MANILA, PHILIPPINES, July 29, 2012 – Two-time champion and MILO Marathon national record holder Jho-An Banayag ruled the 42-k women’s division, as Jason Agravante dominated the men’s division, Sunday in the record-breaking Metro Manila Leg of the 36th National MILO Marathon at the Mall of Asia (MOA) grounds in Pasay City. Nestle Philippines officials expressed elation over the heavy 38,429 runners who participated in the prestigious event, which shattered last year’s 35,000 turnout.
Thirty year-old Banayag showed no sign of weakness and maintained her swift pace from the early stages of the track to the finish line, clocking in at 3:02:20. A far second behind Banayag was Jennelyn Nobleza of Silay City at 3:17:44, followed by veteran Luisa Raterta who clocked in at 3:23:55.
“The weather slowed me down a bit, but I’d prefer a little rain over a warm day,” said the Compostela Valley-native Banayag, who is also a Private First Class in the Philippine Army. “I’m looking forward to the National Finals in December. I will dedicate more of my time to training for the finals.”
Banayag is currently training with the RP national team in Baguio City, along with defending MILO Marathon Queen Mary Grace de los Santos. Banayag marks her best time for 42-k and the MILO Marathon national record at 2:48:16.
After six years of participation, the 23-year-old Agravante of Silay City finally secured his first major title, topping the men’s category in 2:39:57. He relegated brothers Elmer and Gerald Sabal to second and third place with 2:45:16 and 2:46:10, respectively.
“In the beginning of the race, I was neck and neck with two Kenyans and two Filipino runners, but I picked up the pace midway. I was already leading the pack when we reached the Buendia flyover in Makati City,” said Agravante. “A Kenyan runner tried to overtake me in the last 8 kilometers of the race, however, I was already near the finish line.”
Meanwhile, in the men’s 21-k race, Rafael Poliquit Jr. finished first in 1:14:35, while Nhea Ann Barcena topped the women’s category in 1:33:38. Also among today’s participants is Aklanon Mark Joseph “Aga” Casidsid, who successfully completed the 42-k track despite the challenges of being visually impaired. Of the 38,429 runners who competed in the MILO Marathon Metro Manila eliminations, over 2,000 runners registered for the 42-k race.
Both top bets in the Finals Banayag and Agravante pocketed the Php 50,000 top prize, while the runners-up took home Php 30,000 for second place and Php 20,000 for third place. Banayag and Agravante will lead several others to the National Finals on December 9 at Mall of Asia (MOA) grounds in Pasay City.
Only local participants, meaning Filipinos and foreigners with a working visa, can join and win in the 42-k and 21-k elimination races. Overseas participants may also join and compete in the 42-K and 21-K tracks at the National Finals for as long as they fulfill the requirements. National race organizer 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) one year before race day.
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.
To further MILO’s vision to inspire and equip underprivileged school children to excel in sports and in life, MILO’s “Help Give Shoes” advocacy program, which is now on its third year of staging, will provide 10,000 pairs of shoes to children nationwide. In Metro Manila alone, students from ten schools benefited from the program, namely San Rafael National High School, Ramon Magsaysay High School, Tibangan Elementary School, Gen. M. Hizon Elementary School, Pasay Science High School, Tatalon Elementary School, Carlos Albert High School, and Manuel L. Quezon Elementary School.
After the Metro Manila Leg, the qualifying race will shift to 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 Nov. 25. The 36th MILO Marathon National Finals is on December 9 at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay 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.
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