Larga Pilipinas Pedals First Salvo in Marikina City
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Hundreds of cycling enthusiasts gathered in Marikina City last Saturday, September 22, for the inaugural staging of Larga Pilipinas, the country’s newest cycling event.
With a good cause behind the sporting event — the rehabilitation and beautification of Pasig River — a total of 1,200 riders and participants from all over the country registered to “Larga Pilipinas First Salvo” held at the Brgy. Marikina Heights.
Mayor Marcy Teodoro and the entire City Government of Marikina embraced the staging of the event in Marikina, known for its clean and bike friendly surroundings. Organizers of the event chose Marikina precisely because of that.
“First, Marikina supports bike lane. Second, there are plenty of bike enthusiasts here. And also, the local government of Marikina is very supportive,” said Froi Dayco, the technical consultant of Larga Pilipinas, in an interview Saturday at the event.
The event is also promoting cycling, especially among the young.
Larga Pilipinas “aims to not only advocate the rehabilitation of Pasig River but to also provide a platform for the kids and other bike enthusiasts to race and test their abilities in a highly organized competition and we expect, especially the kids, to join since this competition is free,” Froi, a lawyer by profession, added.
There were 11 categories namely: amateur, 21 and below, corporate executive, mountainbike, managers/supervisors, women’s, amateur 45 and up, triathlete/duathlete, masters, fixed gear, and professional. The one-day criterium race on the roads of Marikina Heights has a distance of 1.6 kilometers per loop.
The following winners emerged from the wave of bike enthusiasts and professional cyclists: Junrey Navarra finished the professional category at 51 minutes and 7.85 seconds; John Daniel Barojabo for fixed gear category; Dante Cagas for masters, Jarwyn Banatao for triathlete/duathlete, Romeo Camingao for amateur 45 and up, Genesis Maraña for women’s, Arman Salundaga for managers/supervisors, Jerico Rivera for mountainbike, Rey Reyes for corporate/executive, Marc Mendoza for 21 and below, and Alexes Carillo for amateur.
With the success of its initial salvo, Froi is confident that Larga Pilipinas will become an even bigger event in the future. While cycling is traditionally a summertime spectacle in the Philippines, he hopes to break that and fill that void.
“We are starting small but we intend to grow and go big,” he said.
Future events will likely be held still in Marikina given how the city has embraced it.
“Ang Marikina ang nagbigay sa amin ng unang opportunity, so as long as mayroong pagkakataon, as long as mayroong karera, Marikina will always be in our hearts and minds,” Froi said.
Larga Pilipinas has exciting things in store for the cycling community and to those who want to join for the first time. They plan to conduct competitive races every month.
On October 7, 2018, the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission in partnership with Larga Pilipinas will hold another criterium race that will start in Makati City and will traverse EDSA and C5 and end at the Pasig Riverbanks in Guadalupe.
With the cycling community being very receptive and with the full support from the local government and Mayor Marcy, the event has indeed pedalled its way to success.
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