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Why celebs joined CamSur Marathon
IT WAS SO close, and yet so far. Just when she hit the 41-km mark, a mere kilometer away from the finish line, a team stopped her in her tracks. She had been running for five hours and the race?s cut-off time was?five hours.

The wave of frustration was overwhelming. She walked slowly to the side of the road, head still reeling, sat on the pavement and wept. The finish line, after all, was already visible?one kilometer away.

There will be redemption day, model Gem Padilla swore. That happened last February in HK.

A week ago, Padilla joined another full marathon (42 km), the Summit Water CamSur Marathon 2010. This time, she made it to the finish line. Her victory, considering the exhausting and painful journey, was the sweetest thing.

?I had cramps and I haven?t hit the 30-km mark yet. I slowed down but continued to run, knowing the pain would even be worse if I stopped. The pain was excruciating. I was this close to calling it quits. I had to psyche myself just to keep on moving. I literally collapsed when I crossed the finish line,? Padilla said.

Padilla, who got married 15 days before race day, joined the CamSur marathon with husband Nick Thomas. The marathon, she said, was part of their honeymoon. Thomas joined the 21-km leg.

Almost 17,500 runners blazed through the streets of the picturesque province of Camarines Sur for the first ever Summit Water CamSur Marathon 2010. The only marathon in the country certified by the prestigious International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the CamSur Marathon saw a lineup of elite international marathoners and local celebrities.

?This event marks another milestone in CamSur?s race toward a more progressive, pro-active and prosperous Bicol,? said Camarines Sur Gov. Lray Villafuerte. As a certified IAAF racecourse, the Summit Water CamSur Marathon 2010 is also the only race in the country that is a qualifier to the 2011 World Championships in Korea.

Celebrities

Excited Bicolanos stood by the roadside to cheer on the runners, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrity.

Spotted were Tessa Prieto Valdes (2:21), Rovilson Fernandez (1:59), Dyan Castillejo (2:04), Tetta Ortiz-Matera (2:17) and Donna Cruz Larrazabal (2:01) for the 21km. The 10 km leg saw Iza Calzado (1:01), Reema Chanco (1:22), Erik Waldie (1:11) and Aga Muhlach (1:01). Donita Rose (00:43), Marina Benipayo (00:35) and Patty Betita (00:42).

Marc Nelson (00:18) joined the 3-km leg, running alongside Castillejo?s son Matthew.

The fit and muscular Nelson, who said he was there as the ?nanny? to co-host Castillejo?s boy, confessed he?s not really fond of running?or any form of long, cardiovascular exercises. Naturally skinny, he said, he loses weight very easily and has a hard time putting it back on.

In the three-week shoot of Amazing Race Asia, Nelson said he lost four pounds of muscle. It took him a good eight months of hard work in the gym to put the muscles back on.

?I?m more like an adventure type of guy, like jumping off things. I see cardio as a necessity. I?m also here to show my support to Gov. Lray Villafuerte. He has done an amazing job here,? Nelson said.

Calzado, who has been running for a year-and-a-half, ran her first 10-km March this year. The CamSur Marathon also marked the second 10-km race for sporty and athletic Chanco, who was hoping to clock in at 1:30 (she finished a good eight minutes earlier at 1:22).

Sea Princess Valdes, who planned to do her first attempt at wakeboarding later that same day, decided to take it easy for her half-marathon race. Normally finishing a 21km in under 2:10, she crossed the finish line at 2:21.

She was, however, able to stand up all the way in just three attempts at wakeboarding?a feat not everyone can boast of.

Top prizes

Elite international marathons, as expected, took home the top prizes in the 42-km event, such as Kenyan Richard Kemeli Kemboi (2:19:40), Joel Kemboi (2:19:47), Henry Kipkosgei Cherono (2:22) and Joseph Wambua (2:23). Ethiopians ruled the women?s category, with Ayelu Lemma Geda leading at 2:40:05 followed closely by Radiya Adlo Roba (2:40:45). Russian Tatiana Villosova (2:46) got the third place; fourth went to Kenyan Rael Jepyator Kamaiyo (2:50).

Winners took home $7,000, $4,000, $2,500, $1,000 and $500.

?This is slated to be the biggest and most prestigious marathon not just in the Philippines but in Southeast Asia. Our finish line is not only to be known as the extreme sports and adventure destination in the Philippines, but to transform sports tourism benefits that will be felt by the poorest among our poor,? Gov. Villafuerte said.

Villafuerte, who ran the 10-km leg (1:08), said part of the proceeds will benefit the Gawad Kalinga, Organ Donor Card Awareness and KIDS Foundation. Race director for the Summit Water CamSur Marathon 2010 was coach Rio dela Cruz. It was sponsored by Summit Water and co-sponsored by Smart Communications, Timex, 100 Plus, Alaska, Nature Valley, Dusit Thani and Department of Tourism.