THE National Milo Marathon this year offers a chance for local runners to see action in the Tokyo Marathon after sending the top two long-distance runners to Paris the last time.
The 38th running of the nationwide event fires off on June 29 in Baguio, the Manila eliminations is set July 27 and the National Finals will be held December 7 at the MOA grounds.
Aside from giving out cash prizes, organizers are bringing the winners to Japan and hope to help them come up with fine performances in Tokyo with the lessons learned in Paris.
“Base sa na-experience namin sa Paris, iba ang training pag malamig, at ’yung mga learnings na natutunan naming doon ia-apply naming next year,” said running coach Rio de la Druz.
“No. 1 dyan ’yung acclimatization, number two, sa Japan may rice na ’yun ang number one na hinanap ng runners sa Paris,” he added.
Eduardo Buenavista and Mary Joy Tabal won last year’s national finals and were sent to see action in the Paris Marathon although they failed to come close to their winning marks in Pasay City.
Buenavista clocked two hours, 33 minutes and 20 seconds in the 42.195-kilometer race in Paris after topping the Pasay City event in 2:27:14. Tabal submitted a time of 2:57:28 in the French race after clocking 2:48:00 at home.
Buenavista and Tabal will again try to win the top prize and the trip to Japan, but other top local runners will be out to steal the show.
“We chose Tokyo because it is one of the six Grand Prix races in the world," said Milo Sports Executive Andrew Neri on Thursday at the Bayview Park Hotel Manila.
The male and female winners of the marathon in the National Finals will each receive P300,000 plus trophies. The second placers will take home P250,000, and the third placers will get P200,000.
The other provincial qualifying legs are set in Dagupan (July 6), Tarlac (July13), Angeles (July 20), Naga (August 24), Lucena (August 31), Puerto Princesa (September 7), Lipa (September 14), Iloilo (September 21), Bacolod (September 28), Tagbilaran (October 5), Cebu (October 5), Butuan (October 19), Cagayan de Oro (November 9), General Santos (November 16) and Davao (November 23).
De la Cruz said they are now requiring runners to submit a medical certificate to assure the organizers that they are fit to race.
“Safety and security ang isa sa main concerns namin, ’yung medical certificate dapat one month before ng race just for us to be sure that the participants are fit,” he said.