The Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge has gone a long way. From a mere local quadrathlon participated by only eight teams in 2008, it has now become an international event that captured the interest of international adventure racers and big-time partners. As part of the organizing team, I am impressed with its world-class transformation. And with the eight challenge concluded just last April 26 this year, I am humbled by the fact that more and more organizations are looking at the Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge as their future platform to the advocacy and causes they have been fighting for all through the years of their existence.
This year’s new partner is Global Impact, an NGO based in Davao City whose primary purpose is to fight human trafficking in the Philippines. Perennial co-operators continue to pour in resources also like the Aboitiz Power, San Miguel Brewery, Inc., Seaoil, Mountain Hardwear and Recreational Outdoor Exchange (ROX). And the support extended by National Government Agencies and barangay functionaries have made it more stable.
Meanwhile, long-time adventure racer Dexter Nonato of Team Tri-Buddies Tagum finally nailed down the championship trophy of the Open Elite category by clocking a total time of 12 hours, 56 minutes and 48 seconds; beating previous record set by Team Boatman last year. His partner is triathlete Juanito Mahinay. The duo convincingly outmanuevered last year’s second placer Team Wals (Jayrald Daraydo and Ireezbone Barrientos). Team Kaizo (Romeo Mascardo and Dioscoro Genunsalao) was at far third.
As the Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge progresses, I have personally observed several myths insinuated by several groups and individuals in the outdoor adventure community. I have listed them one by one and come up with five of the most popular ideas that are practically no basis for truths and therefore are not worth believing.
5. Winning is certain. Just like an adage that goes, the only thing certain in this world is uncertainty itself. This is also applicable in this race. While defending champs of the previous years are heavy favorites to win the succeeding crown, defending the title in this extreme competition is not certain (so as losing). For the record since we started the long route with the summit as the turning point, no champion team had ever defended a crown. Jonathan Pido and Angelito Sibayan, Cresenciano Sabal and Gerald Sabal, Ronald Dagaang and Mario Ecalner, Mark Anthony Rance and April John Maniyog; these are previous champions who failed to defend their titles.
4. It is not worth joining for because Mindanao is not peaceful. We have been in huge existing for eight long years now, perhaps one of the longest-running adventure races in the country where the organizer is spearheaded by a local government. In 2012, we have attracted twelve foreign teams from as far as Australia, United States, Indonesia, Hongkong and Taiwan. This year, Global Impact teamed up with us despite the early Mamasapano encounter in Maguindanao and the massacre in our very own Sta. Cruz Police Station that killed 1 retired policeman and injured 3 others. Lastly, we have maintained an average participating team of 20, showing that the race has been successful in its attempt to develop a culture of peace in an island dubbed as war-zone.
3. The first to arrive in the finish line is the winning team. Boulder Face Challenge is a 24-hour extreme race which prompted more people to believe that the first to arrive in the finish line are automatically the winners. It, however, does not apply here. The race is not a usual triathlon or ultramarathon or a fun run. The accumulated time in the first two disciplines (mountain biking and trail running) will be added to the time consumed in the last two disciplines (water tubing and road running). After a series of strenuous trail running, the time will be cut off in the second transition point for the next day’s activities. Water tubing and road running command lesser energy as compared to mountain biking and trail running, and even if you arrive in the finish line because you manuever fast in water tubing and you run like hell in road running, winning is still not a guarantee. It still depends on how you perform in the mountain biking and trail running stages.
2. Arrival in Checkpoint 01 assures the racer to win the challenge. Time and time again, I have always warned Boulder Face Challenge racers that Checkpoint 01 (Gate1 of San Miguel Brewery, Darong) is not the finish line yet. If you arrive in this area few minutes late it does not follow that you will lose the game already. I have been manning this checkpoint ever since and the problem remains evident that racers thought they already won the game upon arrival in CP 1. It is just the first 13 kilometers of the 48-kilometer uphill biking in Sibulan and Tibolo which actually speaks for more trouble. Again, CP 1 is just CP 1, there are still 20 more CPs that need more focus from the racers. Records have it that all teams who arrived in CP earlier have lesser chances of winning the race.
1. Water Tubing is not a factor. If you think water tubing is not a factor to determine the winnability of a certain Boulder Face Challenge team, think again. Being the third discipline to be performed by racers with a total distance of five kilometers entails another physical and mental strength. This year’s champion Team Tri-Buddies Tagum strived to take the lead in the tubing leg to keep its close rivals at bay all the way to the finish line. Had they not maintained the lead in the tubing, they might be overtaken by Team Wals. The strong river current of Sibulan River had to be considered, as well as the manuevering of the final meters which is situated in the open seas of Davao Gulf.
On the other side of things, our office have received overwhelming appreciations from the general public for the success of such activity. With all the individuals, institutions, volunteers, sponsors and racers who have become part of the event this year, saying thank you might be an understatement. We could not have been that successful without your support.
DAGHANG SALAMAT KANINYONG TANAN.