Lim: Cebu Marathon 2024 – Part 2

Melanie Lim.
Melanie Lim.File photo

It was a much-better organized race than last year’s but there is much to be done.

I know there were 8,000 runners but it would still have been better for the medals to have been placed around their necks rather than handed to them, as they crossed the finish line.

Viewing post-race footage, I realize that earlier batches of 42K runners did get this classic ceremony. But as the sun came up and more runners arrived at the finish line, staff probably decided to hand out the medals for expedience.

And this, while not ideal, would have been understandable except that as the medals were encased in plastic and the race category could not be determined from the medal’s face, some 42K runners received a 24K medal while some 24K runners received a 42K medal.

But the Cebu Marathon 2024 medal was such a beauty that I truly felt bad for the 12K and 6K finishers who didn’t get any. I think every runner who finishes a race deserves a medal. And if organizers don’t believe the distance is long enough to warrant a medal, then they shouldn’t include it in the race.

The much-maligned towel for 42K and 24K finishers which was actually pretty nice, not to mention, useful after the race, had to be claimed a few meters after the finish line but as the place was packed, you could have so easily missed getting one if you had immediately headed home afterwards like I usually do, post-race.

Ironically, while no one was handing them out when I crossed the finish line, when I already had mine, I was offered a towel, three times, while waiting for my friend to cross the finish line.

The organizers gave in to the clamor for a finisher’s shirt for the 42K and 24K categories and distributed this along with the food pack. The rice meal was replaced with a meat bun, boiled egg and banana which I much preferred because they didn’t require utensils.

The distribution, however, was chaotic as always. This is not exclusive to the Cebu Marathon. In fact, because post-race pandemonium is commonplace, I, almost always, head home after a race without claiming a food pack. It’s just too much trouble.

If race organizers would put up signage—clear, visible signage so runners would know where to go after the race, it would make all the difference. Most runners arrive at the venue early before the race. If there was signage directing them where to go afterwards, post-race distribution of race entitlements would be a lot smoother even with limited staff.

But without signage, runners cannot determine where the queues that snake through the crowds go. After the race, we have to resort to asking around and getting clued in on where to go by looking at people’s race bibs.

But things don’t have to be this way. We can put up signage on race day—simple signage that can guide everyone where to go after the race.

I have more to say. Read me next week.


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