Cebu City Marathon 1-10-10
Cebu City Marathon was a perfect race for everybody from registration up to the awarding ceremonies. The registration and distribution of race packets gave us “no problem” as the race staff and personnel were so accommodating to every runner. There were no long lines to speak of. The carboloading party was also a “class act” to follow where the venue was at the newly-expanded “The Terrace” at the Ayala Center with choices of food available to everybody; orderly arrangements of tables and chairs for all the runners; nice Live Performance of Bands & Singers; and the very orderly and detailed conduct of the program during the party. I stayed longer in the said party because it was my first time to watch the movie “The Spirit of the Marathon” which was shown on a big screen that helped motivate the runners to finish the race where they registered or participated.
On race day, I had to wake up at 3:00 AM to make sure the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner were ready to warm-up with a slow jog towards the Starting Line as we were coming from the CENTCOM Headquarters at Camp Lapulapu, Lahug. The distance from our place where we stayed was a good one kilometer, which is just the exact distance for a warm-up jog before doing some stretching exercises.
The Race Organizers really mean business on the day of the race. They started the Marathon Race at exactly 4:00 AM which is the published Gun Start. As always, John Pages and his co-Race Director were there at the Starting Line to make sure that everything was followed as scheduled. True enough, the Marathon Race started with a big bang! Lots of fireworks were released 10 seconds before the Starting Gun was fired by no less than John Pages. Fireworks before the Gun Start? Am I dreaming of a second New Year’s celebration? Aside from the start of the full Marathon Race, they did it again before the gun was fired off during the start of the Half-Marathon! It was my first time to experience such festive mood (with music & fireworks) in a Marathon Race during the span of my running career aside from the usual aerobics, loud music with a festive beat, and drum & percussion bands. (Note: Condura & MILO, if you read this one, this is a tough act to follow!!!)
I have to wait one hour & ten minutes before the start of the Half-Marathon race. I was too cautious to my injury that I opted to run the Half-Marathon in order to test if I’ve recovered well since the Pasig River Marathon last November 8 last year. This Half-Marathon was my first road race after two months of rest and recovery and also my first road race for the year 2010.
While I was doing my second set of warm-up, I met Congressman Gilbert Remulla who is featured in the First Issue of the Front Runner Magazine and Mr Andrew Neri of MILO/Nestle, Phil. I had a brief chat with them and I found out that Congressman Remulla is a regular visitor in this blog. Thanks, Congressman! I hope you will greatly help us bring the sports of running down to the “grassroots” level.
It was not my intention to run the half-marathon to reach my previous PR or do 100% effort. My goal was to finish the race without my chronic muscle tear on my left calf and peroneus muscles to recur. It was a test to find out if my injury have completely healed and at the same time find out the status of my fitness level in running. This race is some kind of a “diagnostic test” after starting a training cycle for the past three weeks. In simple words, I wanted to finish the race in less than two hours without any injury with an average pace of less than six minutes per kilometer.
After the fireworks and the starting gun was fired off, I started to slowly jog until I was out of the IT Park. The first kilometer was a slow run for me as I was trying to warm-up before reaching my race pace of less than 6:00-minute per kilometer and the terrain was a slight uphill. I started to peak up my pace on my 2nd kilometer and from there I was on my “automatic cruise control” all the way towards the turn-around point at the SRP Road.
Everything you need in a road race was “perfect” as I observed during the race! The race has a nice route passing through the city’s historical landmarks; terrain description of the course is relatively flat; lots of water stations and long tables with disposable cups filled with water, 100 Plus Sports Drinks; aid stations with sponges soaked in cold water; lots of road marshals along the route and in critical corners with flags used to point the exact direction of the runners to take; lots of traffic enforcers and police to man the intersections; exact location of kilometer markings properly marked and color-coded for the half-marathon and marathon distances; ambulance & emergency vehicles busy plying along the long stretch of the SRP Road; dancers and bands in every water station; cheerers along the route with placards written with words of encouragement; and the disciplined/cooperative drivers and riding public along the route. This is the only race that I have joined locally without hearing blaring horns of vehicles and bad words/curse coming from the mouths of drivers and the riding public whose vehicles were stuck on traffic due to the on-going race. The running or race atmosphere and environment in Cebu City was completely different from the races in Metro Manila. Moreover, the weather during the race was also perfect!
Running along the SRP Road was a breeze. I really did not care the smell I was breathing along the SRP Road as the smell along Roxas Boulevard and along the Pasig River are far worse. However, I was entertained by the sight and scenery of the place plus the greetings I got from the runners coming from Manila. Most of the runners from Manila joined the Cebu City Marathon Race as part of their training and preparation for the 2nd BDM 102 which will be held on March 6-7. And before these “hardcores” will join again the Condura Marathon on February 7, the same runners will join the BDM 102 “test run” from Km #0 in Mariveles, Bataan to Km #50 in Abucay, Bataan on January 23. These runners are really “hardcores”. Other runners whose faces I’ve seen for the first time would greet me along the SRP Road and I know that they are not from Manila because they greet me as “Bald Runner”. As compared from the runners in Manila, they simply greet me as “B R”. It was also along this part of the route that most of the runners overtook me and I let them go until I overtook them one by one on the last 3 kilometers from the finish line.
The reason why I became faster on the last 3-4 kilometers from the Finish Line was that the members of Elite Team Bald Runner who finished their respective races met me along the way. Everybody cheered, paced, and handed me water and Gatorade drinks placed in small ice candy plastic bags until I reached the last 500 meters before the Finish Line. Some of my runners would also take pictures of me running with the other members.
I finished the Half-Marathon Race in 1:57:35 hours, Official Time, and ranked #53 among the 354 finishers. My average pace was 5:35 minutes per kilometer and with an average HR of 159 beats per minute. I was happy that I was able to finish the race in less than two hours without any pain or cramps from my past muscle injury. My target goals for this race were attained.
The Bald Runner is Back!!!
I can say that the performance of the Elite Team Bald Runner in this race was outstanding. In the Marathon race, Elmer Sabal placed #5 and Rene Desuyo placed #8. In the Half-Marathon, Alquin Bolivar placed #1; Crifrankreadil Indapan placed #2; and Gerald Sabal placed #3. In the 5K Men’s Category, Jujet De Asis placed #2 and Raul Lamprea placed #8 and in the 5K Women’s Category, Cora Salcedo placed #4. In due time and more focused training, we will beat the Kenyans in future marathon races. My runners are learning a lot from them.
In conclusion, the Cebu City Marathon was an outstanding road race that surpassed my expectations. From registration, distribution of race packets, carboloading party, race proper, up to the awarding ceremonies and the immediate posting of the official results, everything was “perfect”. It only proves once again the importance of the local government’s full support and involvement that makes a Marathon Race of such magnitude as a very successful event. In essence, it is the UNITY IN PURPOSE and COOPERATION of everybody that spell the difference to create an excellent result is the moral lesson in this event. Congratulations to City Mayor Tomas Osmena and his City Council, John Pages & his Co-Race Directors & Staff, Cebu Executive Runners Club, the Race Sponsors, Volunteers, and to all the Cebuanos for a job well-done!!!
Happy Sinulog Festival!!!
Team Bald Runner will be back for the 2nd edition of the Cebu City Marathon!