Fair Play: 11 days to go before Cebu's grand race

IT’S January and again and for the past three years, aside from the Sinulog festival, it also means it’s the Cebu Marathon month for local runners.

The Cebu Executive Runners Club have been organizing a Sinulog run for the past five or six years—I remember meeting Mary Grace delos Santos for the first time in a CERC event—before deciding to do the Full Mary back in 2010.

When CERC announced the registration fees for this year’s event—P1,600 for the 42K, P1,200 for the 21K and P900 for the 5K—the group got a lot of flak for the stiff fees.  I think the outcry is expected and some of the criticisms is fair.  But I think it was pretty unfair for one local elite runner to say that the Cebu Marathon should offer bigger prizes than the Milo Marathon because it has more expensive registration fees.

The Milo Marathon is backed by a major multinational corporation, which is organizing its races as part of its marketing strategy, the CM is organized by a private group whose members sometimes dig in their pockets for the smooth sailing of the event.  

I’m not sure if it still true this year, but in the past the prizes were sponsored by the Cebu City government, and some of the local elite who are complaining about the “greedy organizers” got their envelopes on time because, instead of waiting for the promised support, the organizers decided to chip in.  Up until the middle of last year, I think the organizers were still waiting for the funds from Cebu City for the prizes of the runners.

Anyway, I think it’s safe to assume that with the reputation the Cebu Marathon is gaining, most, if not all, of the top runners in the country will be in town. Those who are chasing personal records, too, will be flying in, while the local runners who want to experience a big race will be joining too.

For a while, I was hoping an LGU would adopt the Cebu Marathon and help it become the Philippines’ premier race, but the standoff over at Capitol shows the danger of that.  What if the Cebu Marathon was a Cebu Province-organized race?

It’s 10 days to go before Cebu’s biggest race kicks off and I hope this year’s event would set the bar higher.  Besides, it would be good for Cebu’s image when the runners return to their cities and talk about their experience. 

That’s a welcome change from what you hear about Cebu from the national media these days.



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