Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Mt. Pigingan Trail Run: Brace Yourselves For The Unforgiving Heat

I don't know how many times I've climbed Mt. Pigingan in Dalupirip, Itogon. Probably five or six times. I'll always remember those climbs for the difficult assault to the summit and the unforgiving heat. The hike to the top isn't by any means a long one. It's just difficult because of the heat. It doesn't help that large sections of the trail are open with very little options for shade. It's for this reason that in some of the instances I've been there, I often resorted to running instead of hiking.

I would usually run until I get to the next shaded section of the trail. I'd either rest or walk until I get to another open section of the trail. And then I would repeat the process. Running the trails of Mt. Pigingan is fun especially the downhill from the summit to the banks of the Agno River below.

Since embracing the sport of trail running last year, I've always wanted to go to Mt. Pigingan and run its trails, not just hike them. At one point, I even planned to run from Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, get to the summit of Mt. Ugo, then proceed to Mt. Pigingan. Unfortunately, that's too much of a challenge especially for a newbie runner like me. I've climbed Mt. Ugo a few times and the trail from Kayapa to the peak of Mt. Ugo is in itself a difficult trail. Needless to say, I rightfully shelved the plan of traversing from Mt. Ugo to Mt. Pigingan.

It's been a while since I've climbed Mt. Pigingan. All of my trips this year in Dalupirip was to climb Mt. Marikit, a lesser known mountain range on the shadows of Mt. Ugo. Last time I've heard, Mt. Marikit has been closed to hikers due to the forest fires that ravaged its slopes last February. If I want to go back there again, my only choice is to climb Mt. Pigingan.

I was in the process of finalizing the itinerary of a climbing and camping event there this coming April when a friend notified me of a trail running event to be held there on the same month. So there was an immediate change of plans. We will cancel the hiking and camping trip and sign up for the trail run instead. What can I say, the timing is perfect.

The bridge that spans over Agno River in sitio Tabu. Photo by Daniel Feliciano/The Cordilleran Sun.

The run will be on April 21 which means we have about four weeks to train and prepare. It also happens that we are planning to join the HP by TP on April 14. HP by TP is a road run but it stretches for more than 50 kilometers. If I'll run it, will I be able to recover and run the Mt. Pigingan Trail Run just a week later? There's only one way to find out. And that is to sign up for both.

If I'm not mistaken, the race director for the Mt. Pigingan Trail Run will be Jonel Mendoza, the man behind the King of the Mountain Trail Run series. The man's a veteran of the sport and an experienced race director so I'm expecting a well-organized event. With that said, see you Dalupirip on the 21st of April. For more details about the trail run, visit the Facebook event page for it here.