Category Archives: Cebu Marathon

Cebu City Marathon: Deadline of Registration

The date “January 8, 2012” is near. That’s the Sunday when thousands of runners — from all over the globe, including dozens and dozens of foreign visitors, some Kenyans and Ethiopians — will be participating in the all-awaited CCM.

Today, after over two months since the registration doors have opened, the booth at the Active Zone of Ayala Center Cebu will open for the last time. Today, December 15th, is the last day for registration.

Hurry! In the same way that you hurry to the finish line, you’ve got to make sure to join this once-every-365-days event. The Cebu Marathon — jointly organized by the Cebu City government, ASAP Advertising, and the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC) — promises to be one of the most festive marathons in Cebu and our entire Philippine archipelago.

Timed exactly seven days prior to Sinulog, you run not alone but amidst a sea of Pit Señor paraphernalia: buntings flying above your head, drum beats deafening your ears, the images of the Señor Sto. Niño crowding the streets of Sugbo.

The Cebu Marathon is the Sinulog Marathon. It’s our very own. Plenty of freebies await the participants. For the brave 42K runners, a Suarez-made finisher’s medal with three mangoes will be laced around your neck once you reach the finish line. Why three mangoes? Because mangoes, obviously, are Cebu’s native and most popular fruit; and three mangoes because this is the third 42K CCM.

“This will be the last of the mango-medal series,” says race organizer Meyrick “Jacs” Jacalan, who personally designed the popular medals. Next year? The lechon medal? The otap design? Let’s see. But, for next month, it will be three mangoes.

All participants — 5K, 21K and 42K — will receive a New Balance sleeveless singlet. These can all be claimed during the Race Expo from January 4 to 6.

As bonus to the 21K and 42K participants, all who cross the finish line will be get Finishers Shirts. All for free. With the 5K run, this will have a brand-new route for 2012. Instead of the JY Square to UP Lahug route, thousands of runners will turn left from the Cebu I.T. Park then proceed to the Cebu Business Park. From there, they’ll run up Parklane Hotel, climb up Escario St., turn right towards Lahug then back to the Cebu I.T. Park. Register today!

To all those who have already enlisted themselves, visit the website, Check if your name is officially on the list. It’s also a good opportunity to be reminded of the activities leading to the Sunday big event.

On January 6 — that’s two nights before — it’s the Pre-Race or Carbo-Loading Party. This will be held at the same sprawling and refreshing venue as the past two years: The Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu.

Speakers will provide last-minute tips. A band will perform. Final instructions will be explained. It’s also that all-exciting 36 hours prior to race day when fellow runners will converge to talk and swap stories.

From my own experience, having joined three 42K races (Hong Kong, Singapore and Quezon City), few moments in life are as bone-tingling and heart-pumping as the 48 hours leading to the race. You eat pasta. You relax your legs. You quiver with a mixture of anxiety and excitement. You prepare your gear. Your shoes are sleeping, ready for the 40,000 steps on the asphalt and cement roads.

I once asked Jesse Taborada, the former president of our organizing group, CERC, which was more difficult, the 42K marathon or the 50K/65K ultramarathon? “The 42K,” answered Jesse, a veteran of 11 marathons/ultramarathons, the most recent of which was the other Sunday’s Singapore Marathon. “With the ultramarathon, unless you’re an elite or competitive runner, there’s a lot of walking. There’s no time pressure. Not in the 42K. You’re pushing yourself. If you’ve got a previous 5:15 PR (personal record), you’re targeting a sub-5. That’s added pressure.”

To all who have registered… Godspeed. To all who have yet to enlist… hurry!

CCM: ‘Feel the beat, get on your feet’

While the Spooktacular (Run For Your Life!) Race this Friday night will have runners, literally, running scared, and while the annual Citigym Half Marathon is popular because of the 21K, a much bigger event looms just barely two months away: The 2012 Cebu City Marathon.

The reason? The 42.195 km. distance. “I’ll run a 5K marathon this Sunday,” many often say. But that’s incorrect. Because a 5K Run, though enjoyable (like the Tribute Run for Melinda) is not a marathon. There is only one marathon distance and that’s 42,195 meters.

That event is happening on Jan. 8, 2012. New Balance singlets await the participants. Live, Sinulog-type entertainment will excite the runners. Water stations will flood the streets every 1.5 kms. Cheerers will shout. CITOM personnel will close the South Road Properties. A Carbo-loading Party will provide a feast for all at the Ayala Center Cebu.

Register now. If you’re got a credit card and can get online, enlist now. The rates are less expensive (compared to Nov. 20, when the “Late Registration Fees” begin). The distances are similar to the past two years: 5K, 21K, and 42K. The routes for the half-marathon and marathon will be the same as last Jan. 2011. Start and finish at the Cebu IT Park. Runners pass through Osmeña Blvd. en route to the SRP. The 5K route will be new—and to be announced at the press conference on Thursday.

What makes this race different is the timing. It’s held seven mornings before one of Asia’s loudest of parties: the Sinulog. Thus, the air is littered with confetti, the streets are lined with buntings; drum-beating music will deafen our eardrums. Our theme: “Feel The Beat. Get On Your Feet!” Find out more at

CITCI. Ken Salimbangon and Nestor Toledo comprise the one-two doubles tandem who organized the Cebu International Tennis Centre Inc.

Nicknamed CITCI and located in Laray, Consolacion, it is the only facility in this island that is home to 10 tennis courts. Yes, you read it right. Not two or four or six—but five clay-courts plus five hard-courts.

This Friday to Sunday, Oct. 28 to 30, Ken and Nestor are helping organize the 18th leg of the Cebuana Lhuillier Age Group Championship at CITCI. Open to players aged 18 years old and younger (some as young as six years old!), the event is Philta-sanctioned and many prizes await the winners. Registration fee is P300 and the deadline is this Thursday. Call now: 0922358845, 5144379 or 09229488739.

PACMAN. The Nonito Donaire fight was boring? Who said so? Not when “Manuel” Pacquiao entered the arena three nights ago. Yes. That’s “Manuel,” not Manny. The Pacquiao lookalike, who’s reportedly an airport worker from Houston, Texas, entered the stadium and had everyone snapping their flash photos.

Who was he? His name is Allan Rivera Manuel.

Wrote Larry Brown of Larry Brown Sports: “He fooled fans, security, and ushers as he walked through Madison Square Garden. It’s easy to see why—he looks exactly like Manny Pacquiao…

“Manuel is such a big fan of Manny, that he decided to make a second career of impersonating the boxer. He got a similar tattoo on his left pectoral muscle, got the same earrings, the same hair, and the same mustache and goatee. He began working out so he would have a similar build to the boxer, and he can even talk and sing like Pac Man. Manuel Pacquiao causes a scene wherever he goes, and he even had to bring bodyguards when he traveled to Las Vegas for Manny’s May fight against Shane Mosley. He really seems to enjoy all the attention, even though he makes it clear to fans that he is not the real Pacquiao.”

HOOPS DOME. I spoke to Councilor Harry Radaza two nights ago. In preparation for the Nov. 5 PBA game (not the usual exhibition but a ‘bearing’ game) between Petron and Alaska, the City of Lapu-Lapu has installed more ceiling lights. This NBA-like arena, the only one in our province, has become even more NBA-like. Looking forward to next Saturday’s Blaze Boosters vs. Aces contest at the Hoops Dome.

The 42K: An incredible, life-changing moment

(Photo by Erwin T. Lim)

How to explain the satisfaction — and pain — of running 42,195 meters on foot? Here are a few explanations…

“To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind.” – Jerome Drayton.

“The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop, but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy. It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed.” – Jacqueline Gareau.

“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.” – Emil Zatopek.

Yes. Emil Zatopek, the Czech runner who won three gold medals at the 1952 Olympic Games (including the marathon, deciding to join the event in the last minute – and in his first-ever 42K distance!) is correct. Running the marathon will change your life. From now on, you can achieve anything. A difficulty or challenge or problem that’s too tough to overcome? Prior to the 42K race, “That’s too hard,” you’d say; after, it’s this proclamation: “I CAN DO IT!”

Triumph. That’s what the marathon is. It’s about the word “impossible” and removing its first two letters. Possible. Yes. After last Sunday, to the one thousand-plus who ran from the Asiatown I.T. Park to the tip of the South Road Properties in Talisay City then back to Lahug…. anything is possible. “A marathon is like life with its ups and downs,” someone once said, “but once you’ve done it you feel that you can do anything.”

Take Raul Cepeda. He’s 77. He’ll celebrate his 78th birthday one week from today, on Jan. 18. This means that he was born in 1933. Two days ago, Raul ran his first marathon. When I saw him running towards the finish line, I almost cried. Here’s a grandfather of many, accomplishing what senior citizens are not supposed to do. Raul is one of the most amazing people I know. And, to top it all, last week I got a call from him saying that he’s in pain, nursing a plantar fasciitis injury. I suggested that, maybe, he not join or do the 21K instead. He braved on. And for that, he has the 42K finisher’s medal to proudly show to his grandchildren.

(Photo by Sydney de los Reyes)

How about Atan Guardo and Joel Garganera? These best friends finished their 12th marathon (yes, no misprint: one dozen) last Sunday. Their first? Exactly 23 months ago. Now, it’s No. 12.

Or SunStar’s very own Michelle So. In the Press Freedom Run two years ago, Michelle hobbled towards the 3K finish line. In CCM 2010, she did the 5K. Last Sunday? She traveled 42,195 meters—the distance from the Provincial Capitol all the way to Carcar.

Same with Joy Polloso, the general manager of Ayala Center. She completed her first two marathons — in Singapore and Cebu — in a span of just one month!

There are hundreds more of similar inspiring stories–many recounted in Facebook postings and photos. In all… What a celebration. What a sense of fulfillment. What a festive moment during this Sinulog.

As to the hot weather last Sunday morning? That’s another one of those unexplainable moments. The entire week last week until Saturday night, it was gloomy. Rainy. It drizzled. Same with the whole of yesterday, right? It rained. But on the solitary morning of last Sunday, it was all sunny and hot… Many runners got burned. Explains marathon guru Hal Higdon: “The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals.” How to explain the slow roasting at the SRP? Only God can do that but, to me, it meant two things: One, it reemphasizes the difficulty and torment of the 42K and, two, it makes the agonizing victory all the more gratifying.    Finally, to all those still grimacing with aches and sore muscles, consider this…

“I’m never going to run this again!!!” said Grete Waitz after winning her first of nine New York City marathons.

See you at the starting line of CCM 2012!

Best marathon tip: ‘Run Your Own Race’

Having joined 42K races in Hong Kong, Quezon City and Singapore, the single most important suggestion that I can impart to the thousands joining this Sunday’s Cebu City Marathon can be summed up in those four simple words above.

Each of us is different. Some are slim, long-legged, fast — like Mendel Lopez. Most of us are not. This means that only a rare few, for example, can run a “sub-4 marathon” like Steve Ferraren and Dr. Yong Larrazabal. Most of us can try — but most-likely, we won’t achieve that speedy target in our lifetime. Run Your Own Race.

Never mind if others are faster. Don’t mind those who, in the first 750 meters, sprint as if a salivating Doberman were chasing them. If you’re running the 42.195 km. distance, the race is long. Don’t rush. Slow down. Walk. Drink in each water stop. Relax. You’re not Haile Gebrselassie. You’re you. So run your own race.

You know your body. You know how long you’ve trained. If your training has been less than planned, stop. Trot. Jog. This marathon — as long as you don’t take eight hours or so — is not strict with the curfew. So pace yourself. The slower you are in the first half, the better. The reserved energy you keep will be utilized towards the finish. Our body is like a battery. Deplete it quickly and you’ll lose power towards the end — when you need it most.

Don’t mind the others. Don’t be envious of those who overtake you. A heavyweight whistling past you? Let him go. Believe me, you’ll breeze past him later. Because — unless you’re Mary Grace de los Santos — the race is not about speed… it’s about crossing that finish line. Run. Your. Own. Race.


Parking. It’s best to park at the Waterfront Hotel. There’s ample room there. You get to warm-up (walk) heading to the starting area at the Asiatown I.T. Park. You’re also assured of parking space — given that the I.T. Park open spaces are limited.

Go Early. The 42K runners start 4 a.m. Be there before 3:30 a.m. You want to be relaxed — not in a last-minute rush — before the starting gun fires. The 21K participants begin at 5:10 a.m. Show up at 4:30. For the 5K, it’s 5:30. Arrive before 5 a.m.

Onsite Registrants. Only today and tomorrow, those who have yet to register can do so at the Active Zone of Ayala Center.

Change Category. Here’s an important message: If you’re planning to run a different category from the one you’ve registered, sorry but you cannot. For example, you got injured in training and want to run 21K instead of your registered 42K. You cannot. You won’t be allowed to enter the 21K starting area. The solution? Visit Active Zone today and change your category. This entails a fee — but, at least, you can still join.

Pasta Party. That’s tomorrow, Friday, starting 6 p.m. at The Terraces of Ayala Center. Be there. Listen to inspiring stories. Be updated of the final notices. Mingle with your fellow runners. Pasta meals are available at P150/meal.

Photos. One new addition to this year’s CCM are the professional photos. Needs and Solutions, a company specializing in beautiful pictures, will set-up 10 photo stations: at the Start/Finish, JY Square, U.P., Capitol, Magellan’s Cross, the Tunnel, Fort San Pedro, and several points along the SRP. You can then purchase your photos via online. Smile!

Traffic. To the Cebuano public, come Sunday morning, you will feel inconvenienced. Your movement will slow down. This is understandable because the city government is closing half of all roads along the route: including Osmeña Blvd., Gen. Maxilom., Gorordo, Salinas… plus the full closure for 12 hours of the SRP and the SRP Tunnel from 10 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday. We ask for your patience.

Finally… To the runners: I will end in the same way I started: Don’t mind the others. Many will be faster… let them go. Stay within your practiced speed. Stay calm. Enjoy, as the slogan reads, “The Sights and Sounds of Cebu.” Run Your Own Race.

CCM Press Conference

According to CITOM Chairman Jack Jakosalem, “CCM” can also stand for “Cebu City Mayor.” In attendance during our lunch press briefing was the mayor himself, Mike Rama.

Cebu City Councilor Edgar Labella, CITOM Chairman Jack Jakosalem, Mayor Mike Rama, Jesse Taborada, Jacs Jacalan and John Pages

With 5 days left, Cebu City Marathon awaits

This Sunday, to those who’ve enlisted for the mega-event with the slogan, “Race through the Streets and Colors of Cebu,” this is it. After hundreds of kilometers of asphalt-trampling, after months of early morning-rising, after buckets-full of sweat, this is it. It’s five nights of sleep to go. Your training is done. It’s time to fully-charge your body for the street battle up ahead. Here are a few reminders…

Website. Want to verify if you’re registered? Visit Scan through the list. Call or email for questions.

Expo. Claiming of the New Balance shirts is finally near. It’s tomorrow. But, tamper your eagerness. Here’s important news: Only the race packs of the 21K and 42K runners will be released tomorrow, Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, it includes the 5K runners. And, on Saturday, the Active Zone in Ayala Center — the Race Expo venue — will be open for out-of-town registrants.

Don’t rush! With about 2,500 joining the 42K and 21K categories — plus nearly 3,000 for the 5K — be patient. Go on Thursday or Friday, if possible. The expo runs for 33 hours: that’s Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. There’s no rush. Best day to go: Friday.

Late Registrants. Rejoice! Since the Dec. 22 closure of registration, we have been inundated with emails and calls: “Can we still register?” My reply: “Why register only now? We’ve been open for three months!” Anyway, here’s the good part: We will accept late registrants. However, it will be slightly more expensive — and, no more New Balance shirts. Still, this is good news. You can still participate. Visit the Active Zone.

Pasta Party. The Cebu City Marathon is not just a one-Sunday-morning sports program; it’s weeklong. You’ll receive discounts to sporting goods stores this entire week. You’re also invited to the high-class, fun-infested Carbo-Loading activity. That’s 6 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 7, at The Terraces of Ayala Center. Dinner coupons for six prestigious pasta-serving establishments will be offered to all CCM runners at only P150/meal.


Cheaters not welcome. To anyone planning to cheat, please do not. Not only is the entire route littered with marshals, CITOM officers, policemen – plus computers to track each runner’s footsteps — what’s worse is if you get caught. How about your name being embarrassed in the newspapers? Or, being “excommunicated” from the Cebu running community? As our Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) motto reads: BE HONEST.

No Race Number, No Entry. The organizers will be strict. Nobody but registered runners wearing official race bibs will be allowed inside the cordoned area for runners. Anybody else attempting to run (bandits, they’re called) will be courteously removed from the route.

No wheeled vehicles. Cars, motorcycles, bikes — any type of wheeled vehicles — are absolutely not allowed inside the runners’ area.

Hydration. There are a total of 13 water stations in the entire route. Each station will have overflowing Summit water plus unlimited 100Plus isotonic drinks. Thanks, Summit Water and 100Plus!

Cheer. We ask the spectators, family members, and friends to cheer along the route. Jane-Jane, Andrew and Nica Ong and Dr. Albert Santos have finished the New York Marathon. What’s makes it special? They say: the 2 million spectators who line the streets to cheer. So, like NYC, let’s go out and shout!

SRP/Tunnel: entirely closed starting 10 p.m. on Saturday until 10 a.m. on Sunday. We ask for the understanding of the Cebuanos. Like in Boston or Houston or London — when one day out of 365 is “marathon day” and thus, major roads are closed for “foot traffic” — it will be the same this January 9. In Hong Kong, for example, their all-important bridges are closed for several hours. We ask for your patience. Best of all, we ask you to join and run!

11 points on the ’11 Cebu City Marathon

Next Sunday, it’s one of Cebu’s most-awaited of events. If Al Mendoza calls the Azkals the “Achievers of the Year,” then Running is the “Sport of the Year.” For no other endeavor has convinced more Cebuanos to move and exercise and sway those arms and legs than this sport.

The Cebu City Marathon happens in 12 days. This January 9, 2011 event is the only 42-km. race in this island. Here are 11 items to remember…

1.) The Tunnel. For the first time, runners joining the 42K and 21K will trot below sea level. Almost a kilometer in length, running the tunnel was the same experience we had in Hong Kong. During that HK Marathon, runners jogged beneath the waters. It was a unique, cherished moment. Cebuanos will experience the same next Sunday.

2.) Fort San Pedro. Another feature in 2011 is running inside Plaza Independencia. Imagine gazing at the beauty of the Malacañang sa Sugbo and Fort San Pedro? This is new. Prepare your eyes.

3.) Sights and Sounds of Cebu. Held during the Sinulog week, this is what distinguishes the CCM from other marathons: the timing. For, with the Sinulog, there’s no bigger festival in our 7,107 islands. And what better time for tourists to visit? Plus, if you’re a runner… perfect. You see — literally, on foot — the sights of Cebu; you hear the sounds of the Sinulog drumbeats.

4.) Tommy O and Mike R. Last January during the “01-10-10,” then-Mayor Tommy Osmeña attended the twin Cebu City Marathon events. During the carbo-loading party, Mayor Tom spoke. He welcomed the visitors. Same during race morning: TRO shook hands, awarded medals, greeted the Kenyans. This year, Mayor Michael Lopez Rama — a runner — will join the 5K alongside 6,000 of his constituents.

5.) Cebu City. The role of government is crucial. Apart from giving the prize money amounting to P389,500 (with P60,000 going to the 42K men’s and women’s winners), it’s the support that’s essential. Every major marathon on earth has the backing of their city. Boston. Berlin. London. New York. Chicago. All these world’s best bring tens of thousands of tourist-runners – sports tourism, it’s called — because of the assistance of their mayor and city officials. Thanks to the City Government of Cebu, we have one of the most celebrated of races in the Philippines.

6.) CITOM and Jack Jakosalem. The roads will be closed from 4 to 9:30 on the morning on Jan. 9. If you run inside the SRP, the South Road Properties will be closed. Same with, of course, the tunnel (absolutely no fumes!). Osmeña Blvd. will be half-closed–one side of our island’s most important thoroughfare will be off-limits to vehicles.

7.) CERC. Called the Cebu Executive Runners Club, this is the group of nearly 50 doctors, lawyers, businessmen and executives. Each year, CERC focuses on organizing only one race: the CCM. This is a non-money-making event that consumes our time, effort and resources. What for? CERC does this because we love running and we want to share our incredible marathon experiences with our fellow Cebuanos. You need not fly to Hong Kong or Singapore. Run in your very own Cebu. (Notice: Get ready to be leg-massaged by some of Cebu’s top doctors!)

8.) Numbers. There will be more than 1,100 runners joining the 42K race. With the 21K, nearly 1,500. With the 5K, 3,000-plus.

9.) Carbo-loading Party. You must attend this! Scheduled on Jan. 7, it’s an evening of relaxation, pasta-eating, and mingling with fellow marathoners. You’ll hear inspiring stories, watch marathon films, chat with others who offer tips.

10.) Race Expo. This is from Jan. 5 to 7. It is during this time that you can get your race packs: your New Balance shirts, race bibs, route maps, etc. Discounts will also be offered by Ayala Center tenants.

11.) Most painful/fulfilling moment. That’s what the 42K is about. It’s several hours of huffing, puffing, walking, running, drinking 100Plus, cramping, frowning, smiling–a range of experiences that you’ll never experience anywhere else but the marathon. These few hours will remain with you forever.