AS you’re reading this, the Cebu Marathon is underway. Starting at 3 a.m., over 1,300 runners will start their long trek from the Cebu Business Park and run a crazy long distance with the aim of being called this: Marathoner.
The marathon is an enigma. It has transformed people’s lives. It has caused knee, foot and back injuries to almost every participant. It’s a dream. It’s a target in one’s “bucket list.”
42.195 is the exact number of kilometers for the marathon. (If you hear someone saying, “I’ll run a 5K marathon,” that’s incorrect.)
Its history dates back to 490 BC in the Battle of Marathon when, according to legend, a Greek soldier named Pheidippides ran to Athens to report the defeat of the Persians. Fast forward to 1896, when the Olympic Games were first held in Athens, the marathon was in the original roster of events.
Today, an estimated 800 marathon events are organized worldwide. This morning, it’s our very own Cebu City that’s hosting the 42K race. (There are also two other distances offered, the 21K and 5K, but the premier event is the 42K.)
What makes our Cebu race special is the Sinulog. It’s timed perfectly a week before the grand parade; thus, the drum beaters, banners and dancers all contributing to a festive, Pit Senyor occasion.
The Hydration Stations, over a dozen of them scattered throughout the route, are stops not only for drinking water or Pocari Sweat but also to get rejuvenated. Entertainment is a must among the water stops—giving a much-needed boost to the wearied runners.
If you’re a participant today, congratulations. It doesn’t matter if you’re a sub-3 runner (like our Olympian Mary Joy Tabal) or it will take you the full seven hours to complete the journey. What matters is that you joined and finished.
If you’re a friend or relative of a participant, applaud your marathon finisher. Commend him or her for all the months of waking up at 3 a.m. to run; for the discipline and determination. (In the US, it’s estimated that only 0.5 percent of the population has finished a marathon. This number will be much, much less in the Philippines.)
If you’re a regular Cebu resident like majority of the SunStar readers, why not “join” by going out early today (the event will conclude at 10 a.m) and cheering on the participants. Finally, if you’re driving and will encounter heavy traffic, be patient. Think less of your inconvenience (sitting down, possibly in an aircon car) and think more of the sacrifices and sweat endured by the marathoners on the road.