DAGUPAN CITY – The 39th MILO Marathon season got underway Sunday (June 28) with former MILO Queen Christabel Martes and newcomer Cesar Castaneto Jr. stamping their class in the first regional qualifying race that ended at the CSI Mall. The annual search for the Philippines’ top runners will culminate with the National Finals on December 6, 2015 in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Martes, a four-time winner of the Nationals, easily won her 21-kilometer duel with defending leg champion Lany Cardona by clocking 1:26:46. Cardona was a shade under four minutes behind at 1:30:14 while Roselle Duldalao came in a far Third Place at 1:59:25.
This is the first time for the 26-year old Castaneto to win a MILO qualifier, logging 1:13:11. He beat out his more illustrious pursuers in runners-up Robeno Javier (1:18:13), a member of the national duathlon team, and veteran Reynaldo Pascua (1:18:26).
Both Martes and Castaneto took home a trophy and PHP 10,000.00. More importantly, they will lead the city’s qualifiers to December’s Nationals were the top Filipinos will be sent to compete in the prestigious 120th Boston Marathon on April 18, 2016.
Last topping the Nationals in 2009, the 35-year old Martes will try to end the two-year reign of MILO Queen Mary Joy Tabal while equaling the record of five titles held by the legendary Arsenia Sagaray. Rafael Poliquit is the current MILO King.
The next regional qualifier will be on July 5 at the Melvin Jones Football Grounds in Baguio City. For registration and more information, contact Tess Bernardino at (0917) 565-5214, (0922) 879-8343 and (0922) 879-8438.
A portion of the runners’ registration fees will be set aside for MILO’s continuing advocacy of providing athletic shoes to poor but deserving public schoolchildren just like those from Umingan National High School who traveled 65 kilometers to join the race. Coach Virginio Padilla’s wards managed to land three slots in the top ten of both the Male and Female Division of the five-kilometer category en route to a ninth straight Fastest School Award.
Other winners: Raymond Torio and Mary Anne Crishelle Perez (10 kilometers), Reynante Torio and Shane Carolino (five kilometers) and Geron Medina and Maria Angelica Yabo (three kilometers).