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.

High marathon fever as Active Zone activates

Tomorrow night and Saturday evening will be unlike any other. For the first time in Cebu, a Carbo-loading/Pre-Race Party will inspire all participants joining the Cebu City Marathon. Who are invited? Everyone. All the 3,600 or so participants who have enlisted for this Sunday’s race. The venue? The Terraces of the Ayala Center Cebu. The garden setting will be transformed into a runners’ haven. Marathon films will be broadcasted. Top runners will give pep talks. Tips will be shared. All these plus a pasta meal with a free drink (from your choice of six Ayala Center tenants) for a minimal fee of P150. If you’ve registered for the 01-10-10 race, it’s a must you go!

Saturday night? It’s the formal launching of the first-ever Sports Hub in our city. If you’ve visited the Ayala Center over the holidays, you’ve probably trekked inside the area previously known as the Food and Entertainment Center. Today, it’s been renamed. From a location for partying, eating and drinking, it’s now a one-stop, one-place, one-destination headquarters for all things sports and adventure. There’s Nike. Mizuno. Adidas. R.O.X. There’s Puma. There’s plenty more. This Saturday, the Active Zone will be an activity center that will buzz.

RACE PACKETS. Updates… the distribution of the race kits is in full force. Yesterday, many of the 2,000 who registered for the 5K picked up their singlets. Today, the 21K and 42K runners can start claiming theirs.

NUMBERS. How many have registered for the Cebu Marathon? For the 42K marathon: 500. For the half-marathon: 750. For the 5K, that’s 2,300. The total is nearly 3,600. This Sunday morning at the Asiatown I.T. Park, considering these numbers, what a sight it will be to see thousands sweating.

5K STARTING TIME. Here’s an important announcement for all joining the 5K Run. While the organizers previously announced a 6 a.m. starting time, this schedule has been moved earlier by 30 minutes. The reason is this: because of the large turnout of over 2,000 runners in the 5K category—plus the latest update that Kenyan elite runners are joining the 21K and 42K—we’ll have to move the schedule to avoid a major traffic situation. Thus, for all 5K runners, please take note of these times: Assembly time: 5 a.m. Starting time: 5:30 a.m. For the 42K and 21K runners, the schedules are virtually unchanged: The 42K: Assembly time is 3:30 a.m. Starting time is 4 a.m. The 21K: Assembly time is 4:30 a.m. Starting time is 5:10 a.m.

PARKING. Another area of concern is the parking. Because while the Asiatown I.T. Park is huge, it will have difficulty accommodating all vehicles. Our solution: We’ve arranged for participants to park in the vacant lots inside the I.T. Park. But here’s an important reminder: Come early! And be ready to walk (consider it a warm-up!) far from the starting line (which is right across The Walk).

TRAFFIC. For the rest of the Cebuano public who are not joining the marathon, we make one request: Your patience. From 4 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., half of the route of the entire marathon will be closed (passing through prominent roads like Osmeña Blvd., Escario St., Gen. Maxilom Ave., Gorordo, Juan Luna). This means, for the vehicle-driving public that morning… traffic. We ask for your patience.

PIT SENYOR. What’s different with this marathon is this word: Volunteerism. Consider that over 500 volunteers—led by the members of the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC)—will serve as marshals along the route. Alongside 300 policemen, they’ll man the intersections, serve water, offer first-aid and serve the runners. This marathon would not be possible if not for the selfless volunteers.

A total of 16 water stations will be spread out along the route. What’s unique about this race is because almost every station will provide entertainment. And so, dancers will dance, drummers will beat, giant speakers will blast noisy music to enliven the marathoners. In all, a festive marathon. Perfect because isn’t this the season for Asia’s biggest-ever festival called the Sinulog?

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.