Adidas and the Red Sea

It’s a Sunday morning and my alarm rang at 4:45 a.m. I made coffee, checked my e-mail, showered, dressed, and headed out the door with my wife Jasmin and daughter Jana to join the Adidas 5K race named “King of the Road.” When I arrived at the front of the Cebu Normal University, a sea of red swamped the road. Adidas outfitted 3,474 runners with red sleeveless shirts and three white stripes. Wise move. When the gun fired at exactly 6 in the morning, running shoes banged against the asphalt road of Osmena Boulevard.

The 3K race runners made a U-turn near Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital while the 5K runners turned left after Capitol, headed for Jollibee Guadalupe, turned left along V. Rama, then left at B. Rodriguez Ave. then right to Osmena Blvd. until the runners finished at the Cebu City Sports Center.

Like any race, it was fun. And fulfilling. You get the “runner’s high” when you cross that finish line. You sweat. Your legs stiffen while your heart jumps inside. It’s fun.

Ricky Ballesteros, the co-organizer of the Adidas run and the head of the Cebu City Sports Center, is one man I truly admire in the sports world. Ricky stood on-stage to award the winners. Along with Carlwin Muldong, Adidas’ representative, he invited me (as incoming Cebu City Sports Commission Commissioner) and Cebu City Councilor Edgar Labella on stage. It was my first time to meet the Councilor and we talked about running.

“Every 4:30 in the morning,” Councilor Labella told me, “I run here, at the oval of the Sports Center. I run 20 rounds (that’s eight kms.) about five to six times a week.”

Councilor Edgar Labella

Wow. That’s amazing. 10K runs? Sure. No problem for Councilor Labella.

The Adidas “King of the Road” was a big success. It was so successful, in fact, that they ran out of shirts and singlets for the participants. When I enlisted at the Adidas shop at the Banilad Town Center (BTC) earlier this week, we were told there were no more 5K entries. That’s what happens when nearly 3,500–more than they expected–join.

Congratulations to Adidas!

Ricky Ballesteros, Cebu City Sports Center head and the main organizer of the Adidas run

Dr. Yong Larrazabal (center), Dr. Peter Mancao (right) and John Pages

Carlwin Muldong of Adidas (left) awarding the trophy

The Red Sea…


Categorized as Running
John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!


  1. Looking at the above photos made me feel homesick. The CCSC is a familiar scene for it is where I routinely went for my morning jog during my stay in Cebu last year. In few occasions I ran into Edgar Labella. He is, by the way, my igso.

  2. Bebot… time to make those travel plans and take that Cebu mini-break again! With Councilor Labella, he is, without doubt, one of the nicest men you can come across in Cebu. He’s humble and is the anti-politician: he doesn’t want himself promoted but would rather stay behind the scenes and work hard. Your “igso?” What do you mean?

  3. I find it amusing when, every now and then, a Cebuano term that is not too often used pops out of my head. Igso (sp?; might be “ig-su”) means godbrother/godsister. My mom is Edgar’s godmother. Both our mothers were movie/stage actresses and were the best of friends. Yes, Edgar is a very down to earth kind of guy and intelligent; he knows his craft as a legislator. I’m real proud of him, needless to say.

  4. Bebot, you are definitely correct. Councilor Labella is very down to earth and intelligent. He’s also very humble. Yup, I like that term “Ig-su.” I also like how Cebuanos say it… ig-ZU! Thanks!

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