series of Team Malaya. According to Prince the U-turn at the White Beach was about 9 kilometers away from the town proper of Puerto Galera but this was of course not accurate. Upon reaching the Aid Station 2, which also served as the U-turn at White Beach I noticed a banner stating 10km tacked at the table containing the hydration. In my mind my estimate distance was roughly 15 km from the Start already. Runners double back towards the town returning towards the previous Aid Station 1 marked as the 20 km according to the banner pinned at the table of the hydration but probably the 24th kilometers for the 50k already. From here the 50 k runners took the same route the first two of eight 25k runners took. We had not ran farther from the Aid Station when another runner from the 25k this time a female overtook us. This route was the same route I took two years ago when I ran under the 25k although at that time most of the way was still laid in darkness and I could not noticed the seaside view and Mangrove Park in Barangay Tabinay. In the current run event Nars and I had a chance to stop, marvel and have photo taken with the sea as background along the way. The uphill that followed the highest gain of which was about 150 meters could not easily be missed even if one wanted to. Before long Albert and Victor who were running the 25k were also overtaking us and a bit later met us again on their way back from their U-turn.
Convinced that there were still 50k runners just a couple of kilometers ahead of us and could still be caught up, I tried to quickened my pace. I reached the Aid Station at the 30th kilometer without Nars tagging me. From this location the Tamaraw Falls, which I thought was the U-turn of 50k was about 2-3 kilometers more. About a kilometer before the Tamaraw Falls I met most of the 50k runners including our traveling companion Arniel. Still thinking that Tamaraw Falls was the U-turn I was greatly encouraged that I could still close the gap further with the rest of the 50k runners once I reached Tamaraw Falls. At Tamaraw Falls I had my photo taken with the Falls behind me. It was only on this trip that I realized that the Tamaraw Falls was actually located near the entrance of Puerto Galera coming from Calapan. This was probably about 10 kilometers from the Aid Station 2. After hydrating with soda and a visit to the toilet I was ready to turn back towards where I came from when the runner Nars and I were earlier chasing motioned me to continue running farther ahead for the actual 50k U-turn. After about 2 kilometers of downhill I spotted the Aid Station marked as 40 kilometers but probably once again should be taken with a grain of salt. I also saw another runner who was just returning from the U-turn. I will dog this runner but never overtaking him until at the last 2 kilometers of the race where I took the lead from him and from 2 other runners. While at the Aid Station and having slices of apple, I learned from Prince himself that at least three of the runners ahead did not reached the 50 k U-turn and instead turned back from Tamaraw Falls. Getting back was pretty much as uneventful as the previous one with the only difference was that I am much happier that this race will soon be over. In the remaining Aid Stations I kept on catching up with the last runner ahead of me. When I finally took the lead from him and from two other runners I tried to keep my pace up relenting only on the last uphill. But as soon as I reached the last downhill I ran fast that I almost had a cramp on my left calf. I finished the race with a time of 8 hours and 57 minute and 18th out of 22 participants. PMSEI was lately disappointing quite a lot of runners from race event not materializing on its original schedule to not materializing at all; from distributing properly the finishers’ loot to marshaling the race route; and even sometime the quality of the finishers’ loot. I am among those that was feeling disgruntled. I still had two more events registered under the organizer and was thinking that as soon these events over I just might not anymore join its events. For now the medal I got from this race although was similar with the one given on the 2nd Bulacan 360 Ultramarathon and the fabric of the finisher shirt had improved. I was enough to assuage my disappointment. I hope the next two run I have with them would be a turning of new page for this event organizer. For the moment at least before parting ways with PMSEI I had the pleasant experience of covering most part of Puerto Galera on foot.