WITHOUT a doubt, Ruffa Sorongon has made an impact in Cebu’s running scene in her six-year stint here. She continues to do so by adding another feather on her cap in the 2019 Cebu Marathon, which wrapped up at the Cebu Business Park, on Sunday, Jan. 13.
Sorongon, a Sultan, Kudarat native, dedicated the recent feat to her 67-year-old father, Patricio, whose hard work is a source of inspiration.
“This is for my father who was recently discharged from the hospital. He’s very hardworking just like the other farmers in our place. He was admitted for four days due to a kidney problem and urinary tract infection,” Sorongon, who’s usually known for her reserved personality, said in Cebuano.
The 27-year-old Cebu-based runner clocked 3 hours, 29 minutes and 30 seconds to win her first 42-kilometer title in the annual Cebu Marathon organized by Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC).
Sorongon won the 21K category in the previous years and it was her first time to win the full marathon following a second place finish last year.
“My father is very hardworking. I was worried because it was his first time to get admitted in a hospital,” said Sorongon. “I’m glad that he’s already discharged.”
For Sorongon, the win and the recovery of her father were answered prayers by Sto. Niño.
Sorongon trailed Evamie Villarin in the first 16 kilometers before stealing the lead on the 17K-mark. She never looked back after that.
Villarin finished at second place with a time of 3:30:13. Sandra Soliano came third in 3:52:25, while Kay Razal Cundangan (3:58:24) and Rona Lacanlale (4:01:09) finished at fourth and fifth places with times of 3:58:24 and 4:01:09, respectively.
The men’s 42K field also saw a new champion as Kenyan Joseph Mururi breasted the tape in 2:39:44 to clinch his first Cebu Marathon title after two tries.
Mururi described the event as a way of celebrating the presence of Sto. Niño.
“Sto. Niño is a blessing to us and that is why we are celebrating this kind of event,” said the 33-year-old Mururi, who travels to different parts of the Philippines to join fun runs.
Bryan Quiamco finished at second place in 2:40:06 and was followed by Noel Tillor in 2:40:07, Azlan Pagay in 2:44:45 and Takumi Tamura in 2:48:16.
Mururi said that the course this year was hard but this kind of challenge will define an athlete’s character.
“It will determine how strong you are. How you respond to the challenge. We enjoy the race because it molds the athlete to grow up and improve. I’m happy to win this because for me this was a hard race,” said Mururi.
The men’s and women’s 42K champions each received P20,000, while the second to fifth placers got P15,000, P10,000, P7,000 and P6,000, respectively.
On the other hand, Ginatilan-native Joseph Arnel Emia continued to boost his stock in Cebu’s local running scene after winning the men’s 21K category for the first time.
Emia dominated the race with a time of 1:14:51, about four minutes ahead of the field. Ychon Agustin came second in 1:18:09, Keenan Caburnay finished third in 1:18:18, while Florendo Lapiz (1:19:39) and Soeren Palshoej (1:20:13) finished at fourth and fifth places, respectively.
Emia is off a confidence-boosting 2018 that saw him finish in the top 10 in the Milo Marathon Finals. He also made an impact in some local races last year.
“It was in the past two years that I saw an improvement of my time. Before, I could only compete in the early part of a run and I would run out of gas on the latter part. I was able to improve with the help of a training program,” Emia told SunStar Cebu in a separate interview.
The 30-year-old Emia, a runner for the Rider Omega Triathlon Team, said he was surprised to win this race since most of Cebu’s top runners in the half marathon were in the field.
But Emia was in tip-top shape, rushing to an early lead a few meters from the starting area and never wavering until the finish.
Melody Perez topped the women’s 21K category in 1:35:36. Those who joined her in the top five are Marie Stephan Jayson (1:40:51), Cherry Andrin (1:43:20), Jellma Monsanto (1:43:43) and Jona Dela Torre (1:52:41).
The champions bagged P10,000 each, while the second to fifth placers received P7,500, P5,000, P3,000 and P2,000, respectively.
In the 5K race, junior triathletes Karen Manayon (22:49) of Talisay City and Moira Frances Erediano (23:23) of Lapu-Lapu City had a 1-2 finish in the women’s division, while Joan Alinsunod (23:48) of City of Naga finished at third place.
Alfrinz Braza (18:14) topped the men’s side, beating Earl Peonile (18:47) and Rain del Corro (18:52).
CERC’s Kenneth Casquejo said that it was not a perfect race but they made sure that the participants enjoyed the race.
“On the organizers’ side, we can discuss things that needed improvements so we can apply it to the next edition and make it an even better event,” he said.