Spartan Race South East Asian Regional Series, Manila, Philippines

leave the past in the past…
still not completely over the trauma of the ever so steep and what felt like, never ending elevations of Chiang Mai, Thailand (August 2022), i set off to Manila, Philippines on the last weekend of September on a quest to defeat my very first Spartan Beast (21kms) after 3 years of hiatus in racing. reasons being the rise of the pandemic and a rather self-enlightening spinal injury which i had to get dealt with before i was allowed to race again. also i originally carry a special fear for heights and falling on my face or on anywhere else for that matter. and believe it or not, the portion of these phobias that i had overcome in my pre-pandemic/pre-injury racing history had almost fully gotten restored during the break. hence, pre-race jitters were going all haywire in my head as i prepped to head off to manila. and besides, no amount of preparation or self-confidence, had ever made me step onto the start lines free from a stomach full of butterflies.

not so fast my friend…
so i arrived at Manila, to the amazing news and to race course maps posted on Spartan Race Philippines instagram page, which indicated that the terrain will have only very minimal elevations. not more than the incline that we get on the bridge to Hulhule’ when we run on it. and i had been running few rounds on the bridge everyday for weeks before traveling for the race, so imagine my delight. in my mind i could see myself dash from one obstacle to the other like a superhero loaded up on peanut butter and energy gel.

be your own hero…
so here’s a short summary of the race briefing given to us before we were set free on to the course. important points that i had noted as i earnestly listened to the race directors: most of the mud will be closer to the start and the end of the race. still did not sound even remotely threatening. next important point: elites and age group athletes are not allowed to request for or accept any medical assistance from any of the aiders or other racers on the course. even if we get cramps or find ourselves face to face with a wild boar, we need to be self-equipped to deal with it. if not, the athlete will get disqualified. okay, fair enough. i had few packs of cramp fix in my hydration pack. nothing to worry about.

struggle today, strength tomorrow…
anyways, lets recap the Vermosa beast and super weekend. even the Filipino race directors and officials proudly called it hashtag #VerMUDsa throughout the weekend. rightfully so too. there were mud of every cast imaginable and in every level of depth. watery liquid mud, thick mud, clumpy mud, hardened mud, quick sand mud (not to mention all of it mixed with cow dung), ankle deep, shin deep, knee deep, thigh deep, hip deep, enough depth, to make it up for the removed obstacle, the dunk wall. might as well have let the racers enjoy the dunk wall too. there were specially curated mud pits within obstacles like the sand bag carry and the bucket carry which had given me some good practice for landing strong on my bums at times. there were extra with a capital E, thick mud pits very meticulously placed right before all ring-the-bell crossings, making it near impossible to avoid failing the obstacles and ofcourse, the 30 delightful burpees that followed every single failed obstacle.

the only way out in through…
day 1 was a sunny hot day so the mud kept getting dried up instantly on whichever part of the body it gets itself on. slowly closing up to the 6th km i was still waiting for the mud to run out as briefed before the race and to be able to start using my running skills and pick up on some speed to beat this beast. but to my adventure seeking amusement, it just kept going on and on and for 21kms there was no escaping it.

it just kept getting better…
on day 2, on the way to race village i received a messaged from which (due to obvious language barriers) the only words i could make out were emergency and alert which i waved off in my head assuming it is to inform about a road accident which could hold up the traffic on the way or something. did not come across any such scenes and i reach the venue on time to be briefed by the race officials that there was a typhoon alert that has been sent out and we should be prepared for that. they had decided to go on ahead with the race plans, so thankfully the festivities did not get cancelled. the day came with some rain, although it wasn’t typhoon level intense during the race, i simply could not have imagined the mud pits or the level of mud on the route to have been improved in quality and standard from the previous day. but it was!!! unimaginably improved!!! more mud, more depth, more falls, more slippery to have even 2 minutes of proper foot hold.

winners never quit and quitters never win…
so here i am, back home, with very fresh memories of a body full of sore muscles and multiple bruises and itchy insect bites, trying to remember the important moments of the race as i write this piece and all i can think of is that, i do not remember having to do a beast this hard, that too only with the help of MUD, not the elevations, not the obstacles, not burpees, but MUD! And if you ask me whether I would I go back to Vermosa to race again, my answer would be HELL YEAH!!!

Lamsa Hussain

Leave a Reply

your email address will not be published.

uou may use these <abbr title="HyperText Markup Language">HTML</abbr> tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Send Message
Need Help ?
Hello !

How can we help!