Race Review, PART 2 – Cebu City Marathon, January 10

Finally, the long-awaited review of the Cebu City Marathon. Sorry it took some time to compose this baby. =)

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DAY 3 – January 10

After 2 days of carbo-loading parties and a night of fun with some of the takbo.ph running core, it was time run my first race for the year. Might I say that this race is very significant for me because not only did I run my maiden 2010 road race outside of Luzon, but also because I was once again reunited with my running playground. The route is highly familiar to me since I have treading on it for around 8 months so I somehow knew what to expect, with the exception of the downtown area and the SRP. While I was working in Cebu last year, the Marathon Foodie had told me that the stretch of the entire South Road Properties was a really nice place to run on. More than 20 kilometers of concrete will be greeting you along the way. The only problem is that there aren’t that much stores for you to buy water/energy drinks on, so it’s best that if you bring your own hydration source. Nevertheless, the SRP provided a good view of the coastal area – perfect for viewing the sunrise along the horizon.

As a result, I have set my sights on running along its roads. Unfortunately, you do need to secure a permit from the local government, so getting in there won’t be as easy as it looks. On this day, this little dream of sorts is about to become a reality. For the first time ever, I will be running along the Cebu stretch afronting the coastal area. =)

My alarm clock rang off at exactly 3AM. I got into my black takbo.ph singlet, got into my usual cycling shorts, which later on was covered by a pair a loose black running shorts having small patches of color matching that of the white and crimson in the singlet, and semi-high knee socks, with the NB1063s I use during practice runs. I was having second thoughts of not bringing along a hydration belt for this race. But since I anticipated humid conditions, I brought it nonetheless, being that I have learned that during some of my early morning runs in Cebu that it can get REALLY hot as early as 7AM. In addition, I packed in my iPod Shuffle to keep me pumped for the entire duration of the run. It has been a long time since I used that while running, hehehe.

I made my way to the starting line at the IT Park. Along those who were going to run this race – for the 21K category, at least – were Vic, Rico, and Luis. I met up with Vic initially, then later on saw Rico and Luis at the 21K coral. One of my running buddies, Noreen, a native resident of Cebu, greeted me while I was doing some stretching. She had told me that this was going to be her first half-marathon, and she’s running it along with a friend though she didn’t have that much long distance training. I wished her the best of luck on that one – and even agreed to come back and pace her for the last few kilometers after I have crossed the finish line. It was okay with me since I was planning to extend my run for a few more kilometers – I was still in Condura 42K training, and I needed additional mileage.

While waiting for the race to begin, we were greeted by this…

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How’s that to get your spirits up and at par? Nah, these aren’t actual fireworks from the race. Had I brought the Powershot that time I would have taken pictures. Since the D3000 was checked in at the courtesy booth this sample image would have to suffice. But if you were there, it was a wonderful sight. =)

On the final minutes before the gun sounded off, I patted my running buddies on the back and greeted them good luck. If memory serves me right I think I told them to enjoy the route also. =)

The race timer started a little after 510AM. We were now making our way out of the IT Park and into the halfway point at the SRP, with one lane cordoned off and entirely closed to traffic for those running along the route.

KM 1 to 5: Monstrous Splits!

At the first kilometer I was taking it real slow, since it was a gradual ascent to JY Square. I have told my friends that this was one of the hills that we will be encountering along the way, so it’s best that we keep at first gear as much as possible. Upon making the left at JY Square, it was a downhill path on the way to Escario. The first water station came in shortly before reaching KM2 – how convenient was that? EVen though if I didn’t bring in any hydration I would still survive this race! But it was too early too tell that time. I skipped the first water stop and kept on running downwards. As we were approaching UP Cebu there were students cheering for all the participants while giving water at the same time. That kind of support was very crucial for me, and it provided further inspiration for me to speed up. As a result, I kept myself at a really speedy pace, sustaining it even after making the right to Escario and attacking its hill.

While running, I have noticed that water stops were now occuring more frequently. Indeed, the organizers have outdone themselves!

We made a left at the intersection in front of the Capitol. From them on it was a rolling path all the way to the downtown area. I kept running at a fast pace, thereby leading to a sub-30 finish at the end of KM5. There was no stopping now – it was time to unleash the cheetah inside of me!

KM 6 to 10.5: Conquering the SRP

The approach to KM6 took runners to the downtown area leading to the Cebu City Hall and the site of Magellan’s Cross. Much like the first quarter of the route, the lane was still cordoned off to accomodate all those running along the area, water stations were still abundant, and there were even more cheerers being placards of positivity, like “Run your own race” or “Keep running” or “You can do it!” It was warming to see such support along the route. In addition, race marshalls ensured that there was no one that will enter along the cordoned area of the race. Anyone not wearing a race bib was forced out. Bike supports were allowed, but they were only to ride outside of the closed-off area. Even race marshalls didn’t hesitate to give hydration to anyone who needed it.

After crossing the city hall and Magellan’s Cross, we made our way to the SRP. Above the entrance was a banner indicating of one of targets: TO CONQUER THE SRP. We started off first at the coastal area and running above the bridge that interconnects it to the rest of the highway. Gulp, a bridge. Thankfully it wasn’t as hard as the hills of McKinley or the Kalayaan flyover. But the gradual incline was enough to put you down, so I shifted to gear on this one, and resumed to full speed upon reaching flat ground.

Before reaching the halfway point, there were some Sinulog dancers providing entertainment to those running the route. They had provided a little preview of what the Sinulog will look like, and it was enticing runners to stop for a while and touch the Sto. Nino for good luck. I did just that, hehehe! Again, I regret not bringing a camera.

The turnaround point was close to Kawit Point. There I saw Tiffin’s husband, Mark, who gladly took a picture of me before heading back to the finish line. Many thanks! Now I have proof that I ran the SRP. =)

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The GF 305 indicated that I have accomplished a sub-60 mark upon crossing KM10. This was a good sign for me. If I kept up with what I was doing now, I might be able to achieve a new 21K record. There was no stopping now – it was my moment to shatter my personal best!

And might I say, the turnaround point was quite accurate! It was off by around 40 meters, but that was negligible!

KM 10.51 to 15: I Have Conquered the SRP!

At this stage the sun had broken out of the horizon and making its way up. While running along the coastal area I couldn’t help but admire the sights – that helped me relax a bit. But there was no time to slow down. I kept within a 6:00/min pace to make sure that I’ll be able to beat my record no matter what. On the way back I saw Rico and Noreen making their way to the u-turn. Also, I caught up with one of our fellow triathletes, Jayson, who was at that time running the full marathon. I saw also Vic in the distance. He was a little ahead of me and I decided to catch up with him.

After crossing the final section of the bridge I saw the same banner that greeted us when we first entered SRP. But at its back, the words bore a congratulatory remark because we have conquered it! At the back of the banner was the following statement: “Congratulations, you have conquered SRP!”

Once again, runners were to pass the city hall. Cheerers once again were presented and they provided the much needed push for us to finish the race. However, before reaching KM15, I felt that I was running short of air and slowly decreasing in speed. This wasn’t good, but it will still end well. There was enough time to beat my record, even if I do it at a pace of 7:00/min. I planned to use the Galloway strategy for the remaining 1/4 the run route. This was going to work, I thought, since there were some hills that will come across, and I was slowly getting tired.

KM 16 to 21: Oh No, Not Again!

so far, so good. The Galloway approach was helping me indeed. I ran around 6:00/min to 6:30/min for around 6 minutes, making sure to stop to walk for a full minute before repeating the process all over again. Vic and I were running side by side at this time, and I was feeling great…

Until after reaching KM18.

I felt a major jolt on my right leg before making the final ascent to Gorordo. Without a choice, I had to slow down. Upon making the left, I walked towards the side because I wanted to stretch my right calf so that I wouldn’t feel that blasted jolt again. But when I was about to run and finish KM19, KABOOM!

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My right calf had cramped and I sat down on the sidewalk. The pain wasn’t as severe as the one I had at the QCIM before, but my right calf was hurting a lot nonetheless. A race marshall immediately attended to me and helped me stretch my leg. Another one approached later on and radioed an ambulance to come over. Support staff came a few minutes after and rushed to where I was. One of the members of the medical team compressed my leg with some bandage after helping me stretch my leg. That was a relief. Later on, the medical team asked me if I needed to be taken to the finish line. I adamantly refused and I told them that I will finish the race no matter what! Nonetheless, I offered them my gratitude for their immediate assistance. They helped me get up, and before you know it, I was on the road again, hellbent on accomplishing the run.

I checked the clock. There was no way I going to beat my record. The primary objective has been revised – FINISH THE RACE.

I was walking towards UP Cebu initially. Students were encouraging and cheering me to run. But I couldn’t just yet as I might have a relapse. So I continued walking until I got to the uppermost section of the hill. There I saw an overpass with a banner bearing the following words: “If you can read this, you will finish the race!” That was another useful, inspiration banner!

I later on felt the heat before reaching KM20. I ran again, but made sure to keep it at a snail’s pace. Thankfully the last few kilometers to the finish line had a downhill path. After 2 hours and 23 minutes, I stepped on the finish line, disappointed, but contented. I wasn’t able to beat my record, but what the heck. My first race for 2010 was completed, and I was looking forward to more in the coming months. Obviously, since I was injured, I couldn’t go back and pace for Noreen, much more extend my run. Instead I got my injured leg massaged and waited for those running the 42K to finish.

This was me with my bandaged leg. Oh well, you can’t win them all. =)

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While waiting there was also a presentation of top finishers in each category.

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Tiffin won 10th for the 5K race.

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Tina also came in 10th, but for the full marathon category.

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Sir Jovie was present watching the festivities…

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Along with Kenyan runners.

Later on, those who finished the 5K and the 21K went near the finish line to welcome those who did the 42K.

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The Marathon Foodie with her signature braids.

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Since she’s one of my idols, I couldn’t resist having a picture with her! =)

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Joseph with extremely short shorts!

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Now with his medal.

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Ah, these sweet taste of victory, as personified by Chris.

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Next up, Pojie and Gerard

Who are proud of their accomplishments.
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Of course, what would a running event in Cebu be with the following personalities:

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Mang Rening Ilaya, one of Cebu’s veteran runners, and…

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Miss Twinkle Ignacio, who ALWAYS wears a costume in every run – which she makes herself. =)

Finally, we waited for the head honcho of takbo.ph, Jinoe, who ran his first full marathon that very day.

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So who’s his biggest fan? =P
Oh, a little note. I made that banner. It was originally meant for Condura 2010. =)

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And here he is, looking strong!

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He finishes his first 42K in a little over 6 hours. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

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Here he is again, with his wife, Que, and another well-known running personality in Cebu, Doc Raymond Reel Bontol of Reel Running.

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Now that we’re complete, it’s time for a class picture!

As a reward for our victory, we rewarded ourselves with lunch at the Golden Cowrie @ Lahug, best known for its crispy pata and its mouth-watering lechon. Hahaha, who couldn’t resist?

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Even Junrox matches that with a cold bottle of beer. =)

After all that, here’s my review of the race.

D (direction) – you start off at the IT Park, make your way up to JY Square, left at Gorordo, right at Escario, left at Osmena leading downtown, cross the city hall going to SRP and move straight until you move to the turnaround point and ran where you can from. The course is generally flat, with the exception of some hills, so I’ll give this one an easy to medium difficulty. To some of my running buddies, my bad when I said the course was completely flat. I should have known better. =P

Check out the route.
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R (registration) – Manila-based runners were allowed to register via RUNNR BHS. Claiming the race kit was a cinch – it was well-organized and race personnel were accomodating. =D

U (uhaw) – even if you don’t bring a hydration belt, water will be flowing at almost every kilometer! Good job! =D

M (money) – simply put, the money you pay for in this race is ALL WORTH EVERY SINGLE PESO. No need to expound on this one.

S (safety) – marshalls present everywhere, one lane closed off for runners, strict implementation of race rules/regulations, and immediate response by the medical team. What more can I say??? =D

Here were my splits. Too bad it got ruined at KM19 due to cramps… =(
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To team CCM, I hope you had fun as much as I did, and I hope you liked my running playground.
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And to those involved in the organization of this race, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! It is by far the best road race I have participated in and is now my benchmark for future races to come.

DAGHANG SALAMAT, CEBU! I will see you next year!!! =D
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2 responses

  1. vard

    i also ran the 42k in this race, and its not the same banner that is posted after you exit srp. before entering srp the banner was “goal: to conquer srp”, when you came back the banner was “congratulations, you have conquered srp”.

    Hi there Vard,

    Thanks for bringing this in. Wasn’t too clear with this one. Updated the post as necessary.

    January 19, 2010 at 10:10 AM

  2. Thanks for the Comment Carlo… We (CERC) are glad everybody enjoyed the race.

    By the way, I don’t think I count as a well-known running personality in Cebu… hahahaha… thanks anyway for the compliment.

    See you again soon Carl. I’m gonna stop by Manila on March 15 on my way to Palawan. Hehehe… Diving na naman ako… Reel Runner / Diver / Future Triathlete… hahahahaha

    Anytime, Doc! =)

    You’ll always be a running celebrity in your hometown. =) Hope to see you soon in a race!

    O, bagong kaadikan na naman… Time to invest in scuba gear! =)

    January 19, 2010 at 10:53 AM

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