Cebu Marathon 2014: A run to pray, a run for love-A A +A
Sunday, January 19, 2014
I KNEW it was too late for me to physically train two months before the race, but I still decided to join the Cebu City Marathon (CCM) 2014 for several reasons – it has become part of my Sinulog tradition, it’s now certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), and it’s a birthday gift, among others.
I started running the CCM in 2011 with a half-marathon, then finally a marathon in 2012 and 2013. Since the race is scheduled in time for the Sinulog festival in Cebu, which is also the feast of the Señor Sto. Nino, I have always offered the CCM to the Holy Child. It is a thanksgiving run for all the blessings my family has been receiving.
A good friend of mine, Rose Buenconsejo, definitely knew what best gift to give me on my 25th birthday—a 42K CCM slot. Best gifts are rare, and I just couldn’t find a single excuse not to run “the gift to run.”
The CCM, being an AIMS-certified race, is officially an international marathon, where elite local and foreign runners can race to qualify for other dream international marathons like the Boston Marathon. I knew I won’t be getting the PR that would qualify me for Boston or New York, but the thought of running an international race hosted in Cebu, Philippines, for me is an awesome thing if you think about it.
I also thought of dedicating every five kilometers of the race to people who matter to me a lot. Every five-kilometer stretch was a prayer dedicated to them. They know who they are.
Sometimes, running with your heart—to pray and for love—can be the only way left to finish a marathon, and this always works for someone like me who wasn’t able to prepare my legs for it.
As I was preparing my heart for my 42-kilometer race, I was also producing Sun.Star website’s special coverage for the CCM 2014 in partnership with Aktib.ph and Runroo.
Aktib.ph is an online community where runners can schedule their races and share photos and stories of the races they’ve joined. Runroo at runroo.com is the online running magazine of Aktib.
In case you missed it, the pre-race, race day and post-race photos, videos and other updates can be viewed at http://cebu.sunstar.com.ph/sinulog/videos/cebu-city-marathon-2014/
I went to the starting line of the Cebu City Marathon last Sunday, knowing that I won’t be getting a sub-5 or sub-6 PR but confident that I will finish.
Looking around and seeing new and familiar faces reminded me of one of the reasons why I got into running—to inspire as many people as those who braved the non-stop rain last Sunday to wake up, get out the door, and welcome the dawn on the road, running.
The greetings, smiles and words of encouragement from fellow runners were more than enough reasons to forget my starting line anxiety. When I heard the gun start, I turned on my Garmin, screamed a resounding “Wohooo,” which means both “bring it on” and “we can do this,” and off I went and started my 42K prayer.
The downpour was non-stop since kilometer 0. I had to be very careful with my every step to avoid sliding. I was also worried not about being soaked, but about the strings of my Warat slippers, which I haven’t changed yet since I created the footwear almost three years ago. I was afraid it would break and I didn’t have spare strings.
The sight of the SRP tunnel was a relief. I told myself, “you are pretty close to the turning point.” Well, not really close. It was a trick I have mastered after running the CCM for four years now. I set my mind and heart into believing that reaching the tunnel means reaching the turning point a few kilometers ahead, and that means finding my way back again to IT Park, where the Start and Finish were.
Seeing other runners, happily running, was also a relief, especially those who came in their Sinulog-inspired costumes. Seeing the support crew in every water station was also a real relief. They gave us not just hydration but heartwarming cheers, as well.
Seeing the U-turn, which I earlier thought was the 21K turning point, made me a happy kid. Reaching it had turned on a button somewhere that made my comfortable pace even faster.
In getting back into the tunnel, I passed by several runners, some I had small talks with, and we kept telling each other we can and we will make it before the cut-off.
My pace was consistent and I was already in the mood to keep pacing up, still praying, and telling myself I have more than enough reasons to finish before 10 a.m.
I made it!
I made a stronger finish this time than last year. I made it in a better shape than last year. I made it without having blisters, cramps, and stuff. I conquered another CCM. Glory to you, Daddy God!
Viva Pit Senyor!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 20, 2014.