Security will be top priority in Sunday’s Cebu Milo run elims | Inquirer News

Security will be top priority in Sunday’s Cebu Milo run elims

/ 06:29 AM September 21, 2013

Security will take top priority when the Cebu leg of the 37th National Milo Marathon kicks off this Sunday starting at Osmeña Boulevard fronting the Cebu Normal University.

The enhanced security will include 819 uniformed personnel, several K9 units, scores of SWAT personnel and a dozen ambulances.

During yesterday’s press launch at the Sarrosa International Suites, race organizers said that their primary focus this year will be the safety of the expected 23,000 participants especially after Mindanao was rocked by several bombing incidents in the past months.


They also cited the Boston Marathon bombing last April as another reason why they are doubling their efforts to ensure safety.



runners eyed

The race is expected to attract around 23,000 participants, not counting spectators along the starting line and at the finish line inside the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

With this, organizers have come up with different safety measures to make sure everything runs smoothly this Sunday.

“Incidents like what happened in Boston is way beyond the organizers’ control,” said Cebu leg organizer Ricky Ballesteros. “But with the help of local authorities and the city government, I think we can prevent such kind of incident.”

One important move that will be implemented is to put the baggage area away from crowded areas. According to race director Rio dela Cruz, the baggage area will be more than 50-meters away from crowded areas in the CCSC. Also, a K-9 unit and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team will be deployed.


Runners’ baggage will also be thoroughly inspected by a K-9 unit before they can be deposited in the baggage counter.

Around 800 uniformed personnel composed of police officers, fire officers and medics will be deployed along the entire race route while more than a dozen ambulances will also be stationed in key areas for quicker response in case of emergencies.

It can be recalled that in the Boston bombing, two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people and injuring 264 others. The bombs were reportedly placed in backpacks left near the finish line on Boylston Street, where most of the spectators were located.

Milo Executive Andrew Neri said the organizing committee went through a risk management training that will help them organize an event involving a huge number of participants like this Sunday’s race. But he said, it will need a total team effort to assure a well-ran race.

“We organizers will do everything to keep everyone safe but we cannot do this without the help of local authorities,” said Neri.


Milo Consultant Pat Goc-ong added that vigilance and everyone’s cooperation will be the key to the race’s success. Ballesteros echoed his statement saying, “The key to keep everyone safe is everyone’s cooperation.”

As of yesterday, 20,161 runners have already enlisted for the race. 1,264 have signed up in the 21-kilometer half marathon distance, 549 in the 10k, 17,810 in the 5k and 558 in the 3k.

The qualifiers of this Sunday’s race will earn slots to the National Finals in Manila.

There, the 42k champion will get to represent the Philippines in the Paris Marathon slated April 2014. Neri said a spot at the Boston Marathon was initially the grand prize for the winners in the Nationals. But they decided to change it to the Paris Marathon because of the bombing incident.

New category

This year, the inter-company category is added where the winner will be determined by the number of runners in each group and the fastest group to reach the finish line.

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Meanwhile, the Marigondon National High School, Don Sergio Osmeña Memorial National High School, San Nicolas Elementary School, Simeon Ayuda Elementary School and Pusok Elementary School were the beneficiaries of the Milo Marathon’s “Give Shoes” advocacy.

TAGS: Marathon

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