Sunday, August 31, 2014

Unsung heroes dominate 38th National MILO Marathon Lucena race

 50 runners qualify for the National Finals

Philippine Air Force Airman Anthony Nerza and Philippine Army Private Janice Tawagin showcased their running prowess as they dominated in the 21K events at the Lucena leg of the 38th National MILO Marathon Qualifying Race on Sunday. About 10,000 runners joined the race, with 50 runners qualifying for the National Finals.

Nerza and Tawagin each earned a cash prize of P10,000, a trophy, and a coveted slot in the National Finals slated on December 7. Both will join the country’s finest elite runners in their quest to clinch the MILO Marathon King and Queen crowns. As an added incentive, MILO will send this year’s King and Queen to Japan on an all-expense paid trip to the 2015 Tokyo Marathon.

The runners were blessed with good weather and they surely used it to their advantage. The thrilling race saw Nerza finish ahead of Richard Salaño, who put up a good fight right to the final second. Nerza posted a time of 01:12:12, while Salaño clocked in at 01:12:39, finishing first and second place, respectively. Elmer Sabal came in at third place with a time of 01:16:07.*

The 25-year-old Davaoeño, currently residing in Pasig, expressed his elation and relief in winning the race. “It was really competitive, my fellow runners were ahead of me in the first 100 meters, and I was falling behind. I thought I wouldn’t be able to catch up, but thankfully I was able to do so and even won,” shared Nerza. “I still have a long way to go in terms of my training. Every day, I run in the morning and in the afternoon. For the National Finals, I will add three-hour runs for endurance to improve my performance.”

In the distaff side, Tawagin displayed a convincing victory with an impressive time of 01:29:59, relegating rivals Jeany Rose Hari (01:44:57) to second place, and Rose Ann Valencia (02:03:01) to third place.*

Tawagin, a 23-year-old local of Lucena, voiced her satisfaction over the race. “I’m always proud to race in my hometown. I’m glad that the route was well-balanced. I was able to manage my time and pace well,” said Tawagin. “The other contenders are also very good runners, and I’m sure that the competition will even be fiercer in the National Finals. I’ve been using my training for the AFP Olympics to help me prepare for the MILO Marathon. My everyday routine comprises of 5K runs and an extra two hours of training for endurance. My strategy for the finals needs to be adjusted because it’s a 42K event. Strength, endurance and discipline will be the areas I will focus on.”

Nerza and Tawagin have been joining the National MILO Marathon for four years already. Both have been consistently winning in regional legs and qualifying for the National Finals.

“Anthony and Janice are only two of our many unsung heroes from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We are proud to say that we are able to engage our local heroes to participate in the MILO marathon each year,” said Andrew Neri, MILO Sports Marketing Manager. “We at MILO are delighted to honor their passion and devotion in serving the country, as well as their dedication to sports and athleticism. They are truly admirable champions who serve as inspirational models to all.”

With the support of the Department of Education and the National MILO Marathon runners, 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 qualifying race will continue in Lucena on August 31, and will head to 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 ( or the MILO Philippines Facebook page ( Follow MILO on Twitter (@MiloPH) and Instagram (@MiloPhilippines).

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