Over 1,400 runners have registered thus far for the 2021 Cebu Marathon Virtual race. I mean “thus far” because, while the deadline was originally set last Thursday night, another 10 days were added to accommodate those who have yet to join. The new and final deadline is on January 10.
If you’re one of those who occasionally runs and walks, join the race. In case you’re unfamiliar with how a virtual race goes, it’s simple. You run or walk at your place and time of choosing. What’s important is you record and complete the distance within the cutoff time.
It’s 2021! There’s no better way to start the year than to set a target and to accomplish it. The targets are doable. There’s the 15K distance. To the non-athlete, covering 15,000 meters by foot seems far. Yes, it’s the 5K distance from USC Talamban to Ayala Center Cebu — multiplied by three. It’s not a “walk in the park.” But if you consider that you’re given four hours to complete this distance, it’s achievable.
Half-marathon. This is the next option. This one measures 21 kms. That’s the 10.5K distance from USC Talamban to SM Seaside Cebu — multiplied by two. The 21,000-meter stretch looks daunting. But if you’ve been running or walking far distances for sometime, this is a good target. The cutoff time is very kind: five hours. (As comparison, the Milo Marathon 21K has a 2.5-hour cutoff time for you to avail of the medal. This doubles that deadline.)
Finally, there’s the 42K. This one I don’t recommend unless you’ve been a serial runner or one who’s willing to endure suffering and pain. The cutoff is a very unselfish 10 hours.
Why run and walk and join the Cebu Marathon?
First, it comes at the beginning of 2021. After the frightful and horrendous 2020, no year was as highly-anticipated and welcome as this new year. And for you to join a physically-demanding race and to raise your arms and smile at the finish is an accomplishment that will carry over for the remainer of 2021. You’ll feel confident, reassured and optimistic (“positive” is a word that I would have used.. except now).
Second, it’s 1521 plus 500 years. This year is a historic moment for the Philippines and, in particular, our very own Sugbu. Joining the Cebu Marathon virtual race and completing the distance will mean being part, in your own way, in the celebration. It will also mean receiving not only the well-designed Finisher’s Shirt but, more importantly, the Finisher’s Medal with the number “500” engraved on the metal.
Third, no New Year’s Resolution is complete without a fitness goal. Once you join and complete the 15K or 21K or 42K, this will trigger a perfect January start for your fitness journey that will reverberate in the coming 11 months months. You’ll be off to a good new year’s start.
For an eye doctor, the numbers “20/20” are special. (Don’t we all want to hear the words, “You have 20/20 vision,” from our ophthalmologist?)
For Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, the year 2020 takes on a special, double meaning as a top eye surgeon. Just last week, he completed the most incredible of accomplishments: running 7 marathons in 7 days in 7 continents.
From Feb. 7 to 14, he ran a 42K in Cape Town (Africa); Novo (Antarctica); Perth (Australia); Dubai (Asia); Madrid (Europe); Fortaleza, Brazil (South America), and Miami (North America). Dr. Yong was one of only 23 men and 12 women to have completed the event and he became the first Filipino to accomplish this World Marathon Challenge.
Yong started running in 2006. That was only 14 years ago — I say “only” because since then, he has completed a mind-boggling 68 marathons. On one of his first, the 2008 Hong Kong Marathon, we were together.
In preparation for a talk (“Exercise is Medicine”) that I gave to a group of doctors two years ago, I asked Yong why he chose this sport.
“Running clears my mind from everything that goes on in my busy daily routine at work,” he said. “I feel my day is not complete without exercise. Mental and physical sluggishness usually happens when I don’t exercise. Joining marathons not only makes me strong physically but mentally as well. In every marathon, there is always an end goal. And just like in life, to reach your goal, there has to be focus, commitment and determination.”
Yong tries to run five times each week (four times on the treadmill) and he joins local races for his long runs. And unlike many of us who prefer morning runs, Yong cannot because of his early daily surgeries.
“I started exercising because my work became too stressful and I knew then it would eventually take its toll on my health,” he said. He opted for running because his preferred sport (basketball) was too dangerous for his fingers and body — considering his profession (apart from being the CEO and Chairman of CebuDoc).
“Not only is running safe,” he said, “it also compliments my lifestyle since I finish work late. I can train alone anytime after. Later on, after joining international races, I appreciated travelling abroad and learning about their different cultures. Travelling was rarely done before I started running.”
In my interview with him in 2018, he had just completed back-to-back events: first, the Boston Marathon and, six days later, the London Marathon — achieving the coveted Abbott World Marathon Majors Medal (finishing all six majors).
Last month after Yong completed the Cebu Marathon, I texted to congratulate him that night. He said thanks and told me he was running 42K the next day.. on a treadmill! This was all in preparation for his amazing 7-7-7 (World Marathon Challenge).
Yong’s advice to us all: If you want to live a long, healthy life with your wife/husband and watch your kids grow old and graduate from school, you should prioritize your health.
When we studied at the UP Cebu for college, everybody who played sports looked up to Jesse Bernad.
In an article I wrote about him years ago, here’s how I described Jesse whenever we played the Intrams:
“If you saw Troy, he’s Achilles. Our Michael Phelps of the Athens Games. Everybody sweated facing Hulk. As softball pitcher, he threw underhand fastballs that screamed at you like a bullet ambulance. How do I know? I stood meters from him as batter and almost fell off my backside at the zooming softball’s pace. As basketball center, Jessed pulled down rebounds like he were picking mansanitas, deflected shots like one would mosquitoes, and owned the low post like a Tim Duncan.”
Fast forward three decades later, Jesse Bernad is still into sports. But no longer rebounding the basketball or throwing that softball pitch or standing as football goalie and intimidating opponents with his 5-foot-11 frame, he’s into this another workout.
Jesse with Ken Griffey Jr.
“I started running in 2015 when I joined a running club created by Amale Jopson in my previous job at Aboitizland,” said Jesse.
Like all of us, he started running 5Ks. Then, when he experienced that “runner’s high” and wanted to go further, he did 10Ks. Months later and wanting to go for a bigger target, Jesse prepared for a half-marathon.
“With my first 21K, I was nervous but prepared well enough to finish at 2hrs, 20mins,” he said. “Ever since, I’ve been running 21Ks the past 5 years and must have finished 12 races.”
But Jesse had an ultimate goal: To run 42.195 kms.
“I had opportunities to run my first marathon elsewhere but I decided to do it here in my hometown of Cebu, to make it meaningful,” he said. “I saw the Facebook posts of friends Hans Congmon, Bernard Sia and Bryan Tan training. I asked to join their practice runs. This was last September. ‘No excuses this time.’ I told myself, ‘If don’t do it now, I never will.’
His goal: the 2020 Cebu Marathon on Jan. 19.
Jesse continued his 5K runs before increasing his mileage twice a week. He ran 5 to 7 kms. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Ateneo de Cebu oval and Angelicum and long runs on weekends while integrating speed and tempo programs.
“We did our long runs at Cempark, in the hills of Casili and Talamban, and on various city roads every Sunday,” he said. “We trained with the New Balance Running Club. This helped a lot. The program was to run for six straight Sundays, gradually increasing the distance from 15K to 35K. There were about 30 to 35 of us who participated all throughout, and I looked forward to it every weekend.”
Waking up at 3 a.m. every Sunday was challenging.
“It was quite an investment on my time despite my busy work and family schedule especially during the holidays,” he added.
As a result of his training, Jesse lost close to 30 lbs.
Finally, when the new year dawned and the race day drew close, Jesse said he felt “confident and anxious.” He said: “I hardly slept the last two nights before the Cebu Marathon.”
January 19, 2020 arrived and Jesse fulfilled his dream.
“I finished with a time of 5 hours and 13 mins. (my Garmin read 44K total distance),” said Jesse. “The final push I planned did not materialize as I felt a cramp about to happen. The salt sticks I took, given by ultra racer Julian Summers, helped. Overall, I was happy with my time.
“Finishing the race was an exhilarating experience, something I will never forget. Seeing my teammates, especially my childhood buddy Mark Tolentino, whom I coaxed to join me, crossing the line and celebrating made it rewarding for all of us.
“Most of all, having my wife Emma, who did her first 21K, congratulate me at the finish line was the best feeling. I would love to have another opportunity to run another marathon, this time with Emma at my side.”
Jesse and Emma
Jesse shares his tips for all runners:
Find friends who can do it with you. Create a chat room where you can share ideas. Seeing my teammates working hard helped motivate me. Training alone would be a lonely trip.
Ask advise from others who’ve done a marathon. My neighbor and running guru Jun Angeles told me his secret of eating camote with its peeling, which I did for 3 months. It helped me gain more energy. Esteemed triathlete Noy Jopson introduced me to “Double Run” – one in the morning and another at night – two weeks before race day to gain more mileage but less pounding on your legs. I was shocked but understood the concept.
Nutrition is key. After watching “Game Changers” in Netflix, Emma and I learned to eat more complex-carb food: lots of fruits, grains, seeds/nuts and veggies. We avoided fatty food and sweets and became plant-based eaters. Drink lots of water.
Change your lifestyle. Avoid vices, sleep and wake up early. Sleep is your best friend.
Train hard. 42K is no walk in the park. Include leg and core strengthening. Coach Allan Choachuy introduced me to his superset of 10 reps: jumping jacks, squats, push-ups and lunges, to be repeated as many times in 4 minutes. This helped me in the latter stage of the race.
Being busy is no excuse. I continued training despite supervising the opening of our new restaurant – EatsaHabit in Robinsons Galleria – where construction starts at 10pm and ends at 3am. I ran at dawn, at night and in the middle of the day.
Find a running buddy who has the same pace. Veteran runner Roy Trani was my mentor and pacer to the end. I couldn’t have done it without him.
It’s a mental game. Train your brain to deflect pain and the urge to stop. Think of happy thoughts. Your mind will bring you to the finish line.
Age doesn’t matter! It’s never too late to run a marathon. I did mine at age 50. Neither does gender. I came across women who were faster than me.
If you can afford it, invest in a smartwatch.
Commit yourself wholeheartedly. What you put in is what you get. There are no shortcuts.
Lastly, enjoy the whole experience, it’s once-in-a-lifetime.. or so I thought!
As the 2020 Cebu Marathon unfolds at dawn today and as thousands of runners pound the streets of Cebu City, here are interesting tidbits about the 42.195-km. event.
The Everest Marathon is the world’s highest marathon, starting at 17,000 feet at Gorak Shep, close to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
During the 2007 Boston Marathon, astronaut Sunita Williams ran 42K (in 4 hours and 24 minutes) while onboard the International Space Station.
The world’s oldest marathoner is Fauja Singh, who finished the 2011 Toronto Marathon in 8 hours and 11 minutes. He was 100.
In 1990, only 25% of road race finishers in the US were women. Now, women comprise nearly half of all finishers.
In 1977, an 8-year-old (Wesley Paul) ran the NYC Marathon in 3 hours.
At the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, 17 competitors ran 40K.
Football freestyler John Farnworth completed the 2011 London Marathon in 12 hours and 15 minutes, juggling a football the entire distance — not dropping the ball once.
It wasn’t until 1921 that 42.195 kms. became the official distance.
‘Marathon’ comes from the legend of Pheidippides. He ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to spread the word about the Persian defeat in 490 BC. After completing the run, Pheidippides collapsed and died.
In the Midnight Sun Marathon, held in Tromsø, Norway, runners compete under a night time sun.
The oldest female marathoner is Gladys Burrill, aged 92.
The North Pole Marathon holds record for the northernmost marathon, with competitors running in temperatures of -30C.
There is a “Man vs. Horse” marathon in Wales. Humans have won twice since 2004, especially on unusually hot days.
At 200 meters below sea level in the Jordan Valley, the Tiberias Marathon is the lowest marathon in the world.
Eliud Kipchoge holds the world record (2018 Berlin Marathon) with a time of 2:01:39. For the women, it’s Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04).
The fastest average for men (in 2017) was from Ukraine. Their average marathon time: 3:51:10.
The Boston Marathon, which started in 1897, is the world’s oldest annual marathon.
As part of the 42K distance of the Great Wall of China Marathon, runners also climb 5,164 steps.
The world’s youngest marathoner is Budhia Singh. He finished 48 marathons before his fifth birthday.
The 2019 NYC Marathon owns the world record for the number of finishers: 53,627 runners.
Markus Jürgens holds a world record. At the 2017 Hannover Marathon, he timed 3 hours and 38 minutes — running backwards!
When you utter the word “marathon,” it doesn’t mean 5K or 10K. It’s one specific distance: 42.195 kms. Why that odd number? The marathon dates back to the Greek time when a soldier named Pheidippides ran from Athens to Marathon to announce the Greek victory against the Persians. Sadly, Pheidippides died of exhaustion after running 40 kms.!
True story? Ha-ha, no; this is all a legend.
As to why the “42.195 km.” number? This can be traced back to the 1908 London Olympics. Originally, the route was 25 miles but distance was added because, among other things, one: complaints were received that the final miles were cobbles and tram-lines and, two: that the British Royalty wanted to watch the start and finish.
Thus, for concocting this preposterous torture (the marathon), we should blame the Greeks; and for the odd 42.195 number, we ought to blame the British.
Here in Cebu this Jan. 12, 2020, over 1,200 runners will attempt to run the same 42K. (Over 1,600 will run the half-marathon.) They’ll commence at the Cebu Business Park (CBP), traverse towards the Provincial Capitol, jog to the Mambaling Underpass, return to Osmeña Blvd., dash to the Sto. Niño Church, dive into the SRP Tunnel and gallop towards the U-turn point in Il Corso, SRP, before returning to CBP.
The starting gun will be fired at 3 a.m. and there’s a cutoff time of 7 hours. Along the way, there will be 14 stations that will be loaded with water and entertainment.
Why, you ask, do people spend months waking up at dawn to prepare for the marathon? As one Bill Buffum once said: “The marathon is not really about the marathon, it’s about the shared struggle. And it’s not only the marathon, but the training.”
True. The actual race is the “easy” part. By easy, I don’t mean it’s effortless; I mean it’s the electrifying finale of the whole process. The most difficult times are these: the 3 a.m. alarm clock rings; the Sunday 30K long runs; the weekend sprints; the knee pains.
As the saying goes, the marathon is hundreds of kilometers; the finish is the last 42K.
To all running the Cebu Marathon, especially to the first-timers, I salute you. It’s time to taper and rest those muscles. Like Manny Pacquiao days before his Las Vegas fight, it’s time to stop the sparring (running) and get your body relaxed for Sunday.
Carbo-load days before. Drink lots of water. Buy your energy gels. Get enough sleep. Don’t run too fast in the first 21K. (It’s often said that the first half of the marathon is up to 32K and the last half is the remaining 10K.) Best advice of all: enjoy it. Smile, take photos if you can bring your phone; high-five the volunteers; ask your friends to cheer you on. You are lucky to be among the world’s first to run a marathon this new decade.
As you’re reading this, the Cebu Marathon is underway. Starting at 3 a.m., over 1,300 runners will start their long trek from the Cebu Business Park and run a crazy long distance with the aim of being called this: Marathoner.
The marathon is an enigma. It has transformed people’s lives. It has caused knee, foot and back injuries to almost every participant. It’s a dream. It’s a target in one’s “bucket list.”
42.195 is the exact number of kilometers for the marathon. (If you hear someone saying, “I’ll run a 5K marathon,” that’s incorrect.)
Its history dates back to 490 BC in the Battle of Marathon when, according to legend, a Greek soldier named Pheidippides ran to Athens to report the defeat of the Persians. Fast forward to 1896, when the Olympic Games were first held in Athens, the marathon was in the original roster of events.
Today, an estimated 800 marathon events are organized worldwide. This morning, it’s our very own Cebu City that’s hosting the 42K race. (There are also two other distances offered, the 21K and 5K, but the premier event is the 42K.)
What makes our Cebu race special is the Sinulog. It’s timed perfectly a week before the grand parade; thus, the drum beaters, banners and dancers all contributing to a festive, Pit Senyor occasion.
The Hydration Stations, over a dozen of them scattered throughout the route, are stops not only for drinking water or Pocari Sweat but also to get rejuvenated. Entertainment is a must among the water stops — giving a much-needed boost to the wearied runners.
If you’re a participant today, congratulations. It doesn’t matter if you’re a sub-3 runner (like our Olympian Mary Joy Tabal) or it will take you the full 7 hours to complete the journey. What matters is that you joined and finished.
If you’re a friend or relative of a participant, applaud your marathon finisher. Commend him or her for all the months of waking up at 3 a.m. to run; for the discipline and determination. (In the U.S., it’s estimated that only 0.5 percent of the population has finished a marathon. This number will be much, much less in the Philippines.)
If you’re a regular Cebu resident like majority of the SunStar readers, why not “join” by going out early today (the event will conclude at 10 a.m) and cheering on the participants. Finally, if you’re driving and will encounter heavy traffic, be patient. Think less of your inconvenience (sitting down, possibly in an aircon car) and think more of the sacrifices and sweat endured by the marathoners on the road.
Have you ran a 21K or a 42K marathon before? If yes, that’s terrific; you’re one of a few hundred thousand (from our planet’s 7.5 billion inhabitants) to have suffered, sweated, swallowed the pain of sore feet, and swung your arms up in the arm to declare victory at the finish.
If you haven’t joined a half-marathon or a 42.195-km. race before, now is the time to do it. Make the year “2018” a special one. And start the new year — perfectly-timed with the Sinulog — with a runner’s bang.
Set the date, January 14, 2018. That’s a Sunday. That’s exactly five months and 18 days from today. That’s more than enough time, if you’ve been running 5Ks, 10Ks and 15Ks, to attempt a longer and loftier goal.
It’s the 2018 Cebu Marathon.
What changes are in store for the runners? First, it’s back to Cebu. For the past four years, the Cebu Marathon was organized by RunRio, the country’s largest race organizer that’s Manila-based. It was good. But now it’s time… Bisaya na pud!
The Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC), which founded this event in 2008 when it was first called the Sinulog Half-Marathon, has partnered with top Cebu organizers Kenneth Casquejo and Joel Juarez of Iconic Sports + Events to run this running event. Like it was in the first six years (2008 to 2013), this will be all-Bisaya.
Second, registration will begin tomorrow. And if I were you, I’ll make sure to register this weekend. Why? Because of the incentives in store for all the early-bird registrants.
The Australian brand 2XU, very popular in the fitness and sporting world, will offer a limited edition “2XU Race Tee” for all who register today, tomorrow and Sunday. You may opt to register online (www.cebumarathon.ph) or even better, visit the Active Zone of Ayala Center Cebu to register onsite.
Discounted “early-bird” rates are being offered this weekend. For the 21K, it’s P1,100 and for the 42K, it’s P1,400.
For this special rate, you get the 2XU Race Tee plus several others: a sling bag, an embroidered towel, accident insurance, and a finisher’s shirt and medal upon reaching the finish.
To be clear to all participants, those who do not register this weekend will get a New Balance singlet — still good but possibly not as special as the commemorative 2XU Race Tees.
Also, those who register much later will have to pay the higher prices: P1,400 for the 21K and P1,800 for the 42K… these are the rates for the participants who register after the early-bird registration.
What more for this weekend? The first 200 who enlist tomorrow will get free Ayala Center Cebu cinema tickets. So be there at 10 in the morning.
And, this time to be given to all who show up at the Active Zone this whole weekend, the organizers will be handing out P500 shopping coupons from New Balance.
Important note: All the race giveaways (2XU race tee, towel, sling bag and others) will be given during the Race Expo from January 10 to 12.
As I said, make “2018” an extraordinary year by gifting yourself (or your spouse, loved ones or business colleagues) with the gift of exercise and sport and running. Having finished a few marathons myself, I guarantee you that a 42K or 21K experience will be life-changing. You’ll be more positive, slimmer, fitter. Make sure you register this weekend!
For more details, visit the Facebook page of “Cebu Marathon” or log-in to the website, www.cebumarathon.ph.
Exactly 90 days are left before January 8, 2017. That’s the morning when the starting gun will be fired at 3 a.m. to commence a looong 42 kilometer adventure for those running the 2017 Cebu Marathon.
Why, you ask, should someone be crazy and idiotic to travel that far a distance with no bike wheels or car wheels but just one’s God-given leg wheels? Why run the marathon, you ask? Valid question.
As someone who’s been bitten by this running bug the past 10 or so Octobers, I offer a few reasons.
One, because it’s there. That’s not an original phrase. Those are the same words that Sir Edmund Hillary uttered when asked why climb Mount Everest. Because it’s there, he proudly exclaimed.
Same uncomplicated reason why you ought to strive and finish a full 42.195-km. run called the marathon. Simply because the challenge presents itself. Simply because very, very, very, very few have achieved it. Simply to absorb the pain, to endure the training of that dawn-to-sunrise footslog, to sweat endlessly for six hours with legs cramping and heart pounding and knees aching. Because the marathon is there.
Two: to get slimmer. I’ve tried all types of sports and exercise and I tell you with all comprehensive analysis and honesty that nothing beats running. You burn more calories per minute on the road, pounding those calf muscles and swinging those arms and bobbing that head with running than any other sport.
I guarantee you: Want to lose those 24 unwanted pounds? Enlist for a marathon. Given the volume of training that you’ll endure, it’s but natural that your body fat will evaporate and those excesses will disappear.
Third reason: You’ll gain friends. Running long-distance is tough to do by your lonesome. It’s also not advisable as you wouldn’t want to be running (in the dark) from 3:30 a.m. onwards by yourself— I’m talking of your physical safety. If you’re training long, enlist a group of friends to trek with you. Those one, two, three, four hours of running will be most enjoyable when you’re talking to a buddy, sharing how your work and week went, conversing tsismis while touring Cebu’s city streets.
This is what our Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC) group does on Sunday mornings and this is what dozens of groups do. They run together. They forge better relationships.
Fourth, I quote Theodore Roosevelt: “Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.”
This means that the greater the effort, the greater the achievement. It’s the same with running. Almost weekly, a Fun Run is offered for anyone to join. Mostly, the distances are 5K and 10K. These are good distances to cover. But if you really want to aim for a difficult yet achievable grand target, go for the full length. It will require more time and more sweat and more willpower and more fighting spirit — but once you’ve crossed that 42K finish line, you’ll be rewarded with an inner joy and the widest of smiles.
Fifth reason: You’ll sleep better. No kidding. It’s proven that the more tired you are physically, the better your sleep. And who doesn’t want that deep and relaxing rest at night? When you run, let’s say four times weekly, your body will be more fatigued than usual — which will give you a better sleep.
Six: You’ll inspire others. I’ve met so many marathoners who were previously sedentary individuals. When their relatives or office mates look at their physique now, they’re slimmer. But more than appearance, when others realize how far they’ve run, they stand amazed and marvel at the effort and dedication. If you can inspire others to run and to turn healthy… kudos! You’ve not only helped yourself but also others.
No. 7: You’ll develop a good habit. What’s so laudable with running is you need very little equipment or baggage to do it. When you travel, just bring your Saucony shoes and off you go. (You can’t do this with the Vellum road bike.) As your love for running grows, it will infiltrate your life and become enmeshed with your lifestyle. Your mind and body will look for that daily sweat.
Back in the 1990s, the most celebrated footrace of our province was called the “Tri-city Marathon.” Though it wasn’t officially a marathon (whose strict definition involves a distance of 42.195 kms.), it was the most looked-forward-to and exciting race of its time.
Foreigners landed in Mactan to join. The elite long-distance stars from Manila arrived to compete in the 32K. Ordinary folks dressed to impress while wearing sneakers. Organized by Joy Augustus Young, then (and now) Cebu City Councilor, it was festive and encouraged the participants to dress in loud, colorful and fun costumes. It was a mardi gras and run merged into one carnival.
Come January 8, 2017, we hope to revive this “Tri-City Marathon” with our very own Cebu Marathon. Why tri-city? Because it will involve the three largest cities of our island: Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Cebu.
The Cebu Marathon had always started and finished at the Cebu I.T. Park. Back in 2008 when it was the Sinulog Half-Marathon, runners started their trek and finished all-sweating in Lahug. Ten years later — for the 2017 version — we’re still in the Ayala-owned property but this time it’s at the Cebu Business Park (CBP). The space inside the Cebu I.T. Park is congested with high-rise buildings and restaurants. There’s no more room for a marathon event there. The new start/finish area will be along the Negros and Bantayan roads of CBP, near the gleaming and tall MSY Building.
MARCELO FERNAN BRIDGE. For the 21K and 42K participants, it will be a brand-new route. The half-marathoners will depart CBP and run towards the Mabolo Church and turn left at the SM City Cebu. From there, it’s a nonstop path along Ouano Avenue and Jose Briones St. until you turn right at the U.N. Avenue before climbing the bridge, descending into Mactan, and making a U-turn and running back to CBP. It’s an out-and-back 21K course.
With the 42K, we’ll ask the runners to meander along the main Cebu City streets first — to view the Sinulog lights and sights — before heading towards Mandaue and Mactan.
Why the change of route when the Cebu Marathon had always traversed the SRP and Talisay City? Well, as the slogan “Change is coming” is propagated all over our 7,107 islands, this event might as well join the mantra. Second: the smell. The headlines scream about the foul odor near the SRP and Talisay portions and we wouldn’t want our international visitors to inhale this air while huffing and puffing. The sport of running is difficult enough; imagine the extra suffering by breathing the foul smell? Most of all, the Marcelo Fernan Bridge is a symbol of Cebu; and what better destination to surmount and climb.
Since the Cebu Marathon falls under the Sinulog week, the usual loud music and drum-beaters and entertainment will uplift the runners. There will be at least 14 hydration stations for the marathon — complete with Gatorade drinks and Nature’s Spring water.
Registration starts today! Just visit the website www.cebumarathon.net and you’ll have your choices of four categories: 5K, 10K, 21K and 42K. For those who want to register in person, the onsite registration will commence on Oct. 10 at the Active Zone of Ayala Center Cebu.
RUNRIO. For the thousands who joined the Milo Marathon race last Sunday, it was another very well-organized event. I ran alongside our Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC) president Steve Ferraren and, in terms of safety, hydration, entertainment and overall management, there is no better organizer of foot races in the Philippines than Rio de la Cruz. The RunRio team — who also organize the Condura Marathon and the Run United Trilogy, among others — is a big group of professionals that include Franco Bambico, JP Aranda, Rommel and Allan Balester and many more.
And, like the 14 or so Milo races all over the country, RunRio is once again helping organize the Cebu Marathon. In partnership with the CERC, which founded this event a decade ago, RunRio will put their experience and expertise to good use come January 8.
What a way to start the new year! On the 11th day of what is expected to be a grueling and up-and-down-and-up 365 days of 2015, thousands joined the Cebu Marathon last Sunday.
This will be a terrific year. To those who doubted if they’d be able to finish 21 kms. by foot or those who previously thought that running 42,195 meters was unthinkable — well, think again. You’ve done it. To the brave, to the bold and yes, to the barefooted… kudos!
You might still be limping today. Your calf muscles are still as hard as stone. But those memories: the 1 a.m. wake-up call; those joyful minutes that transformed into painful hours; all those weeks of training and thousands of pesos spent on running gear and registration fees last year; they’re all worth it. You’ve made it. What a running start for 2015.
The over three thousand participants, including dozens of foreigners, could not have asked for better weather. The skies were not only rain-free (unlike last year’s deluge of sky water); the temperature was cool. To those who ran the return stretch at the SRP, weren’t those clouds God-provided to help you? The ideal conditions provided the backdrop for many to do a PR.
This was the 8th edition of CCM. The first two were labeled “Sinulog Half-Marathon” and the last six included 42Ks. Some have made it a Sinulog-type of pilgrimage, running every second Sunday of the year, joining every CCM. Like Abby Ponce. Another is my ultra-marathoner idol, Tony Galon, who’s done 7. Same with Atan Guardo, who finished with a speedy time of 4:24.
Why run the marathon? It’s a crazy thought, no? Willfully inflicting pain on yourself while others are fast asleep. There are many reasons. For some, their loss of 60 lbs. of body weight has enabled them to be lighter — like CERC president Steve Ferraren, who ran his 28th marathon. For others, it’s to escape pain; yes, how ironic: to escape pain, you inflict pain; but marathon running counters all other problems we have at home and at work. It’s an escape and a legal drug. For many, because it’s a goal that seemed impossible to accomplish.. then. But now, they’ve deleted the word’s first two letters and made it possible.
In behalf of RunRio and CERC (Cebu Executive Runners Club), we thank numerous groups who have made CCM15 another good run.
Dr. Peter Mancao and his team of dozens of doctors (Dr. Arnold Tan was at the finish) and nurses and volunteers, who assembled medical stations and paraded ambulances throughout the route.
To Citom, to our police, and to the hundreds of marshals: I don’t think Cebu has seen a road race as cordoned-of and safe for the runners as last Sunday’s.
To our Hydration Station partners: Bionic Builders (of soon-to-be-Ironman Bernard Sia), the Primary Group of Builders (of marathoner Wally Liu), Cebu Grand Hotel (of 21K finisher Carlo Suarez), Filinvest, Aeolus Tires (of Gerard Tan, who personally handed out water and Gatorade), to Barangay Lahug, Honda Motor World of Jonel Borromeo, Cebu Parklane Intl. Hotel, Holiday Gym and Spa (represented by Veron Enriquez); to Tinago Brgy. Captain Joel Garganera, to the Talisay City officials; to Joel Juarez, who coordinated for majority of the technical needs… To Ayala Center Cebu, the event’s main sponsor and venue… To Rio de la Cruz, who expertly managed the event with his RunRio team, spearheaded by Franco Bambico and JP Arandia… thank you.
Finally, I quote Patrick Concepcion, the organizer of the Condura Skyway Marathon (which runs this Feb. 1), who joined the marathon four mornings ago and wrote in his blog: “All things considered, the Cebu Marathon is beautiful and probably one of the best I’ve run thus far in the Philippines. I highly recommend you include this marathon in your bucket list.”
To those who didn’t join last weekend, see you on Jan. 10, 2016.