TOP Filipino long-distance runners battle for national honors, huge cash prizes and a chance to see action in the Paris Marathon in the 37th season of the National Milo Marathon.
The winners of the men’s and women’s 42.195-kilometer events in the Milo national finals at the MOA grounds will be flown to France all-expense paid in April next year to participate in one of the most prestigious marathons in the world.
Aside from setting the Milo Marathon apart from other local races, organizers said the Paris incentive gives runners added motivation to improve because not only will they be trying to become the nation’s best but also strive to improve and dish out a decent showing in a prestigious international event.
“This will add prestige and credibility to the Milo Marathon race,” said Milo Sports Executive Andrew Neri during the event’s formal launch on Thursday at the Bayview Park Hotel Manila.
“We want to give the winners a chance to compete abroad so we can know how we fare abroad.”
“Second, we want to push the elite runners to really train hard and be the best that they can be and somehow achieve their dreams,” he added.
The longest-running national marathon event had previously sent top runners to the Boston Marathon.
The male and female winners of the National Finals in the 42-kilometer race each receiving P300,000 plus trophies. First runners up will get P250,000, while the third placers will win P200,000.
The National Milo Marathon fires off June 30 in Puerto Princesa, the first of 18 legs across the country. The annual marathon event is open to amateur and professional runners.
The provincial qualifying legs are 21K, with Lipa City hosting the second leg on July 7 followed by Naga (July 14) and San Pablo (July 21), before the 42K eliminations in Manila on July 28.
Iloilo hosts the eliminations on August 4 followed by qualifying events in Dumaguete (August 11), Tagbilaran (September 15), Cebu (September 22), Cagayan de Oro (September 29), Butuan (October 6), Davao (October 13), General Santos (October 20), Baguio (November 3), Dagupan (November 10), Tarlac (November 17) and Angeles (November 24).
The Finals will be on December 8 at the Mall of Asia grounds.
“We aim to be their (runners) partner in sports development and to let them be champions in life,” said Sherilla Bayona, SVP for Beverage Business Unit of Nestle Philippines.
Also on tap are 3K kiddie runs and 5K and 10K fun runs.
Head Race Organizer Rio dela Cruz said they are beefing up security in light of the Boston Marathon bombing.