Race Review: The Great Lapu-Lapu Run

Thursday, 22 April 2010  |  Race Reports


Organizers: Nonoy Jopson and race director Raffy Uytiepo


  • small-town festive atmosphere
  • wonderful view of Cebu along Mandaue-Mactan bridge
  • presence of pacers
  • unbelievably accurate kilometer markers
  • abundant water and Gatorade in long tables
  • use of timing chip


  • no road closure on narrow two-lane roads along with vehicular traffic
  • late start – clock was being connected 5 minutes before race start
  • lack of marshals – there was a spot where I had to stop and check if I was still on the race route
  • Jollibee plastic cups were used at the water stations – Jollibee was not a race sponsor so why were the cups from them? This made me think twice about drinking from the stations. I drank Gatorade all the way instead.  (Note from Nonoy: Jollibee provided new, clean cups for the race and these were not recycled.)

The Great Lapu-Lapu Run was organized by the Lapu-Lapu City Government and the Lapu Lapu City Tourism Cultural and Historical Commission. I believe they hoped to showcase the beaches and landmarks of the city along the route.

– near Mactan Shrine –

Highlight of the race would have to be the beautiful Mandaue-Mactan bridge. This made the entire race unforgettable. There were several areas of improvement, such as the traffic and late start, which will hopefully be corrected in future races. My humble recommendations for next year: 1) close the road to traffic, 2) allow the route to enter the various hotels in the area, such as Shangrila Mactan and Imperial Palace, 3) encourage the locals to cheer along the route.  Get these done and the race has the potential of being a great tourist-runner’s run.

For a “tourist runner” such as myself, I couldn’t help but compare this with Cebu Marathon, my first race in Cebu. If Cebu Marathon made me feel like royalty as guest of the city, the Great Lapu-Lapu Run allowed me to experience the good and the bad, like a Lonely Planet traveler. Mind you, this was not such a bad thing.

All in all, it was an experience to remember, a thrilling adventure for a runner traveler like myself.

– assembly area –

– a runner crossing the finish –




The race started in Mactan Shrine, just a 20 minute drive from our hotel. Hubby and I got to the assembly area thanks to Amale Jopson, wife of super triathlete and The Great Lapu Lapu Run race organizer, Noy Jopson, who were kind enough to lend their househelp to watch our kids as we raced.

We parted ways in a rush as hubby and I rushed for a last minute bathroom visit. We saw Magellan and Lapu-Lapu standing before us and truly felt we were touring Cebu.

Until the start of the race, I wasn’t sure about my race plans. Fast or slow? At the very last minute, I chose the latter as previous days’ activities (read: swimming all day at the beautiful Imperial Palace) left me feeling exhausted for a PR attempt.

I was to run with hubby for his 9:1 run:walk interval training for TBR Dream Marathon. We set our Garmins to beap at 9 mins and we were off.


Majority of the run through Quezon National Highway is a blur now. I know we ran by the beach, but we couldn’t see much of it. It was a run through the narrow roads of Cebu with cars passing us by. One time I almost got sideswiped by a speeding motorcycle. But, hey, I was on an “adventure” and I was not one to complain.

Every now and then, we would pass Cebuano runners who would happily greet us and we would do the same. There were a couple of times when children lined up in rows stretched out their hands for high fives.  I high-fived them back feeling  Our run:walk strategy was keeping us strong and we were doing quite well. Thank you.


– Runners in costume. Wish I was just as daring and creative! –


Highlight of the race would have to be the beautiful Mandaue-Mactan bridge. The steep ascent was a wonderful challenge and a great workout for the quads and the subsequent downhill was a satisfying gift where I practiced my Chi Running again.

It was only at this point when hubby and I temporarily parted ways as I always find it more difficult to run slow when confronted with uphills. Let’s just say my mindset is: “Get this over and done with.” while hubby thinks: “Let’s take this slow and easy. Little steps at a time.” I think he’s doing the right thing, actually.

We had to tour below the bridge for another set of climbs and downhills before leaving this area. This was truly my favorite part of the race.


We went back to the highway again and hubby and I started to slow down. One marshal yelled last 5km only for me to find out from my Garmin that there was 7km to go. After that incident, I noticed that the kilometers went by a lot slower than I had hoped. The heat started to get more intense…or maybe it was all in the mind?

The most challenging part of the race was the last 3km. It was mentally challenging as we had passed the finish line already, only to run an additional 3km out through the traffic and heat. What made this portion more difficult was that we were forced to negotiate the roads, along with motorcycle drivers who did the same. We literally had to find our space through traffic as the narrow two-lane road was filled with vehicles.

Thankfully, hubby and I made it to the finish exhausted but happy. We finished at a relaxed 2:23, a good training adventure run for us.

– with the girls –



– with PAL runners from Manila –


After photos and chats with Cebuano runners, we headed back to the hotel for some R&R with the kids.



7 Days to The Great Lapu Lapu Run

Sunday, 11 April 2010  |  Bullish Insights

Aaaah Cebu!  We had a blast running in Cebu during the Cebu Marathon last January.  And, by the end of this week, we get to return for The Great Lapu Lapu Run.  Yahoo!


Race organizer, triathlete Nonoy Jopson, told me that the route will take us around Mactan landmarks by the beach and near the resort hotels around the area.  Top finishers will win trips to Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon 2011 (not that there’s any chance of me winning!)  They expect 5,000 runners and they’ll be providing timing chips from Finishline.

Hubby and I are registered for the half marathon.  Hubby will use this as a training run for TBR Dream Marathon and I’ll probably run with him and enjoy the scenery.

Aside from the race, we’re also looking forward to our stay at Imperial Palace Waterpark.  I hadn’t heard about this hotel until Nonoy told me to google it.  One glance at the website and my kids looked like they had won the lottery. Only “ooohs” and “aaaahs” were rolling out of their tongues.  Imperial Palace has got 5 different themed pools plus 3 water slides within the hotel.  It’s going to be a hectic weekend with swims and runs, but hey I’m not complaining!

Registration for The Great Lapu Lapu Run is ongoing and will close on Thursday, April 15, 2010.  For more info, click HERE.