Old hands Eduardo Buenavista, Luisa Raterta top MILO Marathon Manila leg with plenty to spare 
Eduardo Buenavista and Luisa Raterta cool down after topping the Manila leg of the 40th MILO Marathon on Sunday. Meilin Lozada

VETERANS Eduardo Buenavista and Luisa Raterta warmed up for the bigger battle ahead in the 40th MILO Marathon after both topped the Metro Manila leg of the country’s longest-running footrace which started and ended at the Mall of Asia on a cloudy Sunday.

Buenavista, 37, showed he’s still a force to reckon with in the men’s side after clocking two hours, 45 minutes and 33 seconds to win the 42K event with plenty to spare.

The runner-up, Cresenciano Sabal, came in nine minutes behind to finish second at 2:54:18, followed by Roger Denolo at third with 2:54:50 seconds.

Now, the real war comes for the two-time Olympian, who is eyeing a sixth National MILO Marathon title this December in Iloilo.  

He admitted he’s still recovering from a left foot injury that made him run a bit cautious.

“Basta sipag lang. Sa start pinakiramdaman ko lang, then sa fifth kilometer umalagwa na ako,” said the 4-foot-11 former national team member. Pero alalay lang din kasi baka bumalik ang injury ko na nakuha ko rin sa ensayo,”

“Ngayon sa December, sisikapin ko manalo ulit para maging anim na (ang titles ko),” he added.

Meanwhile, Raterta, whose familiarity  of the MOA-Fort Bonifacio route worked to her advantage, was uncontested in the women’s category, finishing with the fastest clocking of 3:14:57.

“Sa tagal ko nang tumatakbo alam ko na ang ruta,” disclosed the Sta .Rosa Laguna native who's a four-time Manila leg champion.

Jhoan Banayag came in at second with a time of 3:17:44, and Cinderella Lorenzo was third after crossing the line at 3:22:00

Buenavista and Raterta took home cash prizes of P50,000.

“Balak ko bumili ng bahay at lupa ulit. Bale dati nakabili na ako ng house and lot worth P600,000 dahil lang sa takbo,” shared the 34-year-old mother of two.

Rain or Shine star Chris Tiu graced the event which attracted a large field of 32,920 runners.

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