SONNY Wagdos entered the race in Davao as underdog but in the end patience and a bit of familiarity with the course made the difference and he would up as back-to-back winner.
Sidelined for three months with a foot injury that dashed his dream of representing the country in the Southeast Asian Games this year, Wagdos returned to action and dished out a fine performance, topping Sunday’s half-marathon Davao elimination race for the National Milo Marathon.
With national titlist Rafael Poliquit in the field, Wagdos didn’t feel too confident and ran his own pace while the former got off to a string start. Poliquit couldn’t sustain the pace, however, and pulled out of the race, and Wagdos retained the title.
Wagdos finished the 21-kilometer race in one hour, 15 minutes and 25 seconds.
Just days before the race, Poliquit vowed to break the 1:10 barrier buy failed on an unfamiliar course.
Wagdos took over from the fatigued Poliquit on the uphill section just after the halfway turnaround mark along with Michael Echalico, then found himself all by his lonesome five kilometers to the finish after the latter also started to fade away.
Wagdos finished alone on the downhill stretch along Buhangin Road and the relatively flat straightaway heading home to SM Lanang Premier.
“I was shocked to find Poliquit drop out of the race, so me and Michael took over the pace but he too was gone when we reached Milan. When I saw that I was all alone, I gave it my all,” said Wagdos.
Poliquit, who was using Sunday’s race as a tune-up run for the finals, jumped off the start line like a man possessed, taking a huge lead over Wagdos and Echalico.
“He was so fast and we could not keep up with him. We decided to take our own pace. I never thought I could beat him,” Wagdos said.
Echalico finished second in 1:15:56 while Manny Marfil took third place in 1:19:34.
In the distaff side, Tagum City’s Judelyn Miranda also repeated as champion, crossing the finish line in 1:32:57 despite lack of preparations on the challenging new course.
“I did not practice enough because we we’re busy with the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Tagum. I cannot leave my post so I had to make do with two times a week of practice,” Miranda said.
Her cousin Madelyn Carter finished second in 1:48:19, while Yuka Mashiyama finished third in 1:52:07.
Poliquit was not available for interview after the race that drew some 8,500 runners.
Arlan Arbois won the 10K men’s race in 34 minutes and 38 seconds, beating Agustin Ychon (34:32) and Michael Barrosa (36:30), Diana Memoracion won the women’s 10-K crown in 43:35 with Mae Barit (47:07) in second and Joylyn Quirante (49:06) in third.
Erwin Gubal won the 5K men’s race in 16 minutes and 19 seconds besting Glen Payac (17:07) and Jomar Angga (17:22). Arlieny Onso won the women’s 5K title in 21:05 besting Rosenelyn Depillo (21:25) and Jolly Mae Gabaisen (22:10).
Edgardo Memoracion emerged winner in the 3K men’s in 11:23 with Erwin Iting (11:25) and Alexis Dagaang (11:27) in second and third, respectively. The women’s title went to Mary Depone, who clocked 12:26 ahead of Arlene Onso (12:56) and Rebecca De Gracia (13:38).