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, www.cebumarathon.com. 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!