MILO Marathon Queen restores title at MILO Marathon General Santos race
About 7,060 students, athletes and running enthusiasts joined the country’s most prestigious foot race at the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.
This is Donos’ fifth and Unabia’s eighth time to earn a coveted spot in the MILO Marathon National Finals, where they will compete with 23 other qualifiers from today’s race for the championship title and for a trip to the 2014 Paris Marathon courtesy of MILO at the end of the year.
Donos, who is an Air Woman at the Philippine Air Force, used the fair weather to her advantage and clocked in at an impressive 1:26:51, way ahead of Monaliza Ambasa (1:31:39) and Cellie Rose Jaro (1:32:02). The 26-year old runner has had her fair share of marathon victories in the past, having won the MILO Marathon 42K National Finals in 2010, the MILO Marathon 21K Davao race last year, and the 10K Merrell Adventure Run 2013.
Despite today’s stunning victory, Donos said she is currently training for the Philippine Air Force Battalion Race, where she is team mates with two-time MILO Marathon Queen Mary Grace de los Santos, and might not compete in the National Finals unless given permission by her superiors.
Donos also expressed that beyond training Filipino runners need support from groups and from the government to improve their chance against foreign competitors.
“I always make it a point to run a MILO race every year to show my appreciation for the support and recognition MILO gives to local athletes. I also value how winners serve as role models to aspiring runners and to children who are beginning to love the sport.” ~Flordeliza Donos~In the men’s division race, Unabia got a second wind at the 50-meter mark and crossed the finish line at 1:14:48, a mere second before Maluyo (1:14:49) but way ahead of third placer Welmark Garcel (1:18:11). The 35-year old trainer from Tangub City took the lead at the last 150 meters of the race, but had difficulty maintaining a distance from the other seasoned runner.
Unabia is no stranger to close calls in the MILO Marathon, having had an intense rivalry with Jeffrey Sotto in previous Cagayan de Oro races, where the younger runner broke his four-peat record. He said today’s victory reaffirms his goal to show other runners from big cities that small-town athletes like him can shine in the national arena. He added that he looks forward to competing with international talents and enlisting his students in the finale race.
“My passion for running has become my profession as well. I make a living by teaching children how to appreciate sports at the Tangub City Hall. I motivate my students to join the MILO Marathon, so they can observe different types of runners and understand the discipline better. I am very thankful to MILO for their support and for helping young athletes aspire for greatness” ~Arnold Unabia~With the support of the Department of Education and the National MILO Marathon runners, MILO has given a total of 31,200 shoes to public school students nationwide through MILO’s Help Give Shoes advocacy. Through this ongoing commitment to develop sports in the country, MILO delivered 500 pairs of running shoes to beneficiary schools today in General Santos City, namely General Santos City National High School, Koronadal National Comprehensive High School, Baluan National High School, Buayan National High School and Ireneo I. Santiago National High School.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of local athletes whose goal is to compete against a diversity of runners from across the globe. Our runners continue to show that the Filipino spirit can triumph over a powerful set of foreign talents. While we support all competitors in the MILO Marathon, we recognize our very own runners as they vie for an all-Filipino finish. We will continue to work closely with local government units and other institutions to scale support and raise national athletic excellence.”~Andrew Neri, MILO Sports Executive~
The qualifying race will resume in Baguio on November 3, before advancing to Dagupan (November 10), Tarlac (November 17) and Angeles (November 24). The 37th MILO Marathon National Finals will then be on December 8 at the SM Mall of Asia grounds.
Click this link to view the complete race result.