THE 2014 Cebu City Marathon (CCM) has attracted all sorts of people from the running community—from the old to the young and from the professionals to the first-timers.

The seventh edition of the CCM, which has earned accredition from the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has attracted 3,000 runners doing the 21K and 42K. And while the pros are in it to win it, the first-timers are joining for the health benefits.

Karen Aissa Bacolod and two other friends, Jowalyn Maris Real and Melvin Martinez, have been leading sedentary lives because of their jobs.

A year ago, they decided to turn that around and challenged themselves: to get fit.

And their ultimate goal is to run in the CCM. The three signed up for the 21K. Not only is it their first time in the CCM, but it is also their first time to run the 21K.

“So we ran all throughout last year as part of our preparation for the CCM...We are feeling a little bit scared because we may not have prepared enough. We just hope we finish before the cutoff and not get injured,” said Bacolod.

Bacolod added that even before the marathon starts, they have already reaped the benefits. “It pushed us to get out of our comfort zones, get up and run,” said Bacolod.

James Go, on the other hand, will be doing his second 21K run in preparation for his first 42K run this February in the Bull Runner Dream Marathon in Nuvali, Laguna.

“The CCM is designed for beginners like me. I am joining this run as a preparation for it. I hope I can finish the race below four hours,” said Go.

Full marathon first-timer Ulachika Rampage, a mother of 3-year-old son Jdhen Aki, will be joining this Sunday to test her limits.

“I am pretty excited and at the same nervous. I just want to finish this race and experience what it feels like running a full marathon,” said Rampage.

Businessman Larry Straus Beduya will dedicate his first 42K run to his wife, Jervie, who is four months pregnant.

“I am joining for the experience and especially to find out if kaya ba naku ang 42K. I was able to conquer a 21K run last November, which pushed me to try a 42K run and my source of inspiration for doing this is my wife, who is four months pregnant,” said Beduya.

Beduya also said that he has a lot of runner friends who want to join but were discouraged due to the registration fee.

“Medyo namahalan sila but for me, it is okay because this is an international race. Nindot siya na experience for anyone,” said Beduya.

Due to public demand, the CCM re-opened their registration until Jan. 11 to cater to those other runners who missed the deadline.

One late registrant, Joel Lagarnia, was happy that the registration period was extended.

“I wasn’t aware of the deadline so the next thing I knew last December was that the registration closed. I thought I would be doing my first 21K run next year but when I learned that they are re-opening the registration, I got excited because I can still join this year’s edition,” said Lagarnia.