Tuesday, December 6, 2011

35th MILO Marathon national finals kicks off Sunday

MANILA - Four hundred sixty of the Philippines’ top runners including their highly competitive foreign counterparts will vie for the prestigious championship title and the top purse of P 300,000 in the much-anticipated 35th National MILO Marathon Finals at the SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City on December 11.

Four hundred and ten (410) men and 50 women passed the age group qualifying time in the 42.195k and 21k elimination legs staged throughout 17 major cities in the country, including oldest 21k qualifiers and both Cebu natives, 76-year-old Rening Ylaya and 56-year-old Shiela Colmenares.

It’s virtually any man’s game on the highlight marathon following surprising performances of favored local bets in the SEA Games and new records posted by Ethiopians and Kenyans.

Three-time National MILO Marathon titlist Eduardo Buenavista who is expected to defend his championship reportedly collapsed due to dehydration in the recent 26th Southeast Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia and finished third with a time of 2:29:09. The 33-year-old Buenavista of Sto. Nino, South Cotabato is the MILO Marathon’s current record holder with a time of 2:18:53.

Buenavista may have a reason to be wary with Ethiopian runner and first time Milo Marathon participant Mikael Tesfaye, who posted the fastest time of 1:09:31 in the 21-km elimination leg in Cebu City.

Even 2-time National MILO Marathon Queen Jho-Ann Banayag, the current women’s record holder of 2:48:06 in the 2006 National Milo Marathon Finals, and reigning titlist Flordiliza Donos will meet equally challenging competition from Ethiopian Genet Agtew, who sent notice of her bid by recording the fastest time of 1:24:12 in the women’s 21-k qualifying leg also in Cebu.

Kenyan James Tallam topped the 42-km Manila qualifying leg last July in 2:28:40, while Banayag ruled the distaff side in 2:53:35, which was way off from her personal best in 2006.

Eyes are set on Eric Panique, the silver medalist in the 2011 Sea Games with a time of 2:28:26, to defend the local front. The 27-year-old protégé of former champion Allan Ballester, finished second behind Tallam in the Metro Manila MILO Marathon elims in June with a clocking of 2:31:40.

Others expected to grab the limelight are former champion Cresenciano Sabal, Jujet de Asis and Kenyans Eliud Kering, Douglas Mwiti, Mailmariam Kansay, Josphat Kiptanji, Abraham Missos and Francis

Aside from the 42k highlight race, the National MILO Marathon Finals are opening the track to 21k, 10k, 5k and 3k race categories. The December 11 race boasts certification from the Association  of International Marathons (AIMS) and the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), which ensures international standard of distance measurement in all race categories. Metro Manila race organizer RunRio said they are expecting a big field of 25,000 runners.

Registration for the finals is on its last week and interested participants are invited to register online via www.milo.com.ph or via walk-in at RUNNR Store Bonifacio High Street, Planet Sports Trinoma or Toby’s SM Mall of Asia.

In celebration of 100 years of Nestle in the Philippines, the National MILO Marathon culminates its goal to donate 10,000 pairs of shoes for its 'Help Give Shoes' advocacy. A total of 1,000 more pairs of shoes will be donated to students from Metro Manila public schools-- Amado T. Reyes Elementary School, Marikina Elementary School, E. De Los Santos Elementary School, Cuneta Elementary School, Valenzuela National High School, Pasay City West High School, P. Burgos Elementary School, Villamor Airbase Elementary School, Pasay City North High School and Diosdado Macapagal Elementary.

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