Category Archives: Running


Three major footraces in two months. After the Cebu Marathon last January 14, it’s the 7-Eleven Run early today (very early at 1 a.m.). What makes this event unique is it’s run simultaneously this morning in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao: Filinvest Alabang in Manila, Cebu Business Park here, and SM City Davao in Mindanao.

After these two back-to-back 42K full marathon events, the long distance runners are not finished yet. Two Sundays from today, it’s the highly-anticipated SM2SM Run. Celebrating its 8th anniversary this 2/18/18, the prize money is unrivaled: P50,000 goes to each 21K champion and the total cash prizes this year (from last year’s P586,000) has jumped to P703,000.

Raffle prizes? This is SM and they have a bonanza: 8 Cathay Pacific round trip tickets to Hong Kong, 8 Samsung Galaxy Note 8s, 8 Samsung LED TVs, Fujifilm cameras, 6 GCs in Sheridan Beach Resort in Palawan, 3 GCs in Radisson Blu, 8 GCs in Parklane Hotel, Swatch watches, Bayfront Hotel breakfast coupons and Trans Asia round trip tickets.

The race venue is at SM City Cebu and will feature 21K, 12K, 8K and 4K distances. Registration fees are P550 for 4K, P650 for 8K, P750 for 12K, and P950 for 21K. Each runner receives a breakfast meal and loot bag with premium items. Deadline for registration is Feb. 15. This event is for the benefit of Cebu Newsworkers Foundation, Inc. and Children of Cebu Foundation, Inc.

Congratulations in advance to the top officials of SM, led by the indefatigable Marissa Fernan, SM’s top marketing head for the Visayas, Jen-Jen Amigo, and SM’s Senior Public Relations Manager for VisMin, RJ Leduna.

Be Honest

Archbishop Jose Palma (2nd from right) with Guy Ceniza, Alan Larot and Boy Villanueva

Of the dozens of values that are important in life, and these include Respect, Excellence, Compassion, Responsibility, Gratitude and having a Caring heart, the single most important value might be this: Honesty.

In the several companies that we operate, and in the over 1,200 team members that we employ, nothing is more important than integrity. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best waiter or the smartest teacher or you possess exemplary leadership skills, if you’re not honest, you’re out.

This advocacy is at the heart of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals. The BCBP was founded in 1980 with the mission “to bring Christ to the marketplace and to win the marketplace for Christ.” And what is BCBP’s signature campaign?

Be Honest. Even if others are not. Even if others will not. Even if others cannot. And from Proverbs 10:9: “He who walks honestly, walks securely.”

Next Sunday, August 27, it’s the BCBP Be Honest Run. The main goal is to help promote the culture of fairness, fidelity and faithfulness. To be honest at home. To be honest with your people. To be honest in business dealings. To be honest with yourself.

Over a thousand participants are expected next weekend and registration is still open. The distances offered are not intimidating: you can walk or run the 2K or 4K or 8K distances. There are no winners. And here’s a first, possibly for any race in the country: We will award a prize to the fastest finisher… based on honesty! Sure, a clock (courtesy of Joel Juarez of Coco Running) will be hanging on the finish line but there will be no timing chips or U-turn bracelets to check if you’ve passed all the corners. The Be Honest Run will be won by the first placer who is honest!

The August 27 event will be held at the Ayala Center Cebu. The start and finish is at The Terraces and the runners (and, yes, leisurely-walkers) will navigate the streets inside the Cebu Business Park. The run will start at 5:45 a.m. and everyone is advised to arrive at 5 a.m. for the prayer, opening remarks and the warm-up exercises.

The “Be Honest Run” is open to all BCBP members, family members, friends and colleagues. It’s open to all. The registration fee is P300 and this entitles you to a Meyrick Jacalan-designed shirt and a race bib. Raffle prizes will be given and there will be free Thirsty drinks for all.

The registration booth will open tomorrow until the end of next week at the Active Zone of Ayala Center (near Bo’s Coffee). Just bring your P300 and, subject to availability, you may immediately get your shirt. Then we’ll see you at the starting line next Sunday.

More on honesty, I’d like to leave you with these inspiring words: If it’s not right, don’t do it; if it’s not true, don’t say it. Simple. / Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right, even if no one is doing it. / If you want to be trusted, just be honest. / Everybody wants the truth but nobody wants to be honest. / When in doubt, tell the truth. / If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything. / And from St. Teresa: Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.

BCBP Be Honest Run

Spelled in full, BCBP stands for the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals. The BCBP was founded 37 Julys ago when a group of gentlemen met for breakfast at the Makati Sports Club. The gathering became a weekly habit as the business personalities, who initially numbered 24 men, grew. This was in July 1980.

Thirty seven years ago this month, the BCBP is a large Catholic charismatic organization numbering over 20,000. From Makati, the brotherhood has sprouted with 106 chapters and 35 outreaches and has gone international: there are BCBP breakfasts and missions in Jakarta, Canada, Bangkok, Singapore and in various cities (Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and more) in the U.S.

Here in Cebu, led by pioneers such as Jojo Veloso, Willy Puno, Sadi Saguisag, Jourdan Polotan, Larry Veloso, Jojo Osmeña and Del Ordoñez, the first BCBP breakfast was held in 1988 at the Club Filipino. As each Saturday morning passed, more and more Cebuanos joined. They talked business over ham and eggs and listened to the testimony of a BCBP member whose life was tranformed by the Lord.

Today, BCBP Cebu has 14 chapters and a total population that exceeds a thousand men and women. My wife Jasmin and I belong to the North Chapter and we were invited by Jasmin’s parents, the late Atty. Jack Mendez and my mother-in-law Malu.

The BCBP Vision reads: “Bringing Christ into the marketplace and winning the marketplace for Christ.”

BCBP’s main advocacy can be summed up in two words: Be Honest. And you might have seen a poster, standee or sticker with the following text: BE HONEST. EVEN IF OTHERS ARE NOT. EVEN IF OTHERS WILL NOT. EVEN IF OTHERS CANNOT.

These powerful words are accompanied by a passage from Proverbs 10:9: “He who walks honestly, walks securely.”

Next month, on August 27 (Sunday), the BCBP will be hosting the first “Be Honest Run.” It will be purely a fun run and walk (meaning no winners and prize money). The start/finish will be at The Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu and the 2K, 4K and 8K distances will be covered inside the safe confines of the Cebu Business Park.

Why a “Be Honest Run?”

First, to spread the importance of honesty. Among life’s many virtues, honesty ranks at the very top. Truthfulness. Integrity. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Being fair and sincere. We hope to spread the culture of truthfulness to everyone.

Second goal: to promote fitness. From Romans 12:1: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Third objective: To help raise funds for the international mission projects of the BCBP and to help donate funds to our sisters and brothers affected by the Marawi crisis.

The BCBP Be Honest Run is open to everyone, not just to BCBP family members. It is open to 99-year-olds who can walk for two kms. and to 9-year-olds who can run a 4K. The registration fee is only P300. This includes a race bib and a shirt with a logo designed by my fellow marathoner Meyrick Jacalan.

How to register? A registration booth will soon be available at the Ayala Center. Or you may approach a BCBP member so he/she can help get the race kit for you. Visit the Facebook page, “BCBP Be Honest Run – Cebu.”

Paraphrasing the words from Proverbs 10:9: “He who walks (or runs) honestly, walks/runs securely.”

Want to live a peace-filled and healthy life? Be honest. Run.


‘Heart for Soles’ by Kyle Kokseng

Given the thousands of running enthusiasts that pound our streets — including this Sunday’s awaited SM2SM Run — underneath each pair of legs is a pair of running shoes. We all have one, some two, others three or four pairs of running shoes.

This love month comes an excellent idea to share. As the saying goes, “There is no excercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” I paraphrase that by saying, “There is no better exercise than running.. and reaching down for a pair of running shoes to share.”

Kyle Kokseng is a runner. He has finished three 42Ks: In 2013, the Cebu Marathon; and last year, in Tokyo and Chicago. Kyle has conceptualized a big-hearted project.

“Heart for Soles is a passion project by an average guy who likes running a little too much,” Kyle said in the poster. “After cleaning out his closet, he found several pairs of shoes that were still useable and hard a lot of mileage left in them. So instead of throwing them out, he decided to donate them to athlete scholars from public schools in Cebu City who have the ability but no capacity for equipment and gear.

“Later on, he realized that there were a lot of people in Cebu with the same love for running and the same closet filled with shoes. So he decided to create a program that would allow all running enthusiasts to give back to the city’s athlete scholars. Here’s a reSHOElution for you. Your shoes have come a long way, it can go a little longer.”

How to join? Kyle explains: (1) Donate your old running shoes (running shoes only). Must be clean and in good condition. No tears, no holes. You wouldn’t want someone else wearing your smelly damaged shoes, right? (2) Tie the shoelaces of the pair so we won’t be searching for a missing shoes. (3) Attach an info card/sheet with the ff. details: size, men’s or women’s, inspirational message to the recipient. (4) You may or not put your name on the info card. (5) Drop off your old and preloved running shoes at the donation boxa at the main mall ground floor of Banilad Town Centre (BTC).

Since Kyle started last Feb. 1, he’s collected 14 pairs. “I want to see the running community grow by helping those who have the ability but no capacity,” he said. “Who knows, one of the recipients might be a future Olympian!”

For more details, check Instagram or FB: @heartforsolesph. And in advance for donating to our less fortunate runner-friends, Kyle says: SHOE-lamat!

Running from SM to SM

Both are giant-sized malls. One is humongous while the other, slated to open by year’s-end, is extraordinarily humongous. I’m referring to the SM City Cebu and that spaceship of a building with a levitating cube and artistic wave-like walls that’s called the SM Seaside City.

Two mornings ago at 5 a.m., the starting gun was fired at the reclamation area fronting the Bayfront Hotel of Chester Cokaliong. Fireworks brightened the black sky. It was the fifth edition of the SM2SM Run and I ran the 21K.

What’s my objective review? VG: Very good.

Hydration stations were littered every kilometer — a total of 10 stops loaded with unlimited water; one or two stations with Gatorade and a few with dark chocolates and bananas. We pressed sponges to cool our heating bodies.

Music stations blasted their melodic noise to soothe our ears during the usually quiet Sunday morning. I especially liked the group, dressed in white, who stood at the SM Seaside City corner to pound the drums.

The road was fully closed to traffic. For two hours and seven minutes, Dr. Tony San Juan and I — plus thousands of others — enjoyed the wide expanse of the route and the SRP. The “S” in the “SM” stood for “safety” as it was a completely car-free race.

After the run, the loot bags distributed were loaded: Jollibee breakfast, Yakult drink plus other goodies. The good-looking medal made by Suarez & Sons showed three Olympic-like rings. The awarding, held inside the mall’s North Wing, was filled as hundreds awaited the raffle prizes (motorcycle, TVs, laptops).

With the prize money, it stood as the biggest not only in Cebu but, I’m guessing, of any race outside Manila. Kenyans and elite runners (including Eduardo Buenavista) joined with the P60,000 first prize as goal.

Zonta says No

Malu Mendez, my well-loved and eternally generous mother-in-law, won’t run this Sunday but she’s advocating that we all do. She’s part of the Zonta Club and it’s the “Zonta Says No” race at The Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu.

Organized by the all-women group, the goal is to say no to violence against women, girls and children. This Sunday’s run offers three categories: 3K, 5K and 10K.

Zonta president Nellie Chiu said in a recent press conference (story written by Richiel Chavez): “We want to promote our advocacy through the run. The orange color will represent the support for women and children who experience violence. The more runners we have, the more mileage we can get for this advocacy.”

The funds generated from the run will be used for the future construction of the Zonta Center, a venue that will offer victims multiple support services.

Say “Yes” by joining the run and help Zonta say “No” to violence against women.

Bright and colorful


I’ve joined hundreds of runs before but nothing like the one last Saturday. It started at 7:30 p.m. What run begins at that primetime, traffic-infested hour, on a Saturday, the busiest of nights? Aren’t all races on an early-morning-Sunday, when everyone’s lying in bed and the roads are asleep?

The Color Nite Run was different. It’s a “party” run. By that, I mean this: loud Avicii music, powered by the Party Truck of Nature’s Spring, flooding the open air as laser lights swirled; everybody wore black — but what illuminated the darkness were neon sticks. All runners were given glow sticks. Some wrapped the neon bands on their necks, arms, wrists. I saw pairs of colored shoelaces. A foam stick — which emitted neon glows — was handed each runner. We waved the stick, carried it like a baton on a 400-meter relay; we ran like Darth Vader with lightsabers.

The venue was the South Road Properties (SRP), with the start/finish area at the Il Corso in Filinvest. Imagine the sight of 1,800 participants — which included many friends, Lester Tabada, Steve Ferraren, Derek Dytian, DJ Fortz (aka “Michael Jackson”), Allan Delantar, Jeson Guardo — running in the gloom, all carrying yellow bands and orange sticks and glow-in-the-dark accessories?

Boom! As the gun was fired to signal the start, we all shuffled our feet and waved our colors to trek 10 kms. Half of the SRP road was closed. Perfect. With the calm waters of the SRP to your right and the vibrant lights of Cebu to the left, how unique could this run be? Looking at the lights of our city, what stood brightest was Crown Regency, all 40 storeys with multi-colored glowing lights that danced and bounced. The run was “cool” — and, at night, cooler than the 36 degrees Celsius of summer sun to bake your skin.

Organized by Jay Em of ProactiveSports and assisted by Joel Juarez of Coco Running, these guys are experts. Starting with the registration, after paying you’re given a plastic card. You go online and register. The run was well-managed. Hydration stations were plenty. Signages were clear. Tents stood at the finish with food/water. What I found unique was the fee: it was the same P750 for the 3K, 5K and 10K distances. All got a good-quality black shirt plus the neon adornments. Also, since this was a fun-run, no prize money was involved (which saved the organizers plenty); it also meant that they could deploy fewer marshals at the U-turn slots — if you booked for a 3K but felt strong and wanted to go 10K, why, nobody would stop you. Nice.

The only bad parts? Glow Eyeglasses were promised but not given. Worse, no medals were distributed at the finish. For some reason, the medals were locked-up somewhere and they could not be handed-out. This turned many smiling faces into frowns.

Personally, the race was extra special because the entire way, I ran alongside a person who bore me in her womb and helped raise me the past few decades: my mom, Maria Elena. Stride for stride, running short bursts then strolling to walk as the water stations approached, my mom Allen and I forged ahead as one. Best of all? It was my mom’s birthday, her 46th! (Okay, you can interchange the numbers but given her looks and slim physique, she can pass as my sister.) We ran. So did dozens of my mom’s relatives: her four brothers, Ric, Eton, Ondoy and Paul; and dozens of my cousins who flew in from Iloilo — including my “older brother” (cousin) Dindin Zaldarriaga who ran the 10K with my wife Jasmin. We also had over 50 of our teachers from Play House and Bright Academy.

20140517_192011Dindin, Allen, Jasmin and John

At Lantaw Native Restaurant, led by my brother Charlie, we set-up a tent with plenty of food. Prior to the gun start, I did something I’ve never done before: I tore a few cracks off the skin and munched on lechon… before a 10K.

At the finish, after a leisurely one hour and 19 minutes, my mom and I crossed the line with arms raised, holding hands. Minutes later, fireworks erupted as we sang Happy Birthday. What a colorful night.

Tacloban rises and runs

t1(All photos from

Lester Tabada emailed me yesterday. “I’m a runner from Southern Leyte,” he wrote. “I ran for Tacloban City.”

Last Sunday, exactly one month after the strongest typhoon on earth decimated Visayas, a band of runners decided to do the unthinkable: They decided to run. For 10 kilometers. Around Tacloban’s streets. “We decided to rise up and run,” declared Lester, “to show the people of Tacloban that we are stronger than Yolanda!”

Their race bibs were made of tarpaulin. The runners, instead of writing numbers, inscribed messages of gratitude and hope on the plain white tarpaulin. Some wrote “Wag mawawalan ng Pag-asa,” “Thank You World,” “Thank You Paul Walker,” and “DTI what happened to the Price Freeze.” Lester, who penned the inspiring story in his blog, Lester Pencilhands (, wrote on his bib: “Anderson 360 for President (Thank U CNN).”

Last Sunday, he said, was a comeback run. “Most of the Tacloban runners who showed up were having their first run since Yolanda,” he said. “But it suddenly transformed into a fun run the moment we agreed to steel that ‘Tindog Tacloban’ tarpaulin near the City Hall.

“We made it as our banner for that hope rally. I believe it was a spontaneous turn of events that led to us running not only for ourselves and our goals but also for the city and its people. We wanted to show them Hope through running. We wanted the Taclobanons to see us running back again to tell them ‘We are stronger than Yolanda.’ That is the goal of our instant fun run. No registration fees, no singlets, no water stations, no marshals. Only Hope.”


They converged at the front of the DYVL. Starting at Romualdez St., they ran to Imelda St., then to Real St. and all the way to Coca-Cola. That was the first 5K. “These are the major streets of downtown Tacloban City, where the most number of people can see us,” Lester said. With the second half of the race, from Coke, they traversed to the hardest hit barangays of San Jose. The finish line: Tacloban airport.

Along the way, the nearly 20 runners chanted “Tindog Tacloban” in unison. “The people couldn’t help but notice and be amazed,” said Lester. “People were clapping at us, waving at us, taking pictures… It was such an amazing experience, like something taken out of those sports movies.”

It was, as described by Lester in one word, magical. “It was a great feeling to finally be able to run after a month of hardships and heartbreaks,” he added. “Tacloban runners could hardly run before that day because they were shocked and freaked-out of dead bodies lying in the streets. Most of them lost their houses and members of the family.

“I think some showed up wearing borrowed shoes and running gears. And it broke my heart later on when I learned that a close running buddy was not able to run because he lost his running shoes and all his belongings in the flood.

“Nightmares, regrets, desperation, and helplessness; these are the harsh realities these runners have to go through (and overcame) coming into the event. I hope running in the streets in that fateful day brought back a sense of normalcy to them. These are good people trying their best to be strong for each other. That fateful Sunday was the 1st month anniversary since Yolanda devastated our city. It was the day we decided to move on and run once again. Tindog Tacloban!”

PLEA. Lester added: “I only started to run seriously this year. I did 4 half-marathons that started in the 1st Tacloban City Marathon. I was in Cebu too this year for a couple of 16Ks. But there’s one race we Tacloban runners are dreaming of: Cebu City Marathon (CCM) 2014. It was and still is our goal of conquering its 42k. It wil be my 1st Mary! We will be there.

“Sir, I hope there’s something you can do to help the Tacloban runners. Some of them lost everythng. Even old shoes and unused gears, it would be the world to us.”



Tony Galon runs 42K x 6 = 250 kms.

To you and I ordinary mortals, running a 21K is considered an accomplishment. Finishing a marathon — the 42K — is a major, life-changing achievement. How about the 50K? Or the 100-km. ultra-marathon? These are considered “crazy” distances reserved only for the diehard lovers of pain. Well, guess what? There’s more.

Last June 14, a 250-km. race — the countrys’ longest footrace — was held in Cebu. The South-to-North 250K started in Santander and, after passing through 20 cities and municipalities, ended in Bogo City.

Joel Cuyos finished first with a time of 42 hours and 39 minutes. The others who completed the distance within the cutoff time were Zenchen Lagapa (43:19), Wilnar Iglesia (43:19), Rodney Cabahug (46:40), Tony Galon (46:58), Randy Rubio (47:02) and Barry Red (47:37). Three women joined the race and it was Rodah Oporto-Cabellero who finished (12 minutes after the cutoff time).

I interviewed Tony Galon, the 43-year-old president of the Cebu Ultrarunners Club (CUC), and here’s his account:

“At Km70, I had a blister on my left foot and later on the right foot around km100. It’s also the first time that I experienced hallucination. I can see people at a distance — yet they were only plants, trees or road signs. One time I wondered why there’s a bus lying on the road. Was there an accident? It was the shaded part of the road covered with tree shadows.

“Sleeping while running/walking. I took a nap between Aloguinsan-Toledo. I can’t control my eyes; they closed by themselves. I stayed in the middle of the road following the lines and after a few seconds, opened my eyes and aligned myself in the middle of the road. In Aloguinsan, this sleeping habit stopped because of the many stray dogs…

“Along Tuburan-Tabuelan, I was alone because my support crew, John Domingo, helped another teammate. My headlamp had no battery and it was very dark. I can barely run and felt disoriented. I can’t understand everything. My mind can’t hold on as it seems it was a never ending 8km in Tabuelan. I needed fuel (food) as I didn’t have proper intake in the past 2 days.

“I ate a chocolate bar given by Agnes Perez with her husband Garry, joining the Tabuelan 111. But it wasn’t enough; I still can’t focus. Luckily, there was a barbecue station and I asked for barbecue and puso (“hanging rice”) but it was only 1 puso. Soon after I reached Tabuelan, I felt disoriented and cold. I noticed that when I ran I had no sweat and felt hotness in my body.

“I decided to stop and sit down and later decided to take a habal2x going to Bogo City. I have no light for the Tabuelan-San Remigio route and the km. marker says 33km to go to San Remigio plus the 8K going to Bogo City. With my situation, there’s no way I can take the marathon length. I stopped a habal2x and asked the fare going to Bogo. It was P300 and my money was only P100.

“While talking and negotiating with the driver, Ronald and Mazil Rubic (my in-laws) saw me together with Keith and Annabelle Dinoy (CUC members who joined Tabuelan 111). It was perfect timing. They gave me food, medicine, massage, hot soap, fresh dry cloth and a flash light. I stayed for an hour in this area just to recover. From then I was in a good condition and started running again plus my wife (Alfie) and John Domingo arrived. I ran the whole stretch except the part when there was heavy rain and I took a nap inside the car waiting for the rain to stop.

“The rain did not stop. Alfie advised me to use an umbrella to save time so I can reach the finish line within the cutoff time. I ran to Bogo City with an umbrella. On the last 8K, I thought the old city hall was the finish but it was the Martinez Gym. I ran like an UNGO was chasing me until the finish.”

Amazing! Tony completed the 250K in 46 hours, 58 minutes. He was one of only seven runners (out of the 20 who started) to have finished within the 48-hour cutoff time. As baseball’s Tommy Lasorda once said, “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” What a story of perseverance by Tony.

Other inputs from Tony:

Tony is presently working at Systech Telecom Ltd, a hongkong based company dealing with hotel wifi internet, bt we have also a music division that is exclusive handled the Asia Pacific for Vienna School of music board. Wife is Alfie Galon, a PE teacher and volleyball coach from St Theresa’s College.

Said Tony: “We have 2 boys, Aaron Gabriel, 13 yrs old and Luke Daniel, 9 years old… I started running last Dec 9, 2009 after i was convinced by my wife to run… Founded the CUC – Cebu Ultrarunners Club. The facebook group name is Beyond 42k.. Cebu Ultrarunners Club, last March 2011 and became the president thru election July 2011 till present… I have also created/founded this “I am a blood donor runner”. A group of any runners (all over Phils) that are willing to share their blood without any pay. We already donated blood to many people runners or not.”

Marathons of Tony: Cebu City Marathon(s), Condura Marathon, Kawasan Marathons & Aboitiz Race to Reduce Marathon.    Ultramarathons: Bohol 50-50, Mayon360, CUC100K leg 1 and leg 2, Bohol 50 Miler Ultramarathon, Ultrahamster(s), Summit 60K, 1st Coast to Coast 65K Ultramarathon and 1st 50K Cebu Ultramarathon. Others events are Xterra(s), Trail Marathons in Mt Patag, Silay City and MSIG Sai Kung 50K Trail in Hongkong and various 21K and fun runs


From SM City to SM Seaside City


Marissa Nolasco Fernan, SM’s top official here in Cebu for many years now, showed my dad and I the SM Seaside City design when we met a few afternoons ago at the Radisson Blu.

It’s Cebu’s version of the Mall of Asia (MOA). Only better. And more modern. With a glass-encased towering tube rising at the middle of an open garden. Ready for occupancy two years from now, it will be Cebu’s all-in-one, must-visit place soon.

Marissa also showed my dad and I a structure which, if realized, will change the sports and entertainment scene in Visayas and Mindanao: our own version of The Arena. I’m sure you’ve heard of MOA’s Arena, the 16,000-seater indoor coliseum where Lady Gaga danced, where the ALA Boys boxed, where Jennifer Lopez sang and where the UAAP games are being played.

Imagine an SM Seaside City Arena? In Cebu! Well, according to Marissa — now on her 25th year with the Sy family — this should be realized. If it does, we can host NBA exhibition games, a Djokovic-Murray 3-setter, a UFC Asia fight…

Remember the Megadome that then-Governor Pabling Garcia wanted to build? Where the CICC is right now? The Arena will be the same — only so much more modern and world-class (the MOA Arena reportedly cost P3.6 billion!).

SM2SM. For now, as the SM Seaside City construction is underway, we can visit the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod. We can hear mass there today.

Even better, seven mornings from today, we can join the run that’s the biggest this season: the SM2SM Run.

Fifty thousand pesos to the 21K winner! Yes. No misprint there. This, by far, is the largest paycheck anyone can receive outside Manila. (As comparison, our Cebu Marathon 21K event only offered P20,000.)

The 21K champion gets 50K. The runner-up, P30,000; the 3rd placer, P20,000. Just on those podium finishers alone, that’s P100,000. In cash. Plus, there are plenty of other prizes: Radisson Blu overnight stays for two, buffet dinners, raffle items and more.

Now on its third year, runners joining the Feb. 24 race will start at the SM City Cebu. Parking, always a concern, is plentiful. There are four distances: 21K, 12K, 6K, and 3K. All distances, if you compute it, are divisible by 3K — which makes this event not only unique but also “runnable” for everyone.

A couple of weeks back, I got the chance to meet with Jen-Jen Amigo, the Assistant Vice-President for Marketing (Visayas). We were in their conference room together with Joan Zanoria (SM City Cebu’s Marketing Manager) and RJ Leduna, the SM Supermall’s Public Relations Manager for Vismin. Joining us was the race director, Joel Baring.

I listened to their plans. Full hydration by Nature’s Spring. There will be entertainment along the way — including at the South Road Properties (SRP). And there is proper coordination with the government agencies: Citom, the SRP, the DPWH.

What’s also new this year are the use of Timing Chips. Within hours after the race (for those doing 12K and 21K), participants can visit the SM Facebook page and see the electronically-timed finishing times. Few races in Cebu use the timing system but, in major events worldwide, this is a must-have race component.

Beneficiary? Of course. Based on earlier press releases, the event donated P200,000 last year. For the 2013 edition, an amount will again be contributed to two organizations: the Cebu City Task Force for Street Children and the Cebu Newspapers Workers Foundation (Cenewof).

I know that, almost every Sunday, Cebu has a road-running race organized. The 21K distance — once a rarity in our streets — has become a monthly occurrence. But next Sunday’s event is different. It’s big. You can make the sign of the cross (or say the Sorrowful Mystery, if you’re suffering in the 21K) while passing the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod. You will run unopposed at the SRP. You’ll see the future SM Seaside City. And, who knows, 10 days after Valentine’s Day, thanks to a prize or raffle win, you might bring your wife on a dinner date or overnight stay at the Radisson Blu.

100K run? Why not! says Joy R. Polloso

Officially, the “R” in her middle name stands for Roset, but, if I were to make buot, that would mean another word: Resilient.

Jovita Polloso is not an elite super-athlete. She’s not 92-lbs. slim like Mary Grace de los Santos nor was she a striker for the high school football squad. Instead, Joy is one of Vis-Min’s top corporate executives and, thus, works long, mall-like hours for a company as familiar to you and I as Coca-Cola or Ford. That’s Ayala-and Joy is the General Manager for the Ayala Malls-Cebu.

Last Sunday, she joined the 100-km. race. When I asked why on earth someone would journey that far, her reply was… “And why not???”

She added: “I’ve tried marathons and have crossed a bit to ultra running when I joined the All-Women 50K in March. I was inspired by the stories of other runners and got excited at the thought of running ultra…”

But 100 kms.? From Pinamungahan to Toledo to Naga to San Fernando to Carcar to  Barili to Aloguinsan then back to Pinamungahan?

“I never imagined I’d reach this far in running,” said Joy, who finished in 19 hours and 10 minutes-good enough for 7th place among 15 women. “I’m having fun! Why? Because I look at the training not as a burden but as part of my fitness routine. Hence, I don’t allow myself to be ruled by the demands on mileage and don’t feel guilty when I don’t perform the programs by my coach, Philip Dueñas.”

Joy’s a winner because of her positive mental attitude. She did not think of the agony-instead, like her name, she savored the joys of running.

“I didn’t look at it as enduring pain but thought of how good the feeling is to be able to run all of the 7 municipalities/cities of mid-west Cebu,” she said. “I was thrilled at the thought of how nice Cebu is, as I pass through historical and eco-tourism sites on foot. I was telling myself that if I could do this, then that would be something my children can share later with their own families.”

Prior to last weekend, Joy did eight 42Ks: two in Singapore, one Sundown (Singapore), two in Condura, two in the Cebu City Marathon, and one last April in Nashville, Tennessee called the Country Music Marathon. She also did a 50K last March.

Did you feel like quitting? I asked.     “Nope, I just imagined the first 50K like a 21K to a full marathon. All along I was reminded that the real competition is in the last 50K. And I saw it myself when we were reaching the 75K to 90K marks, as I was passing through runners looking exhausted while I still feel strong enough with “emo’ high in my competitive spirit. My visualization included how I would approach the finish line in my whole piece and still smiling.”

Amazingly, during the run, Joy neither got injured nor suffered any blisters. She narrated a few tips: Months earlier, she added core exercises, circuit training and body balance/yoga.

On race day, she wore her pair of “lucky socks;” she applied petroleum jelly every 5 kms. and, at KM 50, she rested and “allowed the feet to breathe.” Plus: plenty of salt intake and solid intake over gel or chocolates. And lots of stretching prior to climbing the hills.

“I also followed my coach’s advise: run first using my flat strike so I don’t tire my calves during the first 20k+ uphill of Toledo going to Naga. Then used my midfoot at certain distances and then heel strikes. I trained using all of the foot strikes,” said Joy.

Plus, an important factor: the support team. Joy’s eldest son, Jasper, was the senior support crew. “My sister and cousins even traveled to Pinamungahan to send me off,” she said.

“More importantly, my attire! Joke but seriously yes, I changed as often as I could so I would have nice photos to keep! My medical kit was complete, my food supply could last me for a week.”

Joy added: “As a person, I am the type that will persevere and give my all-out determination if I want to accomplish something. I make sure I pour my heart into it. In short, I’m such a passionate person and I get excited on events in my life whether I like doing it at the beginning or not.”


Why do the 100K?

“And why not??? I’ve tried several marathons already and have crossed a bit to ultra running when I joined the All-Women 50K in March. But actually, just like a typical runner who is inspired by the stories and experiences of other runners, I also get excited at the thought of running ultra distances. By October of 2011, I was visualizing myself of participating the Singapore Sundown 100K  supposedly in June this year. So much so that, when we were getting our race packs for the Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon last Dec. 212 which was my second participation to this event, I was determined to register in the Sundown 100K event, but what they had there was the Sundown 42K of May 2012. A 100K for Singapore by June 2012 was a vision I had crafted for myself. And you know why I love SingaporeJ but it didn’t happen. So when this first 100K ultra event organized by Cebu Ultra runners came about, it opened up for my interest again to pursue my 100K by June of 2012. I was more than excited to imagine on the possibility of my vision getting realized in my homeplace.”

Did you feel like quitting at any time?

“Nope, I just imagined the first 50K as like a 21K to a full marathon. All along I was always reminded by my training coach who gave me the program, that the real competition is in the second half- the last 50K. And I saw it myself when we were reaching the 75K to 90K marks, as I was passing through runners who went ahead of me and looking too tired and exhausted while I still feel strong enough with  “emo’ high in my competitive spirit. My visualization included how I would approach in the finish line in my whole piece and still smiling. But ensuring all the time, that I was good and is able to move around after the event. The day after should be taken as resuming to my work schedule, I have my responsibilities in the office to attend to and my family. Joining this event should not have hampered and deprived me from doing my other roles in life. ( I was more concerned of these things over the other matters)”

How did you persevere (what were your thoughts) throughout the run?

“Deducting the number of municipalities/cities that was part of the route. J Actually, I was given a program to cover the 100K race, by my coach. And I did not run alone. I was with a fellow young gentleman runner from Ungo whom I have arranged to run with me all throughout the race before I signed up. I was more thrilled at the thought of how nice Cebu is, as I pass through some historical and eco-tourism sites on foot.”

No blisters and injuries? How did you do it?

“I prepared in my program just the basics, use my proven shoes when it comes to long distance running, the right socks, would you believe I have a pair of “lucky socks” that I always wear every long distance event that I joined in. Applied petroleum jelly consistently every 5KM to all possibly affected parts of my body. When we stopped at KM 50,  we took time to rest a bit and allowed our feet to breathe. Salt intake, solid intake over gel or chocolates.   Stretching in betweens was as important especially before we move on to an ascending elevation  (uphills). I just followed strictly again what my coach advised me, run first using my flat strike so I don’t tire my calves early during the first 20k +++ uphill of Toledo going to Naga. Then used my midfoot at certain distances and then heel strikes. I trained using all of the foot strikes. Aside from my training with coach Philip, my complementing fitness program with my other PT in the gym included core exercises and circuit training to support my muscles used in the run. I went a couple of body balance/yoga type of exercises too.”

How important was your support team?

“Very important. And I didn’t mean only the crew in my support vehicle, I meant the well wishers, my friends and fellow organizers’ moral support counted a lot. My sister and cousins traveled to Pinamungahan to send me off. My eldest son, Jasper was my senior support crew together with our family driver, Froilan and my other personal asst. I wrote everything what to give me at what distance. More importantly, my attire!!! Joke but seriously yes, I changed as often as I could so I would have nice photos to keep. My medical kit was complete, my food supply was something that could last me for a week and hydration schedule. I even brought with me ice bags etc.”

What tips can you give to marathoners/ultramarathoners?

“I made a checklist on what I should have, before I officially registered myself. 1) asked a fellow runner to be my pacer all throughout 2) I went into medical check up and stress test, then asked for a medical clearance 3) spoke wholeheartedly to my coach if I am capable of running a 100K 4) looked into my earned mileage, maybe a bit short with the distance required but hey– my heart and mind were ready to cover up for the difference. 5) prepared my attire from shoes to top gears and blinkers/headlights required 6) asked the program from my coach  that I should follow during the race 7) trained as much as I can, if i didn’t run the required distance, I covered it up for cross training, a little of swimming, fitness at the gym and hey Zumba for fun at the Terraces, why not? 7) I always remember my coach telling me, winding down or tapering if closing to the event date, and recovery and conditioning after the event. 8) nutrition plan is as important – for the week when the event is happening,  protein intake (carbo deplete) from early days of the week then carbo loading from mid of the week till event date. 10) Get a relaxing body massage at least 2 days before the race. 11) specially added to my  list consistently – a visit to an adoration chapel, a prayer intention and mass offered days prior to the race.  And lastly, my runner friend Mitch placed one more activity to my check list- for the first time on this 100K — (12.) a few acupuncture visits.”

Exorbitant fees the reason for fewer races?

Manny Villaruel lost 42 lbs. He used to weigh 235. Now, six months after he started running, he weighs 193. Manny used to drink beer. LOTS of beer. One party we attended, the annual Press Freedom night, I kept on ordering the free San Mig Light and, like a plant who’d swallow water from a gardener’s hose, Manny gulped and gulped. Not today. Not last Sunday. Not anymore.

“I haven’t taken a single sip since January,” said Manny, the sports editor of The Freeman. It shows. Running the 12-km. distance during the “Hunat Subgu 2 – Dagan Para Kay Maning” race two mornings ago, Manny did drink—from the water stations. (He runs… away from beer.) Amazing transformation.

From the hundreds who participated, I saw plenty of familiar faces: Dr. Marivic Tan, Joe Soberano with his son Franco, Allan Choachuy, Dr. Vic Verallo with his son; Roy and Dr. Rosan Trani, my idol Steve Ferraren, speedy Jun Remo (who finished the 21K in 1:41), Kenneth Casquejo, Dr. Edward Gaisano…

Thanks to race director Joel Baring, the event had few hitches. Water stations, stationed every 1.5 kms., overflowed. The race started on time. Each category—6K, 12K and 21K—had its own overhead digital clock. The jersey, color blue with sleeves, was of high quality. A Pocari Sweat energy drink station stood. A bottle was given to each 12K and 21K finisher. The food at The Terraces was plenty: two puso, one hard-boiled egg, a stick of longanisa, a banana and juice. The 21K finisher’s medal was large and made by Suarez.

My only complaints? It would be nice to see a complete set of kilometer markers. There was zero entertainment on the road. This is what excites the wearied runner: music or dancers along the route. During the 21K start at 4:30 A.M., there was no loud, heart-stomping music that accompanied Jiggy Jr.’s countdown.

Still, these are few and minor. What I liked best: the venue. The Terraces of Ayala Center is the best start/finish area in our island. The location is central. There are plenty of parking slots. Comfort rooms abound. And, during the awarding, where everyone converges at the sunken portion—it’s perfect. (See you there again this Sunday for the MAPFRE Insular-organized “Go Run For Road Safety” race.)

ORDINANCE. My colleague Cheska Geli wrote an article last Sunday entitled “Running code downside.” Since the new ordinance was implemented in February, fewer runs are being organized in Cebu City. Many have moved to Talisay or Lapu-Lapu or Mandaue.

While I agree with the one-race-a-day policy (though organizers can still hold simultaneous events in other cities), there are plenty of questions to ask:

Where does the P15,000 payment go? Does it help the run? Or does it help the city run these events?

This amount (for the 21K) excludes the thousands (for overtime pay) that must be paid to CITOM. This amount, if I’m not mistaken, will not even go to the personnel of the Department of Public Services because, according to the new rule, the organizers themselves have to clean all the garbage.

No doubt this ordinance has plenty of good. But, four months after its implementation, it appears to have one bad outcome: fewer Cebu City races.

As an organizer/sponsor, why pay P15,000 when you can pay P500 for a Mandaue City-located run in Parkmall?

WIMBLEDON. If you switched on your cable TV last night and watched sports, your eyes must have been attracted to green grass.

As is the tradition, Wimbledon’s defending champion plays first. And so, at 8 P.M. (PHL time) yesterday, Novak Djokovic stepped on the manicured lawn of Centre Court.

Like any tennis fanatic, my dream is to watch the event that’s been visited by Monsignor Achilles Dakay.

“My first Wimbledon visit was in 1999 with Monsignor Eliseo Gamallo. We saw Lindsay Davenport beat Steffi Graf to win the trophy,” Msgr. Dakay told me in an earlier interview. His next visit was in 2003 when the William sisters met in the finals. “There’s no place like Wimbledon.” he said, adding, “You’ve got to try those strawberries and cream!”

50K Women’s Ultra

WOMEN’S ULTRA. Each year, the date “March 8” is celebrated worldwide as the International Women’s Day. Very fitting that, just two days after last Thursday, on March 10, the women ran. A total of 181 women joined the 50K Ultra-marathon that started at 10 P.M. and finished at sunrise on Sunday.

To Merlita Arias Dunkin, whom we awarded the weekend before in the 30th Cebu Sports Awards, congratulations for being No.1, clocking 5:28. Who says women are weaker? Now, these ladies have beaten most of the long-distance male runners.

“Running has reinforced discipline,” said Joy Polloso, who started running only a couple of years ago but now has several marathon medals hanging in her closet. She finished the 50K in a very respectable 7:44.

“For an event that was conceptualized over a few discussions with the small group of ‘elders’ in Ungo and CUC in December, we didn’t have enough time to prepare and yet we were able to generate participants from Singapore, Japan, etc aside from those from Manila, Albay, Davao, Bohol,” said Joy.

Take a bow, ladies!

Five reasons why I love Running

First, the convenience. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and you’re off and running, literally.

Compare this with our experience yesterday. About 30 of us trooped near the lighthouse of Liloan at 7:00 A.M. to have a test bike run on the upcoming XTERRA race. From our homes, we loaded the bikes unto various vehicles. Helmets, gloves, water bottles, biking shoes — we prepared them all. Biking is fun. But it’s also a “production number.”

Running? It’s simple and pure. You can run early morning or late at night. If it’s raining, you can hop on the treadmill. When you go on a trip, it’s easy to pack a pair of shoes and discover the sights of Singapore or Cagayan de Oro by foot.

TWO. I don’t think any form of exercise beats running. On average, you burn 600 calories per hour of running. Just look at the physique of the runners. They’re lean, slim, fit. Here’s a guarantee: If you run four times each week, you will lose weight.

My favorite example is Steve Ferraren. He used to weigh 228 lbs. He could barely complete one round in the Abellana oval. But, through determination, he pushed one leg in front of the other and, now, he’s lost 83 lbs. and is one of the fastest runners among the Cebuano executives. His 42K time: 3 hours, 43 minutes.

THREE, I enjoy the company of friends while running. I recall training for the Singapore Marathon with our Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC) group. We’d run 20 to 30 kms. and, the entire way, I’d be chatting with friends like doctors Vic Verallo or Albert Santos. Running is a time to bond with friends.

Councilor Edgar Labella’s favorite motto is this: “If you run alone, you run fast. But if you run with a group, you run far.”

Want to become a long-distance runner? Find a group of friends and run together. Especially when you’re training for a 21K or a 42K, when hours on the road are a necessity, it’s important to run with friends. Time passes faster and the experience is more enjoyable. Running is the “Facebook of Sports.” It’s social sport.

My mom Allen, looking 40-ish but already a Senior Citizen cardholder, has convinced her teachers at Bright Academy to join her running. Every Friday afternoon after school, they circle the campus as a happy, smiling group… running together.

To me, running as a group is the same as a barkada in a bar gulping San Mig Light and talking for three hours. It’s hours of quality time spent chatting with friends while getting fit!

FOUR: the opposite of No.3, it’s your time alone. Said the great Jesse Owens: “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.”

FIVE: There’s that next goal. I cannot find this in any other sport. I’ve swatted the badminton shuttle cock, competed nationally in tennis, biked to Ayala Heights and done numerous other sports, but none compare to running.

What I mean is this: We all start with a 3K or a 5K. After, as your body gets fitter, you attempt the 10K. Then, months pass and you do a 15K. Then, the half-marathon. And, for the brave, the ultimate challenge: 42.195 kms.

In running, there’s always that next race, that farther challenge, that bigger medal. In fact, the 42K has been eclipsed in Cebu today by the 50K.. 65K.. 100K. Atty. Haide Acuña finished the 160K! And, just last weekend, Joel Garganera ran 100 kms. in mountainous terrain and freezing-cold weather in Hong Kong.

Of running, the actress Sasha Azevedo sums it all up: “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!”

La Salle: 100 years and running

One of my all-time favorite songs is Tarzan Boy. To whose who lived through the 1980s, you know the tune: it’s universally-recognized as the most “baduy” song ever recorded. That’s according to my roommate Maria Jasmin.

But I had the best memories of Tarzan Boy. I was in elementary when, as a basketball point guard, that song played over and over again via the loudspeakers in many games.

Playing for La Salle Bacolod, my fondest recollection of Tarzan Boy was as a frail yet energetic Grade 5 student. I must have been only 10. One of the youngest in our varsity squad (La Salle had Grade 7), we were scheduled to play in Silay City, a 20-minute drive away from Bacolod. It wasn’t an ordinary encounter: we were to play the first game, in front of a packed coliseum, prior to the official PBA game.

You could not believe my excitement. I couldn’t sleep for 21 nights. In school, I daydreamed about Silay. Finally, the day arrived and, after wearing the white-and-green jersey and donning my Promodel Adidas high-cut shoes, I entered the arena to the loudest cheering I’ve heard in my one decade of life.

The music? Of course… Tarzan Boy.

Last Sunday, fast forward 29 years later, I ran. It was the Animo La Salle Run, celebrating the 100th year founding of one of the nation’s best schools. While jogging, I was tuned-in to my iPod and my song selections were a mixed assortment.

The music? Of course… Tarzan Boy.

It was unexpected. I set the iPod to “Shuffle” mode and, like God perfectly wanted to remind me of those youthful days, the perfect song appeared.

During a La Salle Run. Two days ago. Just like three decades ago.

La Salle today is a century old. Beginning in 1911 in Paco, Manila with 125 boys whose classes were conducted in all-Spanish, La Salle today has 17 schools nationwide, including, nearest to us, the De La Salle Andres Soriano Memorial College in Toledo City.

I studied in La Salle for eight years from Grade 1 until First Year High School. Our family relocated to Cebu beginning my 2nd year HS. Looking back, I consider those the most important years of my life.

The first dozen years of one’s life are the most essential. Like a 12-story building whose footing and foundation are the key to it’s stand and strength, so it is with us: We often become who we are based on who we were when we were young.

Confusing? Simply, it means our days learning ABC’s are the bedrock, the groundwork, the basics of our adult life.

I am proud to be a La Sallian. The school is named after St. John Baptist de La Salle (born in 1651), a priest who founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

In what I recall of my primary years, we were taught discipline, respect for others, service, excellence in all endeavors, and, above all, love of God.

Together with 350,000 alumni who’ve passed through the green-colored corridors, I owe a big part of my life story to La Salle.

Two days ago, it was a perfect race. The Animo La Salle Run had 3K, 6K and 12K distances. In the dozen-kilometer distance that I joined, marshals were plenty, water was sufficient, and, thanks to race director Raffy Uytiepo, from La Salle Bacolod, the route (from CICC to Salinas Drive and back) was ideal.

Nimrod Quiñones snapped photos at the finish line. Rico Navarro, whose son Popoy won 3rd place in the 3K sprint, was the emcee. About 500 joined. Edwin Salazar’s daughter, Wren Marie, won 3rd place. She’s only 11 and is on vacation from Gold Coast, Australia. Cousins Bobby and Mariano Martinez, die-hard La Sallites, ran.

My only complaint? The sky. It was all. . . . blue. A telling sign after losing the last three UAAP seasons to a certain team from Katipunan Ave.?


Last Sunday, there were two road-running races: The Run for Japan and the One Thousand Cranes Run (organized by Three Sixty Pharmacy). While both races were held during the same time and for the same purpose (to help our disaster-stricken neighbor, Japan), the two were different.

Run for Japan was lambasted by Cebu. Few marshals, few participants, few water stops — such events and organizers should be banned.

The Three Sixty Pharmacy-sponsored run? It was excellent. I joined the 15K held two mornings ago and, in every intersection, marshals were ready, waving flags; water stations were abundant; the start/finish area — at the Asiatown I.T. Park — was festive. Bananas, cold drinks, even kamote — these were offered for free. Kudos to Kenneth Casquejo and Annie Neric and to RunCheck, Cebu’s best in race-organizing.

Bad Running

Mendel Lopez is a bemedalled track athlete. He’s won dozens of races. In a field of long-legged, international runners at the Hong Kong Marathon, he finished third place in the 21K. I spoke to Mendel yesterday. He was upset. Last Sunday, he joined a footrace and the winners were promised prize money.

“I won second place in the 5K category,” said Mendel. “They announced that the 5K champion would receive P4,000 and the runner-up, P2,000. But instead of getting P2,000, they only gave me P300.”

This is a scam. It’s an embarrassment. Based on the article of fellow writer Iste Sesante-Leopoldo, “‘1st Cebu Run Run’ turns into winners’ nightmare,” last Monday, the organizing group is the “C 24/7 Food Supplement and Nautra-Ceuticals.” A certain Rose Soltones is the head of the organizing committee.

What happened, Rose? This is humiliating. A promise is a promise when it comes to sporting events. When you guarantee the contestants prize money, it’s a commitment to fulfill that pledge.

The 5K champion, Jordan Bacong, the son of a fisherman who relies on the cash prizes for his food and expenses, was to receive P4,000. This was announced. He got P500. Josepha Kiptanui of Kenya won the 10K. His time was an astonishing 30:48. But what did he receive as reward for such quickness? P500. Instead of the P6,000 promised the 10K champion.

The organizers are blaming the lack of participants — only 700 reportedly joined instead of the 2,000 singlets that they produced — as the reason for their disobeying their obligation. Well, is that Jordan’s problem? Or Josepha’s? No, it’s not. Their job is to run and finish first. They ought to be rewarded by beating everybody else.

With this incident, I hope for two things. One, that the organizers pay the remainder of the prize money this week. They must. It doesn’t matter how they’ll raise it — it’s non-negotiable. (I suggest, if they fail to do this, that the Cebu City Sports Commission and Ayala Center blacklist them from organizing future events.) Two, I hope this doesn’t happen again. Road-running races happen every Sunday. Sometimes, two or three are held every weekend. Though some complain that this is too much running — I say it’s good. These events have gotten everybody healthy. But, please, promises are promises.

Cebu Fire Run

The Cebu Filipino-Chinese Volunteers Fire Brigade (CFCVFB) is set to hold the Cebu Fire Run 2011 slated for March 6, 2011, Sunday at the Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Business Park grounds.  This is in line with CFCVFB’ 30 years of dedicated service. Aside from the Run activities are lined from March 4 to 6 mall hours at the Activity Area of Ayala Center Cebu.  CFCVFB will hold a photo exhibit featuring the volunteer firefighter in action.  The photos were taken by friends and volunteers during the line of duty.

Alongside the photo exhibit are booths like a photo wall where you can have your picture taken with fire gear and hose, a lecture area and fire drill / simulation area where people can experience the proper procedure to follow in case of fire emergencies.

All these activities are geared at promoting the Learn not to Burn Program in a fun way.  Firemen in complete fire uniforms and gear will be around along with the mascot Sparky the Fire Dog.  Leaflets, bookmarks and certificates are given to the first 1,500 visitors.

The Learn Not to Burn® (LNTB®) fire safety education program that is available to elementary school children worldwide. Based on the USA’s National Fire Protection Association’s curriculum, it includes songs, stories, puppets, games and other activities to teach fire safety behavior in a way that children can understand and remember.

The Cebu Fire Run will be managed by Runcheck.  Registration details are: 15k P300.00; 7.5k P250.00; 3k P250.00.  There is also the Kiddie Dash 100 meters and 200 meters.  Run starts at 5:00 am and assembly is at 4:30 am.  Prizes are: 1st prize P7,000.00; 2nd prize P5,000.00; 3rd prize P3,000.00 plus medals.  Registration centers are: Runnr (Ayala Center Cebu); Philippine Sports Commission Office (Cebu City Sports Center); Holiday Gym; CFCV Fire Brigade Office.  For more inquiries call Mobile No. 0933-339-9111.

Since 1980, the Cebu Filipino-Chinese Volunteers Fire Brigade with its group of volunteer firemen has helped fight fires in the City and Province of Cebu.  Funding and volunteers come from the members of Cebu’s Filipino Chinese community.  These men render their service on a purely voluntary basis without thought of reward, compensation or recognition, but guided by a sense of civic duty and responsibility for the good of the community blazing a trail in the “Spirit of Volunteerism and Service “.  You may also visit www.facebook/ or ask any fire brigade volunteer.

SM2SM Run; Operation Smile this Sunday

Calling on all awardees of the 29th SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards: the annual honoring of our island’s best is this Saturday, Feb. 19, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Activity Center of the Ayala Center Cebu. Everyone is requested to be at the venue by 2:15 p.m. Attire is semi-formal wear or, if that’s too formal, honorees can come in their athletic uniform (except the swimmers!).

San Miguel Brewery is the lead company helping. Also, this 2011, the following have come forward to support: Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Smart, Rudy Project, Citigym, Air 21 and M. Lhuillier. If you’re an awardee, please call Sandy or Emma at 4161122 local 100 or 112 for more details. See you.

SM2SM. I immensely enjoyed last Sunday’s SM2SM Run. The top officials of SM City–led by Marissa Fernan–were there very early two mornings ago. SM top honchos Joel Andres, Sherry Tuvilla and Tata Mempin I also had a chance to speak with.

Joining the 12K distance, there was plenty to commend with the event organized by Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III. The full closure of both lanes of the SRP. The P30,000 first prize for the 21K winners (which was just as large as the Condura Run in Manila). The passage beside Plaza Independencia and the Malacañang sa Sugbu. The unlimited water supply every kilometer. Best of all, the God-given weather. Late Saturday evening and early Sunday, it poured. But, as God smiled down upon those who took good care of their bodies through exercise, He gifted the runners: no rain until past 9 a.m. when the participants had finished.

Steve Benitez ran his first 12K. The owner of Bo’s Coffee had never previously joined a 10K race. The appeal of running the SRP–plus the prodding of Mike and Joyce Fernan, who also comfortably ran the dozen-kilometer distance–convinced Steve to run. Congratulations also to the tandem of Noy and Amale Jopson, the first-placers in the 12K couples category. Another SM Run is targeted for October.

To doctors Yong Larrazabal and Peter Mancao–and to the entire SM team–well done!

With the Manila-based Kenyan runners after the SM run

CERC. Roy Trani is the new president of the Cebu Executive Runners Club. After many years at the helm of the running group founded in 1997, Jesse Taborada (now the Vice-President) turns over the leadership to a fellow marathoner. The other officers include Kenneth Casquejo (Secretary), Steve Ferraren (Treasurer), Dodong Sulatre (Auditor), Jacs Jacalan (Sgt-at-Arms) and myself as PRO. The “Council of Elders,” not chosen because they’re the oldest, include Dr. Abraham Manlawe, Roel Militar, Dr. Albert Santos and Dr. Vic Verallo. The main project of the CERC, of course, is the Cebu Marathon–slated on Jan. 8, 2012. Congrats, Roy!

BIEBER OR BRUCE. Plenty have commented that, with his new, full crop of hair, Manny Pacquiao looks like Justin Beiber. Is our Pinoy trying to copy the looks of the heartthrob of American music?

“That is a very good question,” Rep. Manny answered in response to a press conference query. “Bruce Lee is my idol. That is why I have this haircut.”

I agree with Pacman. His looks–more so, his quick bursts of punches and flurry of ra-tat-tat blasts–resemble that of the King of Kung Fu.

OPERATION SMILE RUN. If you’re targeting both to get physically fit and to help the needy, join this weekend’s Operation Smile Charity Run. The proceeds go to support the Operation Smile Cebu Mission Year 14–which begins the next day, Feb. 21, at the V. Sotto Hospital when free reconstructive surgeries will be performed to correct cleft lips, cleft palates and many other facial deformities.

Mariquita Salimbangon Yeung started Operation Smile in Cebu more than 12 years ago. Since then, over 3,000 children and young adults have had positive changes to their lives.

This Sunday is the run to both celebrate Operation Smile and to raise funds. Distances (in kms.) are 1.6, 3, 5, 10 and 21. (For the 10K and 21K, RFID timing chips will be used.) Register today at Runnr!