ORGANIZERS of the Pilipinas 25K International Marathon are unfazed over threats to boycott their event on Aug. 15, the day of the 5th Cebu Doctors’ University Run.

“It’s their own prerogative if they want to stage a boycott,” International Pharmaceuticals Inc. (IPI) advertising manager Tito dela Merced said during an informal press conference the other night at Sports Exchange Bar and Grill.

He was joined by Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association’s (Patafa) Joselito Santos and race director Joe Deresas.

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Dela Merced said they apologize for the conflict of schedules but they need to push through with their event because of their promotional campaign with their new products.

“We really don’t have any intention na makigdungan, we really didn’t know (there was another event on that day),” dela Merced said.

Dela Merced said they were also upset by what Bro. Carlo S. Bacalla, SDB, wrote in the Speak Out section of Sun.Star Cebu the other day.

“How come he said that it is non-existent? Patafa President Go Teng Kok even confirmed with us that it does exist and the 25KM road races for men and women is a standard distance as per IAAF rule. It even has record-holders,” said dela Merced, who showed a certification from the Patafa president.

The world record holder in the 25K are Kenyans Samuel Kiplimo Kosgei with 1:11:50 and Mary Jepkosgei Keitany with 1:13:14 in the men and women’s division respectively. The Asian record holders are Japan’s Takayuki Matsumiya for men posting 1:13:14 and Mizuki Noguchi for women clocking 1:22:13.

A check with online encyclopedia Wikipedia.org confirmed the records but they were listed under 25K, not the 25K marathon.

Santos also answered why their group is sanctioning the PIM and denied it is a “sub-standard race.”

Not sub-standard

“How can he say that the race is sub-standard when it has not yet even started? Kaya nga I am here to properly measure the route of the race para ma meet talaga nila ang standard measurement ng mga categories nila,” said Santos, who is the Patafa technical coordinator and a national road race course measurer.

Santos also said if the elite runners are really concerned with standard distances, he pointed out the standard distance for half-marathon is not 21K but 21.975 kilometers.

He also said races that have categories beyond 21K can consider using “marathon”.

“ It is already accepted worldwide, even by the International Association of Marathons; they also accepted that they can use marathon as their “lingo” if it goes beyond 21K and there is a 25K marathon,” Dela Merced said.

The website of the Association of International Marathon and Road Distances (www.aimsworldrunning.org), a group which claims 300 races in 90 countries including the prestigious Boston Marathon, pointed out in its “history” that the marathon distance of 42.195-kilometers was set in 1924. It also mentioned a 25K race in Berlin but did not call it a marathon.

The Pilipinas International Marathon, which will have the 25K, 10K and 5K distances, aims to break the record of the 2nd Great Lapu-Lapu Run of 4,000 runners.