MANILA -- All is set for the staging of the 42nd MILO Marathon national finals on December 9 in Ilocos Norte's capital city of Laoag.
An estimated 12,000 runners, including 800 in the 42K elite category, are joining the country's biggest and longest running race that will start at the Laoag Centennial Arena and end at the President Ferdinand Marcos Memorial Stadium.
The 42K run will begin at 3 a.m. while the start of the race in other categories are 4:30 a.m. (21K), 5 a.m. (10K), 5:35 a.m. (5K) and 5:30 a.m. (3K).
Defending champions Joerge Andrade (men) and Mary Joy Tabal (women) are determined to keep their respective titles in the competition, which Laoag City will be hosting for the first time in commemoration of Ilocos Norte's bi-centennial anniversary celebration.
Andrade will be up against seasoned runners Eduardo “Vertek” Buenavista, Eric Panique, and Jeson Agravante while the five-time champion Tabal is expected to face a strong challenge from Christabel Martes, Luisa Raterta, and Christine Hallasgo.
Kenya's James Talla and Margaret Njuguna and Ethiopia's Bernard Bosuben are also entered in the open category.
The champions in the 42K category will each receive PHP150,000 in cash, TAG Heuer watch and Strideline performance socks from Sock Society. They will get an additional PHP150,000 if they win the open category. Another PHP100,000 will be awarded to the runner who will break the invisible barrier set for the race. The first runner who will break the course record of Eduardo Buenavista (2:18:53) in the men's division and Mary Joy Tabal (2:48:00) will also get PHP50,000.
The 42K winners will also get prizes and a chance to compete abroad, courtesy of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field (PATAFA).
MILO is a staunch supporter of sports in the country. This year, with the help of the Department of Education, MILO will donate 1,500 pairs of shoes to public schoolchildren and 2,500 basketballs to public schools nationwide. Cabeza Elementary School and Shamrock Elementary School will be the recipients of the new running shoes and basketballs in Laoag City. (PNA)