Pushing 500 – “Don’t think. Just do.” – Horace

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

…… Lao Tzu.

Whilst for most Filipino trail runners, Frontrunner’s King of the Mountain (KOTM) Hardcore Hundred Miles (H1)Trail Ultra Marathon is the season finale, for me, this will mark the culmination of a year of training and preparation and the commencement point of something else quite special. Why special? Well for a number of reasons.

The first step in this journey commenced a number of years ago when I wondered if it would be possible to run / hike all the routes in the KOTM trail race series in a continuous, non-stop, back-to-back format. Added to that would be to try to complete this self-imposed challenge within a total time limit of 100 hours. So what does this challenge involve? Over 500km of trails and somewhere in the vicinity of 36,500m of ascent and descent over the entire route. I thought that something so audacious should have an appropriate name so I’ve called it “Pushing 500”.

For those who have traversed any of these trails, this challenge on the surface may appear overwhelming and impossible, however I believe that with the right preparation, strategy, training and most importantly of all, mindset, the seemingly impossible may just be possible. In my mind “beyond the impossible lies a brand new world”. And it’s my intention to “discover” this new world and what lies beyond the realm of what is considered possible.

The initial intermediary target I’ve set for this challenge will be to complete the Hardcore 100 Miles (H1) race (~165km) in no more than 32 hours. Beyond this would be the requirement to complete the Pulag 100 (P1) route (~115km), the Four Lakes 100 (FL100) route (~101km), the Old Spanish Trail (OST) route (~54km), the Mount Ugo Marathon (MUM) route (~42km) and the final route of the Mount Ugo Half Marathon route (~27km) in no more than a total of 100 hours.  The route will involve summiting Mt. Pulag twice and Mt. Ugo four times as well as a multitude of smaller peaks throughout the journey.

During the Hardcore 100 race itself, outside support would be allowed for within the rules of the race itself (e.g. at aid stations and at vehicle accessible locations with allowed outside support). However, beyond race completion and when moving on to complete the remainder of the challenge, outside support would be limited to the Kayapa Town Proper, Castillo Village waiting shed (3km from Kayapa) and Babadak (near Mt. Pulag). In between these points I would be self-sufficient, either carrying what I needed with me or obtaining what I need from the environment (e.g. water) or from villages along the way (e.g. water and perhaps some food items if there are sari-sari stores available along the route).

Besides the distance, elevation and time limit, there are other obstacles also to be overcome such as finding water sources along the route, ensuring enough nutrition between support points, having to overcome the likely wet, windy and cold weather conditions (the start of the rainy season is now upon us) also leading to muddy and slippery trails, lack of sleep, navigation at night as well as the fact that I personally do have old injury issues that tend to arise in longer events (e.g. Achilles tendinitis).

If you’re interested in “tagging along” with me on this journey click here.

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