Category Archives: Cebu Marathon

Cebu Marathon

Only 35 days remain before the 2011 Cebu City Marathon starts at the Asiatown I.T. Park. Thus far, thousands have registered. If you’re among those who have yet to enlist, do so now. The deadline—Dec. 15—is near. Three categories are available for runners and, yes, just as important… non-runners. That’s because if you’re a “non-runner,” there’s a 5K distance that’s perfect for your first footrace.

5,000 meters? This is easy and comfortable. It’s the distance from I.T. Park, down along Salinas Drive, left turn at JY Square, all the way through Gorordo Ave. passing U.P. Cebu, then a U-turn right before the Escario-Gorordo intersection. Then back to the I.T. Park. That’s all. That’s 5K.

The best parts? One, there’s no cut-off time. So even if you walk the entire length at casual pace, you’ll finish in one hour. (The 5K world record, by Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, is 12 minutes, 37 seconds!) Two, you’ll wear a timing chip that’s attached to your race number—the first time 5K runners wear the RFID chips in Cebu. Third, at a registration fee of only P500, you get a New Balance running T-shirt.

And so, for this Jan. 9 Sinulog event, I encourage not only the 42K and 21K participants to get excited—but also those joining the 5K. Running amidst thousands of others will not only get your heart beating like a drum roll—it will get your hair raising (goose-bumps). It will be a memory to cherish. Register now at the Active Zone of Ayala Center.

New Balance shirts, RFID timing in the Cebu Marathon

The date is January 9, 2011. That’s the Sunday before the Sinulog. That’s the daybreak when one of the country’s most acclaimed of races will start: the Cebu City Marathon.

While last Sinulog the event was dubbed “01-10-10,” owing the date Jan. 10, 2010, the 2011 edition will be different. Thanks to the creative minds of ASAP Advertising headed by the power couple, Jacs and Perl Jacalan, the CCM will have a new and festive theme: “Race Through The Streets And Colors Of Cebu.”

Yes! It’s the week of the Philippines’ grandest mardi gras. Millions will congregate. Dancers will shuffle their feet. Balikbayans will deluge us. Beer will ooze. Lechons, devoured. Our beloved Sto. Niño, venerated. And, yes, the Cebu Marathon will race along Colon Street, snake beside Magellan’s Cross, meander through the SRP and start and finish at our island’s hub for business, the Asiatown I.T. Park.

Isn’t it perfect? Fitting? And very much… Cebu? Racing through our streets… gazing at the colors… of Cebu.

What’s brand-new with the Cebu Marathon is this package: New Balance T-shirts. While races hand out singlets to participants, this event won’t be any different—but with a difference: the New Balance running jerseys (Made in the U.S.A.) retail for P950 and will be given for free. This means that, regardless of your category, you’re getting more than your money’s worth.

The fees? For the 5K, it’s P500. For the 21K, it’s P600. And for the penultimate and dream-come-true-distance codenamed “42.195” (family-named “Kilometers”), it’s P800.

To add to this new from New Balance, all runners—5K, 21K and 42K—will be using RFID timing chips. Yup, no misprint there: while the 5,000-meter participants never previously used timing devices—“They’re just joining the fun run!” the 21K runners will brag—this time, even 5Kers wear the chip.

With New Balance, it will be a running T-shirt, not sleeveless. But here’s the “catch:” there are only 4,500 available. Wow, that’s plenty! True. For every-Sunday races, yes, 4,500 sounds unreachable. But, this isn’t your ordinary race.

Powered by Globe—who has the topmost billing among the few big-named sponsors—the 01-10-10 marathon had over 4,000 participants. That was nine months ago—before the running boom in Cebu and Manila boomed and boomeranged.

And so here’s a suggestion: The registration formally begins tomorrow, Friday. I suggest you sprint (wearing your New Balance!) to the Active Zone of the Ayala Center Cebu and register. This way, you’ll surely be among the first 4,500 to register. Our CCM booth will open from 12 noon until 8 p.m. daily.

Ayala Center Cebu, of course, will be a major, major, major partner of this spectacle. The Race Expo, slated the week before Jan. 9, will be held at the Active Zone. (The shirts won’t be available for pickup when you register—but will be ready and brand-new-smelling during the Expo.) Plus, there will be a Pre-Race and Carbo-loading Party on Jan. 7—or two nights before race day. For those who attended last January’s party at The Terraces of Ayala Center, it was invigorating to see runners mingling pre-race tips with fellow runners just hours before the sweat and pain.

The Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC), headed by Jess Taborada—a seven-time marathoner who recently completed the Camsur Intl. Marathon—is behind the CCM. The Cebu City government—like last year—is an essential co-organizer, closing down Osmeña Blvd., the SRP and other thoroughfares to ensure that the No.1 goal of a race is achieved. That’s called safety.

And so, the starting gun is cocked, the banners getting printed, the Sinulog drumbeat practiced—all that’s needed is for you to fasten your shoelaces and get your pumping heartbeat to say yes to this once-in-a-lifetime, I-can-finish-a-marathon moment.

Ms. Joy Polloso, Ayala Center Cebu’s Division Head…. do we register you as the very first participant for the 42K?

Like you, I can’t wait! Good luck.

CebuRunning.com: the cure for running fever

Everybody wants to run. Everybody wants to organize a run. There’s a run for Silliman, Ateneo, several for CebuDoc, one for USJ-R, the Seminary, for the Heart, Breast Cancer, Diabetes. There’s a race for mediamen, the environment (Eco-Dash), waste reduction (Aboitiz), kids (Ayala), and one STC-organized “Move with Air.”

Every Sunday, there’s a footrace. This is good. Running is the best—and most inexpensive—form of exercise. It revitalizes the heart, strengthens the legs. It elicits a smile when crossing that finish line. Running is positive. And, the more events, the better. From a 3K start, we upgrade to 5K, graduate to the 10K. Cebu is on a running fever “high.”

But, like any fever, when the temperature’s too high, there’s a problem. And there is a problem: the date “August 15.” The dilemma? Two events are scheduled on the same morning.

The University Run is on its fifth year. Founded by Dr. Yong Larrazabal, Cebu’s most popular running man, it will draw thousands to the CebuDoc Mandaue campus on Aug. 15.

Enter the Pilipinas International Marathon (PIM). Organized by the pharma giant IPI, it features, among others, the unique distance of 25K. It’s date? Aug. 15.

Without question, the 5th University Run, an institution of an event, was announced first. But here’s the problem: The PIM organizers did not know about the conflicting schedule. When they approached the Cebu City Hall, checked on Aug. 15, they were given the go-signal. Why? Because the Univ. Run is in Mandaue—which, obviously, does not coordinate with Cebu City.

I know Tito de la Merced of IPI. I know Joe Deresas. And, in my analysis, their August 15 scheduling was done in good faith. Simply, they did not know another event existed on the same date.

Now, what to do? The best solution would be for Mr. De La Merced to move his schedule. Why? For one, after several “bad press” articles “boycotting” the run, this act will evoke such goodwill that thousands of Cebuanos—believe me—will run and embrace the PIM. Two, on August 22, it’s the Aboitiz “Race To Reduce” event. It has a 21K distance and, given that timing chips are included, this will be in major conflict with the PIM. (Runners will choose only either the 21K or 25K.) Three, rescheduling the PIM to, say, September or October, will be the perfect long-run event for those joining the Cebu City Marathon on Jan. 9, 2011.

But it’s not for me to decide. Tito de la Merced has said that he cannot move his schedule. We respect that. And so, if that happens, let it be. There’s no law stating that two events can’t coexist. (In Manila, as many as four are held on the same Sunday.)

I liken running to basketball. Often, there’s an event in Guadalupe, another in Lahug, one in Talamban—all simultaneous. (Running is so popular that the only solution is for the week to have two Sundays!)

Here’s my suggestion: Given that a government super-body to oversee events does not appear viable because 1) even in Manila, where PATAFA is based, no such body exists, 2) each city has its own sports commission, 3) who reputable, non-biased person will head this body? and 4) there are too many technicalities involved (if one organizer ‘reserves’ a date but cancels, how to penalize?)… I suggest an alternative:

An open system. An avenue where organizers and runners can visit. I propose we make a website—www.CebuRunning.com–as the go-to venue. Organized by Max Limpag, my fellow writer/runner, he has a category labeled “Fun Runs/Races.” I suggest that everyone check on this calendar. If, as organizer, you’ve picked a specific date, fire an email to maxlimpag@gmail.com so Max can post your event. Simple.

This, of course, does not guarantee exclusivity. If you’re the first to post, it doesn’t mean others can’t organize on the same date. But, at least, the problem IPI faced—not knowing the full calendar—will be addressed. Another tip for organizers? Plan early. Six months lead time is ideal. Also, setup a website. And, announce, announce, announce!

Cebu is one happy family. Let’s keep it running that way.

Mayor Tom: We need the Cebu Sports Complex

Good news! Just last Wednesday, Cebu City Mayor Tommy de la Rama Osmeña signed a contract with SM Prime Holdings, Inc. president Hans Sy for the mall giant’s purchase of 30 hectares of land inside the South Road Properties (SRP) for a whopping amount of P2,700,000,000. This is terrific. Including the investment of the Filinvest Land, Inc. (covering 40 hectares), this translates to billions of new revenues for the oldest city in the Philippines.

Expect the SRP, in a few years’ time, to be “The Fort Bonifacio of Cebu City,” the prime real estate location where skyscrapers sprout and 5-star hotels rise and businesses flourish. If you’ve been to the Mall of Asia along Roxas Boulevard in Manila, expect the same colossal SM Mall at our SRP. This is splendid.

But here’s what I hope our mayor doesn’t forget: Sports. Because while SM bought 300,000 sq.m. and Filinivest invested in 400,000, there’s still a lot, lot more open space left in the SRP, which totals 300 hectares. Can a portion be earmarked for sports? I hope so. And I think so.

You see, about three years ago, the mayor gathered all of Cebu City’s top sports leaders to a lunch of prime rib steak at the then newly-opened restaurant of Michel Lhuillier, who was also introduced to us as the Chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission.

Mayor Tommy spoke about sports. He talked about the SRP. He said, if I recall his words well, that he will apportion a part of the reclaimed land for sports. Of course, he said, business comes first; which means that he’ll have to sell the prime lots before designating the area for sports. That was three years ago.

Today, thanks to SM and Filinvest, money has entered the city’s treasure chest. And so, dear Mayor, after the revelry and the confetti of the 30th Sinulog has settled, I hope you’ll revisit your grand plan for our city: A Cebu City Sports Complex.

For this is Cebu’s shortcoming. We don’t lack of international-caliber dancesport champions or ALA Gym world title-holders or the 7-footer Greg Slaughter and the 6-foot-10 Jun Mar Fajardo in basketball. What we lack is Infrastructure.

Our Cebu City Sports Center (behind the Abellana school), apart from the newly-built track oval at the Sacred School-Jesuit, houses the only rubberized track oval in Metro Cebu. The good news is, 16 years after it was built, the Abellana oval will be resurfaced—thanks to  the mayor’s approval—in a few months’ time.

Our New Cebu Coliseum? Ha-ha. That should have long been named the Old Cebu Coliseum.

Tennis courts? We hardly have a single hard-court where junior winners like Jacob Lagman and Niño and Em-Em Siso can call their practice ground.

Football? Thanks to the Aboitiz family—with their recently-opened Aboitiz Sports Field beside Makro—we now have a giant-sized football pitch.

But this is not enough. We need more. Football fields. Baseball/softball diamond. An athletic field with an international-standard rubberized oval. Tennis courts. An Olympic-size swimming pool with a grandstand. Volleyball courts. Basketball rectangles. And more.

Allocating, for example, 15 hectares—or only five percent of the total land area inside SRP—will be sufficient for this grand vision of a Cebu City Sports Arena.

And why not target for our city to host the South East Asian Games—this time not just a few events (as we did in 2005), but most of the games, including the grand Opening and Closing ceremonies? Or, to set our sights even farther… the Asian Games? Imagine the Asian Games in Cebu?

Yes, it’s possible. I know… this is all long-term. But if we don’t dream and envision the possible, then it remains impossible. And, if there’s a group of Filipinos who can achieve this, it’s us, the Cebuanos. Pit Señor!

No “I” in the words “teamwork” and “marathon”

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from last Sunday, it’s this: Teamwork works. Because as gargantuan the operations were for an event that spanned 42,195 meters in distance involving over 4,258 participants coming from Dumaguete and Australia and Makati and Switzerland and Cagayan de Oro and the U.S. and Bacolod and Slovenia, if a group of men and women bond together and share the same passion, success is achievable.

Teamwork works. So does Selflessness. For, with the organizers behind the marathon—the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC)—these words—“sacrifice” and “help” and “love for the sport” and “passion”—are bywords.

Dr. George Evangelista sacrificed. Dr. Tito Macarasig helped. Dr. Albert Santos, who manned one of the 16 pit stops, served 100Plus drinks to the weary and massaged the legs of limping warrior-runners—all for the love of the sport. That’s teamwork. And teamwork works.

Meyrick Jacalan is the man who deserves the loudest of applauses. He designed the mango-shaped Finisher’s Medal—the envy of all 21K runners (you’ll get that next year!). He designed the 01-10-10 website. He designed the shirt. He helped design the layout at the Asiatown I.T. Park finish—which was described by many as ‘world-class.’ He designed this marathon. Last weekend, not a wink he made to ensure that Cebuanos would be proud of their very own “Ato ni ‘bai!” race. That’s sacrifice. That’s help. That’s passion.

Roy and Rosan Trani? This mighty couple—who have finished three 42Ks—escaped from their Talamban home to check-in at a Lahug hotel. Honeymoon Part 2? Yes, maybe. But here’s the correct answer: They were in charge of the first water stop and so they made sure to stay close, wake up as early as 1 a.m. so they’ll be ready to personally hand out water and cheer on the early-morning risers called Runners.

Another man whose eagerness to help is boundless is Bro. Carlo Bacalla. Helping ensure that the 20-km. stretch inside the SRP was water-loaded and entertainment-filled (they had UC dancers, bombastic music, drum-and-bugle artists), Bro. Carlo teamed up with Steve Ferraren, who was the top man in-charge of the SRP. True enough, when I surveyed the smiling runners at the finish, many considered that part as their most enjoyable stretch of asphalted land. Thanks to Steve. Thanks to Bro. Carlo. Thanks to Jun Remo and Jun Quibranza. Teamwork worked inside the SRP.

Perl Jacalan is credited for soliciting the event sponsors. As the top honcho of ASAP Advertising, she is tops at her field and has endless reserves of energy.

There was Jesse Taborada, one of the most indefatigable people I know, who, as president of CERC, spent hours and weeks and minutes on the race.

Councilor Sylvan Jakosalem? Without him, last Sunday would have been this: The Cebu Dangerous Marathon. The reason? Councilor Jack, with the full support of CITOM head Arnel Tancinco, ordered all roads (half of it) along the route closed. Osmeña Blvd. was half closed. So was Mango Ave. Can you imagine 4,258 bodies on the road without the road closure?

Which brings me to Dr. Vic Verallo. He stood at the middle of Gorordo Ave. where he was stationed and nearly got into a fight with a driver who refused to yield to runners. That’s bravery. That’s passion in action.

Joel Juarez? At 2 a.m., he commanded his team of motorcycle marshals to make one final loop around the route. That’s meticulous planning.

Annie Neric with Jane-Jane Ong, Andrew and Nica Ong? To those who enjoyed the live percussionists and the band and the bananas and the Leona’s bread and the fireworks (which surprised everyone at the 4 a.m. start)—now you know who’s behind those.

There’s Roel Militar, Dr. Raymund Bontol, Ted Tecson, Oscar Lopez, Turning Capote, Barry Marquez, Dr. Alex Junia, Dodong Sulatre, Jon Consunji, Dr. Abraham Manlawe, my wife Jasmin, Raffy Uytiepo, Romy Letigio, Dr. Renald Ramiro and Rudy Tindugan. There’s Kenneth Casquejo, who took on some of the most important responsibilities of last Sunday.

Thanks to these marathoners—not one or two people but everyone, plus the hundreds more who volunteered on the streets—the dream of many has been fulfilled: to run 42,195 meters in Cebu City.

Quotations to inspire our marathoners

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

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” – Oprah Winfrey

“The marathon can humble you.” – Bill Rogers

“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves. The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” – Roger Bannister

“Anyone can run 20 miles. It’s the next six that count.” – Barry Magee

“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

“Running is one of the best solutions to a clear mind.” – Sasha Azevedo

“The marathon’s about being in contention over the last 10K. That’s when it’s about what you have in your core. You have run all the strength, all the superficial fitness out of yourself, and it really comes down to what’s left inside you. To be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things about the marathon.” – Rob de Castella

“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”? – Jesse Owens

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

“A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you’ve done it you feel that you can do anything.” -?Unknown

“Life is short. Running makes it seem longer.” – ?Baron Hansen

“People ask why I run. I say, “If you have to ask, you will never understand”. It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through pain, but know, deep down, how good it really feels.” -?Erin Leonard

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.”? – Frank Shorter

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” – Unknown

“The will to win means nothing if you haven’t the will to prepare.”? – Juma Ikangaa

“I run because it’s my passion, and not just a sport. Every time I walk out the door, I know why I’m going where I’m going and I’m already focused on that special place where I find my peace and solitude. Running, to me, is more than just a physical exercise… it’s a consistent reward for victory!” – Sasha Azevedo

“The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.” – Fred Lebow

“If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you’re normal. If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal.” – Rob de Castella

“Running helps me stay on an even keel and in an optimistic frame of mind.” – Bill Clinton

“I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible.” – John Hanc

“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.” – Hal Higdon

“Good things come slow – especially in distance running.” – Bill Dellinger

“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

“Marathoning is just another form of insanity.” – John J. Kelly

“I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.” – Mike Fanelli

Cebu City Marathon updates and rules

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! To all runners joining the first—and biggest—race this 2010, here are a few pointers….

GOOD & BAD NEWS. First, the bad… Registration for the 21K and 42K categories ended last Dec. 31. The good news? Those wanting to join the 5K Fun Run can still register at the Active Zone of the Ayala Center Cebu. For a fee of P250 (with a free singlet… and a chance to win prizes like Timex watches, Runnr shirts and R.O.X. gift certificates), you ought to join! Deadline is this Tuesday, January 5.

RACE PACKS. Starting Wednesday, the 5K participants can start claiming their race packets—which includes the singlet, the race number, the route map. But—and this is important—only the 5K participants can claim their packs starting Wed.

For the 42K and 21K registrants, the race packets will be available for pick-up starting Thursday, January 7.

The claiming of the race packets for all categories—5K, 21K and 42K—will run until Friday, Jan. 8. (For out-of-town participants, they can get their packets on Sat., Jan. 9.)

HOORAY! Two nights before the Jan. 10 race will be the Carbo-Loading and Pre-Race Party. Open to all participants (and family members), the venue is the breathtaking garden scene at The Terraces of the Ayala Center Cebu. A total of six establishments from Ayala Center will offer runners a myriad of “carbo” meals: spaghetti, lasagna and other pasta delicacies at a reasonable price of only P150 per meal.

If you’re a Cebu Marathon participant… it’s a must that you go!! Final tips and techniques will be shared. Updates will be relayed. A topnotch DJ will blast music over the loudspeakers. Best of all, it’s a chance for all excited runners to bond, swap stories, smile, relax and laugh before the… ahem… “painful” 42K marathon experience (ha-ha).

See you there! That’s this Friday at 6 p.m.

RULES. When participants receive their race packs, a detailed set of rules will be there. In particular—for the 21K and 42K runners—here are the essential reminders…
1)    Race numbers must be worn during the entire race.
2)    The ChampionChip timing device must be tied to your shoelaces. (Instructions found in the race packet.) No chip, no time.
3)    IMPORTANT: No wheeled vehicles are allowed along the course! Bikes, motorcycles, cars, etc. will be removed by race personnel. The reason for this is simple: Safety. We want to provide runners with as wide a space as possible to run without having to step aside because of a speeding car.
Here’s my suggestion: If you want someone to bring you 100Plus energy drinks or chocolate bars, ask them to meet you at certain points along the route. I repeat: Cars and other types of vehicles are NOT ALLOWED inside the cordoned area.
4)    The route will be closed to vehicular traffic (half of the road exclusive for the runners) from 4 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. After 9:30 a.m., runners may still continue the race but the road will be open to traffic.
5)    Only registered participants (with race numbers) are allowed inside the cordoned area. Anyone who’s not registered will be asked to step outside.
6)    The South Road Properties (SRP) will be closed to all vehicular traffic from 12 midnight to 9 a.m. on Jan. 10. (Nobody is allowed entry inside the SRP during this time except the race officials.)
7)    There is a 7-hour cutoff time for the 42K runners.

These rules are for the 21K and 42K runners. For the 5K participants, it will mean less restrictions—given that the ChampionChip will not be used and 7-hour cutoff time will not be (obviously) applicable.

WATER & FIRST AID STATIONS. Summit Drinking Water will be provided at the start/finish area and every 2 kms. along the course. Medical aid will be available at certain points along the route and at the finish line.

BAGGAGE AREA. Baggage deposit service is available at the Asiatown I.T. Park (start area is across The Walk) starting 3:30 a.m.

Jack Jakosalem is running the Cebu Marathon

Yes, he’s running! No, not in the elections (he’s on his third term) and no, not the 42K distance (he’s still aiming for that first 5K!), but Councilor Sylvan “Jack” Jakosalem is helping run the upcoming Cebu City Marathon. Thanks to his assistance as the chairman of two city council committees—on Professional Games, Amusement and Sports, and on Transportation—he has helped the organizers tackle the two most fundamental components of organizing road races: Safety and Cash.

Jack organized a series of meetings at his office in the Cebu City Hall and, once, at Bo’s Coffee in BTC, between the CITOM chief, Arnel Tancinco, and CITOM’s Traffic Group head, SP04 Ricardo Hapitan, and the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC), represented by Jesse Taborada, Meyrick “Jacs” Jacalan and myself.

Our topic? Road Safety. You see, unlike in Manila where the roads are four-lanes-wide on each side and they’ve got the open space of a Fort Bonifacio to organize races, here in Cebu, our roads are narrow. They’re scary. Many an occasion I’ve had a vehicle, zooming at 80-kph, flying beside me at arm-length’s distance. It’s risky and treacherous.

What if a car kills a runner? I’m sure this will grab headline front-page news. And this near-miss, vehicles-in-close-range scenario is happening every Sunday during each run here in Cebu. As I said, this is perilous.

Good thing Councilor Jakosalem and CITOM head Arnel Tancinco agreed to our request for the closure of one-half of the road of the entire Cebu City Marathon route. This means that, while running, for example, along Osmeña Blvd., the full side of the road beside Cebu Doctor’s Hospital down to Fuente Osmeña down to Cebu Normal Univ. will be closed until 9:30 a.m. How about the South Road Properties, where the 42K participants will run 19 kms.? The entire SRP will be closed until 9 a.m. This is unprecedented. And necessary. For road safety is priority No.1.

The Cebu City government is also contributing P300,000. This amount will be channeled to the bulk of the expenses—the prize money. That’s why, this early, we’ve received feedback that Kenyan runners, possibly numbering 10 or so, will be in Cebu to aim for the 42K first prize of P50,000.

Another priority for the Jan. 10, 2010 marathon? Water. As one who ran three marathons—Hong Kong, Singapore and Quezon City—the importance of hydration is paramount. Last October when Cebuanos joined the Quezon City Intl. Marathon, they ran out of water! Believe me, when you’re salivating in Km. 34 and can’t find something to sip, it’s infuriating! Thanks to Summit Drinking Water—plus it’s counterpart in the sports-drink division, 100Plus—we hope never to run out of water.

Also, last Monday, we held a press-conference which included top officials from two major companies.

Jerry Yntig, the director for external affairs and public relations of Globe Telecom, was accompanied by Trina Poca, whose top position is Trade Marketing Manager for Vis-Min. Globe Telecom, a Presentor to our marathon, is giving away free mobile phones to the winners.

Joy Polloso, the division head of the Ayala Center Cebu, was also with us. Apart from the newly-opened Active Zone of Ayala Center being a major part of the marathon—the registration area is there—here’s another announcement that will delight all participants: Come Jan. 8, the Active Zone will be formally launched to the public. And, during that same night will be the pre-race party and carbo-loading dinner for the runners. All to be held in Ayala Center Cebu. This is terrific news. For, in my recollection, never has there been a race in Cebu that included a pre-race party. More details to follow…

Here’s one more information about the name “Ayala:” we hope Fernando Zobel Ayala himself—a marathoner who finished the New York City 42K—will join us that weekend.

Final update: Practice run inside the SRP on Dec. 20. For details—and to view the designs of the singlet and 42K finisher’s medal—visit the website…