Lim: Cebu Marathon 2024

Melanie Lim.
Melanie Lim.File photo

The best Cebu Marathon ever, say the veteran runners.

I’ve joined it only twice—running the 21K race last year and the 24K race this year. I had not planned to run longer but the half-marathon was scrapped this year to give way to the more interesting though more challenging 24K race to mark the year 2024.

With over 8,000 runners, half of them running in the 24K race, I made an early start at midnight to ensure I made it to the 2:30 a.m. gun start. This time, no horrendous traffic met me at dawn. A good beginning.

Last year, I had to start running some two kilometers away from the start line. And I still missed the gun start. That was a bit traumatic for me. This year, no such drama occurred for two reasons.

First, because N. Bacalso (the only route open to SM Seaside where the start line is located) was no longer part of the 42K race route. And second, because the 42K gun start was now at 12:30 a.m., two hours earlier than the 24K gun start.

The adequate spacing of gun starts in the different race categories greatly eased congestion on the roads and on the race routes.

Some other improvements I noticed from last year. Early announcement of race date, registration details and race routes.

Better race routes. Though I can only speak with certainty for the 24K race, I was relieved to be running only within the South Road Properties and its periphery. As the entire area was closed to vehicles, my entire race route was fume-free.

Well-lit race route. I never had to use my running light.

More portable toilets. While I didn’t need to use any, the sight of these along many points in the race route greatly reduced my anxiety.

Well-stocked hydration and food stations. Water, ice, Pocari and other drinks were available. I couldn’t believe it but this time, I made it to the food stations—to the bananas, chocolates, energy bars, cakes and more.

It was a delight to bite into Leona’s goodies towards the last few kilometers. If I were not so eager to cross the finish line, I would have eaten more.

More music stations. The music stations including live bands along the race route were truly a welcome picker upper for many a struggling runner.

Well-stationed photographers. This time, they were strategically but safely stationed in places that did not run directly into the path of runners, keeping the race safe for all.

But the iconic Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) still stole the show. As always, a sight to behold—such a beauty that I actually decided to run through it again despite its punishing elevation.

For some things in life, once is enough. I’ve done it twice now. Dare I be a masochist and go for a third time? An epic race, as always. But as I’ve only done it twice, I’m going to be modest in my praise.

Definitely better than last year but there is much we can do to make it even better next year. Read me next week.


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