It’s a week until my next major race (perhaps the last A-race for the year). So, I am now thinking of a breather. Maybe, a vacation in Clark – cause I can still run outside and even practice bike handling. (Yes, that’s what vacay is for me!) We used to do our long runs around Clark in 2010. My first experience of riding in my road bike was also in Clark (which also gave me souvenir marks from my first semplang). Let’s see!
I’m thinking way ahead. Allow me to share again this post in 2010 and an article in Front Runner Magazine on why I love running in Clark.
Clark: Runner’s Treat
By Christine Ferrera
Boredom is one of the challenges many runners face. Weekend long runs for three or more hours in the same route can drive one crazy (and lazy)!Break the monotony and incorporate some changes to your routine. Here’s how we did it…
In preparation for our upcoming marathons and ultra marathons, my running buddies and I started plotting our group long runs. The main goal—each one should be memorable and different! Clark topped the list as our first destination.
Clark Expo. A former US Military base, Clark is home to some of the best leisure and recreation amenities, sports facilities, world class golf courses, fine-dining restaurants and duty-free shops. It is located at the heart of Angeles City, an hour’s drive north of Manila. With regular flights at Clark International Airport, the place is one to four hours away from major Asian destinations and some southern cities in the Philippines.
We left Manila at 3:30am taking NLEX, exiting at SCTEX and entered through the Clark Interchange. In an hour, we were at the parking space near the Parade Ground. It was huge and well-lighted. Some of our buddies stayed overnight and rented a house in Mimosa, a stone’s throw away from the meeting place. In fact, staying overnight with family and friends for a weekend escapade in Clark is an option. You can go for a run and be back even before everybody wakes up.
Safe, Secure and Smog Free! Roads along Clark are well lighted. Running at dawn would not be a problem. Clark authorities boast that it has the lowest crime rate among the major cities in the Philippines (see www.clarkphilippines.com). Clark offers a pollution-free environment. Beautiful tree-lined streets surrounded by a golf course and recreational facilities spares runners from the hustle and bustle of the city and promise a fresh dose of clean air to help invigorate the senses.
Running in Clark definitely gave our lungs a break. There were hardly any vehicles passing by. I probably counted only 12 vehicles on the road. That’s a ratio of one vehicle for every two kilometers of our run. At some portions, we were running kilometers away from each other. I personally felt secure running alone at times. I didn’t worry about being side swept by a speeding vehicle, as I rarely saw one. (And Clark authorities are very strict with speed limits!) Roads are shared with fellow runners and bikers.
Hydration and Support There are no available convenience stores along the route. Loading up in Manila or a duty-free establishment the day before is a must.
We had two support vehicles with our needed hydration and nutrition. One vehicle for the faster runners, and another one assigned to sweep the route for slower paced runners. If having a support vehicle or driver is not an option for you, you can experiment on other possible loops around the Parade Ground heading to Fontana Leisure Park. You can run back for refill every ten kilometers at a convenience store on J. Abad Santos corner Roxas Highway.
Just Enough Toughness! – This describes the 25 kilometer-route. The undulating terrain has total elevation gain of 227 meters, and some flat portions. The ascent and descent are mostly gradual. For running buddies who prefer to run shorter distances, the Parade Ground is about 1.7 miles in distance.
The sky was still dark and the air was still cold with slight drizzles as we started. From the Parade Ground, we exited towards Aguinaldo Street, a flat asphalted road.
We turned right at J.Abad Santos. We slowly felt the gradual elevation ranging from 10-16 meters. Our legs were still fresh then. After a steep climb, we reached our fourth kilometer and we turned right to Balagtas St. where a long stretch of downhill welcomed us. The two-lane paved road was bounded by a fence and a few residential village developments. Running the stretch looked unending so some runners took the opportunity to speed up while some enjoyed the leisurely chats with fellow runners and before we knew it, we reached the corner of Panday Pira Street (the first street after Centennial Expo).
Along the street, the canopy of trees was a perfect treat. The road was flat until we reached the Rotonda and turned right to Creekside Road where the path was uphill and the view—simply blissful! We went straight until we reached the Claro M. Recto Highway which led to the main gates of Fontana Leisure Park. I was still enjoying the route when my Garmin beeped 12 kilometers. We ran past the Fontana Gates for another five hundred meters then we started to head back.
The heat of the sun was already bearing down on us. We labored the downhills that we enjoyed earlier along Balagtas, this time going up. After the steep climb, the downhill roads of J. Abad Santos gave us the chance to speed up until we reached the road back to the Parade Ground. We reached the Finish Line in almost 3 hours!
The members of group arrived one by one. Some opted to add more mileage at the grass of the Parade Ground.
Post Run. Clark offers not just a good running route but a lot more activities to explore from food tripping to shopping.
After some stretching, we freshened up and checked out the Malls in Clark. (Note: Almost all major brands are represented and they have stocks not available in Manila. Heaven!) Lunch was superb; I wish we had more time to explore the other restos.
Did I say running on the same route can be boring? Nah! If we’re not racing in Manila, find us on the roads of Clark!