Then all of sudden in November last year Simon Losiaboi from Kenya showed up and shook up the status quo of the local running scene. Since then, Lopez has played second best to Losiaboi who then became an instant hit in the local running circuit.
For a while Cebuanos stood in awe and were thrilled at watching the Kenyan with his sinewy legs and long strides win races week after week after week. Except for the Cebu City Marathon where Losiaboi lost to another , it seemed as if we running mortals were resigned to seeing Losiaboi win all the races. It was as if there was no contest as to who would get the top prize. Without a real challenger, the Simon show became boring.
(Photo from Pabolfc.blogspot. L-R: Elmer Bartolo, Simon Losiaboi and Mendel Lopez)
This until Lopez changed race strategies and started skipping some of the weekend races to make time for more intense training and more importantly, to give his muscles much needed time for recovery, which is just as crucial as racking up the miles.
The first time Lopez beat Losiaboi was by technicality, after Losiaboi who ran using someone else’s race bib was disqualified at the Rotary Run in February. Lopez went home with the winner’s trophy, but to a truly competitive runner this win doesn’t count. It wasn’t on the merits.
Then on March 20, Lopez beat Losiaboi in a face-off at the Mt. Manungal climbathon – a 17-kilometer trail and road run challenge. Lopez clocked 1:07:25; while Losiaboi was light years away at 1:12:45 “
Then as if to prove that his win at the Manungal climbathon was no fluke, Lopez, in less then 24 hours, again beat Losiaboi at the Run to the Clouds – an 8-kilometer uphill challenge. Lopez was practically unchallenged as he led all the way up the relentless hills of Barangays Busay and Malubog 600 meters above sea level, beating Losiaboi by 2 minutes and 18 seconds – an eternity in competitive road racing standards.
This got local runners buzzing. The local Kenyan running sensation, was not invincible after all!
The real test however, will be when Losiaboi and Lopez face off at the long and flat 21-K course of the Great Lapu-Lapu Run “I won’t be racing between now and . Lapu-Lapu will be my next big race. Dili lang ko mag-target ug time. Paningkamutan lang nako nga ako ang mag champion,” Lopez tells the Marathon Foodie. and Lopez knows this.
If we go by personal records, Mendel Lopez’s personal best for 21K is 1:11:11 – a far cry from Simon Losiaboi’s reported personal best of 1:03. But as a proud Cebuano, I’m rooting for our local boy Mendel, statistical and historical data be damned.
If you’re looking for a race that is more than the usual and an excuse to wear a bikini in Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island on Holy Week and not get sued by Gov. Gwen Garcia, then the Summer Sportscapade is for you.
There will be sprint (750m Swim - 20km Bike - 5km Run) and standard distance (1.5km Swim - 40km Bike - 10km Run) triathlon and oceanman (200m Run - 200m Swim all x 4 laps) .; duathlon (2.5km Run - 20km Bike - 2.5km Run) ;
Summer Sportscapade will be held at Mac’s Hideaway Beach Resort on the pristine beaches of Santa Fe . Registration is pegged at P350 for each event but you can opt to join as many as you want by signing up for the race-all-you-can fee at P500 which is payable on or before race day at the race site. Registration deadline is on race day itself.
Good luck to all runners joining Citirun at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel. Be safe, race well and seize the road!