TARLAC CITY – Five-time MILO Marathon King Eduardo “Vertek” Buenavista will now get to formally seek a sixth crown after bagging the 39th MILO Marathon Tarlac qualifiers last Sunday (July 12) at the Ma. Cristina Park. The 36-year old national athlete ran virtually unopposed over the wet 21-kilometer rout to also retain the leg championship he won exactly one year ago.
Buenavista registered a clocking of 1:13:19, much slower than his previous winning time of 1:10:30 but it hardly mattered. More exciting was the war for Second Place with Jesse Guiquing (1:21:01) edging out Jay Lomyog (1:21:29) by 28 seconds.
Action in the distaff side was dominated by Cindy Lorenzo in 1:34:59. Also making the podium were Second Placer Shane Acosta (1:43:51) and Third Placer Berna Pulmano (1:49:54).
A total of 44 men and five women beat the needed times to make it to the National Finals set for December 6, 2015 in nearby Angeles City, Pampanga. It was a big improvement from last season where the city could only produce 19 qualifiers, the lowest among all weekly legs.
The top Filipino finishers will be sent to an all-expense paid trip to compete at the 120th Boston Marathon on April 18, 2016. This will be on top of the cash prize and bonuses that could reach as high as PHP 550,000.00 each for the MILO King and Queen.
It was really a good day for the Buenavista Family after Vertek’s 13-year old son Eduard Josh took Third Place in the five-kilometer category. The younger Buenavista is a student at the University of Baguio and was last year’s Baguio Leg champion in the three-kilometer kiddy race for ages 12 and below.
Another second-generation runner that made some noise was 17-year old Alex Ballester, eldest son of two-time MILO Marathon King Allan Ballester (2000 and 2001) who took Fourth Place in the 10-kilometer category. These young athletes are prime examples of MILO’s campaign of “Building Champions”.
Part of the campaign includes providing poor and deserving public school children with athletic shoes in partnership with the Department of Education. Around 10,000 pairs are targeted for distribution this year to selected schools in the different cities that will hold qualifying races.
The MILO Marathon will open a new frontier next Sunday (July 19) with the holding of the first ever qualifiers in Balanga City, Bataan. For registration and more information, please get in touch with the Bataan and Balanga Tourism Council at (047) 791-5691.
Other Winners: Isidro Perpetua and Loida Gagnao (10 kilometers), Evelou Abutas and Lyra Kaye Eleria (five kilometers) and Cesar Lapena and Mary Renz Jelai Tabion (three kilometers).