SPORTS EYE - Raffy T. Uytiepo (The Freeman) - January 18, 2016 - 9:00am

Looks like the running boom is fast approaching the finish line.  Take a look at the races, the weekly runs are taking it’s toll as runners are either burned-out or injured .  Ive’ said it before that the real or passionate runners will remain and those that  are only good for “pa- forma” and facebooks won’t last.  Three years ago, I was called to city hall to help find a solution to regulate runs that were getting out of control.  Would you believe there were three races on a Sunday morning?  Even Saturdays were taken.  So I assisted then councilor now, vice mayor Ed Labella, draft the ordinance regulating runs.  The result was good as we were able to limit races to one a day .  We also eradicated fly-by-night or instant organizers by implementing high fees on permits and warned them they could go to  jail if they don’t take care of their trash like paper cups. I was also instrumental for the road fees charged by the Cebu Business Park for the use of the CBP grounds.  Former CBP administrator ClementdDel Rosario and yours truly initially charged Php 5,000 and eventually increased it to Php 10,000.  Global City in Taguig charge as much as Php 100,000 for use of venue.  Jingjing and Hector Rama noticed that even the big races like Cebu City Marathon’s participants had dwindled.  It used to gather 8,000 runners.  Some races now  get 300 to 500 runners and you’re lucky to register 1,000.  During the running boom we could  easily sign up 2,000.  Some of the big races then  were the Cebu Tri City 25K Marathon, Don Sergio Osmeña Half Marathon.  Later ones included the Great Lapu-Lapu City Run (5,000 runners).  PLDT 10 miler, (4,000 runners), the Aboitiz Race To Reduce (4,000).Universities also organized their own runs, that way you have a guaranteed field, just tell the students that  no appearance means no grade.  Of course, the biggest race here in Cebu is the Milo Marathon that averages over 20,000 runners.  The rise of the triathlon also contributed to the decline of the runs.  Even ultramarathons except the All- Women, are dying.  Some ultras now attract less than 30 from a high of 300  when Jonel Mendoza and I introduced the event here in Cebu in 2009. Well “Some Good Things Never Last”,  that’s a great song by Barbra Streisand.


A friend and former Gintong Alay head Michael Keon complained recently that the 10K course of the Milo Marathon Finals held in Clark Field, Pampanga, was short.  Keon said his best time in the distance is 51 minutes but this time he registered 45:18. Keon said he told race director Rio  Dela Cruz that the route is only 8.6 km. Rio said it’s impossible since it was even certified by AIMS.  Rio declined to apoligize to Keon and said he will check on the matter.  Rio finally was informed that the course was correct but it was the the lead marshall who made an error by making a wrong turn.  This has happened several times especially in the initial Paig  River Marathon where runners arrived from three directions. That’s why in the early days of the Cebu City Marathon I was assigned to be the lead route marshall.  Any wrong turn could spell disaster.  Sometimes its useless to brag that a race is IAAF, AIMS or PATAFA- sanctioned.  Human error could be a spoiler. Speaking of Keon, I once beat him in the North Star 10K held in Paoay, Ilocos  Norte. Keon a former middle-distance runner, started strong but when we hit the hills at the 5K mark, I started to take the lead.  Michael mounted a last ditch attempt to catch me but suffered cramps in the last 2 kilometers and had to quit.


By the time you read this column, I am well on my way to Iloilo City for another crazy festival, the Dinagyang.   I wanted to stay home but I have to play guide to my niece Julia’s husband, Vence Federer, nephew of tennis world champion Roger Federer.  Some of my tennis buff friends said “Maayo unta if maka dala siya  ug tennis balls signed by Roger”.  l’ll ask my niece.  Hala Bira!

Did you know?

Martial arts (Aikido) expert and action star Steven Seagal was recently granted Serbian citizenship.  Seagal is being offered to train Serbian special police forces in Aikido.

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