Tillor, ex-drug user, finishes top among locals at 2016 Cebu Marathon
CEBU CITY, Philippines - Noel Tillor, a reformed drug user, is continuing to make waves as an elite runner as he clinches his fourth 42K local category title of the 9th Cebu City Marathon (CCM) which started and ended at the I.T Park Garden in Lahug, Cebu City, early Sunday, January 10.
The event is one of the annual activities lined up for the Sinulog festivities which celebrate the feast of Senor Sto. Nino, Cebu's patron saint.
Tillor finished fifth overall, the highest rank among the locals, in the 42K category which was dominated by Kenyan runners, with first-timers Eric Kibiwott Chepsiror taking the Men's Open title and Monica Nieru bagging the Women's Open title.
Local 42K Category
Tillor crossed the finish line in two hours, 43 minutes and 45 seconds, a little more than 4 minutes ahead of second placer Jeson Agravante, who came in at 2:47:48.
The 30-year-old Bogo native had to work hard for his fourth title as he said that he was in the back of the pack at the start and was running third in the last 15 kilometers of the race.
“Pag last 3K nako nag-una ug didto wa na nako buhi-e (I took the lead in the last 3K and from there I did not relinquish it),” Tillor said.
Tillor has always been vocal about his dark past as a marijuana and shabu user and got into the sport of running to break from his addiction.
“Grabe kaayo ko ug bisyo touna oi. Di lang mabantayan nilang mama ug papa kay maayo man ko sa eskwelahan (I was severely into vices before. My mother and father did not notice because I was doing well in school),” he said.
Tillor said he succeeded in turning his life around because he had willed it, really wanted the change for the better from his heart and mind.
“Naa ra jud na sa taw kung ganahan ka mausab (It is up to that person if he really wants to change),” said Tillor pointing to his head.
Tillor did not join last year's edition of the CCM for lack of preparation. Prior to missing the event in 2015, Tillor won the title for 3 straight years beginning in 2012.
Finishing third to Tillor and Agravante was Paul James Zafico who finished the whole race that took the participants from the I.T Park to the South Road Properties, in 3:01:19.
The distaff side had Silay, Negros Occidental's Jennylyn Nobleza bagging the title with her time of 3:25:52. The second and third places were snapped up by Ruffa Sorongon (3:27:51) and Lizane Abella (3:46:53), respectively.
42K Men's and Women's Open
Although they were first timers, Chepsiror and Neiru, had no problem in ruling the event with both expressing admiration for the race course, saying it was flat and they had no trouble conquering it. Both also said they would love to return for next year's edition of the race.
Chepsiror clocked 2:26:27 while Neiru breasted the tape in 2:53:42.
Chepsiror, who said he has been in Cebu for two weeks, said his CCM win is his biggest so far. He also plans to compete in the SM 2 SM Run before going back to China where he is currently based.
Kenyans Elisha Sawe (2:29:37) and Jackson Chirchir (2:32:18) trailed Chepsiror at the second and third places, respectively.
In the distaff side, Neiru, who was speaking through an interpreter—Patrobe Kenboi, said she was running second at the start but caught up with her compatriot Milka Chebokel at the first 12K and from there had led all the way to the finish line.
Chebokel eventually came in second after registering a time of 3:12:03 while Susan Chepkwony completed the top 3 with her time of 3:21:44.
Coach Rio Happy with Increase of Participants
Coach Rio dela Cruz, who is spearheading the organization of this event, said that he is very happy with the increase of about 300 participants for this year's edition.
The number of participants last year reached 3,363 while this year, the total number of runners who registered numbered 3,664.
Dela Cruz said that this year's addition was a bit warmer so he had ordered additional water for hydration. He also expressed appreciation for the attention paid to the SRP route.
“It was clean, well lighted and intersections were guarded,” said Dela Cruz.
The multi-titled runner is also pleased with the transfer of the start and finish area at the garden portion of the I.T park saying that it was shady and participants tended to stay around after finishing the race due to the plentiful trees in the area.
In previous years, CCM's start and finish was at the area fronting The Walk still at the I.T Park but with fewer trees.
Dela Cruz had also run the race to see where they can improve the slight problem on vehicular traffic pointing at the Capitol area.
He said that he and his team will be sitting down to a meeting next month to assess the whole event and check on the areas that will need improvement.
1st Arnel Florentino – 00:16:52
2nd Joey delos Reyes – 00:16:59
3rd Chobie Duenas – 00:17:07
1st Cherry Andrin – 00:20:14
2nd Moira Frances Erediano – 00:24:50
3rd Michelle Anne Tibagacay – 00:25:10
1st Prince Joey Lee – 1:23:50
2nd Azlan Dalompines – 1:24:51
3rd John Philip Duenas – 1:25:39
1st Mereeis Ramirez – 1:38:49
2nd Joan Romanos – 1:43:37
3rd Kristy Abello – 1:50:02
Age Group Full Marathon
20-29 Hanmin Lee – 2:56:09
30-39 Abraham Cheruiyot – 2:42:51
40-49 Edilberto Batiancila – 3:24:12
50-59 Michael Nielsen – 3:44:02
60 & Above Eduardo Eduria – 4:24:18
Age Group Half Marathon
20-29 Abelito Neiz – 1:32:11
30-39 Adonis Singson – 1:27:53
40-49 Terso Pamaybay – 1:31:04
50-59 Monsito Tuyco – 1:50:05
60 and Above David White – 1:50:41