MARATHON LAUNCHES MANILA BID FOR SEAGAMES 2005Manila, May 23, 2003 -- Magnitude may play a major role in the staging of the inaugural Manila Marathon on the major streets of Manila this June 22 but one of the principal goals of the event is to get the ball rolling for the city's strong bid to become the major hub of the 2005 Southeast Asian Games the country is obliged to host. With an initial target of 10,000 runners that could breach 20,000 taking part in the full 42.195-km full marathon, the 10K, 5K and 3K races, the Manila Marathon, according to chief organizer Ali Atienza, is Manila's urgent call to start the wheel turning for the 2005 Sea Games which he described as "alarmingly merely 30 months away." "Time is running out and we do not want to get caught flat-footed," said Atienza, chairman of the Manila Sports Council. "We have a little over two years left on us all and we must all be aware that much of the weight of the task of hosting the Sea Games is not in December 2005 (Sea Games schedule) but now, when we lay the ground work, do the planning and more importantly, decide on which among the aspirants will become the main hub." The Manila Marathon, which will slice through Manila's major thoroughfares, business, commercial and historic districts, is also intended to become the country's version of the Boston Marathon, the most prestigious foot race in the world which is running for over a century now. The Boston Marathon has enviable attendance of 30,000 runners. "It's putting the Philippines in the world sporting map again," said Atienza. "There are no events of such targeted magnitude on this side of the world and that precisely is what we intend to do. Make the Philippines the marathon country in our region in Asia."
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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