Best marathon tip: ‘Run Your Own Race’

Having joined 42K races in Hong Kong, Quezon City and Singapore, the single most important suggestion that I can impart to the thousands joining this Sunday’s Cebu City Marathon can be summed up in those four simple words above.

Each of us is different. Some are slim, long-legged, fast — like Mendel Lopez. Most of us are not. This means that only a rare few, for example, can run a “sub-4 marathon” like Steve Ferraren and Dr. Yong Larrazabal. Most of us can try — but most-likely, we won’t achieve that speedy target in our lifetime. Run Your Own Race.

Never mind if others are faster. Don’t mind those who, in the first 750 meters, sprint as if a salivating Doberman were chasing them. If you’re running the 42.195 km. distance, the race is long. Don’t rush. Slow down. Walk. Drink in each water stop. Relax. You’re not Haile Gebrselassie. You’re you. So run your own race.

You know your body. You know how long you’ve trained. If your training has been less than planned, stop. Trot. Jog. This marathon — as long as you don’t take eight hours or so — is not strict with the curfew. So pace yourself. The slower you are in the first half, the better. The reserved energy you keep will be utilized towards the finish. Our body is like a battery. Deplete it quickly and you’ll lose power towards the end — when you need it most.

Don’t mind the others. Don’t be envious of those who overtake you. A heavyweight whistling past you? Let him go. Believe me, you’ll breeze past him later. Because — unless you’re Mary Grace de los Santos — the race is not about speed… it’s about crossing that finish line. Run. Your. Own. Race.


Parking. It’s best to park at the Waterfront Hotel. There’s ample room there. You get to warm-up (walk) heading to the starting area at the Asiatown I.T. Park. You’re also assured of parking space — given that the I.T. Park open spaces are limited.

Go Early. The 42K runners start 4 a.m. Be there before 3:30 a.m. You want to be relaxed — not in a last-minute rush — before the starting gun fires. The 21K participants begin at 5:10 a.m. Show up at 4:30. For the 5K, it’s 5:30. Arrive before 5 a.m.

Onsite Registrants. Only today and tomorrow, those who have yet to register can do so at the Active Zone of Ayala Center.

Change Category. Here’s an important message: If you’re planning to run a different category from the one you’ve registered, sorry but you cannot. For example, you got injured in training and want to run 21K instead of your registered 42K. You cannot. You won’t be allowed to enter the 21K starting area. The solution? Visit Active Zone today and change your category. This entails a fee — but, at least, you can still join.

Pasta Party. That’s tomorrow, Friday, starting 6 p.m. at The Terraces of Ayala Center. Be there. Listen to inspiring stories. Be updated of the final notices. Mingle with your fellow runners. Pasta meals are available at P150/meal.

Photos. One new addition to this year’s CCM are the professional photos. Needs and Solutions, a company specializing in beautiful pictures, will set-up 10 photo stations: at the Start/Finish, JY Square, U.P., Capitol, Magellan’s Cross, the Tunnel, Fort San Pedro, and several points along the SRP. You can then purchase your photos via online. Smile!

Traffic. To the Cebuano public, come Sunday morning, you will feel inconvenienced. Your movement will slow down. This is understandable because the city government is closing half of all roads along the route: including Osmeña Blvd., Gen. Maxilom., Gorordo, Salinas… plus the full closure for 12 hours of the SRP and the SRP Tunnel from 10 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday. We ask for your patience.

Finally… To the runners: I will end in the same way I started: Don’t mind the others. Many will be faster… let them go. Stay within your practiced speed. Stay calm. Enjoy, as the slogan reads, “The Sights and Sounds of Cebu.” Run Your Own Race.

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!

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