From October 11, 2009 to November 8, 2009 on a span of exactly 28 days, there will be four full marathon to be held in Metro Manila and a nearby province. Two of the marathons are billed as “international marathon”, one a long standing "national marathon" and one an "environmental marathon". This is something for the record books locally or maybe even in the world.
Will holding these events close to each others’ schedule be beneficial and good for the country, the athletes and the sports in general? Is this not another typical Filipino reactionary attitude associated with “hot pandesal”, “shawarma”, “pearl drink” and of lately “badminton” fevers or fad? Let us answer these questions together later.
What are these marathons? What is their individual purpose or advocacy? For elite runners in the local scene they never had it this good that now they have a difficult choice to make. Which one or even two should I enter myself into? Selecting all is like committing suicide, you spread yourself very thinly that performance will definitely suffer. Let us assume that we are one of the blessed elite runners or even just upcoming elite runner what would be a selection criteria for a wise and intelligent elite runner? Let us check the different marathons.
The 33rd MILO Marathon by Nestle to be held on October 11, 2009. This is an “institution” by itself with long history. Getting to be included in the finals is only after passing a qualifying round. The qualifications in itself alone cover the whole of the Philippines. Those that entered themselves for the qualifying process were not taken from a tiny multitude of runners but by tens and thousand s of aspiring running athletes all over the country. Many are called but few are chosen, in short this is for PRESTIGE. Winning this event is winning the title of the Top Filipino marathoner for the year. If I am an elite runner and have already qualified then this marathon is definitely a must.
The Quezon City International Marathon by the City of Government of Quezon City to be held on October 18, 2009. This will be the very 1st marathon for the City Government of Quezon City whose vision and mission hopes that the event will be one of Asia’s top marathon events. A very tall order but with the City Government as its backer this is attainable. The marathon offers the RICHES purse of all the four. A whooping P300,000.00 each for the top male and female divisions, P200,000.00 and P100,000.00 for the 1st and 2nd runner-up also for each division. If I am an elite runner and is looking a big payday then this marathon is definitely a must.
The Subic International Marathon by Smart to be held on October 24, 2009. Dubbed as the country’s one and only night marathon. The marathon shall start at the SCTEx Floridablanca in Pampanga, and into the Remy Field in Subic Bay in Olongapo offering a rolling, flat and long stretch of well paved road. This marathon will be beautiful, scenic and cleanest in air of all the four marathons. Runners from Kenya will be there and other international runners. The purse is quite substantial as well with the winner getting US$5000 each for both the men and women division. That translates to about P240,000.00 at an exchange rate of P48 to a dollar. If I am an elite runner looking for a big payday and needing to run the Milo Marathon then this marathon is definitely a must.
The Run For Pasig River by ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. To be held on November 8, 2009. This marathon will start and end at the Quirino Grandstand passing to eight major bridges in Metro Manila. This run is for a very worthy cause to save the Pasig River as spear headed by the chairman of AFI Gina Lopez. The marathon is not only to generate funds but most importantly to get social awareness from the citizenry to save the Psig River. If I am an elite runner and have the heart and love for the environment this marathon is a must as my contribution to the God given talent given me in running.
Yes, Yes, Yes, even if the marathons are spread closely it will be good for the country, the athlete, the sport and even the environment. All 4 marathons have each their own distinctive vision and missions. We definitely cannot run all four of them, but, supporting all four is definitely a must.
Now which two should I select (that is if I am an elite runner)?