RUNNING a marathon is a daunting task. A runner needs a lot of motivation to train well enough to be able to complete the entire 42K.

For the 3,000 participants of the Cebu City Marathon, runners are gearing up armed with different goals as they try to finish the run, which will be on Jan. 12 at the Cebu IT Park.

This year’s CCM, which has attracted 3,000 participants, features a men’s and women’s 21K and 42K runs and a tougher field of runners is expected after it received accreditation from international bodies, the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) and the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Last year’s third runner-up, Kenyan Susan Jemutai, will be coming back and looks to improve last year’s finish despite the presence of several competitive foreign runners.

“I am still joining. Yes, I want to win but we don’t know what will happen during the race especially since there are tougher runners this year because of the AIMS/IAAF accredidation,” said Jemutai.

Jemutai’s chances just might be boosted as 2013 Milo National Marathon women’s champion and the country’s fastes woman, Mary Joy Tabal, decided to just run the half-marathon distance.

Tabal also joined the 21K last year and finished third. Tabal hopes for a better finish but explained that she will forego the 42K since her body needs to recover from her Milo stint last month.

“I just joined the full marathon last month and I have been advised by my coach Philip Duenas to race in shorter distances in preparation for the Paris Marathon this April,” said Tabal.

Being the country’s fastest marathoner, Tabal does not need to prove anything to anyone.

But the diminutive powerhouse still looks to continue improving.

“I am still aiming for a better finish and hopefully improve my personal record in the 21K of 1:21. This run will also help determine if I have fully recovered from the Milo Marathon,” said Tabal.

Tabal, who is considered the fastest woman marathoner in the country, will be representing the country in the 2014 Paris Marathon after she won the Milo National Marathon. Tabal claimed her first Milo Marathon national crown after breaking the 42K record set by Jho-An Banayag by 16 seconds.

Meanwhile, after a year of hiatus in international triathlon competition, triathlete Elmo Clarabal is set to make a comeback this year in several international triathlon races.

Clarabal, who won second in the men’s Filipino elite category of the 2012 Vaseline men Xterra Off-road triathlon series, encountered personal problems that forced him stop joining races last year.

With everything settled in his life, he is hopeful to make a stirring comeback this year as he starts it with the 42K in the CCM.

Clarabal’s ultimate goal is to pull off an impressive finish in the 2014 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines in August and he hopes the CCM will jumpstart this year’s mission.

“I’m back and joining the CCM, which is my first 42K marathon for this year and it will serve as my training,” said Clarabal.