Running Clinic Part 3 this Saturday, Dec. 5

During the months of September and October, our group—the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC)—organized two gatherings for Cebuanos. The purpose: to impart techniques and instruction on the hottest sport to literally land on our streets today… Running.

This Saturday is Part III. It will be different, fresh, outstanding. That’s because two professionals will be here. Not to join a Sunday 6 a.m race or to suroy-suroy in Tops or to swim at Shangri-La’s pool—they’re here to lecture. To teach. To impart their know-how.

Coach Jim Saret I’ve known for a long time. Back in the mid-80s, we played junior tennis together in the hard-courts of the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center in Manila. Having pursued a full-time career in sports—he studied Sports Medicine in America—Jimbo will be in Cebu to discuss several topics: (1) running and training techniques; (2) the necessary preparations to take up running as a sport; (3) tips for different levels or runners: starting out, beginners, advanced, marathoners, and (4) how to determine readiness: when to move from 3K to 5K to 10K to 21K and 42K.

Coach Julius Giron will accompany Mr. Saret. This time, he will talk specifics: the benefits of using a heart rate monitor, the advantages of using compression wear outfits, and the differences between forefoot and midfoot running.

Again—and I reiterate—this is the first time that experts from Manila will land in Cebu to conduct this seminar. Thanks to RUNNR (who’s bringing the specialists here) and, of course, to the host of the event, Ayala Center Cebu.

So, don’t miss this! Best of all… it’s FOR FREE.

That’s this Saturday (Dec. 5) from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Active Zone, Ayala Center Cebu. To reserve seats, I suggest you sprint for the telephone now and register ASAP. Call Marlin at 232-8518/19. Early registrants will be given priority seating. See you there!

The Cebu City Marathon: Ato ni bai!

Running has replaced badminton as the most popular recreational sport in Cebu today. If you arise early on a Sunday and visit the two parks—Cebu Business Park and the Asiatown I.T. Park—you will see women and men in short shorts, leggings, sleeveless shirts. On their feet are soft, thick-padded shoes and they’re all moving in forward motion.

Consider last Sunday. There were two races held simultaneously: the 2nd Running MAD event at the U.P. Lahug grounds and the Velez Hospital Run along Ramos St. Nearly 2,000 runners joined both.

This Sunday, Nov. 29? The same. There’s the Go For Green Tourism Eco-Run at the Asiatown I.T. Park and the 4th Seminary Fund Run at the Cebu Business Park. Both start at 6 a.m. Both will invite over a thousand participants each to trample on our asphalted road. Both will ask runners to sweat.

Which brings me to the paramount race in our land: the Cebu City Marathon. Scheduled on “01-10-10,” that’s Jan. 10, 2010, this will be the Wimbledon of road events, the Super Bowl of Cebu racing, the PBA Finals of all Cebu running events.

The main reason? This will be the first time in several years that Cebu will host the full marathon distance of 42.195 kms. Most races are 5K or 10K—this one will be different; there will be three distances: 5K, 21K and 42K.

Also, the prize money. A total of P300,000 in cash prizes will be offered to the winners. The 42K champion? He nets a large amount of P50,000. The runner-up, P25,000. And so forth.

Next, the SRP. For many of us who drive through the South Road Properties area—and for plenty of us who want to run or bike inside the SRP but can’t—this will be your chance.

The Sinulog. That’s another reason to invite friends from outside Manila to come. Scheduled one week before the grand festival, what a time to see Cebu’s streets—by foot. By running.

And, possibly the best reason of all, is the distance. You see, among runners, the ultimate goal is to finish a marathon. If you’re an elite, world-class runner, it’s like joining the Olympics 100-meter dash. If you’re a boxer, it’s like fighting inside the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. It’s the same with running. As you progress from 3K to 5K to 10K and to 21K… the major challenge is to finish that 42K.

I, myself, can attest to this quest to finish the “holy grail of running.” I started running three years ago and, last December, finally crossed that finish line at the Singapore Marathon. The good news is, Cebuano runners need not travel to Singapore or Hong Kong. This event will be here.

Ato ni bai! The latest update? It’s called the ChampionChip. For the first time in Cebu—and, I believe, in the entire Visayas and Mindanao—the Cebu City Marathon will hand out timing chips for the 21K and 42K runners. This is unprecedented. And expensive! At a total cost of no less than P500,000, our group—the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC)—has decided to use the chip.

Put simply, this chip is a mini transponder that runners will attach to their shoes. Water-resistant, it will record the time of the runner from start to finish to all points along the route. Benefits? Plenty. It will prevent dishonest runners from making short-cuts. The results, to be posted within 24 hours, will be accurate. And, the organizers will have a hassle-free finish line, devoid of dozens of people checking the time splits of the finishers.

In short, world-class. It will elevate the event to a higher status. This timing chip system—now used in a few races in Manila—is a staple device of races like the marathons in New York, Boston, London and Berlin.

Because of this latest development, registration fees have been slightly increased. The 5K run (which won’t use the chip) is the same at P250. The 21K, previously P350, will now be P450. The 42K, priced at P450 before, will be P650 (with Finisher’s Medals).

Registration begins tomorrow, Friday, at the Active Zone of the Ayala Center Cebu and the Cebu City Sports Commission (PSC office). Deadline is Dec. 31. Register ASAP!

Fuente Osmeña and the Quezon City Circle

MANILA—Question: What do the two ring-shaped ovals of Quezon City and our own, Cebu, have in common? Answer: They’re both historic landmarks located at the center of each metropolis. Plus, more than that, when these two cities organize a momentous sports event called The Marathon, the two rotundas will be the main features.

For Quezon City, celebrating it’s 70th founding year, the Quezon City Circle will be spotlighted today. Because this morning is the Quezon City Intl. Marathon, a world-class event with P3 million in prize money and an estimated 10,000 runners joining. For Cebu City, it’s the date 01-10-10. Spelled in full, that’s January 10, 2010, when the Fuente Osmeña will be a key turning point for the runners participating in the Cebu City Marathon.

As you read this, I’m in Quezon City. The purpose: Like a few dozen from Cebu, to join my third 42K race—the Quezon City Intl. Marathon.

Who else from Cebu are here? Plenty. There’s Atan Guardo and his brothers Genito, Jerry and Jeson. There’s Tinago Councilor Joel Garganera. Haide Acuña is here. So are three members of the Holiday Gym and Spa: Annie Neric (who already finished the Singapore Marathon) and two first-timers, Mike Enriquez and Monsignor Siongo Tan. From the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC), there’s president Jesse Taborada, Dodong Sulatre, Joel Juarez, Bro. Carlo Bacalla, JR and Rovie Aguilon, Dr. Raymund Bontol, and one of our fastest, Steve Ferraren. These runners are joining the 42K.

For the 21K, there’s Lahug Brgy. Captain Mary Ann de los Santos, The Freeman columnist Raffy Uytiepo, coach Bert Banzon and Frederic and Millette Chiongbian—one of the most recognizable of running couples in Cebu.

Our route? The 42K race begins at 4:30 a.m. at the Quezon City Circle. From there, we enter the U.P. Diliman grounds. (To me, a U.P. Cebu graduate, this will bring back delightful memories of the one semester I studied there.) We’ll encircle the sunken garden of U.P. then exit the sprawling campus and make our long trek along the Commonwealth Avenue, considered as the widest road in our country (with eight lanes per way). We’ll run northwards to the Batasang Pambansa, exit the House of Congress, then traverse to the La Mesa Dam. From there, it’s more winding roads before heading back the same route to the QC Circle finish line.

Why, you ask, run a ridiculous distance of 42.195 kms.? What for? Is the purpose to self-inflict pain? A form of masochism, to induce torture on one’s physical being? Yes. No. Running for four, five or six hours is agonizing. You can develop knee aches, ankle spasms, calf strains, leg cramps. Complete physical exhaustion is expected. Vomiting isn’t rare. Even bleeding, in one’s nipples, due to the friction of the shirt on the chest, is common.

Then, why? The answer is easy: Because the marathon is “the Mt. Everest of runners.” In the Running Clinic the CERC conducted last month, when I spoke before the 150 in attendance at the Casino Español, I said these words…

“Why do it? Precisely because it’s such a difficult goal… a target that not many have achieved… an aim that, at first, you thought was not possible… that’s why we run marathons!

“If you’re a mountain climber, and you’ve scaled the summits of Mt. Manunggal and Mt. Apo, it’s Mt. Everest. If you’re a tennis player and have joined local tournaments, it’s like entering Wimbledon. The only difference is, as tennis players, we can’t join Wimbledon. We can’t be in the same event with Roger and Rafa.

“With running, yes we can join the same events as the world’s elite runners—the only sport, in my analysis, where you’re beside the world’s best.

“But more than that… it’s an effort that will require years and months of training and endless weeks of waking up at 3:45 a.m. each Sunday to prepare for the long runs… it’s a big sacrifice… it’s a commitment… it’s a test of your perseverance… That’s why we run marathons!”

See you at our very own, the Cebu City Marathon!

Cebu City Marathon And The Running Fever

There is a virus that’s plaguing our city. It’s not the A-H1N1 strain or the Dengue fever scare. It’s more widespread and thousands are afflicted. All types of bodies have been stricken: 73-year-olds, college girls, Sun.Star online editor Max Limpag, CEOs, doctors, Donna Cruz-Larrazabal, lawyers…

The good news is, this virus is healthy and invigorating. Running, it’s called, and, for the past three years, dozens upon hundreds upon thousands have bought New Balance shoes, worn Nike Dri-Fit wear, purchased Garmin GPS watches, laced Adidas Supernova soles, traveled to Singapore or Chicago or Hong Kong to pound their two God-given legs from Start to Finish Line.