TARLAC CITY, July 15, 2012: Former three-time National MILO Marathon King and current event record holder Eduardo Buenavista struck anew and easily regained the 3rd Leg of the 36th MILO Marathon held today in Tarlac City.
The 34-year-old Buenavista of Sto. Nino, South Cotabato dominated the men’s 21-k category in 1:13:29 with plenty of time to spare and pocketed the P10,000 elimination leg top purse. The two-time Olympian was about six hundred meters ahead over second pursuer Nelson Rombosa who clocked in at 1:24:58, followed by Gavino Lopez at 1:26:46.
“I wasn’t exactly preparing for the eliminations, but I train 3 hours a day for the finals,” said Buenavista. “I believe I have a strong chance to win it this year.”
Buenavista also attributed the fair weather for his timely comeback since finishing in third place in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games and failing to defend the 42-k National Finals crown last year in Manila.
Veteran Miscelle Gilbuena led the distaff side with a time of 1:37:29, followed by Berna Pulmano with 1:39:49 and Fredalyn Ramos with 1:57:58.
“This year, although my focus was on running, I added biking to my training,” said Gilbuena, who trained with the SMDC group. “However, I did less training this year compared to last year, hence the slower time. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t beat last year’s time, especially when I’d consistently beat my time in the previous MILO Marathon legs. Nonetheless, I’m happy I won. I’ll train for a better time in the finals.”
Both Buenavista and Rombosa will lead several other qualifiers into the 36th National MILO Marathon Finals on December 9 at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) ground in Pasay City.
Earlier, Wilson Maningkil (1:15:28) and Lany Cardona (1:38:58) also advanced to the National Finals when they topped the Dagupan City elimination leg last week.
Organizers are expecting a total of 200,000 runners, of which 13,500 registered in today’s Tarlac leg, through the 18 elimination legs in 17 cities to participate in the nationwide search for the best runners in the country today.
The winner in the local category of the 36th Milo Marathon National Finals will receive P 150,000 for the men and women’s division, respectively, while a sum of P300,000 will be given to the winners in the Open category. A bonus prize of P50,000 will also be accorded to the runner who can break the 2:15:00 invisible barrier and P20,000 for the male runner who can break the 2:18:53 course record set by Eduardo Buenavista in 2004. Another P20,000 is also offered to the female runner who can break the 2:48:16 record of Jho-Ann Banayag in 2008. National race technical director Rio de la Cruz said that for a foreign runner to qualify in the National Finals, he or she must provide proof of finish in any sanctioned or accredited races by the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) for at least one year before the race day.
Andrew Neri, MILO Sports Executive, said that some 10,000 children nationwide from selected schools will benefit from MILO’s “Help Give Shoes” advocacy program, which is now on its third year of staging. MILO gave a total of 500 pairs of shoes to five schools in Tarlac, including Alvindia – Aguso Elementary School, Sto. Cristo Elementary School, Teodoro P. Tinio Elementary School, Belen Homesite Elementary School and Abelardo Tinio Elementary School.
After the Tarlac Leg, the qualifying race will shift to Angeles City on July 22, Metro Manila on July 29, Naga on Aug. 19, San Pablo, Laguna on Sept. 2, Lipa, Batangas on Sept. 16, Puerto Princesa, Palawan on Sept. 23, Tagbilaran on Sept. 30, Cebu on Oct. 7, Bacolod on Oct. 14, Iloilo on Oct. 28, Gen. Santos on Nov. 4, Davao on Nov. 11, Butuan on Nov. 18 and Cagayan de Oro City on No. 25. The 36th Milo Marathon National Finals is slated on December 9 at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasig City.
The 36th National MILO Marathon is made possible by Timex, the Bayview Park Hotel Manila and Reebok, along with partnerships with the Department of Education 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).
About the National MILO Marathon
The National MILO Marathon is an annual marathon event open to amateur and professional runners. From its humble beginnings in 1974 as a single marathon race in Metro Manila attended by 747 participants, the National MILO Marathon has grown to be the biggest, longest, grandest national running event in the country attracting more than hundreds of thousands of runners across the country. The race is organized by RunRio, Inc.