Volunteers boost Milo Marathon Cebu leg

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Monday, October 3, 2011

WHAT’s the secret of the Milo Marathon Cebu qualifiers’ success?

For Ricky Ballesteros, the race organizer, the Cebu race has the right formula that make the runners come back year after year to participate in the city’s most festive and biggest run—the Cebuanos’ dedication and volunteerism.

Last Sunday was another display of close coordination between the organizers, volunteers, participants, PUJ drivers, commuters and small-time entrepreneurs.


As early as, 11 p.m. Saturday evening, the people behind the race began to mark the race routes with streamers and traffic cones indicating the lanes that were off limits to vehicle traffic.

Severino Martillano, 54, a member of the streamer and cone placement team, made sure to do his job with utmost care.

“Kinahanglan gyud sir nga tarong gyud pagbutang ang mga cones og mga streamers kay aron dili masaag ang mga runners. Unya ang mga cones pod kinahanglan nga naa sa sakto nga lugar aron dili pod maka balda sa mga sakyanan nga nangagi,” Basalo said.

Just like Basalo, Romeo Raganas 25, an electrician employed by the Cebu City Sports Center, was among the people who worked behind the scenes. He was tapped to provide lighting at the starting lines and to ensure the electrical connection at the starting and finish line and sound system.

“Hapit na 24 oras ko gamata. Kay kinahanglan gyud nga sigurado ang connection sa kuryente sa starting ug finish line,” Ragas said.

Citom personnel Eugene Reyes was among those who ensured the safety of the runners on bustling city streets.

“There are really drivers who are hard-headed but we just have to be patient because the Milo Marathon is only held once a year and we really have to ensure the safety of the runners from the starting to the finish line,” Reyes said in Cebuano. “It’s good that there are now drivers who understand, and some even help guide the runners they know.”

The things that the volunteers pointed were also felt by the runners themselves.


Runners Madelyn Carter, Sherwin Managquil, Ireneo “Rening” Ylaya and 5K runner Earl Surigao felt safe and secure on the streets.

Although the 21K runners admitted that the route was a little bit tougher and a little longer, they said it would not stop them from joining future Milo races.

“Basin mapareha na lang mi sa edad ni Rening, modagan gihapon mi sa Milo Marathon.

Maybe because they also value us runners,” said Carter who came in fourth in the women’s division.

Carter, along with Mary Joy Tabal, Mary Jane Beboso, Soliano Sandra, Merlita Dunkin, Emily Rosas, Amalo Jopson, Melinda Ponce and Tessie Escasinas made the top 10 yesterday. All of them also made the 2:30 qualifying time in the women’s divison.

Ylaya, 75, has been running the Milo Marathon since way back in 1996 and was among those who failed to meet the cut-off time. Despite limping when he reached Pardo, he managed to finish the 21K.

“I can recite to you the entire Novena of Sr. Sto. Niño. That is my secret. Until now, I’m already 76 years old, I still run and will keep on running while I’m still capable,” Ylaya added.

And after the runners had completed their respective quests, the sidewalk vendors like Merlina Bantillan, who had a “pungko-pungko” outside the City Central School, were a hit to the runners.

“Mokita sad gyud gamay. Dili man kasagaran namo nga momata og sayo kon Dominggo pero kon Milo Marathon na gani, magdugang gyud mi og puhonan para daghan sab mi og matinda para sa mga runners nga mokaon,” Bantillan said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 04, 2011.


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