MARATHON newcomer Anthony Nerza and back-to-back Manila champion Christine Hallasgo stamped their athletic mettle at the MILO Nutri-Up 42K centerpiece event after beating almost 2,000 elite runners at the Metro Manila Eliminations of the 2019 National MILO Marathon this Sunday.
Hallasgo outraced its top competitor April Rose Diaz throughout the race to win the women’s division with a time of 3:06:28, while newcomer Nerza nabbed his debut marathon win in the men’s top honor with a clocking of 2:32:50.
Around 30,000 runners from the 3K, 5K, 10K, 21K and 42K races gathered to join the country’s longest and biggest footrace series which started and ended at the SM Mall of Asia Grounds in Pasay City. Participants were in high spirits over the overcast weather, making this year’s Manila race a perfect day for a morning run.
Winners Nerza and Hallasgo will each take home the top purse of P50,000.00 in cash and a trophy, and booked their slots to the National Finals in Tarlac City on January 2020 to try and claim the MILO Marathon King and Queen titles.
Despite training for only two weeks, Hallasgo managed to preserve a swift and steady pace against runner-up Diaz, keeping a cool one-kilometer distance against the latter throughout the race.
“Nangunguna po ako simula palang ng gunstart,” said Hallasgo. “Malayo po ang agwat namin ‘nung sumunod sa akin na si Diaz. Siya at may isa pa po ang naghahabulan pero leading parin po ako
hanggang sa huli,” she said.
Under the mentorship of National MILO Marathon record holder Eduardo “Vertek” Buenavista, Hallasgo kept a stringent regimen regardless of the very short lead time she had to prepare for. With her sheer will and determination, she was able to breeze through the thoroughfares without a hitch.
She said of her win: “Masaya at nabigyan po ako ng magandang kondisyon na katawan. Kahit
kulang ang ensayo ko, nakuha ko pa ang goal ko na manalo.”
In the coming months, the 26-year-old mother of one will set her sights for the SEA Games after qualifying for the 10K event in the National Games that took place in March. But with her newfound victory, she may also consider to vie for the marathon event if given the chance.
“Pag-uusapan pa po namin ni Coach Buenavista kung ano po ang okay sa akin,” she said.
Completing the women’s division podium finishes, second runner up April Rose Diaz clocked in with the time of 3:15:05, placing Maricar Camacho to a far third with the time of 3:26:03.
On the men’s side, it’s a different story for 29-year-old Nerza when the race broke out at the gun start. The Davao native had a different approach in relegating his opponents, most especially Jeson Agravante who came in third place.
“Noong start, sinundan ko lang ang sarili kong pace. Malakas kasi magsimula ang mga kalaban ko at ayokong malunod pag sinabayan ko sila. Kaya naiwanan ako ni Agravante na mga 500 meters din ang agwat.”
Beating the odds, Nerza’s grit and resilience prevailed, which enabled him to break away past Agravante while enduring an excruciating foot pain in the last nine kilometers.
“Tinuloy ko talagang tumakbo kahit pagod na. Hanggang sa finish line tiniis ko ang sakit ng paa ko,” he shared.
Succeeding Nerza in the second place is Richel Laguido who finished with the time of 2:36:43, followed by Jeson Agravante with the time of 2:38:48.
Joining the Manila leg festivities was MILO Nutri-Up Ambassador Solenn Heussaff who handed out
trophies to the winners at the awarding ceremonies.
Intensifying its advocacy in getting more children into sports, MILO along with Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA), have introduced a new innovation at the event with the Run,
Jump, Throw program. The activity is designed to help prepare the physical readiness of children for them to engage in other sports.
The action continues in Subic Bay Freeport Zone (August 4), Lingayen (August 18), Lucena
(September 15), Batangas (September 22), Cebu (September 29), Iloilo (October 6), General
Santos (October 13), Davao (October 20), Cagayan De Oro (November 17), and in Tarlac for the
National Finals on January 19, 2020.
The 2019 National MILO Marathon is endorsed by the Department of Education, Philippine Sports
Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, and sanctioned by the PATAFA. The 2019 National
MILO Marathon is organized by RunRio Events Inc., and supported by its official partners: Salonpas,
Philam Life, Garmin, Clyde, Gardenia, Conrad Hotel, the Official Hotel Partner and bXTRA, the Official Cashback Partner.