38th National MILO Marathon kicks off in Baguio City
82 runners qualified for country’s premier footrace finals
BAGUIO City, Philippines, 29 June 2014 – Elite runners Julius Sermona and Christabel Martes set the pace as they came out top in the 21K events as the 38th National MILO Marathon kicked off in Baguio City on Sunday. More than 6,700 runners joined the race.
Sermona, SEA Games silver medalist and 2006 MILO Marathon King, took category rival Cesar Castañeto down to the wire as they crossed the finish line, clocking in at 01:14:42 and 01:14:47 respectively. Castro Cudli finished third with a time of 01:23:40.
Two-time SEA Games gold medalist Martes bested the female category with an impressive time of 01:26:48 as she finished well ahead of second placer Sandi Menchi Abahan (01:34:23) and third placer Lua Angella Limbo (01:46:41).
The runners were blessed with very good weather but there were other challenges they needed to overcome. ”The uphill and downhill route was quite difficult to navigate. It was a very tight race. I had to sprint in the final kilometer,” said the 34-year-old Sermona, a military soldier who hails from Bacolod. “I am overjoyed that I won. For the national finals, I need to continue training to be able to give my best performance.”
Martes, the 34-year-old from La Trinidad, Benguet plans to take her training up a notch for the national finals. “For the qualifying race, I did not do any intensive training, unlike before when I was still with the national team. I also had difficulty in the uphill parts of the route. I had to exert twice the effort,” expressed Martes. “My training consisted of jogging and recreational running only. I need to step it up and be consistent with my routine to maintain my form for the finals.”
Sermona and Martesboth received P10, 000 and a trophy while securing their spots, along with 80 others,to compete in the National Finals on December 7 at the SM Mall of Asia grounds. This season’s MILO Marathon King and Queen will get the chance to represent the country at the esteemed Tokyo Marathon in 2015.The country’s biggest and most prestigious footrace expects 230,000 runners to participate this year.
Sharing the spotlight with the inspiring elite runners is 60-year-old Senen Garcia from Novaliches. Garcia qualified for the national finals, finishing with a time of 01:57:59. “It’s a far cry from my record time of 01:07 back in the day,” laughs Garcia. “It’s harder to race now that I’m older, but my goal is to qualify for the national finals, and I’m very happy that I did. I’m also happy to contribute to the Help Give Shoes campaign.”
Josh Buenavista, son of two-time Olympian and reigning MILO Marathon King Eduardo “Vertek” Buenavista also joined the Baguio leg. The 12-year-old definitely followed in his father’s winning footsteps as he clinched the top spot in the 3K events, posting a record time of 00:08:34. “My father encouraged me to take up running and join the MILO races,” said Josh, who has been running for four years now. “I really look up to him. He is my inspiration.”
As part of its ongoing commitment to support young Filipino talents through sports, MILO’s Help Gives Shoes advocacy will provide 16,000 underprivileged youth with brand new running shoes and reach the 50,000 mark this year. As MILO celebrates its 50th year, Help Give Shoes aims to make the donation to students in Yolanda-hit cities, particularly Tacloban, Ormoc, and Eastern Samar.
“The National MILO Marathon strives to offer a challenging athletic experience for Filipino runners, and at the same time reach out to young Filipino athletes with strong potential and bright futures ahead of them,” said Andrew Neri, MILO Sports Marketing Manager. “We are blessed with the unwavering support of all the runners and Filipino families across the country as we continue to build champions not only in sports, but also in life.”
The elimination legs will resume in Dagupan on July 6, before heading to Tarlac (July 13), Angeles (July 20), Manila (July 27), Naga (August 24), Lucena (August 31), Puerto Princesa (September 7), Lipa (September 14), Iloilo (September 21), Bacolod (September 28), Tagbilaran (October 5), Cebu (October 12), Butuan (October 19), Cagayan De Oro (November 9), General Santos (November 16), and Davao (November 23). The National Finals will be held on December 7 at the SM Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City.
The 38th National MILO Marathon is made possible by Timex, the Bayview Park Hotel Manila, ASICS, Lenovo, Manila Bulletin and Gatorade, along with endorsements from the Department of Education, Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
For more information on MILO Philippines, log on to the official website (http://www.milo.com.ph) or the MILO Philippines Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/milo.ph). Follow MILO on Twitter (@MiloPH) and Instagram (@MiloPhilippines).