FLORDELIZA Donos and Arnold Unabia topped the General Santos City leg of the 37th MILO Marathon under contrasting fashion Sunday.
Donos, winner of the 42K National Finals in 2010, used the fair weather to her advantage in topping the distaff side with a winning time of 1:26:51, while Unabia regained his second wind in the final 50-meter mark to win the men’s division by a mere second.
The contrasting wins gave Donos and Unabia berths to the National Finals set Dec. 8 at the Mall of Asia Grounds where they compete against 23 other qualifiers.
This is the fifth time Donos will be in the National Finals, while Unabia is appearing for the eighth time.
The 26-year-old Donos, a member of the Philippine Air Force, finished way ahead of runner-up Monaliza Ambasa, who clocked 1:31:39, followed by Cellie Rose Jaro with a time of 1:32:02.
“I always make it a point to run a MILO race every year to show my appreciation for the support and recognition MILO gives to local athletes,” said Donos, also the winner of the MILO Marathon 21k race in Davao last year, and the 10k Merrell Adventure Run 2013.
“I also value how winners serve as role models to aspiring runners and to children who are beginning to love the sport.”
Meanwhile, Unabia clocked 1:14:48 to edge out Gilbert Maluyo (1:14:49) in a close finish. Third placer was Welmark Garcel (1:18:11).
The 35-year old trainer from Tangub City took the lead in the final 150 meters of the race, but had difficulty maintaining a distance from the other seasoned runners.
“My passion for running has become my profession as well. I make a living by teaching children how to appreciate sports at the Tangub City Hall,” he said.
“I motivate my students to join the MILO Marathon so they can observe different types of runners and understand the discipline better. I am very thankful to MILO for its support and for helping young athletes aspire for greatness.”
Donos and Unabia were part of the total 7,060 runners who participated in the event.
The qualifying race resumes in Baguio on November 3, before proceeding to Dagupan (November 10), Tarlac (November 17), and Angeles (November 24) before the National Finals.
Aside from the title and cash prizes, the winners of the 42K National Finals will clinch berths to the 2014 Paris Marathon.