14 reasons to join the ‘14 Cebu Marathon

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It’s official. In two weeks’ time, the registration for one of this nation’s most celebrated of road-running races begins. Here’s why you should join:

1) It’s international. Few races in the world — and there are thousands — are certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations/Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (IAAF/AIMS). Cebu Marathon is one of them!

2) RunRio. Founded by our group, the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC), in our first two years, we organized the Half-Marathon. In the four years after that, from 2010 to 2013, it was the 42K. This time, we’re partnering with Rio de la Cruz, the country’s premier organizer of running events. Rio will be the lead organizer and will extend his expertise in making this the best Cebu Marathon ever.

3) Same registration fees. Yes. Even with the international accreditation and even with so much more offerings, the entry fees will be the same as 2013. The only minor addition is P100 for the 21K — which is more than justifiable because of… (See # 7.)

4) Sinulog. Ours is the only true festival-type event. It’s not manufactured. When we say that there will be loud music, street dancers, hanging buntings and that once-a-year Sinulog spirit, it’s because the Cebu Marathon is part of Sinulog. It’s held during the Sinulog season, exactly seven mornings before the grand mardi gras.

5) New medals. In our first three editions, it was the mango design. Last January, it was the hanging rice (“puso”). In 2014, it will be unique. I know what it is but I’m not about to announce it here. We’ll reserve the exciting news soon. But here’s a guarantee: You’ll “sing” praises for the medal!

6) Goodies. There will be plenty: singlets, finishers shirts (the 21K will have “Half-Marathoner” at the back while the 42K will have “Marathoner”) and loot bags.

7) Medals for the 21K. As part of the organizing team for the previous Cebu Marathons, we’ve heard this complaint every January. “Why no medals for the half-marathon?” Finally, it’s here. All who cross that finish line at the Cebu I.T. Park after running 21 kms. will receive that well-deserved award.

8) Food and drinks along the way. I remember Joy Polloso handing out roasted calf. The UNGO group gave out plenty of food. Some organizations, those manning the 13 water stations, prepared lechon, humba, puso, barbeque and so much more. Just a warning: don’t eat too much — you still have to finish the race!

9) RunRio cards. This is a new addition. How do you register? Not by filling-up a registration form. That’s a waste of precious paper. This time, when you visit the Active Zone of Ayala Center Cebu, you can purchase the RunRio card. You scratch a portion at the back and it will reveal a code number. You may register on-site (Ayala Center) or online. More details to follow.

10) Prize money. We’ll make this announcement soon but it’s guaranteed that the cash prizes will be an increase from last January. For the men and women champions, we’re looking at six figures!

11) Historic sights. Cebu is one of the most historical of cities in our 7,107 islands. There’s the Magellan’s Cross. There’s Colon Street. There’s Plaza Independencia, Osmena Blvd., the City Hall and the Provincial Capitol, Fuente Osmena — all must-visit sights for tourists and all places that you, the Cebu Marathon participant, will see by foot while running. Plus, of course, the Tunnel…

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12) No cups. This is the country’s first ever marathon which will not use cups. “What, no cups? How do we drink?” you ask. We will be providing extra manpower at each water station so they can personally pour the water in your handheld bottles (which we’ll be giving you for free). The reason for this no-cups-new-idea is because we want an…

13) Environmentally-friendly race. In this era of too much waste, Coach Rio has pioneered an idea to reduce waste. Usually, over 200,000 cups are thrown at each race. Imagine the cleaner streets and lesser plastic usage with this concept.

14) It’s the new year. Yes! Imagine finishing a 21K or 42K just days after the year starts? (Race day: Jan. 12, 2014.) Imagine the positive impact and momentum this will give you throughout 2014?

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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