GENERAL SANTOS City – Reigning MILO Marathon Queen Mary Joy Tabal and multiple-winner Juneil Languido proved too much for the 9,000-strong field at the 39th MILO Marathon General Santos qualifiers Sunday (October 18) at the Oval Plaza. Last season’s fastest qualifiers easily handled the 21-kilometer course en route to tow 26 other qualifiers to the National Finals on December 6, 2015 at the SM City Clark in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Tabal was on fire as she set a new 2015 season record for fastest qualifying time at 1:21:42, bettering the old standard of 1:25:19 of former Queen Mary Grace de los Santos at the Lucena leg last August 30. Coming in a distant Second Place was Mona Liza Ambasa, the only other female qualifier at 1:35:03 followed by Noemi Andrea Galos at 1:52:44.
Languido, the back-to-back champion of the Cagayan de Oro leg in 2013 and 2014, opted for a change of scenery this time and still won handily at 1:14:06, over two minutes ahead of Second Place Elmer Bartolo (1:16:47) and six minutes ahead of Third Place Gilbert Maluyo (1:20:42). His goal now is to land in the Top 10 of the Nationals.
So swift was Tabal that she came in as the fourth overall finisher, with only the male podium finishers going faster. She is expected to go all out to retain her title.
Languido and Tabal took home trophies and PHP 10,000.00. They will also attempt to be the official Philippine representatives to the 120th Boston Marathon on April 18, 2016 in the United States, a privilege accorded to the MILO King and Queen.
Sunday’s field was easily the biggest to assemble for a fun run in the city’s history. That is a good sign as part of the participants’ registration fees will go to funding the MILO Marathon’s advocacy of providing athletic shoes to poor but deserving public school pupils from the areas that host the regional qualifiers.
The MILO Marathon will take a three-week break and continue its search for the best runners from Mindanao on November 8 in Davao City. For more information and registration, contact Kenneth Sai at (0921) 594-9303.
Other Winners: Jessmar Lopez and Glecery Joy Olama (10 kilometers), Joan Heraud and Reahnet Llano (five kilometers) and Jezrhel Van Ombid and Oona Coronel (three kilometers).