Cebu Executive Runners Club members
I woke up at 4:20 a.m. Drank coffee, changed into a sleeveless shirt, tied my shoelaces and left at 4:45. When I arrived at Sug-angan Restaurant along J. Llorente St., I met five men. At 5 in the morning two days ago—last Sunday—while the whole Cebu snuggled in bed, these five runners dripped with sweat that flowed down their cheeks.
Dr. Vic Verallo had ran 12 kms. They started pounding the asphalt at 3 a.m. Can you believe that? Jess Taburada was with Dr. Vic, so were Serge Amora and Joven Vilasor. Meyrick Jacalan, like me, just arrived.
Tired? Were they panting? Did their knees look wobbly? No. They had just warmed-up. After 12,000 meters. At 5 a.m.
We ran. We circled Fuente Osmeña, jogged along B. Rodriguez, turned right to V. Rama, down Banawa and stopped after the Labangon intersection. We bought water then ran back. Upon reaching Arcenas Estate, we turned left then toured the compound. Next, we headed back to Osmeña Boulevard, finishing with a 300-meter sprint before we reached Medalle Building. My watch read “1:11.” We had finished at over an hour and ran over 10 kms.
Tired? Panting? Wobbly legs? Not these runners.
You see, these aren’t your regular, every-Sunday-morning, big-bellied joggers. They’re certified Running Fanatics. Not only do they run on Sundays, they also lace up their New Balance shoes thrice during weekdays.
The Marathon? The 42.195-km. run that would damage our ligaments and ankles if we’re unprepared? They’ve ran that. Dr. Vic Verallo has ran the Pasig and Milo Marathons. Jess finished the Tucson, Arizona 42K and Milo.
And this February 17, 2008—that’s 4 ½ months from now—they’re bringing their wives on a holiday expedition to Hong Kong. Not to shop, no. Not to sight-see and ride the tram to Victoria Peak. They’re running to Victoria Peak! They’ll run and walk and sprint to the finish line of the tough and hilly Standard Chartered Hong Kong International Marathon.
Hard-core runners. Definition: The core of their bodies is hard—that’s why they run.
After we finished our Sunday run, we converged at the Sug-angan Restaurant owned by Jess Taburada. Soon after, the Dean of Running, the man I’ve labeled “Running Man,” the leg-pusher who’s logged dozens of marathon finishes, The Freeman columnist, and the founder of the Cebu Executive Runners Club arrived: Raffy Uytiepo.
Only a few months new to this sport, I sought Raffy’s advice. “What’s the proper form of running?” I asked. We strode to the asphalt and Raffy demonstrated. I nodded my head.
Soon, more arrived: Roel Militar, Billy Tan, Jonathan Consunji, Dr. Tito Macarasig, Rudy Tindugan and Barry Marquez.
On a long white table sat plenty of food. Pandesal. Hot chocolate. Bananas. Fried rice. Longaniza. Scrambled eggs. Juice. After all the sweat, is there a more appropriate finale exercise than lifting one’s arms… for breakfast?
Breakfast after the Run
We exchanged stories. Meyrick Jacalan pondered on the Habagat Adventure Race he was asked to join next month. Raffy handed tips on the Hong Kong Marathon. Then Jess, the president of the Cebu Executive Runners Club, asked the group to turn serious.
The Cebu Marathon, he asked. Are we pushing through with it next year?
If you recall, last February, this same group organized the Cebu Sinulog Marathon, the first 42K marathon in Cebu in decades. Are we organizing the Cebu Marathon No.2? Jess asked.
Of course! came the resounding answer. I spoke to the group about how the Cebu City Sports Commission, with the help of Councilors Jack Jakosalem, Yayoy Alcoseba and Gerry Cariño and the rest of the CCSC team, can help. Meyrick, the man atop one of Cebu’s top ad agencies—ASAP Advertising—spoke of how sponsorship money can flow. Raffy promised to get PATAFA accreditation. In the end, after an hour of ideas tossed front and back, a decision was arrived at:
January 19, 2008.
The 2008 Cebu City Sinulog Marathon.