‘Cebu sets a new standard’

“IT’S perfect. The best!”

This was the common reaction of most of the participants of the Cebu City Marathon at the IT Park yesterday, making all the months of hard work by members of the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC) all worth it.

“It’s the perfect run. I enjoyed the race and the route. It’s very well-prepared,” said veteran runner Jovie Narcise.

Narcise, who maintains the Bald Runner blog and an elite running team, knows what he is talking about since he’s been joining road races since the 70s.

1“Maganda talaga, it’s not like in Manila. There were lots of drinking stations, it was very orderly, there was no traffic. I enjoyed the route, especially the one at SRP,” he said.

Jonci Mendoza, the editor-in-chief of Front Runner magazine, was also very generous in his praises for CERC.

“Modesty aside, they set a new standard in marathon races,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza also praised organizers for how they spread out the water stations, and the festive atmosphere in each one.

The race had 16 stations and each one had a cheering squad, from the Lumad Basakanon tribe to the dancers from some Cebu’s universities.

2“Sa Manila, when they say that they’d have water stations every two kilometers, we don’t believe them anymore, unlike here,” he said.

Aside from the festive atmosphere in each water station, it was also very lively at the IT Park, where the race started and finished.

There was a live band and a short fireworks display for the one-minute countdown in the 21K race. There were also numerous running-related booths, a massage tent and other gimmicks.

All through the efforts of the hard-working men and women of the CERC.

“It was really a team effort,” said John Pages, a CERC member.

Pages, his wife Jasmin, Meyrick and Perl Jacalan and a few others were at the IT Park, while the rest of the members were spread all over the route, taking charge of one water station and holding a gimmick in each one.

CERC decided to hold a marathon and started working on it immediately after holding a 21K race last Sinulog.

6“After that, we slowly started meeting regularly to prepare for the race,” he said.

They also met with Cebu City Councilor Jack Jakosalem to work out the use of the scenic South Road Properties and the closure of half of the road along the route.

“The SRP is a perfect place to run. Almost half of the 42K route was there. It’s very ideal, very scenic and very flat,” said Pages.

CERC members amped up their preparation for the past four months and for the past few days leading to the marathon, have almost neglected almost anything else.

4“Every detail needs attention, from the registration, to the pre-race activities,” he said. “One mistake could lead to another, so we had to consider a lot of things.”

And with almost all details taken care of, yesterday’s run went smoothly. The weather also cooperated.

“We’re very happy about the outcome,” said Pages. “There were a lot of foreigners also. Maybe, they just came here for the Sinulog, heard of the race, and decided to join.”

A total of 4,043 runners joined the race, coming from the different parts of the country, including foreigners and some balikbayans.

Inspiring

“The turnout was very inspiring. Many people from all over the country and different parts of the world came to join. And the turnout shows that it’s a very successful event. I am sure that this will be done again next year, even without me at the city council,” said Jakosalem.

Even Mayor Tomas Osmeña was impressed with the turnout of the participants as he led the awarding rites of the winners in the 5K and 21K races.

“This is the product when the private sector and the government come to a close partnership as what we have done in dancesports, football and other events —success. I am sure there will be another Cebu City Marathon next year,” Jakosalem said. (ML/With RCM/Sun.Star Cebu)

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