AS EXPECTED, thousands thronged the registration centers of the 34th Milo Marathon Cebu eliminations that organizers had to deny some of the entries.

The number of runners this year bloated to 23,000 from last year’s 20,000. Organizer Ricky Ballesteros said they had to decline the others who still wanted to catch up with the registration deadline.

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“We really need to close the registration for safety and security reasons. After all, we want to give a quality race for our runners,” Ballesteros said.

Ballesteros said there was a possibility that Cebu will surpass the 26,000 runners who signed up for the Manila leg but Cebu might have a hard time on race day since the roads are not as wide as those in Manila.

“We are still receiving inquiries from people who wanted to participate but we have to close with 23,000 runners,” Ballesteros said.

The deadline was set last Aug. 31 but the slots were already filled up as early as Aug. 15.

The bulk of the runners—20,000—will be running in the 5K. There are 1,000 runners in the 3K, 250 in the 10K and 555 in the 21K run.

Last year, Madelyn Carter and Mendel Lopez topped the 21K women and men’s divisions.

Ballesteros said this Friday, the 34th Milo Marathon Cebu Leg will be formally launched.

Vice Mayor Joy Young, Milo sports executive Pat Goc-ong, Nestle’s Andrew Neri, Lester Castillo and Rudy Biscocho will attend the affair.

Aside from the launching, 400 pupils of the Tejero Elementary School will also be given their rubber shoes. They are the beneficiaries of the Milo Marathon program of giving shoes to public school kids.