45 runners qualify for National Finals
Elite runners Eric Panique and Adjene Rose Delos Santos conquered the 21K centrepiece events at the Iloilo leg of the 38th National MILO Marathon on Sunday, the biggest race in Iloilo, to date. Almost 15,000 runners joined the race, despite the stormy weather that battered the country in the past few days.
Each received a prize of Php 10,000 and a trophy for their respective victories. Along with the other 42K qualifiers, Panique and Delos Santos secured a slot for the National Finals slated on December 7 in Manila. To heighten the competition and to add a bigger incentive for the runners, MILO will sponsor this year’s MILO Marathon King and Queen to the 2015 Tokyo Marathon next February.
Last year’s MILO Marathon Manila leg winner Eric Panique grabbed another comfortable victory against his rivals as he used the better weather conditions to his advantage and clocked in at 01:14:06, beating second placer Roger Denolo (01:19:15) and third placer Roger Molinos (01:19:19).
The 28-year-old member of the National Team, hailing from Negros Occidental, trains everyday with the team under coach Mario Castro’s guidance. Perseverance is the key to winning, according to Panique. “Because of Typhoon Mario’s wrath in the past few days, I was worried it would still rain and the roads will be very wet. Thankfully the weather got better, although the high humidity levels made the race more challenging. But I did not let it stop me,” said Panique. “There were times when I had difficulty in breathing and experienced some chest pains, but I pushed myself since I knew I can still handle it. I’m proud that my perseverance paid off.”
Meanwhile, Adjene Rose Delos Santos went neck-and-neck in a thrilling bout with fellow contender Jioda Gagnao, beating the latter by only one second. Delos Santos settled the score towards the finish line and posted a time of 01:48:46, relegating Gagnao to second place (01:48:47), while Lorena Blanco finished in third place (01:53:16).
For Delos Santos, a 28-year-old native of the Quezon province, awareness and distribution were the main factors that helped her earn her victory. “During the race, I kept track of how many kilometers I’ve already covered, and the pace that I was running at. I tried to manage my distribution and pacing throughout the entire route as best as I can,” said Delos Santos. “We were lucky that it wasn’t rainy anymore and it wasn’t too hot either. The main challenge for me was when I felt some pains on my sides, and experienced dehydration due to the lack of sleep. I need to work on this for the National Finals.”
MILO Sports Marketing Manager Andrew Neri was full of praise for the runners who joined the Iloilo leg. “We at MILO are very delighted with the impressive turnout. The threatening winds and rains of Typhoon Mario and the Habagat in the past week could did not stop our racers from enjoying their passion for running. However, the welfare and safety of our runners is of utmost importance. We closely monitored the weather conditions and we would not have put our runners’ safety on the line had it been too dangerous for the race to push through,” said Neri. “Our contingency plans are well set in place, and we are very grateful for the all-out support of the Iloilo city government, especially Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who also joined the race. Thankfully, we were blessed with better weather and our runners were able to enjoy the race. Today’s turnout proves that the Filipino spirit is truly strong and resilient. Nothing can stop us from celebrating our passions and achieving our dreams.”
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 pick up in Iloilo on September 21, then proceed to 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).