PASAY City, Philippines, December 8, 2013 – Records were shattered Sunday at the 37th MILO Marathon National Finals, as elite runner Mary Joy Tabal claimed her first MILO Marathon national crown and broke the current women’s event record for 42K set by Jho-An Banayag by 16 seconds. The MILO Marathon also posted its highest season headcount to date at more than 220,000 runners, after registering 26,681 runners at today’s championship race alone.
Not to be outdone, reigning MILO Marathon King Eduardo Buenavista bagged a back-to-back win, his fifth title in the prestigious footrace. Buenavista also holds the current men’s event record for 42K in the national marathon.
Eduardo Buenavista retains the National MILO Marathon title after another superb performance in the finale of the country’s most prestigious footrace Sunday.
For their outstanding victories, Tabal received the P 250,000 prize plus an additional P 20,000 for breaking Banayag’s record, while Buenavista received the top purse of P 150,000 from his Local leg win. Both runners also scored an all-expenses paid trip to the 2014 Paris Marathon as the first Philippine delegates sponsored by MILO in more than two decades.
Showing top form, Margaret Njuguna (2:42:18) was the only one to finish ahead of Tabal. The Kenyan runner led the distaff run since the sound of the starting gun, making her a powerful force to beat. Trailing closely behind, Tabal led former MILO Marathon Queens Mary Grace delos Santos (2:54:27) and Cristabel Martes (2:57:15) to a 2-3-4 Filipina finish, and posted her best time so far at 2:48:00. Last year, delos Santos and Banayag topped the 42K female category race ahead of all foreign competitors.
Tabal later revealed that she changed her strategy and training scheme for the National Finals, attaining a total training distance of 150 kilometers per week. “My initial target for this race is to hit below the 3-hour mark. I was actually quite surprised to have finished much faster and to have broken a record in the process,” said the 24-year old Cebuana titlist. “The Paris Marathon will definitely be a new challenge for me, and I hope to be one of the many athletes who have brought great pride to our nation.”
Cementing his reputation as one of the country’s finest male athletes, Buenavista outperformed strong local competitors Rene Desuyo (2:32:34) and Irineo Raquin (2:32:57), but failed to defeat this year’s set of Kenyan runners, namely Josphat Chobei (2:18:23), last year’s MILO Marathon King James Tallam (2:18:41), and Alex Melly (2:22:30). He expressed that the race was most challenging when his muscles began to betray him as he reached the finish line.
“I set the pace during the first few kilometers of the route. However, the Kenyans started to gain ground before we reached the halfway point. Motivated solely by the chance to represent our country at an international competition, I rallied for the local category win and was able to claim my fifth national title,” said Buenavista. “This is both my greatest accomplishment and my most ambitious goal so far. I aim to post an even better time come the Paris Marathon.”
MILO Marathon Queen Mary Joy Tabal and MILO Marathon King Eduardo Buenavista celebrate division victories at the 37th National MILO Marathon National Finals in Manila.
“We have reached the end of our 37th season, but the records broken today bear new beginnings for the local athletic community. The track has raised extraordinary characters who will bring gold and glory to our home soil not only in 2014 but in the years to come,” said Andrew Neri, MILO Sports Executive. “As we usher in MILO’s 50th year in the Philippines, we are looking forward to inspiring more athletes, most especially the youth, to run towards their dreams and aspirations.”
As part of its ongoing commitment to develop sports in the country, MILO has given a total of 34,200 shoes to public school students nationwide through MILO’s Help Give Shoes advocacy. With the invaluable support of the Department of Education and the National MILO Marathon runners, MILO delivered 1,000 pairs of running shoes to beneficiary schools today in Metro Manila, namely M. Hizon Elementary School, Flora Ylagan High School Quezon City, Pasay South High School, A. Villegas Elementary School Manila, San Rafael Elementary School, Quezon City Longos High School, Malabon CAA High School, Las Pinas Tipas High School, Taguig Pasay West High School, and San Diego Elementary School Quezon City.
The 37th National MILO Marathon is made possible by Timex, the Bayview Park Hotel Manila, Reebok, SMART, Gatorade, Sennheiser, and SM Mall of Asia, along with endorsements from the Department of Education, Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee. For more information on the race and its advocacy, visit the MILO marathon website (milo.com.ph) or access the MILO Philippines fanpage on Facebook. Follow MILO on Twitter (@MILOPH).