MY LADY friends and I have a major problem, which needs a major solution by Saturday, March 8. What do we wear for the All-Women Ultra Marathon (Awum)?
Wearing the right attire is as important as finishing the 50-kilometer run. It is not how we run the race but how we look as we run.
Only the Awum, now on its third year, can stir lady runners into scouring their running wardrobe for the right match of top, bottom, cap, shades, socks and shoes.
Finding none to their liking, they will shop for one or all of these. A great outfit will compensate for the lack of training.
So, come Saturday night at the Capitol grounds, 250 women will be in their best running outfit and they will be sparkling with body lights and blinkers. Actually, 251 women.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, an accomplished triathlete, will join the Awum. She will be running with her good friend and fellow triathlete Aya Schlacter, also an Awum newbie.
This is a first in Awum: to have a senator as a registered participant. We had a mayor from a Luzon town in Awum 2012, our maiden race. Senator Cayetano is a special accommodation, that's why her race number is 251.
The race is exclusive for women who are prohibited to run with pacers or with mobile support. The Awum organizer, Think Tank, will station spotters along the route and they will pull out the runner from the race if she is found to have breached the Awum terms.
Local running groups have volunteered to put up hydration stations and they offer everything a female runner needs and takes pleasure in. Massage, cold sponge, ice cream, pospas, hapas, soda, chocolate, lipstick, face powder, roses, kisses. What's this I heard that the guys at Kilometer 20 will do a Chippendale act? They better not disappoint.
The only thing these running clubs can't do for the Awum runners is to move the finish arc from K50 to K43. The last seven kilometers is torturously long with only one bend going to the finish line at the Alta Beach Resort in Cordova.
The foot race has a comfortable cutoff of 10 hours starting at 10 p.m. Merlita Dunkin, Awum 2012 Queen, finished the race in 5 hours 25 minutes. She didn't run the next year but Awum 2013 Queen Jade Abellana did it in 5:10.
Race director Willie Estepa foresees a much earlier finish this year, say, sub-5. It's going to be a long wait for the top three finishers for the awarding at 7:30 a.m. His advice to the ladies: Enjoy the route. Walk the uphill. Run the downhill. Jog or run the flat.
Registration, limited to 250 runners, closed in less than a week with 26 on the waitlist. The waitlist is down to 11. Fifteen original registrants have backed out because of training injuries and unforeseen obligations that come in conflict with the March 8-9 race schedule.
Of the 251 registered runners, 127 are newbies and 51 come from places outside Cebu.
There are 24 hydration stations manned by 29 running clubs. The first pit stop is at K5 and the succeeding ones after every two kilometers. One hundred bikers have volunteered to serve as road marshalls throughout the 50 kilometers. There are doctors and ambulances along the route.
The ladies only have to think about finishing the run and not looking kagidlay when they reach Alta. You see, ladies, there's an award for "Most Stunning Runner" to be given by Cebu Parklane International Hotel. Don't stun us with your kagidlay look.
That's why we have to wear our best running attire. If we can't run fast, then at least we have to look beautiful and sexy running even if we are far from fitting the two adjectives.
Status: Feeling kuyaig.