Sunday, November 17, 2013

The 37th National Milo Marathon Tarlac Qualifying Round results

Gilbuena earns repeat victory at MILO Marathon Tarlac race
 55 qualifiers to meet at finale in December

Last year’s local winner, Miscelle Gilbuena made good use of her familiarity with the route to earn herself a back-to-back victory at the 37th National MILO Marathon in Tarlac City. Veteran runner Rafael Poliquit also showed perseverance under pressure and outlasted his closest pursuer, former MILO Marathon King Julius Sermona, in the men’s division race. Like many of this season’s marathon champions, both Gilbuena and Poliquit serve the country as members of the Philippine Air Force.

Of the 12,089 students and running enthusiasts who joined the race, 55 runners successfully beat the clock and booked a ticket to the finale in December. They are set to compete with 500 other elite runners from across the country for the championship title and for an all-expenses paid trip to the 2014 Paris Marathon courtesy of MILO. As a testament to the increasing number of skilled athletes in provincial areas, the Tarlac race has tied Manila for the most number of qualifiers in a single regional leg this season.

24-year old Poliquit found himself running alongside seasoned runners Sermona and Elmer Sabal, and sparked a rivalry with the veterans throughout the race. Poliquit managed to take the lead at the last 10 meters of the race, and settled the score at the finish line at 1:12:38, relegating Sermona to second place with 1:12:47 and Sabal to third at 1:13:53.

“It was a very close race. Sermona was my strongest contender, and I was only able to pull away at the last minute. With a slot in the finale secured, my next goal is to beat Kenyan runners in the Open Category of the National Finals,” he said.
In the distaff division, 25-year old Gilbuena took the lead at the sound of the starting gun, but struggled throughout the first few meters of the race. After finding her pace at the 2-kilometer mark, she ran alongside strong male contenders and crossed the finish line at 1:28:06. Last year’s second placer Berna Pulmano finished behind her a distant second at 1:36:13, followed by Melinda de los Reyes at 1:42:16.

Gilbuena started running in the MILO Marathon in 2008 and has since consistently qualified for the National Finals year after year. This victory, the sprinter said, is dedicated to her family in Cebu, who are victims of the unfortunate events that affected thousands of our countrymen. “It has only been a few weeks since the earthquake and the typhoon hit our hometown in Cebu. My family is still trying to pick up the pieces. Knowing that I could use my winnings to help them gave me a second wind and propelled me towards the finish line,” she said, adding that a part of her Php 10,000 prize money will be given to her relatives.

“Our athletes have consistently represented the Filipino resilience and determination to rise against adversity. We are proud that we have produced a group of dedicated and public-spirited individuals who run for the country and its people. MILO is one with the athletic community in dedicating every competitive stride to our countrymen after the recent events in the Visayan region. We hope that our runners’ passion inspire bravery and the will to move through the greatest challenges,” said Andrew Neri, MILO Sports Executive.

As part of its ongoing commitment to develop sports in the country, MILO has given a total of 32,500 shoes to public school students nationwide through MILO’s Help Give Shoes advocacy. With the invaluable support of the Department of Education and the National MILO Marathon runners, MILO delivered 500 pairs of running shoes to beneficiary schools today in Tarlac City, namely Capas High School, San Miguel Central School, Sto. Cristo Elmentary School, Tarlac West Central School, and Mataalaib Bato Elementary School.

The last regional qualifying race of the season will be held in Angeles City on November 24, before advancing to the SM Mall of Asia grounds for the 37th MILO Marathon National Finals on December 8.

The 37th National MILO Marathon is made possible by Timex, the Bayview Park Hotel Manila, Reebok, SMART and SM Mall of Asia, along with endorsements from the Department of Education, Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee. For more information on the race and its advocacy, visit the MILO marathon website ( or access the MILO Philippines fanpage on Facebook. Follow MILO on Twitter (@MILOPH).

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