Columbia Eco Trail [Leg 6]: Warat Runner vs The White Kenyan

by Armie Garde

May 06, 2012. Once you start running on trails, you’ll want more, and you’ll be unstoppable. I don’t mean to kiss off road running, but it’s really more fun on trails. I didn’t mean to do it again, but I couldn’t help it. Trust me, you can’t help it.

The Columbia Eco Trail Leg 6 was held in the mountains of Carmen, northern of Cebu. Aside from my usual reasons for joining a race — I joined this one to beat the ‘White Kenyan‘ who happens to be the big boss of my fellow Runroo. It was a crazy ambitious idea, but why not?

Take note: A week before this race, I ran 65K. 😀 . Also, it wasn’t me who gave the ‘White Kenyan’ moniker, but the runners who joined the eco trail run before and saw how Harm ran as swift as the wind. They call him the White Kenyan because he’s darn fast.

(They call him the White Kenyan) Harmy and Warat Runner Armie: Before the Race

After we took off from the starting line, I lost sight of my twin, as well as Harm, and the other Runnroo. I was pretty sure they were way ahead and some were tailing behind. Unluckily for those leading the pack, the marshal gave the wrong direction. We weren’t supposed to turn right but the marshal earlier said we should. When I found out, I hurriedly ran back, and the rest of the runners leading the pack earlier, including my twin and Harm, scampered and found their way back. It was too late for some of them, because the tail runners already owned the track. I made it on the single track right before other lead runners. (That is why I wondered how come some of those who won have made it to the finish line without passing through the route the rest of the runners took…Where else did they go?)

Hours before the race. The girls are ready!

Anyway, I was already ahead of Harm and I took that chance. I have a competitive soul and I seldom compete with others, but whenever I am, I do my best.

While I was trailing the never-ending uphills, I forgot that I was racing. It was a darn breathtaking hike, as breathtaking as the scenery. I regretted not bringing a camera with me. I remember there was a beautiful and refreshing meadow, I forget which part was that. It was a nice place for a photo conceptual shoot.

Look at that! We conquered that! Photo by Odina Abellana

I rested for a while before I took off to conquer another never-ending uphill. I was feeling the wind as it pampered me, and enjoying the silence between me and another woman runner who was also resting. We only smiled at each other, knowing that it’ll lighten our agonies. As I was scanning my surrounding, more and more runners passed by. And suddenly, the White Kenyan appeared. We smiled at each other and I called out his name. Before he proceeded, he asked me if I was all right. I only nodded, and he told me he’ll go ahead. I smiled and told him I’ll follow. I didn’t expect him to check on me, but I really appreciate it. My competitor inspired me to keep going.

the White Kenyan in action.

There was also rock climbing before we got inside the cave. At its entrance, a big Virgin Mary statue stood. After passing the cave, unfortunately, we were all lost again because the blue markers were confusing.

Warat Running approaches the cave. DaWagee behind me.

I was a bit frustrated. I was hoping to finish the race before the cut off time but it looked impossible. We didn’t know where we were. We didn’t know when we can get out. Good thing I wasn’t alone. We helped each other find our way out.

At the finish line, I didn’t see Harm but I knew he arrived before me. I didn’t beat the White Kenyan. Then maybe next time, I told myself.

I am very proud of my Twin, who made it before the cut off, despite being lost in the wild. 🙂

Thanking God that my fellow Runnroo made it safely. All of us were safe.

It was a poorly organized race but I am not blaming people. I was frustrated because shits happened but I loved the race, the difficult route and the experience itself. It made me love the trails even more. However, I might not join the next Columbia race. We’ll see. 🙂

Safe and sound! We did it!

One beautiful thing about running is the camaraderie among runners; whether you know each other or not, you care for each other’s welfare.

Dear Harm, thank you for the inspiration. I managed to pull it off because you’re an inspiring competitor. I will train more and harder, so you’ll be challenged the next time I race with you. 😉

After the race!


Until our next race,
Warat Runner


Armie Garde the Warat Runnerwho started running ultramarathons at 23 years old, is a multimedia journalist based in Cebu City, Philippines. One of her ultra dreams is to finish BDM 102 and 160. She maintains

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