THE COUNTRY’S most prestigious running event marks a major milestone this year with the staging of the 40th edition of the National MILO Marathon. Because of that, organizers have unveiled several innovations and promotions that are expected to add more color and fun to what is projected to be another banner season.
The National Finals will be hosted by Iloilo City on December 4, marking the first time the event will be held outside of Luzon. After the highly-successful Nationals last year in Angeles City, organizers decided to bring the Finals to another provincial location.
“We chose Iloilo because of its wide road network plus the good support and cooperation of the local government,” said race director Coach Rio de la Cruz during the recent media launch. “For years, the runners from Visayas and Mindanao have gone to Luzon so I guess it’s time for the Luzon runners to travel to the south.”
Furthermore, participants will receive more incentives over and above the usual freebies for finishing the race within the prescribed cut off times. For the first time, 10-kilometer runners will be awarded medals, 21-kilometer runners will get shirts and bath towels await all finishers of the 42.195-kilometer full marathon.
As a member race of AIMS, runners can be assured of an accurately measured course coupled with international standards for safety. All 42 and 21-kilometer runners are required to submit a medical certificate while hydration and medical stations will be strategically located throughout the entire route.
Reigning MILO Marathon Queen Mary Joy Tabal sent a video message from her training camp in Japan where she is in the final stretch of preparations for next month’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics. “The MILO Marathon is a big thing in my life because it helped me reach where I am now joining international races and the Olympics and make the country proud and run for the Filipino people,” she said.
Tabal and MILO King Rafael Poliquit are expected to defend their crowns in Iloilo. Aside from the cash windfall, MILO will again send the winners to either the Boston Marathon, just like Tabal and Poliquit earlier this year, or the Tokyo Marathon.
This time however, the elite runners will not be the only ones taking home big cash prizes. All one needs to do is purchase MILO products and join the “Champanalo” raffle promo wherein a total of PHP 20,000,000.00 await the winners and their chosen public school beneficiaries.
Draws will be held at the weekly qualifying races and the National Finals. Just put the empty MILO pack or packs in an envelope with your name, contact details and pack size and drop in boxes located at the registration and race venues and selected radio stations.
MILO will also continue its advocacy of providing athletic shoes to selected public school children in the hope of inspiring them to become future champions. Since the program began six years, over 100,000 pairs have been distributed nationwide in coordination with the Department of Education.
In 2015, over 200,000 runners registered and joined the weekly regional qualifying races and the Nationals and MILO is looking to surpass that number. This remains a target despite the fact that there will be lesser qualifiers this year, but the lesser number means that the races will be bigger and bolder.
The first regional qualifier fires off on July 17 in Dagupan City followed by Tarlac City on July 24. The much-awaited Metro Manila qualifier will be on July 31 at the SM Mall of Asia.
What follows will be races in the cities of Batangas (August 7), Lucena (August 14) and Naga (August 28). The series then shifts to the southern part of the archipelago beginning with Tagbilaran (September 18) then Cebu (September 25), Dumaguete (October 2), Davao (October 9), General Santos (October 16), Cagayan de Oro (October 23) and finally Butuan (October 30).
Log on to www.milo.com.ph for online registration for all the qualifying races and more information about the 40th MILO Marathon. You may also follow or like MILO’s official social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use the hash tags #BuildChampions and #EnergizingMillions.