Veteran campaigners Rafael Poliquit and Miscelle Gilbuena edge their strong contenders to claim a trip to the 37th National MILO Marathon National Finals in December
Of the 12,089 students and running enthusiasts who joined the race, 55 runners successfully beat the clock and booked a ticket to the finale in December. They are set to compete with 500 other elite runners from across the country for the championship title and for an all-expenses paid trip to the 2014 Paris Marathon courtesy of MILO. As a testament to the increasing number of skilled athletes in provincial areas, the Tarlac race has tied Manila for the most number of qualifiers in a single regional leg this season.
12,089 runners braved the 37th National MILO Marathon qualifying leg in Tarlac.
24-year old Poliquit found himself running alongside seasoned runners Sermona and Elmer Sabal, and sparked a rivalry with the veterans throughout the race. Poliquit managed to take the lead at the last 10 meters of the race, and settled the score at the finish line at 1:12:38, relegating Sermona to second place with 1:12:47 and Sabal to third at 1:13:53.
“It was a very close race. Sermona was my strongest contender, and I was only able to pull away at the last minute. With a slot in the finale secured, my next goal is to beat Kenyan runners in the Open Category of the National Finals.” ~Rafael Poliquit~In the distaff division, 25-year old Gilbuena took the lead at the sound of the starting gun, but struggled throughout the first few meters of the race. After finding her pace at the 2-kilometer mark, she ran alongside strong male contenders and crossed the finish line at 1:28:06. Last year’s second placer Berna Pulmano finished behind her a distant second at 1:36:13, followed by Melinda de los Reyes at 1:42:16.
Gilbuena started running in the MILO Marathon in 2008 and has since consistently qualified for the National Finals year after year. This victory, the sprinter said, is dedicated to her family in Cebu, who are victims of the unfortunate events that affected thousands of our countrymen.
“It has only been a few weeks since the earthquake and the typhoon hit our hometown in Cebu. My family is still trying to pick up the pieces. Knowing that I could use my winnings to help them gave me a second wind and propelled me towards the finish line.” ~Miscelle Gilbuena~Miscelle said that a part of her Php 10,000 prize money will be given to her relatives.
“Our athletes have consistently represented the Filipino resilience and determination to rise against adversity. We are proud that we have produced a group of dedicated and public-spirited individuals who run for the country and its people. MILO is one with the athletic community in dedicating every competitive stride to our countrymen after the recent events in the Visayan region. We hope that our runners’ passion inspire bravery and the will to move through the greatest challenges.” ~Andrew Neri, MILO Sports Executive~As part of its ongoing commitment to develop sports in the country, MILO has given a total of 32,500 shoes to public school students nationwide through MILO’s Help Give Shoes advocacy. With the invaluable support of the Department of Education and the National MILO Marathon runners, MILO delivered 500 pairs of running shoes to beneficiary schools today in Tarlac City, namely Capas High School, San Miguel Central School, Sto. Cristo Elmentary School, Tarlac West Central School, and Mataalaib Bato Elementary School.
MILO's Help Give Shoes Advocacy today reached the 32,700 mark and is set to lead more little champions to their dreams.
The last regional qualifying race of the season will be held in Angeles City on November 24, before advancing to the SM Mall of Asia grounds for the 37th MILO Marathon National Finals on December 8.
The National MILO Marathon not only inspires athletic aspirations but also unity among Filipino families across the country.
Click this link to view the complete race result.