A total of 5,973 runners joined the Lipa qualifiers of the premier nationwide marathon race, the 37th National MILO Marathon.
Elite runners Gerald Sabal and Janette Agura set a swift pace for the 21-K division run at the 37th National MILO Marathon Sunday in Lipa City.
Sabal and Agura each received a cash prize of P10,000, a trophy, and a coveted spot in the National Finals on December 8 for their respective victories.
Of the 5,973 runners who competed in the race, 24 other runners had also qualified for the National Finals. The stakes have been raised for this season’s MILO Marathon King and Queen, as they will be competing alongside elite runners from across the world at the esteemed Paris Marathon in 2014.
27-year old Sabal, who placed sixth in the 36th MILO Marathon National Finals, once again proved he is a force in the sport when he crossed the finish line at 1:21:06, outpacing counterparts Nelson Eligiran (1:21:11) and Ronilo Moreno (1:26:04). The Philippine Army runner was also part of the team that won the 2nd International Boulder Face Challenge, a 24-hour endurance race to the peak of Mt. Apo, early last year.
Running excellence certainly runs in the Sabal bloodline as Gerald is a brother to award-winning marathon runners Elmer and Cresenciano Sabal.
“I have been running with my brothers for as far as I can remember. They encourage me to push my limits and become the best that I can be. They are my greatest teachers and my strongest rivals,” ~Gerald Sabal~Gerald and Elmer placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in last year’s 42K National MILO Marathon Manila eliminations race, while elder brother Cresenciano is a three-time MILO Marathon King.
In the distaff side, 35-year old Agura clocked in at an impressive 1:31:36, earning her an all-expenses paid trip to Manila for the season finale, way ahead of rivals Cindy Lorenzo (1:35:11) and Jocelyn Eligiran (1:44:53).
“I work hard to represent and bring honor to my hometown,” said Agura, a native of the City of All Seasons. “I will continue to train hard to prepare myself for the National Finals as this will give me a chance to compete against the country’s best. Determination and training are requisite for success.” ~Janette Agura~Agura is also the female champion of last year’s Mayon 360 80KM Ultramarathon.
To add to their already stellar credentials, both Sabal and Agura are trainers of the MILO R2 – APEX (Athletic Performance Enhancement) Running School, the biggest running camp in the country. Under the leadership of world-class fitness coach Jim Saret and top local sports trainers, Sabal and Agura help shape a stronger and healthier Filipino community through a common passion for running. Four students of the leading program also ran alongside the winning marathoners in today’s 21-K distance and placed in the Top 10 of the women’s category.
“For 37 seasons, MILO has carried its vision of pioneering Filipino wellness through the sport of running. To further strengthen this commitment, MILO has recently partnered with the largest running program in the country, the APEX Running School. We are proud to say that today's frontrunners Gerald and Janette share the same aspiration of creating a healthier sports community through athletics as they inspire the students of the MILO APEX Running School,” ~ Andrew Neri - MILO Sports Executive ~
As an ongoing commitment to develop sports in the country, MILO’s Help Give Shoes advocacy delivered a total of 500 pairs to beneficiary schools today in Lipa.
The beneficiary schools are Sto. Toribio Elementary School, San Guillermo Elementary School, Balacnin National High School, Senator Ma. Kalaw Katigbak Elementary School, and Dagatan Elementary School. With the invaluable support of the Department of Education and the National MILO Marathon runners, MILO has given a total of 25,200 shoes to date.
The qualifying race will resume in Naga City on July 14, before taking its act to San Pablo (July 21), Manila (July 28), Iloilo (August 4), Dumaguete (August 11), Tagbilaran (September 15), Cebu (September 22), Cagayan de Oro (September 29), Butuan (October 6), Davao (October 13), General Santos (October 20), Baguio (November 3), Dagupan (November 10), Tarlac (November 17) and Angeles (November 24).