Cebu City Marathon 2014 is arguably one of the biggest sporting events to happen this year. Last January 10, a Friday night, the organizers of the CCM 2014 hosted a carbo-loading party for the runners to finally meet and greet the men and women behind this prestigious event, their fellow runners and media personalities. It was a night of a lifetime!
I was determined to attend the event at all cost to meet the personalities who made the CCM a warm treat to us Leyte runners. However it wasn’t that easy. I had a morning trip from Hilongos Leyte to Cebu, so early that I forgot my GPS watch and my trusted Aktib visor. That one was cancelled due to engine problem. I was forced to take on the next 1pm trip. That one almost got cancelled due to the nasty waves caused by the torrential rains. I arrived in Cebu relieved (and thankfully still alive). If my memory serves me right, I was greeted by the nastiest traffic situation in Cebu. Friday, rush hour, Sinulog season. I have an hour to get to the party. When the jeepnies and taxis failed, I resulted to the very reason I was in Cebu for the weekend: RUN. I ran from Pier Area, to Gorordo Ave., then to Ramos Extension and finally to my hotel.
I arrived in the event an hour late after getting lost and snubbed by taxis again on my way to Ayala. 13C jeepney dapit sa USC campus I love you! And finally upon seeing the stage I felt relieved that the party hast not started yet. And so my night begins!
The first people I saw are my running buddies in TOES, all of them Taclobanon and Yolanda Survivors. These guys mean the world to me. I’m the newest member of the group actually, only admitted a month before Yolanda, but they were really like a family to me who supported my race recaps and cheering up on me on the finish line. We call each other: “idol”. After Yolanda, I did my best to help them in any ways I can because how can I ever turn my back to them? I volunteered there perhaps just run with them, even organized a running event for them and when I least expect it.. help came for TOES.
John Pages, practically the heart and soul/poster boy/co-organizer of CCM, caught one of my blogs about the situation of the Tacloban running community. We’ve been in touched ever since with one purpose in mind: to help bring my TOES brothers reach their CCM Dream. That evening I got to see him, again. I met him in Boracay in summer 2011 when I was
exciled assigned there. I was super happy that time to see that dignified face in the Sun.Star sports columns when I was working in Cebu and just barely started running. Just imagine this: Cebu is a running community, Boracay is not. His presence out there in the island saved my running career. His presence in the carbo loading party saved the Tacloban runners’ Marathon Dream. Finally we met and shook hands, a legend shaking hands with a commoner. In his speech he acknowledge our presence:
“But tonight, we are happiest to welcome the contingent of 70 runners coming from Tacloban, Palo, Leyte and Samar. They deserve the loudest applause. We salute their perseverance. Despite the tragedy, they are here to show the world, ‘We are running forward!’ Their cry is not only ‘Bangon, ‘Pinas.’ It’s ‘Dagan ta, Pilipinas!”
Then he threw to the lovely ladies i.e. the Sun.Star crew!
I finally met Ma’am Iste Leopoldo who have interviewed me numerous times for her articles that boosted our Unity Run in Tacloban last month! And she she tossed to this new yet familiar face of CCM: Miss Armie Garde. My goodness that cute chick in the Sun.Star special coverage of Cebu Marathon! I swear I thought to myself, Lester behave RunRoo is right beside her! hahaha. We did have a little talk during the party and found out we are both half-blood Matalomnons, her dad and my mom came from Matalom, Leyte. Our childhoods’ best summers were spent in Matalom.
I will always owe any amount of success I will get in my running-writing career because of Ma’am Rose Buenconsejo’s undying support to my passions (and misadventures with the chix). Yup she’s the woman behind the Cebu running community’s go to website Aktib.Ph and she also gave me a part time gig in her Runroo.com website. And she loves to tease me when it comes to girls hahaha.
Among those who were present in the carbo loading party are Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, RunRio event manager Miss Ally Lim, power couple Maam Amale and Sir Noy Jopson of The Brick and one of the biggest TOES donors, and practically every runners representing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Also one the generous people who met me during the party is sir Nino Abarquez of the Three of Me, the man donated 50 kick-ass singlets to the Leyte runners! He came all the way from Caribbean to see us wear his labor love and welcome his first son. Congratulations brother!
But to me the biggest moment of the night came when my close running buddy Luiz de Asis gave his speech in front of everybody to share his inspiring Yolanda survival story. He had to take care of his girlfriend and her family in the aftermath of the storm. Luiz practically lost all his earthly possession during the storm, including the important running gears. So the first thing I bought with my 13th month pay was his shoes for CCM. The guy deserves it! He will be a husband and a father this year. And there’s no better way to start the year but by running in the Cebu City Marathon!
The night was short and cold, and almost every runner has to come to terms with the rain comes race day. We said goodbye to everybody and whispered this is the night we come all ye dreamers.