IT was an all-fiesta atmosphere and everybody was all hyped up as the Cebu City Marathon concluded with flying colors at the Asiatown IT Park in Apas-Lahug yesterday.
And at the center of celebration were Kenyan Willy Tanui and Cagayan de Oro City’s Ailene Tolentino, the winners of the marathon who relegated perennial winners of Cebu races, Simon Losiaboi and Mary Grace delos Santos, to second.
The 25-year- old Tanui, a fourth-time 42K competitor, finished the race in two hours, 30 minutes and 59 seconds, beating Losiaboi by a minute and 26 seconds.
Losiaboi, a first-time competitor in the 42K race, was barely a fraction of a second ahead of Eric Panique of Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental, who also clocked at 2:32:23.
Panique prevented a Kenyan domination as he pushed David Kopkoech Kipsang to fourth place at 2:35:41 on the clock.
The four were packed tightly in the first 30 kilometers before Tanui broke away in the final three kilometers.
“I don’t have good endurace. For 39 kilometers I was running well except the last three kilometers where I had lots of problem finishing because I already had cramps in my legs,” Losiaboi told reporters after the race.
Luckily for Losiaboi, his sprinting skills and long strides gave him the edge over Panique who nearly overtook him at the finish line.
Those who made it to the top 10 in the Men’s 42K race were Elmer Sabal (2:37:23), Mendel Lopez (2:39:17), Jeson Agravante (2:41:41), Rene Desuyo (2:51:15), Rohildo Iso (2:56:40) and Elmo Clarabal (2:59:23).
Meanwhile, Tolentino’s longer strides and experience helped her beat delos Santos, who was leading all the way except for the final 600 meters.
“Give up na gyud ako tiil sa last 600 meters. Lisod kay daghan kaayo distractions. Better luck next time na lang,” delos Santos said.
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Tolentino finished the race in 3:15:31 but collapsed moments after she crossed the finish line, while de los Santos checked in 13 seconds later.
Cebuana Miscelle Gilbuena took the third place at 3:22:08.
The rest of the top 10 finishers were Hanny Jean Delfin (3:23:46), Kenyan Susan Jemutai Chepkwony (3:38:17), Jennylyn Nobleza (3:41:38), Jessica Soco (4:02:58), Mareeis Ramirez (4:03:32), Melinda Ponce (4:23:57) and Cristina Narvaez (4:24:33).
Meantime, Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III completed his 9th full marathon with his second sub-four finish at 3:58:16, good for No. 51 among 364 finishers.
Alhough he was 10 minutes slower from his record 4:48 time in Macau, he was still happy despite suffering leg cramps.
“I had the cramps in the last kilometer. I could have finished better if it did not occurr, but I had learned my lesson.
I conducted an operation yesterday, did a photo shoot with a running magazine and attended to my kids. I did not have much rest unlike in Macau where I had a total rest a day before the race,” Larrazabal told Sun.Star Cebu.
As a veteran international marathoner, Larrazabal was proud of the Cebu City Marathon which he described as one of the best he had participated.
“Very successful. The logistics were there, lively and no problem at the water stations. Something that we Cebuanos can be proud of. The SRP route is very scenic and yet we have more to present. It was only the weather that is our disadvantage.
It’s too hot already at 7 a.m.,” said Larrazabal.
His wife, singer-actress Donna Cruz-Larrazabal who was originally scheduled to run the 21K but later joined the full marathon, completed her second 42K in a little over five hours.
Meanwhile, Madelyn Carter topped the Women’s Division of the 21K Open.
“I decided to run the 21K because I’m not yet fully prepared.
Besides, I am preparing for the Condura Marathon in Manila on Feb. 7,” said Carter, who is very thankful for the presence of de los Santos who took out the best in her.
Carter checked-in at 1:30:51, finishing ahead of Leszl Gitaruelas (1:31:55) and Ellen Tolentino at third place with 1:36:58 time.
In the men’s side, Team Bald Runners took the top three spots. Alquin Bolivar (1:12:02) took home the title with Crifrankreadel Indapan (1:12:11) and Gerald Sabal (1:13:46).
Willy Rotich took fourth, while Cebuano Revodem Aranas was fifth.
The Women’s 21K top 10 finishers includes Emily Chiongbian (1:43:11), Lorhiz Echavez (1:45:12), Joyette Jopson (1:45:43), Jennifer Belocura (1:46:41), Kaye Lopez (1:50:23), Amalie Jopson (1:55:39) and Irish Belleza (1:55:43).
And the Men’s 21K top 10 includes Kenyan Willy Rotich (1:14:47), Revodem Aranas (1:15:45), Jess Gonzaga (1:16:34), Rio de la Cruz (1:17:09), Reprinel Banzon (1:17:43), Bonifacio Monjas (1:18:15) and Riez Enriquez (1:19:46).