Tuesday, July 14, 2015

39th MILO Marathon Tarlac

Eduardo “Vertek” Buenavista aced the 39th National MILO Marathon Tarlac qualifying leg on Sunday, where over 13,000 runners were present to conquer the roads. The 5-time MILO Marathon King and current MILO Marathon record holder posted a time of 01:13:19 in the 21K male division, besting his rivals Jessie Guiquing (01:21:01) and Jay Lomyog (01:21:29) who placed second and third, respectively.

In the distaff side, 26-year-old Cinderella Lorenzo, 7th placer in the 2014 MILO Marathon National Finals, proved that the intermittent rains were easy to overcome as she comfortably placed first with a time of 01:34:59. Shane Acosta (01:43:51) followed in second place, while Berna Pulmano (01:49:54) finished in third.

Both Buenavista and Lorenzo have secured their slots in the National Finals, and each took home the top prize of P10,000 in cash and a trophy. Both will go head-to-head with the country’s best runners at the National Finals in Angeles on December 6, where the MILO Marathon King and Queen titles are up for grabs. This year’s King and Queen will be sent by MILO to the USA on all-expense paid trips, for a chance to run in the prestigious 2016 Boston Marathon.

The Tarlac qualifying race turned out to be a meeting of generations of champions. The 36-year-old Philippine Air Force sergeant was not the only Buenavista who made waves in the Tarlac race. His son, 14-year-old Edward Josh Buenavista, showed that he is definitely following in his father’s footsteps as he placed third in the 5K male division. “Edward is excelling in running. As a father, I couldn’t be any prouder of him. He trains with me all the time. I coach him, give him advice, and he listens to me,” shared Vertek. “He’s a member of the University of Baguio running varsity team. Like me, he really loves running, but I always remind him that he has to balance his sports with his academics. He’s a good son.”

Former MILO Marathon King and Philippine National Team member Allan Ballester was also at the race to support his eldest son, 17-year-old Alex, who showcased his running prowess as he placed fourth in the 10K male division. The passion for running is truly in the genes of this family of champions, as Allan, the head of safety and security in the organizing team of RunRio, revealed that his five other kids are set to join the MILO Marathon Lipa race. “It’s amazing to see how my love for running has been passed on the the next generation of the family. They were always in awe of how much I have achieved through running, so they persistently asked me to train them. Our training sessions are also a fun way for us to bond, and training together has made us stronger as a family,” shared Ballester. “I always tell them that there is no pressure for them to win their races. They should just enjoy what they are doing and strive for the best result, and of course, they should not forget to do well at school, too. I will always be their number one fan.”

The National MILO Marathon is not only a breeding ground for local talents but also a program that empowers children nationwide. With the support of the Department of Education and the National MILO Marathon runners, MILO’s Help Gives Shoes advocacy will provide 10,000 underprivileged youth with brand new running shoes this year. MILO is working with DepEd in the selection of deserving public school student beneficiaries.

The race will resume in Balanga (July 19), before heading to Manila (July 26), Calapan (August 2), Lipa (August 9), Naga (August 16), Lucena (August 30), Iloilo (September 20), Bacolod (September 27), Tagbilaran (October 4), Cebu (October 11), General Santos (October 18), Davao (November 8), Butuan (November 15), and Cagayan De Oro (November 22). The National Finals will be held on December 6 in Angeles, Pampanga.

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