A familiar face ruled this year’s men’s division, while a newcomer conquered the women’s side in the centerpiece MILO Nutri-Up 42-KM event of this year’s soggy 42nd National MILO Marathon-Manila Elimination leg Sunday at the Mall of Asia grounds.
Former 2016 National Finals King Jeson Agravante returned with a bang as he claimed the full marathon title, clocking in at 2:35:10 under pouring rain to bolster his stake of representing the country in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games if he tops the National Finals anew in Laoag later this year.
The Bacolod native fell short in last year’s National Finals in Cebu and has started his return campaign as MILO Marathon King on a high, relegating Erick Panique (2:42:41) to second place, and Bryan Quinco (2:43:59) to third.
Meanwhile, 21K regular Christine Hallasgo embodied discipline, resilience, and determination to top the first-ever full marathon she joined since giving birth in 2016. The runner from Bukidnon led the female category in 3:05:14 and will likewise try to claim her maiden Marathon Queen title on Dec. 9.
She was nearly 10 minutes past the finish line when second placer Jho-An Villarma crossed at 3:14:28, while 2017 Manila leg champ Cinderella Lorenzo was only good this time for third (3:17:46).
“I prepared really hard for this race because it is part of my training as a member of the National Team. This is also part of my preparation for the National Finals,” said Agravante, who braved the damp weather to conquer the race routes that covered the cities of Pasay, Makati, and Taguig, along with nearly 28,000 runners.
He admitted that he was not in his best condition during the country’s most prestigious and biggest running event’s finale in 2017, but assured that he is determined to reverse that in this year’s races.
“I wasn’t able to perform well in the National Final in Cebu that is why I am working my hardest so I can come back strong,” he said.
Unheralded Hallasgo, who usually gets podium finishes in 21K races of the MILO Marathon regional legs such as Butuan and Cagayan de Oro, took a great leap and spent four months of rigorous training to win despite stiff competition and the challenging route brought by the bad weather.
“It has always been my dream to run the 42K. I have been running and winning 21K races multiple times and that’s why I thought it would be good for me to try a new challenge,” the 25-year-old said.
She also added that the cool P50,000 purse she and Agravante will take home is a big help with the expenses for the house her family has been saving up for.
The country’s biggest footrace was also graced by celebrities who are fitness and running enthusiasts, including MILO Nutri-Up ambassador Solenn Heussaff, who won 10th place in the 10K female category; Kim Atienza and CJ Jaravata, who both ran in 21K, and Kevin Balot who ran in 10K.
With the help of the Department of Education, MILO will also donate 1,500 shoes to deserving public school children across the country. In addition to the shoes, MILO will also donate 2,500 basketballs to deserving public schools nationwide.
The next stop of the 42nd National MILO Marathon will be in Tarlac on Aug. 26, followed by Batangas (Sept. 16), Lucena (Sept. 30), Iloilo (Oct. 7), Cebu (Oct. 14), General Santos (Oct. 21), Butuan (Nov. 11), Cagayan De Oro (Nov. 18) and in Laoag for the National Finals.
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