By: Glen Dale Rosal December 29,2017 - 09:42 PM


The search for the next Mary Joy Tabal is on as the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) officially turns the annual Sinulog Fun Run into a full blown competition on January 7, 2018 at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

The PSC Visayas office is dead serious in its bid to discover young and talented runners hence its decision to include the Sinulog Fun Run as one of the sports events covered by the first PSC Visayas Open that will run the entire year.

The run will have a three-kilometer, 5k and 10k distances.

Unlike previous editions where there was only an Open category, the January 7 race will now be divided into different age groups – under-22, under-16 and under-12 to maximize the PSC’s search for the next running phenom. The PSC will award the top 10 finishers, both male and female, in each age group.

“The Sinulog Fun Run is now more meaningful but we never removed the fun side of this activity. For me, this is the best activity to start 2018,” said Sinulog Foundation Inc., executive director Ricky Ballesteros in a press conference yesterday.

Ballesteros is the brains behind this running event which he first organized in 2010 as a pre-Sinulog activity that uses the official carousel route of the Sinulog Mardi Gras as its route.

The winning runners in each age group will then undergo a 12-weekend training at the CCSC under renowned running coach John Philip Dueñas, the trainer/coach of Tabal.

The runners will then represent Cebu in the August leg of the PSC Visayas Games where they will compete against the winners of the Negros and Panay Island legs, according to Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) director for the Visayas, Noni Lopez.

Lopez said that they are targeting 120 runners aged 22 and below in the PSC training pool for 2018. They are the winners of the PSC Sinulog Fun Run and the two other races slated in Negros and Panay Island.

“In three years, we will have a pool of 360 runners who will be trained to follow the footsteps of Mary Joy Tabal and represent us, not just in the Southeast Asian Games but in the Olympics as well. This is also a perfect opportunity for the runners to showcase their skills and get scholarships from Cebu’s top universities. We are also planning to tap brands to sponsor our runner’s equipment like shoes,” said Lopez.

For more information about the race, visit

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