Marathon organizers quizzed over Baguio race during storm
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The organizers of the Baguio leg of the 39th Milo Marathon were put on the hot seat in this week’s city council session for proceeding with the race on July 5 when Tropical Storm “Egay” dumped strong rain in the city.
Councilor Fred Bagbagen, one of the officials who grilled the organizers, said he was outraged because the Baguio elimination race had children and teenagers as participants.
One of the participants complained to the council that the runners navigated through thick fog and slippery roads to finish the race.
Abbie Aranda, one of the marathon’s national organizers, and her local counterpart, Tess Bernardino, said they allowed the race to continue after consulting different people and agencies about safety and the weather.
They said they would relay the council’s concerns to the company behind the annual marathon and the legislative body’s request for better safeguards during stormy weather.
Aranda said they did not want to put participants in danger, but the rules of the marathon required participants to proceed “rain or shine.”
She told the council that 600 of the 6,000 registered participants joined the July 5 race.
When asked, the marathon organizers confirmed that the participants signed waivers, which relieved the company of potential liabilities.
“We understand they have their own rules, but they cannot gamble on Baguio weather. We get the highest rainfall in the country and we can’t predict when it will suddenly rain very strong and harm our children,” said Bagbagen.
Public Storm Waning Signal No. 1 was hoisted over the city on July 4 and 5, the councilors said.
Councilor Peter Fianza, a former city administrator, proposed to enact regulations that would govern major events, like the Milo Marathon, including a provision granting the city government power to stop a race at any time.
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