Cebu Marathon: a celebration of running

“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, founder of the New York City Marathon.

Those words are true. A rare number of Filipinos have ever joined the Olympic Games. No Pinoy—since we joined in 1924—has won the gold. But the marathon? The distance of 42.195 kms.? Running by foot—not riding the car, motorcycle or bike? Anybody—yes, that means any body, slim or heavyweight; teenager or a 78-year-old like Raul Cepeda—can achieve “the feat of feet” called the 42K.

As you read this, thousands of runners have swarmed the streets of Cebu. They’re along Osmeña Blvd. They’ve converged at the Cebu I.T. Park. They’re sprinting in Escario, Gorordo or inside the SRP.

Foreigners joining the Cebu Marathon? Sure. There are 18 nationalities represented: from Sweden, UK, Malaysia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Australia, USA, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malaysia, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, and Thailand.

The first participant when the online registration was opened several months back? He was from Germany. One Kenyan runner landed in Cebu two days ago. Armed with a PR of 2:13, he vowed to break the CCM 42K record.

Like our very own Sinulog, the Cebu City Marathon has become international.

Apart from those running the 42K, there will be thousands more joining the 21-km. run. Two nights ago during the Race Briefing at The Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu, I said that the 42K/21K runners are lucky.

“Cebu is one of the oldest and most historic cities in the Phils.,” I said. “And, as we planned the route a few years back, we made sure that runners get the chance to pass through the most iconic landmarks of Cebu… Provincial Capitol, Fuente Osmena, Colon St. (the oldest street in the nation), Magellan’s Cross, City Hall, and Plaza Independencia. Runners also pass through the Tunnel, the only time of the year that happens; the SRP is also closed for the safety of all participants. Enjoy the scenery!”

To all CCM participants, congratulations!

QUOTATIONS. Let me leave you with these inspiring words…

“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

“A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you’ve done it you feel that you can do anything.”

“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

“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

“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

“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

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” – Oprah Winfrey

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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