Tell us about yourself.
My name is Marvin Evasco, I am 31 years old and a resident of Calamba, Laguna. I work as a production engineer at an electronics company.
I consider myself a mountaineer, a mountain bike enthusiast, a road and trail runner.
I am a simple guy, jolly and sometimes corny (smile emoticon). I love the outdoors and sometimes I prefer solo adventures. My first love was mountaineering then I tried mountain biking because some co-mountaineers influenced me.
And then I fell in love with road and trail running. I got addicted to it that sometimes a week is incomplete without a scheduled run. I still do mountain biking as a cross training.
Where was your first trail run?
My first official trail run was the 5km Merrel Adventure Run in June 2011 which was held at Timberland, Rizal. That is where I’ve become batch mate with Koi Grey . From then on, I started increasing the distance.
I want to test myself in how far I can go.
If you are a non-trail runner like me, you might not be familiar with Koi Grey. So, who is he? He is one of the prominent trail runners in the local scene nowadays along with Rashel Pena, Jonel Mendoza, Marcelo Bautista among others.
What is trail running to you.
Trail running is a test of strength – heart and mind. It is a sport that opens my mind to positive things
Like mountaineering, when you have the passion for it, it becomes who you are – an identity.
Trail running, for those who are not familiar with it, is the new sport for people who are looking for more challenge. It is a combination of running and hiking on mountain trails with the steep ascent, downhills, river crossings and mud being part of the challenge.
Where have you’ve run that you absolutely loved?
Before I did trail running, I climb Mount Ugo yearly starting from 2006 to 2012. Then one day I told myself, I will run on it’s mountain trail. I was able to do it during the King of the Mountain (KOTM) Trail Run organized and hosted by Jonel Mendoza.
The KOTM is a 3-leg event with the first leg as the Mount Ugo marathon, the second event was the four lakes 100 km run and the third was the hardcore 100 miles (161 km) run.
I placed 12th on the marathon, 9th on the 2nd leg and 11th on the 100 miles. Completing the KOTM was a dream come true for me.
Mount Ugo, like other Cordillera mountain, offers one of the most beautiful sunrise view and sea of clouds. Most mountaineers starts in Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya jump-off and doing a traverse by exiting at Itogon, Benguet.
It may not be as high as Mount Pulag but it boast the same pine forest view known of Akiki Trail which makes it as one of the most sought after mountain climbing destination.
What do you hate about a trail?
As a mountaineer, it is when I see trash along the trail.
The Leave No Trace (LNT) Policy is inculcated in every mountain climber however with people nowadays trying out mountain climbing for a change or just for social media, the human impact on the mountains is felt by the large amount of garbage being left behind.
Here are the seven principle of the Leave No Trace Policy: Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors. And if I may add (I hope fellow mountaineers would agree), giving respect to the locals and their beliefs.
What are the dangers that trail running pose? Is it also safe for women?
Trail running is risky since the trail is a mountain trail and it is usually steep and narrow. A trail runner can fall down a cliff, egg roll on the side of a trail or incur mild to fatal injuries. But like any sport or activity, accidents happen. There will always be some risk.
To avoid or minimize injuries or accidents, you have to be prepared – gear and training. You must think before you put a foot forward, presence of mind is also important, most especially when you run solo and find yourself in the dark. You have to trust and believe in yourself.
Trail running is very safe for women and for those who do it, I think and consider them as a new breed of superwoman, ready to take the challenges and risk of the trails.
What health advice would you give a trail runner newbie/beginner?
Eat right to run right. Train hard.
I usually eat a lot and I am not following any diet set by a nutritionist or a coach. I also don’t have a coach and I rely on trail runners’ blogs which often includes health advice.
I don’t really smoke and drink (alcohol), I prefer healthy living. I do take multivitamins, energy gels and my staple drink is gatorade.
To whom do you dedicate your achievements?
To my no. one woman, my mom.
I was interested with the other special woman in his life because when I stumbled upon him doing his round-the-mill training in Mount Batulao last year (it was my first encounter of a trail runner in training), the first thing I asked was his motivations and his answer surely made me smile but when asked for this article, he said:
Next question, please.
So much for pushing my luck into the love story.
I feel more alive, excited and in love.
What changed in your life since you started trail running?
I’m more challenged about life. I became more health conscious.
Also, I realized that in life or on the trail, no one could really help you. You depend on yourself alone and God’s help.
Any gear you can never live without?
My hydration bag.
Do you see any negative impact of trail running on the mountains?
The massive number of trail runners in a mountain.
The numbers of trail runners are increasing yearly and most mountaineers fear the effect of trail runs on the mountains especially nearby ones like Mount Talamitam.
The unregulated numbers of climbers on one trail at the same time would result to trampling of vegetation, erosion of mountain trails, garbage and other major human impact.
Some mountains in the Philippines like Mount Kanlaon, the local government unit or DENR sets a limit on the numbers of climbers for a certain trail and climbs are scheduled months ahead. Is this applicable on mountains in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Benguet, Ifugao and Ilocos? Of course.
What message do you hope people can take away after reading this?
Trail running is a test of strength, body and mind, to succeed in it we should always put LOVE – everything we do, that way it becomes more meaningful.
Put your heart into it. Don’t just do it because you like it, do it because you love it.
And of course, always ask for God’s guidance.
My gratitude to Marvin Evasco for agreeing to do this piece. May you inspire more people with your passion.
To Jonel Mendoza, for putting Nueva Vizcaya and the Cordillera as a trail running hub, Salute!
To Sky Biscochio, the living legend, maraming salamat sa makabuluhan mong mga pananaw at kuro-kuro, Mabuhay ka!