Fair Play: Is it time for Cebu to back own marathon?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Jan 14 edition)
TWO of the biggest sporting events in Cebu in the previous years were the Cebu Marathon, formerly the Cebu City Marathon, and the Cobra Ironman 70.3.

One gets major backing from the local government units, including Cebu Province, while the other is primarily a private-group run event.

But of the two, it's the Cebu marathon that we can truly call our own. It was started by Cebuanos for Cebuanos who love running. Now, its main purpose is to invite runners to have fun in Cebu before and after having fun in the festive Cebu marathon.

The Cobra Ironman, though held in Cebu in the previous three years, also promotes Cebu but let's face it, it's the main sponsor that gets the bulk of the publicity. For the Cebu marathon, it's Cebu.

Not Cebu City, nor Mandaue City, nor Talisay City. But Cebu.

So, to state the obvious question, is it time for the LGUs and the Cebu Province to step in and help?
No, not to run the affair as the organizers are more than competent enough, having run the event when it was but a 21K run in 2009, but to provide manpower, publicity and perhaps more importantly, funds?

If the former governor can fly to Manila for the launching of the Cobra Ironman, surely the sitting governor can join in a local launching?

Or perhaps, Cebu Province can raise the prizes to P1 million and shoulder everything and help lower the registration fees?

Of course, the Cebu City Government has always supported the event, even closing the roads. At one time, it even shouldered the prizes for the event, but the City is in the midst of the Sinulog celebrations; if it can provide more support, better, but if not, well, there are other LGUs that can, right?

What are the advantages? A lot. Runners who join races all over the country already say that the Cebu Marathon is the most fun and festive of all; it's a marketing template that's ready to be tapped.

What's better? Pay hundreds of thousands for a 30-second TV spot or shoulder the prizes and provide a lifetime worth of experience that's going to be shared to friends and family and told all over social media?

So, is it time for Cebu to boost the Cebu marathon?


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