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Africans big threat in Camsur marathon

- Abac Cordero () - September 25, 2011 - 12:00am

PILI, Camarines Sur , Philippines – The Kenyans are here as well as the Ethiopians.

Still, it doesn’t mean that the second Summit Water Camsur Marathon has no place for the locals after the organizers decided to put up the same amount of cash prizes for both foreign and local runners.

“We don’t want to discourage our local runners from joining just because the Kenyans or the Ethiopians are here,” said Camsur Gov. L-Ray Villafuerte yesterday, the eve of the record-setting marathon.

“That’s why our locals runners will be vying for the same amount in prizes. There will be Filipinos at the podium.”

Race director Rio dela Cruz said over 21,000 runners will be fired off today starting at 4 a.m. Aside from the main event, the 42 km race, there will be side events in the 21K, 10K, 5K and 3K.

Dela Cruz said the number far exceeded last year’s field of 18,000, and in fact they had to turn down huge requests for additional slots, at least in the 5K race, over the last few days.

But regardless of the number, this year’s edition promises to be bigger than the previous one, considering that close to P1.5 million in cash prizes will be given away.

Villafuerte said the winners’ purse for the elite foreign runners will match those for the elite local runners in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

The champions will get P125,000 each, runners-up P90,000 and third placers P50,000.

If not for the coming Southeast Asian Games in November, all the members of the national team would have been here. In their absence, Cresenciano Sabal looms as the favorite in the local side.

Dela Cruz said the Kenyans as well as the Ethiopians are expected to slug it out for the day’s top honors, and late in the afternoon yesterday, they were seen roaming the Camsur Watersports Complex.

The race covers the major thoroughfares in and around CWC, and Dela Cruz described the route as “relatively flat with a good view of the countryside and the ricefields.”

Today’s race will also serve as a qualifier for the next Boston Marathon. It gives Filipino runners the chance to qualify to the mother of all marathons without having to race abroad.

Villafuerte, who has turned the province into the country’s top sports tourism destination, is leaving no stone unturned making this event another huge success.

Last month, the Camsur Watersports Complex hosted the Ironman triathlon race for the third straight year. Villafuerte said more sporting events are being lined up by the province.  

“That’s why we invited all the elite runners. It’s just unfortunate that the country’s top runners can’t join because they are already gearing up for the SEA Games in November,” said Villafuerte.

A bevy of celebrities will be around today, including Aga Muhlach, who will join the 10K race, Brent Javier, Gem Padilla, Anthony Pangilinan, Rovilson Fernandez, Patty Betita, Frank Magalona and Tessa Prieto Valdes.

The theme of this year’s marathon is “Race to a Green Philippines” because Villafuerte said for every registered runner, 10 trees will be planted in the province.

“We envisioned 12 million trees by 2012 and so far we’ve planted three million trees,” he said.

AGA MUHLACH ANTHONY PANGILINAN BOSTON MARATHON BRENT JAVIER CAMARINES SUR CAMSUR WATERSPORTS COMPLEX DELA CRUZ RACE RUNNERS VILLAFUERTE
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