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Match Point

THE year “2021” is a historic one for Cebu. The date April 14, 2021 will mark 500 years since Magellan landed in our shores. The Portuguese explorer not only planted the acclaimed Magellan’s cross in our island but he also brought with him the spirit, religion and movement called Christianity.

No thanks to this unseen and unexpected contagion called Covid-19, the major activities for “Cebu 2021” have been disrupted. Mass celebrations are not allowed.

Sports in Cebu and worldwide are on a standstill. While many restrictions have been lifted and we’re able to play tennis in Villa Aurora, bike to Busay, play golf in Alta Vista and swim in Holiday Gym, there are still plenty of constraints.

The Cebu Marathon is no exception. As a member of the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC), I have been involved in the preparation of this race since 2008. Led by CERC president Jesse Taborada, we had planned a large-scale event for the coming Sinulog 2021 that will involve 6,500+ runners crowding the streets to run and celebrate the 42K. Sadly, this scene of a jampacked troop of marathoners is not allowed.

No problem. Since the world has gone virtual, so will running.

The “2021 Cebu Marathon - Goes Virtual” race will be launched in the coming days. The distances are 15K, 21K and 42K — with the first two in honor of the historic year five centuries ago: 1521.

The race period is from Jan. 8 to 25, 2021. By virtual race, it means that participants will not run together. There will be no simultaneous gun start in CBP. Runners can opt to start at their time of choosing and place of running. What’s important is that you finish the distance — at one time and not staggered — before the cutoff period. The cutoff times are four hours (15K), five hours (21K) and 10 hours (42K). These are generous cutoff times because running with a mask on is challenging. It’s also easier to run alongside thousands of others in a normal race.

Honesty. This is the key word in a virtual race. Participants will be asked to submit proof of their distance and elapsed time. One must use a GPS-enabled device (like a sports watch) to record the distance and time. But we all know this can be manipulated. A “runner” can pedal a bike and break Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-2 hour record. In this case, nobody loses except the unscrupulous runner.

Registration fee is P780. This amount applies to any of the three categories and every finisher will get a downloadable E-certificate, a Finisher’s Shirt and a gleaming Finisher’s Medal designed by marathoner Meyrick “Jacs” Jacalan.

This race is not limited to Cebuanos. Since this is a virtual event, anyone from Los Angeles to Lahug to Los Baños to London can join. Let’s join and encourage our relatives and friends here and abroad to participate in the 2021 Sinulog spirit by running the Cebu Marathon.

Registration begins this week and will run until Dec. 15. You may visit the official Facebook page or website, cebumarathon.ph.


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