MANOLITO ‘Tolitz’ Divina held his own against tough European competition to nab an impressive runner-up finish at the 2016 Miyamit Trail Marathon on Sunday in Porac, Pampanga.
The 36-year old grocery delivery assistant and local favorite was part of the lead group in the 42K that included top contenders like Denmark’s Kristian Jorgensen and Norway’s Jan Nilsen before fading in the end and settled for second place.
Jorgensen took the top spot with a time of five hours and 26 minutes, with Divina finishing 13 minutes behind. Nilsen, who finished first in The North Face 100, completed the podium cast with a time of 5:45.
Divina, a veteran of past races, said he couldn’t find the energy to overtake the 32-year-old Jorgensen, who improved on his third place finish last year.
“It’s a pretty good trail. I did it before and I knew the course. I tried to keep up with Jan and Manolito and the guys. I just tried to follow them and I was feeling good on the downhill and I was lucky,” Jorgensen told SPIN.ph after the race.
Jorgensen and Divina were moving so fast that they reached the turnoff to the peak before the race marshals, who were supposed to tell them where to go, could reach their positions.
“I was leading and was headed to the peak when Manolito called my attention to go back since he also knew the course. We couldn’t see any marshal and the peak was way back so we went all the way up to the summit again. We were too fast and they probably didn’t expect us to be that fast,” said Jorgensen.
Del Villanueva was the top 42K female finisher with a time of 8 hours and 39 minutes. Richel Pagnas came second at the 9:04 mark.
A total of 158 runners took part in the fifth edition of the race that is the precursor to the more challenging Clark-Miyamit 50-mile race scheduled on November.
In the 26K category, first-timer Miguel Gubler led the pack with a 4:05:05 performance. The 31-year old Swiss mechanical engineer said he leaned on a good start and took advantage of cool winds coming from the valley to offset the muddy trail and the warm weather. Second place went to Raker Cornejo, who was a little over 13 minutes behind, and Spencer Timog took third with 4:30:52.
In the distaff side, Iris Torculas overcame physical discomfort to finish first overall at 4:12:35. Coming in at second was Cherry Elaine Sun (4:18:15) and third placer Kishia Fule crossed the finish line at 4:20:05.
Cut-off times were 10 hours and 30 minutes for the 42K and eight hours and 30 minutes for the 26K category.