CHAMPIONS OF this year’s 39th MILO Marathon will get to chance to officially represent the Philippines in next year’s Boston Marathon. This was the biggest revelation as a new season of the country’s oldest and most prestigious footrace was formally launched last June 18 (Thursday) at the Bayview Park Hotel.
Although it was announced last February, it was also formally confirmed that this year’s National Finals on December 6 will be hosted by Angeles City in Pampanga. “We consulted the running community and we decided to give them a new venue that is free of traffic and pollution,” said MILO Sports Marketing Manager Andrew Q. Neri.
Angeles City is a one to two-hour drive from Metro Manila. However, MILO is coordinating with bus companies for possible shuttle services between the venue and Metro Manila.
The Boston Marathon is the no doubt the most prestigious road race among the world’s major marathons. Its participants must meet strict qualifying times but MILO race director Coach Rio de la Cruz is confident that these standards could be easily met based on the times of the recent winners.
For her part, reigning back-to-back MILO Marathon Queen Mary Joy Tabal recalled her beginnings in Cebu wherein she collapsed in one of her early races and awoke in a hospital. “A lot of people discouraged me from running long distances but I still continued to pursue my dream to race with my idols,” said Tabal, who is coming off a silver medal finish in the women’s marathon in recent 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
Earlier this year, Tabal and MILO Marathon King Rafael Poliquit were sent to compete in the Los Angeles Marathon where they acquitted themselves well in their debuts. “We will coordinate with PATAFA in order that whoever we send to Boston will have the proper sanction of the sport’s governing body as the official Philippine representatives,” said Neri.
Aside from the trip to Boston, Filipino runners can look forward to bigger prizes. Starting this season, any Filipino who earns a prize in the Open Category may also claim a prize in the All-Filipino category. Therefore, if a Filipino comes in as the overall First Placer, he will bring home PHP 300,000.00 plus PHP 150,000.00 as the top local runner. A bonus of PHP 50,000.00 awaits the runner who can break the records of Eduardo Buenavista (2:18:53) and Tabal (2:48:00).
Not only will the National Finals have a new venue, but the MILO Marathon calendar will see the holding of races for the first time in the cities of Balanga, Bataan and Calapan, Oriental Mindoro. They will take the place Angeles and Puerto Princesa City.
In-store registration is already ongoing at selected Asics branches in Bonifacio High Street, Greenbelt and Trinoma and Timex stores in SM Mall of Asia and Shangri-La EDSA. Race fees are PHP 730.00 (42.195 kilometers), PHP 630.00 (21 kilometers), PHP 530.00 (10 kilometers), PHP 110.00 (five kilometers) and PHP 80.00 (three kilometers) inclusive of a singlet and race bib.
Online registration is also being conducted at www.milo.com.ph. A medical certificate and a 300-gram MILO pack must accompany all entries.
Of course, the MILO Marathon will continue its longtime advocacy of providing athletic shoes to poor but deserving public school children in partnership with the Department of Education. Last year, over 16,000 pairs were distributed to the beneficiaries, with special focus given to those in typhoon-ravaged areas in Eastern Visayas.
The first of 17 regional qualifying races will be held on June 28 in Dagupan City, Pangasinan. For the full schedule, CLICK HERE.