Another big year for Cebu Marathon with huge turnout

OPENING. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (fourth from left) leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Cebu City Marathon.
OPENING. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (fourth from left) leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Cebu City Marathon. EDRI AZNAR

HE Cebu Marathon continues to remain as the most sought-after running event in Cebu City’s running calendar as it draws more than 8,000 runners for this year’s edition.

Though a little bit lower than last year’s turnout, a total of 8,110 runners will be running the Cebu Marathon 2024 on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2024. It starts and finishes at the SM Seaside City Cebu.

“Almost similar to last year, which are very good numbers because last year was very big. It was the first big race after almost three years of the pandemic. It was also the very first time that runners ran the CCLEX. So the excitement level was there. But now, a year later the numbers are about the same so we are very happy with the turnout. We are very excited for all the participants, not just from Cebu, but all over the Philippines and from around many parts of the world,” said Cebu City Sports Commission commissioner John Pages.

Last year, it was the first time the runners experienced the exciting but daunting task of running the scenic Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) bridge. It drew a total of 8,632 runners after coming off the Covid-19 pandemic, which was a record-breaking number of participants for the Cebu Marathon.

The 42K runners will start off from SM Seaside and will run through famous Cebu City spots like the Plaza Independencia, Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu, Fuente Osmeña, the Provincial Capitol and Cebu IT Park. The last stretch will be 18 kilometers from the CCLEX bridge to SM Seaside City Cebu.

“When it comes to the festivity, we have the support of Team Cebu. The sounds, the lights and their own LED that’s all over the route. Aside from that, we have the Sinulog dancers,” said race director Joel Juarez.

Runners are encouraged by the organizers to come to the venue early, at least an hour and a half before the gun start of their respective races.

“The gun start for the 42K will be at 12:30 (a.m.) and we have a generous eight-hour cutoff. The last part of the run is 18 kilometers of the CCLEX so that will be quite hot for the runners that will finish late. At least the earlier start will give them less time under the sun,” said Pages.

Aside from the 42K race, the category with the highest turnout is the 24K race, which should be a good test run for runners who are aiming to run the full marathon in the near future.

“The 24K is a unique distance. It’s probably the first in the Philippines. The reason is we want to encourage those who have run the 21K already to go further and of course, it’s 2024 that’s why it’s 24K. This will spur them further, and we don’t know in 2025, they’ll lift the numbers and run the full marathon already,” said Pages. “Cebu Marathon has always been trying to encourage and push the runners to aim higher.”

The Cebu Marathon will also have shorter distances like the 12K and 6K categories.

Raffy Uytiepo, one of the founding members of the Cebu Marathon, has been in the running scene for a long time and was happy with the huge growth of the running scene here in Cebu.

“After maybe 40 years of running it’s your turn, the young people, to run. I’m happy that the marathon has grown this big. We started with the half marathon, then there were still only a few people that ran back then. Now, we can barely accommodate the runners,” he said.

“So good luck runners and just be safe. If you don’t feel well, stop. There are aid stations and medical teams along the route. Don’t push it too much, there are hundreds of runs. If you can’t do it today, maybe next week you can run again. So be safe and good luck.”

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