ILOILO City, October 28, 2012: Rowell Hulleza and Alexandra Ganzon took advantage of the fair weather to top the Iloilo qualifying leg of the 36th National MILO Marathon. Over 12,200 athletes and running enthusiasts ran the difficult course around Iloilo City for the thirteenth installment of the country’s premier foot race.
12,200 athletes and running enthusiasts braved wind and rains to run the difficult course around Iloilo City for the thirteenth installment of the country’s premier foot race.
Negrense Hulleza dominated the 21-k men’s division race in 1:15:56 to pocket the P 10,000 top prize. The West Negros University Criminology undergraduate finished ahead of runners Bennie Murillo and Jorge Sepida, who finished in 1:16:38 and 1:22:24, respectively.
Hulleza expressed hopes of besting his opponents in the National Finals by improving his speed and overall condition. “Improving one’s performance is key to winning any full marathon. My training will focus mainly on boosting my mileage, and the rest will follow. Proper preparation should also be paired with perseverance and inspiration. Running alongside veterans of the sport motivates me to become a better athlete for the National Finals,” said the 23-year old.
“My dream is to serve and protect. I want to have the privilege of joining the Philippine Army when I finish my criminology degree in Bacolod. The challenges I encounter in the MILO Marathon, be it the physical preparation or the mental discipline, will prepare me to take on the trials that will come with my pursuit of that dream,” he added.
Completing the top 3 cast in the distaff side are Ganzon, who triumphantly crossed the finish line in first place at 1:44:59, Mellina Jane Jaroda at 1:52:34 and Mary Antonette Nuñez at 1:57:45.
MILO continues to build a brighter future for the Filipino youth through its Help Give Shoes advocacy program, which has reached 20,700 underprivileged school children nationwide
Iloilo native Ganon said that she has yet to prove herself in the national arena, but wishes to break records in future MILO races. “For twelve years, I have tested and proved my endurance and agility by joining triathlons. Today’s race was a big feat for me as I faced physical challenges during the difficult terrain. My will to finish pushed me to overcome these hurdles, and my passion for the sport will continue to drive me to be an even better runner,” said the 26-year old triathlete, who has been the local bet in several international sporting events.
Negrense Hulleza dominated the 21-k men’s division race at the Ilo-Ilo qualifiers of the 36th National MILO Marathon.
“I may have not qualified for this year’s finals, but the MILO Marathon has become the most memorable race I have joined yet. I am looking forward to next year’s qualifying leg where I plan to run as a stronger athlete,” she added.
For the school category awards, a double win went to Iloilo City National High School, which garnered both the Biggest Delegation and Fastest Delegation honors with 466 participants and an aggregate time of 22:32:68.
Beyond the growing sport of running are stirring stories that fuel MILO’s aim to develop the Philippine sports community. Among the 21-K track top ten finishers is Ma. Paz Meso, who clocked in at 2:11:39 to achieve a place in the ranks. “I ran this race for my eleven-year old son who recently passed away
because of dengue. I was almost ready to give up in the middle of the route, but I believe that his presence helped me exceed my limits and gave me strength throughout the race,” said 29 year-old Meso. “I drew courage from the other marathoners and from the outpouring prayers of friends and family to help me cross that finish line.” MILO’s efforts to bring quality races to the country is driven towards inspiring Filipinos to run for a cause and imbibe the values of true champions.
The challenging route in Ilo-Ilo City did not stop the athletes and running enthusiasts to reach the finish line at the thirteenth qualifying leg of the 36th National MILO Marathon.
Hulleza and the rest of the Iloilo leg qualifiers will join Bacolod elimination winners Eric Panique and Stephanie Cadosale and an anticipated 25,000 runners at the 36th MILO Marathon National Finals at the SM Mall of Asia Grounds in Pasay City on December 9, 2012. Organizers said that they are nearing their target of 200,000 participating runners throughout the 18-race campaign.
They will pit skills with former two-time champion and event record holder Eduardo Buenavista for the P300,000 prize in the Open Division and the P150,000 prize in the Local Category. A bonus prize of P50,000 is also at stake for the runner who can break the 2:15:00 invisible barrier and P20,000 for a male runner who can break the 2:18:53 course record set by Buenavista in 2004. Another P20,000 is offered to a female runner who can break the 2:48:16 record of Jho-Ann Banayag in 2005.
“We are ecstatic about the big turnout in Iloilo City. Today’s race is one the most successful eliminations legs of the year, and we are looking forward to another outstanding event as we begin the Mindanao regional qualifiers next week,” said MILO Sports Executive Andrew Neri. “The roster of winners for the National Finals presents a truly engaging and action-packed race in December. MILO will continue to discover true champions across the nation and inspire Filipinos to imbibe the values of remarkable athletes. We are moving towards a new era of Philippine sports and we aim to realize the vision of developing promising individuals to become our country’s pride,” he added.
After the Iloilo leg, the qualifying race will shift to General Santos on November 4, Davao City on November 11, Butuan City on November 18 and Cagayan de Oro City on November 25. The 36th MILO Marathon National Finals will be on December 9 at the SM Mall of Asia Grounds in Pasay City.
MILO continues to build a brighter future for the Filipino youth through its advocacy program, ‘Help Give Shoes’, which has reached 20, 700 underprivileged school children nationwide. Five schools in Iloilo City, namely Jalandoni Memorial National High School, Jaro Elementary School, Rizal Elementary School, Iloilo National High School and Pavia National High School, are among the campaign’s beneficiaries.
The 36th MILO Marathon is made possible by Timex, the Bayview Park Hotel Manila, SM Mall of Asia 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).