While logistical problems plagued this race, the one thing organizers did right was to include the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) on the race route. It was, undoubtedly, the best part of the 2023 Cebu Marathon.

Racing through CCLEX, though challenging, was an unparalleled experience.

I welcomed the blaring upbeat music along the race route though I brought my own in one ear. The Sinulog dancers brought additional cheer.

Water was overflowing at the numerous hydration stations. I drank a bit at each as I wasn’t sure how far the next one would be. While a map of the hydration stations, pre-race, had been provided to us, the distance between them was not.

Some runners complained about the lack of sports drinks and food. As it was my first long-distance run, I didn’t know any better. I only expected water. But I was happy to find Pocari at one station located in Cordova. More stations with sports drinks would definitely have been better.

As I never go to war unprepared, I had intra-race snacks stuffed in my pockets. This turned out to be for the best as all stations had run out of food when I got there. There were plenty of liniments, though, for your aches and pains.

More portalets would have been welcome. And if runners had been provided information about the location and distances of portalet stations from one another, pre-race, it might have allowed us to plan our water breaks and toilet stops better.

Parking, I think, was adequate at SM Seaside. But I didn’t have a chance to park as my car was stuck at N. Bacalso. I had to run from there to Seaside.

The distribution of race kits was a seamless experience. The same cannot be said for the distribution of post-race entitlements. There was just not enough space at the designated area inside SM Seaside.

The biggest problem was congestion — just about everywhere.

Perhaps, N. Bacalso, the only route to the south, should have been excluded from the 42K race route as it contributed to the traffic jam that led many 21K runners to miss their gun start.

And if two lanes at the South Road Properties (SRP) had been open, the pandemonium at the first 21K turnaround might have been avoided.

With over 8,000 participants, runners in each category could have been divided into waves. The gun starts for the 42K and the 21K races could also have been more distanced to further mitigate congestion.

One lane at the finish line for the 21K category was logistically problematic for 4,000 runners. Hence, the completely unacceptable spectacle of 21K runners queueing to cross the finish line.

I must say, though, that the absence of vehicles and thus fumes on the entire race route (except for the 42K race) due to the closure of the SRP as well as CCLEX was something that really made this race much more enjoyable.

Next week, my epic experience.