You've all heard about--possibly even watched--the Subaru Impreza Challenge. You know...that grueling competition in which participants try to be the last one standing and holding on to the car, all for the chance to win a brand-new Impreza sedan. Actually, in the Philippine version (with legs in Cebu, Davao, Manila and Pampanga this year), all the winners get to take home is a slot in the regional final in Singapore, where the Impreza prize awaits the overall victor.
Last weekend's Manila leg lasted 13 hours, four minutes and 46 seconds. That included two five-minute breaks. Sounds relatively easy, right? Wrong. First, this is nothing compared to the length of time that the regional final in Singapore takes to finish (the record is 81 hours and 32 minutes by Singaporean George Lee in 2008).
And if you think the Subaru Impreza Challenge is all about standing up and placing your hand on a designated spot on the car, you obviously haven't witnessed an actual contest. Clearly seen in these photos are the extra challenges that the organizers introduce throughout the competition. These extra challenges are designed to whittle down the number of the participants. Without these special challenges, Subaru may not be able to declare a single winner for several days.
In the case of the Manila leg last Saturday, which started at 9am sharp, the contest had to be wrapped up by 10pm, as this was the contract Motor Image Pilipinas (Subaru distributor) had signed with Bonifacio High Street. By hook or by crook, they had to determine the last seven standing by 10 in the evening (seven participants from Manila will compete in Singapore, together with one competitor each from Cebu, Davao and Pampanga).
The extra challenges which the Manila leg contestants had to endure included the following:
* Placing your left leg behind your right leg, such that your left foot is touching your right popliteal fossa (or knee pit);
* Raising your left arm in the air and jumping up and down without taking your right hand off the car;
* Placing a balloon between your legs without dropping or popping it;
* And the killer: Raising your right leg, touching your nape/head with your left hand, and then touching your right knee with your left elbow--all at the same time.
We also have to note the strong rains that drenched the participants. The Subaru Impreza Challenge goes on come hell or high water. Precisely why there's always a first-aid corner at the venue.
During the extra challenges--especially the last one--the participants involuntarily and even violently shook, their tired bodies no longer able to take the additional punishment. It was excruciating to watch. But the challenges had to be done so the last seven could be declared winners at the appointed deadline. It sounds cruel, but those were the rules of the game.
Our advice to those planning to join next year? Practice a lot of stretching and contorting. You'll need it for the extra challenges.
Photos by Tracy Carpena and Vernon B. Sarne