CEBU CITY, Philippines – Sunday morning was greener than the usual as Cebu City gawked at the swarms of green-clad carpets of runners competing for the podium, against friends or themselves or for personal goals in the 43rd Milo Marathon Cebu Elimination at the Cebu City Sports Center.
And these stories were portrayed by the success of the future Cebu marathon king Prince Joey Lee and women defending champion Ruffa Sorongon.
Despite on what he described as a tough route, Lee managed to win the Men’s 21K race title after beating the nearly 600 other registrants to the finish line in one hour, 11 minutes and 59 seconds.
“This was a really tough route with so many up-hill, especially the SM to Salinas Drive route portion. It was a hard battle. Thankfully I survived that but my goal of completing the 21-kilometers in sub 1-10 (one hour and 10 minutes) did not happen,” Lee told iNews.Ph after receiving his championship trophy.
Even if Cebu is his turf, the 22-year old Computer Engineering grad of the University of Cebu, who has been a habitué of the Milo Marathon since he was 3-years old, still found it hard to beat the 1:09:58 personal record, which he completed in Iloilo City elimination last year.
“Even if I had practiced the route before this race, (but) I still had a hard time during race time. But I am still thankful. (I am) thankful to God, for always giving me strength and thankful to all my supporters for their undying support. I will be training harder for the National Finals and try to improve my dismal finish last year,” continued Lee, whose right hand was embracing his beau Arienne dela Cerna who was clinging by his side while his left holding the trophy and freebies.
Lee enjoyed a two minute and 30 seconds distance over his closest pursuer, Ariel Saballa who was timed 11:14:29. Florendo Lapiz crossed third at 1:41:16 on the clock.
Women’s winner Ruffa Sorongon checked in at 1:31:31, which was already expected. But she needed to beat herself as she struggled on her way back to the finish line.
“I did not expect to win because I was thinking of quitting. My legs are hurting and my stomach was upset. I want to relieve myself when I saw a gas station near Robinsons Galleria. But one part of me kept telling to go on, not to stop, keep running and finish the race,” Sorongon admitted.
Defending her Cebu title was not a part of her plan either.
Just last week, she raced in the 3rd Leg of the Run Rio 42K at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City where she finished 8th overall and 3rd in the Female category.
Luckily she had established a substantial distance that enabled her at the front until the line.
Sorongon advanced to the National Finals for the fourth time after traversing the destination 39 seconds ahead of Ultra Marathoner Evamie Villarin, who checked in at 1:32:02. Engiel Estillor finished third at 1:41:16.
Meanwhile, the 10kilometer race was dominated by foreign runners with Kenyan Eric Chesikor winning the Male’s title after crossing the finish line in 33 minutes and 38 seconds and Australian Melissa Dinneen taking home the Female’s crown after finishing the race in 41 minutes and 45 seconds.
Finishing behind Chesikor were Gimar Magdalino (35:35), Jemar Morales (35:53), Edzel John Ardiente (38:11), Oswaldo Arcelo (38:16), Vewin Ochea (39:51), Jemar Maghanoy (39:52), Peter Canumay (40:20), Darwin Tabal (41:32) and Elison Mejares (41:40). While Dinneen’s court includes Cherry Andrin (43:20), April Joy Alampayan (43:38), Karen Manayon (46:00), Mary Joy (47:59), Ezel Conde (49:26), Francesa Pago (50:16), Chiqui Limpangog (52:13), Cherry Mae Celocia (52:31) and Kisha Delechos (55:29).
John Mare Dizon, on the other hand, topped the Male’s 5K race with Rinmarch Gonzaga placing second and Jessie Abelgos copping the third-place finish while Asia Abucay Paraase, Joan Lovilla Lim and Moira Erediano rounded the top 3 finishers in the Female’s 5K competition.
The City Central School got a unanimous nod from the three judges en route to winning the Elementary Division Cheerdance Competition with Don Vicente Rama ES and Mabolo ES placing behind respectively; the Gabriel Jurado Foundation School (GJFS) defeated UV Minglanilla Campus in the one-on-one duel of the Secondary Division Cheerdance contest while the University of the Visayas main campus was uncontested in the Collegiate division.
Cebu Technological University (CTU) defeated the University of the Visayas and the Cebu Institute of Technology-University respectively for the Biggest School Delegation title. /RCM