Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Best Foot Forward

Race reviews have been unanimous in rating the Cebu City Marathon excellent, and the Marathon Foodie could not possibly add any more praise. Instead, I will tell you what went on behind the staging of this perfect race.

1. The 42K route was supposed to pass through the Marcelo Fernan bridge connecting Mactan Island to mainland Cebu. Next to the Magellan's Cross, the second of the two Mandaue-Mactan bridges has become an iconic image of Cebu.

But the bridge management board is headed by Gov. Gwen Garcia who is engaged in a bitter fight with Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena and Cebu City is a co-presenter of the marathon. If Mayor Osmena was a woman, it would have been a really nasty cat fight and the organizers would be caught in the crossfire. To solve the problem before it became one, the organizers scrapped the bridge portion of the race route.

2. The race route for the 42K was revised four times with members of CERC conducting several test runs to make sure that the distance was spot on.

3. Unheralded but nonetheless crucial was the support of Talisay City during last Sunday's race.

Unlike Manila's MMDA, Metro Cebu does not have a unified traffic management body. Hence, when the 42K runners crossed the small bridge separating Cebu City and Talisay City, CITOM no longer had jurisdiction.

But, setting jurisdictional issues aside and even without any credit in the media releases about the event, the City of Talisay still graciously provided marshalls and their own traffic enforcers who ensured that runners were given priority and right of way when they crossed four intersections found at the Talisay portion of the SRP.

4. Sportsman and marathoner Jonathan Atan Guardo and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena clobber each other everyday in the papers as both are running for the Cebu City South congressional seat. One of the major issues in the campaign is Mayor Tom's health, which makes Tom and Atan a study in contrast.

But, Atan ran the full mary at the CCM despite knowing that if the race would be successful, Mayor Tom would surely get credit. On the ther hand, Mayor Tom supported the marathon, thus providing Atan a possible vehicle to show voters a physically strong candidate as opposed to an ailing one.

They may have been rivals, but the CCM provided both camps with a win-win situation.

5. CERC composed of doctors, lawyers, businessmen, university professors, engineers, businessmen and professionals personally manned the stations. RTC Judge Gabriel Ingles personally handed out water cups and bananas at the Capitol Parish water station. Real doctors massaged runners legs at the stations found at the last 10 KM of the race route.

Much has been said about the CERC's perfect teamwork, diplomacy, foresight and combined experience running marathons in different parts of the country and of the world as crucial in contributing to the success of CCM.

I say fierce pride of place brought them all together.

You see, this is how Cebuanos think -- Cebu is not just a place. It is also an identity -- a brand. If an event that carries the Cebu brand fails, then everyone of us here share in that failure regardless of political color or station in life, whether you're a participant or not. Thus, when put to task, expect Cebuanos to come in full force and put our best foot forward.


abby said...

as usual you're spot on on every point! so proud that our city's initial offering was a success. it truly is a tough act to follow but if everybody (not only runners and organizers) participates in making every event a group effort with the cebuano pride at stake,then for sure, it will always be a success!

Negley said...

Very true! Cebuanos are just so proud of Cebu. I was beeming with pride the minute I arrived at the IT Park on race day until the race finished. Kudos to CERC members and all proud Cebuanos!

Dennis said...

While the 1st Cebu City Marathon was a well organized race, there's still room for improvement.

The flyers states that there are water stations every 1.5Km or 2Km but during the race they were positioned at irregular intervals. The flyers also stated that there will be portalets along the route but I didn't notice any.

Prior to the race, every time the organizers assure us that there's going to be sufficient supply of water, the follow-up statement is that isotonic drink will also be available .. the isotonic drink appeared only past the 26Km mark.

Hope the stations (water, nutrition, massage, toilet) are identified in the race route in the next Cebu City Marathon.

There should also be an option not to get a singlet and pay a lower registration fee. This will save some cost in staging the race as well as closet space (runners have plenty of singlets). Actually, while the singlet provided was of good quality, I developed painful rashes under my arms starting at Km 10.

The aerobics exercise before the start of the race is not appreciated by runners. Many will rejoice if this practice is eliminated.

janine said...

Greetings from Manila! Running in Cebu was a great experience. Big thanks, Cebu peeps!