Running coach and student athlete win the last qualifying leg of the NMM

Cagayan De Oro City, Philippines, 22 November 2015 – Arnold Unabia and Christine Hallasgo proved their mettle as they clinched the top spots of the 21K centrepiece events in the 39th National MILO Marathon Cagayan De Oro leg. Around 11,900 runners conquered the exciting challenge of a new race route on the streets of the city dubbed as the Gateway to Mindanao. The Cagayan de Oro leg is the last qualifying race this season, with the National Finals slated to be held on December 6 in Angeles Pampanga.

Unabia and Hallasgo each took home the top prize of P10,000 in cash and a trophy; and earned their slots to the National MILO Marathon Finals where they will meet the nation’s elite runners in a heated race to claim the MILO Marathon King and Queen titles. To provide another level of prestige to the competition and incentive for the runners, this year’s King and Queen will be sent by MILO to the USA on all-expense paid trips, for a chance to run in the prestigious 2016 Boston Marathon.

It was a tight race in the men’s division, with only seconds separating the top three finishers. Unabia came out on top with a time of 01:15:27, followed closely by Jerald Zabala (01:15:40) in second place and Bryan Quiamco (01:15:50) in third place. In the distaff side, Hallasgo dominated with a time of 01:28:25. Michelle Ann Sampang (01:39:41) and Ailene Tolentino (01:45:35) finished in second and third place, respectively.

Unabia has quite a number of feats to his name. Since first joining the MILO Marathon in 1997, the 37-year-old Misamis Oriental native has already won five qualifying legs to date, winning two in General Santos and three in Cagayan De Oro. Unabia is an athletics coach in Tangub City who trains elementary and high school students, and out of school youth. He also trains MILO marathon runners and MILO Little Olympics student-athletes. “I was not able to focus that much on my training because I was busy coaching my students for the MILO Little Olympics National Finals held in October. I train with them, but of course, preparing for the 21K event is different, so I also train on my own every week,” he shared. “Coaching these kids is my way of giving back and helping them. They kids can also use sports to help them in opening up opportunities in school, like scholarships. They have very bright futures in sports.”

Hallasgo is also a returning champion to Cagayan De Oro, claiming back-to-back wins in the city for two years straight. The 22-year-old Public Administration student from Bukidnon has to balance her time between her studies and work, as she is also an intern at the Department of Agrarian Reform. “I have to wake up extra early and budget my time so I can train every morning before going to school or work,” shared Hallasgo. She also trains with her running group, the Malaybalay Runners, and her sister and brother, who also joined the race. The passion for running and winning surely runs in the family, with her sister Estelita Organiza placing first in the 10K event, and brother Ricky Organiza placing second in 3K event. “I’m happy to see my siblings excel in the sport. I am truly proud of them,” added Hallasgo.

The National MILO Marathon is not only a breeding ground for local talents but also a program that empowers underserved children nationwide. With the support of the Department of Education and the National MILO Marathon runners, MILO’s Help Gives Shoes advocacy will provide 10,000 underprivileged youth with brand new running shoes this year. MILO is working with DepEd in the selection of deserving public school student beneficiaries.

The National Finals will be held on December 6 in Angeles, Pampanga.

The 39th National MILO Marathon is made possible by Timex, the Bayview Park Hotel Manila, ASICS, Smart and Maynilad, along with endorsements from the Department of Education, Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

For more information on MILO Philippines, log on to the official website (http://www.milo.com.ph) or the MILO Philippines Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/milo.ph). Follow MILO on Twitter (@MiloPH) and Instagram (@MiloPhilippines).

About MILO

The MILO brand is the world’s leading chocolate malt beverage that can be prepared with hot or cold milk or water. MILO also promotes participation in sports through its Summer Sports Clinics, MILO-B.E.S.T. Center Training Program, MILO Marathon, and MILO Little Olympics. The leading beverage brand believes that these contribute to the holistic development of Filipino champions in sports and in life.

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 National MILO Marathon has grown into a globally renowned running event having been certified by the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and hosts foreign marathoners from Kenya, Ethiopia, and other countries across the world. The race is organized by RunRio, Inc.

About Nestle Philippines

Over a hundred years after it first started operations in the country, Nestle Philippines, Inc. (NPI) today is a robust and stable organization, proud of its role in bringing the best food and beverage throughout the stages of the Filipino consumers’ lives. The Company employs nearly 4,000 men and women nationwide, and is now among the country’s Top 8 Corporations. Driven by its mission to nurture generations of Filipino families, Nestle today produces and markets products under some of the country’s well-known brands such as NESCAFE, NIDO, MILO, NESTEA, MAGGI, BEAR BRAND, NESTLE and Purina, among others. Its product range has expanded to include coffee, milk, beverages, non-dairy creamer, food, infant nutrition, ice cream and chilled dairy, breakfast cereals, confectionery and pet care.

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About Kalongkong Hiker

I am Paolo Mercado for 20 years I've been riding a bike, walking a lot and running a lot. I am Kalongkong Hiker, a trail runner, mountaineer and a biker that can also write a blog of my travels, adventures and places that I visited through walking, running and biking. I write to encourage others to stay healthy and fit. #KeepOnRunning #ShareTheRoad #KalongkongHiker
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