Sotto ends Unabia’s winning streak at MILO Marathon Cagayan de Oro race
Champions dethroned as Northern Mindanao’s top runners gun for gold and glory
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, November 25, 2012 – The City of Golden Friendship saw intense competition as veteran runner Jeff Sotto renewed a staunch rivalry with four-time regional champion Arnold Unabia at the 36th MILO Marathon Cagayan de Oro race Sunday morning. Three-time MILO Marathon King Cresenciano Sabal also graced the 21-k tracks to wrap the top 3 cast of the men’s division race. The rivals treated spectators to a thrilling showdown of agility as they fought to win the last qualifying leg of the season.
Last year’s CDO second placer Sotto stopped the clock at a commendable 1:13:10, barely beating Unabia (1:13:41) and Sabal (1:13:55). Sotto expressed that today’s victory is a forecast of years to come, as he hopes to spark his own winning streak in both regional and national races. “Today’s victory was definitely refreshing, but beating Unabia is just the beginning. Running alongside the country’s best Filipino and foreign athletes in the finals will be a daunting feat, but I am eager to prove myself in that track,” said the Iligan City Roadrunner.
The distaff division also saw a heated race unfold as Aileen Tolentino dominated the 21-k track at 1:30:39 ahead of Michelle Ann Sampang (1:31:16) and last year’s regional champion Cresabel Cadion (1:35:45).
The most competitive of the athletic Tolentino sisters said she is determined to shift the ranks to her favor when she takes on tracksters Jho-An Banayag and Mary Grace Delos Santos in December. “The amount of pressure leading to the finale is building up. I have about two weeks to improve my pace and get in shape for the big race,” said Tolentino, who has been running for two decades. “Beating my best time of 3:06 for the 42-K distance at the finals will require more training, but I’m ready to go head to head with veterans in the sport.”
The school category awards unwrapped with Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive National High School earning double wins in the Biggest Delegation and Fastest Delegation awards. MOGCHS posted a total of 1177 finishers and an aggregate time of 23:50.45 besting other participating schools.
Both Sotto and Tolentino took home the P 10,000.00 top purse and led several other qualifiers into the 36th MILO Marathon National Finals on December 9 at the SM Mall of Asia Grounds in Pasay City. With over 10,000 runners at the CDO leg alone, organizers said they are on the right track to hitting the 200,000 collective target of runners for this year’s campaign.
Through its advocacy program called ‘Help Give Shoes’, which is now on its third year of staging, MILO donated a total of 500 shoes to public schools in the region as an ongoing commitment to develop the Filipino sports community. Students of Bulua Central School, Bayabas Elementary School, Agusan National High School, City Central School and Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School were among the campaign’s local beneficiaries. Since the campaign’s conception, MILO has given over 22, 700 shoes to underprivileged children nationwide.
With the regional titleholders preparing for the upcoming National Finals, MILO and race organizer Runrio Inc. expect a full-on action-packed culmination to this year’s premier footrace. “This year’s MILO Marathon launched the most competitive roster of athletes for the final heat. Each region highlighted thrilling rivalries and showcased inspiring athletic prowess. We are very excited to see who will cut above the rest and conquer the long-distance marathon title,” said MILO Sports Executive Andrew Neri.
“The athletic community is growing as more Filipinos are becoming aware of the value of the sport. While our marathon runners are getting ready for the race in December, groundwork for another year of quality matches is already underway. Creating a high-level footrace is only one of our many efforts to maintain a healthy sports environment and produce more champions,” added Neri.
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).
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.