CALAPAN CITY – National athlete and local boy Mervin Guarte took advantage of the familiar surroundings to rule the very first MILO Marathon qualifying race held in Calapan City last Sunday (August 2). Running in the 21-kilometer category for first time, Guarte clocked 1:12:12 to set a new 39th season record.
A consistent middle distance medalist at the Southeast Asian Games, Guarte bettered the 1:13:11 of Cesar Castaneto Jr. in the season’s first qualifier held in Dagupan City last June 28. Coming in Second Place was Jujet de Asis (1:14:56) followed by Roel Galvero (1:15:34).
Guarte took extra training to shift to the longer distances after many podium finishes in the five and 10-kilometer categories of MILO events since 2008. His brother Melchor completed the family celebration by topping the 10-kilometer event in 36:32.
The distaff side belonged to veteran runner and coach Janette Agura with a time of 1:38:33. The 37-year old Agura had no challengers as Jenny Manansala checked in at Second Place 25 minutes later at 2:03:17 and Third Place Mercy Herrera at 2:15:47.
Guarte and Agura took home PHP 10,000.00 and a trophy and more importantly will lead the city’s qualifiers to the 39th National Finals on December 6, 2015 at the SM City Clark in Angeles City, Pampanga. The top Filipino winners will be sent to the 120th Boston Marathon on April 18, 2016 in the United States.
With an estimated field of 5,000 runners, last Sunday’s race was the biggest running event in city and the province of Oriental Mindoro. All categories began and ended at the Jose J. Leido Jr. Memorial High School grounds in a very easy and straight round trip on the Western and Strong Republic Nautical Highways.
Next week, the MILO Marathon moves to Agura’s hometown of Lipa City for the year’s seventh qualifying race on August 9. For more information and registration, please contact Gerome Divina at (0939) 387-2628.
A portion of the runners’ registration fees will go to funding MILO’s continuing advocacy of providing athletic shoes to poor but deserving public school pupils in Calapan and nearby areas. This year, an estimated 10,000 pairs will be distributed all over the country.
Other Winners: Melchor Guarte and Mary Joy Motin (10 kilometers), Raffy Kalaw and May Anne Manangan (five kilometers) and Elpidio Moraleta Jr. and Vernice Villa del Rey (three kilometers).