Finally, the then famous Manila International Marathon is being revived this year. I am not sure if the use of 30th edition of this race is proper as I know that some of the editions in the past had never been conducted. I hope my friend, Red Dumuk, shall make some adjustments on this. However, I appreciate the posting of this article on the website of the said Marathon Race.
If my memory serves me right, this was my first Marathon Race and Red Dumuk specifically mentioned my name and my finish time.
Thanks, Red for bringing back those good memories of Road Racing in the 80’s.
The First Manila International Marathon
By Red Dumuk
Running great, Bill Rogers, winner of four Boston Marathons and four New York Marathons, apprised of the race route and the weather conditions, predicted 2:20 as the winning time in the inaugural Manila International Marathon. His visit to Manila came at the heels of his dismal performance in Japan. As he was off-form, he begged off from showing his form in the MIM.
Rogers’s fearless forecast was way, way off. When East German Waldemar Cierpinski, second only to Ethiopian Abebe Bikila to have ruled back-to-back Olympic Marathons (Bikila turned in the trick in 1960 Rome and 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games while Cierpinski in 1976 Montreal and 1980 Moscow), breasted the tape with President Marcos heading the spectators, the display clock showed 2:14:27, a good 5 minutes and 33 seconds inside the expected time.
The time could have been lower had there been stronger challenge. After 5K, the MIM morphed into a battle against the clock for Cierpinski, who in 1976 frustrated 1972 Munich gold medalist Frank Shorter’s bid to join Bikila as back-to-back Olympic Marathon champion. In the 1976 Olympic Marathon, Cierpinski beat Shorter, considered to have ignited the running boom in the United States, by 49 seconds (2:09:56 against 2:10:45).
Cierpinski’s winning time which is 3 minutes and 24 seconds outside the clocking he posted in Moscow Olympics less than two years earlier can be better appreciated against the backdrop of marathon times in other parts of the world held in different seasons in 1982.
It’s no wonder, therefore, why the 2:14:27 has yet to be expunged as the all comers best in the Philippine Marathon theater. (Domingo Tibaduiza whose time was 20 seconds slower than Cierpinski’s when the former claimed the top prize in the 1982 Berlin Marathon emerged as 2nd MIM champion. He checked in at 2:25:01, nine minutes 34 seconds adrift of the existing standard in 1983.)
Runner-up American serviceman Phil Camp might have found Cierpinski out of his league but his 2:19:39 timing would have outweighed the first placers’ in four of the above marathons.
The last berth in the podium was hotly contested by Chang Ming Chen of Chinese-Taipei and Peng Jiazheng of the People’s Republic of China. There was a sideshow even. A PROC embassy official protested minutes before the cannon fired off the marathoners the display of the Republic of China’s flag on Chang’s singlet and threatened to pull out Peng from the marathon. We explained to the embassy official we were aware if Chang has to show a flag on his breast, it should be the IOC designated banner. We added we subscribe to the one-China policy of the government. Then, we convinced Chang to have the ROC flag covered with a masking tape. Had Chang not acquiesced, disqualification awaited him.
When the smoke of the conflict had settled, so to speak, Chang outstripped Peng by 59 seconds–or just about the time it took the former’s official to tape that offending flag–to claim the third position. Chang’s 2:26:49 clocking bested winning times of two 1982 AIMS events. Peng’s 2:27:48, on the other hand, beat the champion’s time of one of the AIMS member marathons.
Great Britain’s Tim Johnston (2:31:31) rounded out the top 5 finishers. He crossed the finish line two minutes and 30 seconds ahead of the first Filipino finisher, Army man Ricardo Carillo (2:34:01). Landing in the top 5 among the locals and top 10 overall were Manuel Carmelo (2:35:28),7th; Guillermo Padilla (2:37:31),8th; Ireneo Illut (2:38:01), 9th and Carlito Solis (2:38:06), 10th.
Fifty-three runners (only seven were foreigners) registered sub-3 hours clocking. By comparison, looking at the results of the recent marathons in the country, less than 10 runners with sub-3 times seems to be the current norm.
In the distaff side, only the 11-year old wonder girl Joan Laput, tops among the 11 lady finishers, broke 3:30. Laput ranked 173 overall with her time of 3:28:22. Laput’s “preys” included priest marathoner Amado Picardal (3:20:16, 195th), the Baldrunner (3:58:44, 286th) and arguably, the country’s No.1 race organizer Rudy Biscocho (4:40:02, 440th).
Of the 603 hopefuls who answered the starting cannon, only 30 did not finish–a remarkable mortality rate of measly 4.98%. The most courageous and greatest survivor was cardiac patient Teofilo Espejo, Jr. He placed 509th with a time of 5:11:16.
Asst. Race Director Colmenares running and finishing the MIM spoke volumes about the organization and management of the race. He clocked 3:47:50, good for 281st position, well in the upper half of the finishers.
It would be great seeing another Philippine President accommodating the top 200 finishers of a marathon or any road race of prestige in Malacanang and treat them to dinner after the awarding ceremonies where he would trace the history of marathon even as he extols its virtues in his address.
In another first, the country’s top sportscaster then Joe Cantada found his equal in Katherine Switzer during the coverage of the 1st MIM. Joining the fun was Zal Marte, another sportscaster of note. This would never be duplicated. “The Voice” has passed on to the great beyond.
As recognition for a job well done, Race Director Dorotheo’s peers in AIMS elected him as member of the original batch of Board of Directors. It goes without saying the Manila International Marathon was accepted as full-fledged AIMS member barely four months after its initial edition. Dorotheo was to be reelected to the AIMS Board.
And from the locals, what was the reward? The second MIM saw the size of the field doubled.
1st Manila International Marathon Statistics
- United Kingdom
- United States
- People’s Republic of China
Waldemar Ciepinski flashes the No. 1 sign more than 5 minutes ahead of the 2:20 winning time predicted by Bill Rodgers