First-time winners Noel Tillor and Roselyn Balongcas aced the 21K events at the thirteenth qualifying race of the National MILO Marathon held in Cebu City Sports Complex, Cebu City, on Sunday. A record-shattering 26,736 runners joined the nation’s biggest and most prestigious race in the Queen City of the South, making it the largest regional race of the season so far. Along with Tillor and Balongcas, 86 runners secured their qualifying slots for the National Finals slated on December 7 in the Mall of Asia grounds, Manila.
86 runners qualify for National Finals
Tillor and Balongcas each received a prize of P10,000 in cash, a trophy. Both have booked their slots to the National Finals on December 7, for a chance to compete for the MILO Marathon King and Queen title. As an added level of prestige to the competition, MILO will send this year’s King and Queen to the 2015 Tokyo Marathon, with trips all expenses paid.
Despite the rains that showered Cebu in the past days, the runners were blessed with good weather and Tillor definitely used it to his advantage, finishing with a time of 01:13:10. Jerry Adap followed in second place (01:15:21), and Robert Daang in third place (01:17:38).*
A 33-year-old automotive technician from Cebu, Tillor finished 7th in last year’s National MILO Marathon Manila race, and 11th in the National Finals. “This is the first time I finished first place,” shared Tillor. “I trained for almost three months, but not full time because of work. I really did not expect it because the other runners have been training full time. It’s a big achievement. I always enjoy running and feel very satisfied when I run, and I will continue running for as long my body can.”
It was Balongcas’ first time to join the National MILO Marathon and she aced the distaff side with a time of 01:40:55, comfortably finishing nine minutes ahead of second placer Christy Sevilleno (01:49:16) and third placer Sandra Soliano (01:49:54).*
Hailing from Dumaguete, the 33-year-old single mother travelled with her teenage son for four hours by land to Cebu to join the race. Though unemployed, she has her own business of making her own ham and sausages, and finds time to run as a form of exercise and self-fulfilment. “I’m very happy that I won and I’m very proud to represent my hometown of Dumaguete,” expressed Balongcas. “I’m also proud of my son who joined the 3K race. I will use the prize money for his schooling.”
The Cebuano community came together and celebrated their passion for running in a true festive fashion. Cebu City councillors, including Margarita Osmeña, James Cuenco, and Sisinio Andales, also ran the 3K race, along with several candidates of the Ms. Cebu beauty pageant.
One of Cebu’s most promising triathletes Yuan Chiongbian, who recently won second place in the Ironkids triathlon, also ran with his brother Justin, a national junior triathlete. “We love joining the National MILO Marathon because it helps us with our training for the triathlons and other sports competition that we join. It’s a really well-organized race,” said Chiongbian. “It’s like a big family gathering, lots of people always join and there’s always so much joy in the MILO marathons.”
MILO Sports Marketing Manager Andrew Neri expressed his delight in the success of this year’s Cebu race. “We are overwhelmed with the amount of runners who joined the race that surpassed last year’s record headcount. It proves that each year, the competition is always improving and enticing athletes, young and old alike, to join in the fun and camaraderie,” said Neri. “We would like to thank our local organizer Ricky Ballesteros and his team for all the hard work in the preparations, and for ensuring that our runners will get the experience possible. We would also like to commend the invaluable support from all the Cebuanos. We are truly grateful.”
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 remaining qualifying races will be held in 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 (http://www.milo.com.ph) or the MILO Philippines Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/milo.ph). Follow MILO on Twitter (@MiloPH) and Instagram (@MiloPhilippines).