2nd Taal Volcano 360 Challenge Trail Run

Three months into our relocation, we have settled quite well in our new surroundings in Manila and we are beginning to explore a little further out.

As you would expect, the most likely way for us to do so, is by joining interesting running events outside of Manila.
Recently we participated in the Nat Geo Marathon in Manila and then flew to Sabah, Malaysia to run the Borneo International Marathon.
This time we headed about two hours down south, to a beautiful place called Tagaytay in Cavite province. Here we stayed at a beautiful hotel for the weekend overlooking the Taal Volcano, which is just a short distance away in Talisay, Batangas province.
 And this trip turned out to be one of the more unusual running events we have participated in.
Just where do you get to jump on to a small boat (banca) just before sunrise
 to cross the ocean only to land on a volcanic island
 to run / hike up and down the crater of the volcano and to circumference the island? Liz is going to put up a separate blog to tell you about her hike.
I am on the run now but there must be time for just one pic at the top of the volcano, overlooking the crater lake:
And here I am on my way down, this pic taken by Liz who at the time was on her way up. In passing she told me that I was in the top 10 …, that was very encouraging but of course, only 20 minutes into the run, very much open to change …
 Very tempting to jump onto one of those, but their speed is slightly below race pace …, they are in no rush…
Running through seemingly endless stretches of black lava ashes up the mountain and along the beach, feels like running with bricks tied to the ankles. A truly new experience, even for the travelled trail runner. Not much elevation on this run but the lava ashes takes a toll even on the strongest runner. Combine that with 40 degrees Celsius and well…
 And with horses not an option, we soldier on, on foot
 Got lost along the way together with another runner and eventually we had to backtrack, annoyingly lost about 20 minutes in the process but such is trail running, got to keep your eyes on the ground. Found another group of four whom were lost and helped each other back on track. From hereon, it was all teamwork and we finally made it in pairs of two.
My running buddy, Ted and I stuck together for the second half of the race. Ted even lost the sole of his shoe in the last two km of the race and finished on his midsole!
But we made it.
 And I did finish 10th of 150, that works for me 🙂
 And here is the welcome committee at the finish line:
Did we mention lava ash? A few hours earlier, these were orange
And not only the shoes need to cool off
Another brilliant day well spent

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