Sunday, October 23, 2011

Busa, Miranda win Butuan elims of 35th MILO marathon

A first timer and a former champion displayed strong determination to win the Butuan Leg of the 35th National Milo Marathon participated in by 7, 903 runners in Butuan City, organizers said in a press statement.

Local bet Alvirg Busa posted 1:15:11 to secure his first major title after 5 years of running, while Judelyn Miranda regained the Butuan women's crown she won in 2009, with a time of 1:26:26 in the premiere 21-km race.

Butuan native Busa was ecstatic with his first championship despite the presence of strong competition. “I was nervous going into the race because of the pool of elite runners who were really good. I did not expect to win, but I just focused on my own performance,” said Busa referring to the participation of regional champs, Dionisio Belmonte and Jonel Bunsit.

Always in top 10 but never the champion, Busa resolved to better his performance. “Before, I used to speed up from start to finish, but now I’ve learned restraint and worked on moderating my pacing. Every time I fall behind during the race, I do a fartlek—short fast, bursts in running--to keep up.”

Busa paced with the lead pack until the halfway mark and later engaged Jordan Bacong of Ormoc in a neck-to-neck race until some six kilometers before the finish.

Bacong settled for second in 1:17:48, while Ronilo Sandinao finished third in 1:17:52 and Belmonte Jr. was fourth with a time of 1:18:08. Completing the top 10 cast in the men's division were Jestoni Sandinao (1:20:52), Nicolas Sulpicio  (1:21:04), Jonel Monsit (1:22:09), Johny EspaƱa (1:22:13), Edgardo Lapasigue (1:23:13) and Ariel Bagaporo (1:25:43).

Busa and Miranda with their trophies after winning their respective divisions.
As with last year, Miranda felt the absence of a worthwhile competitor, but her determination to meet the qualifying mark and improve her personal best time enabled the Tagum City-native to become the only female participant to make it to the grand finals.

"The challenge was more on the hot weather and some blisters and wounds I got from running, but I just went on because I really wanted to improve my time,” share Miranda, a criminology graduate and 2009 National Milo Marathon 13th placer.

Miranda was the female lead runner in the mostly flat route from start to finish. She then joined the lead pack composed of male runners, which gave her some challenge to break her personal best of 1:32:00.

She was followed by Michell Ann Aclo, who finished a distant second with a clocking of  1:41:56. Wenda Del Valle was third in 1:49:06 and Lorebelle Joy Parcon was fourth in 2:10:43. Mariquit Ferrer registered 2:15:01 for fifth and Ireen Batitang was sixth (2:28:43).
Both the 24-year-old Busa and the 26-year-old Miranda led 15 other age group qualifiers to the National Finals at the SM Mall of Asia in pasay City on Dec. 11. All the 17 qualifiers will join the already more than 400 in the grand finals which offers P300,000 each for both top male and female champions.

The Butuan City race produced a total of 500 pairs of shoes for public schools, Maon Elementary School, Florencio Sibayan Elementary School, Obrero Elementary School, Silad Mahogany Elementary School and Butuan Central Elementary School as part of its ‘Help Give Shoes’ advocacy. The annual marathon event seeks to donate 10,000 pairs of shoes as part of Nestle’s Centennial celebration.

After the Butuan race, the nationwide 17-leg search for the country's top runners will shift to General Santos on Oct 30 and Davao City on Nov. 6, before the grand finals on December 11.

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