Wednesday, September 16, 2009


For 13 Sundays in 26 key cities all over the Philippines scenes of thousands of runners in green singlets flooding the major thoroughfares highlight the 26 elimination races of the 33rd National MILO Marathon this year. The qualifying runs, held in two cities every Sunday, aim to search for worthy challengers to last year's King and Queen of Philippine Marathon Eduardo Buenavista and Mercedita Fetalvero (inset).

A total of 235 men and women runners advanced to the finals of the 33rd National MILO Marathon Finals slated on October 11 in Manila.

Of the total qualifiers who survived the eight-months, 26-leg nationwide elimination races, 169 are from Metro Manila, 160 of them men.

The runners will converge in Manila all expenses paid to challenge reigning men champion Eduardo Buenavista and current women queen Mercedita Manipol Fetalvero in the strength-sapping 42k contest. The men and women champion each brings home P75,000 plus elegant glass trophies.

Rene Desuyo and Christabel Martes, the 2005 Manila SEA Games marathon winner, topped the Metro Manila leg men and women division, respectively.

Prominent qualifiers include two-time marathon champion Allan Ballester, Alley Quisay, Rogelio Sarmiento, Ronald Despi and Reynaldo de los Reyes, Jho-Ann Banayag, Aileen Tolentino, Geraldine Sealza, Librada Tamson, Meshelle Villanueva, Maricel de la Peña and Rosario Alberto.

Ballester, the 2000-2001 champion, Desuyo, Quisay, Bernardo Desamito Jr., and the Sabal brothers, Cresenciano, Gerald and Elmer loom as the biggest threat to Buenavista’s title retention bid.

The SEA Games-bound Buenavista, the 2002 and 2008 champion, is seeking to duplicate the three-peat feats of Jimmy de la Torre and Wilfredo Ballester.

Buenavista holds the best record 2:18.33 he registered during the 2007 Metro Manila elimination.

De la Torrre, from Pototan, Iloilo, won the race in 1981, 82 and 84 while Ballester, from Sorsogon, did the trick in 1985, 90 and 91.

On record, Roy Vence holds the still unmatched six titles in 1993, 94, 96, 98, 99 and 2004. Vence qualified to the finals by placing third in the Batangas leg topped by Alquin Bolivar.

Martes and Banayag, both former marathon champions, are picked to provide strong challenge to Fetalvero, who is making the race her final preparation for the Laos SEA meet in December.

Of the 26 legs provincial sorties supervised by race director Rudy Biscocho, only the cities of Santiago (Isabela) and Tagbilaran (Bohol) did not produce qualifiers in both men and women divisions.

Cebu and Metro Manila had registered the biggest number of entries with more than 20,000 runners.

Few runners qualified to the finals because of the imposition of time barrier by the organizers of the country’s longest running footrace aimed to raise the level of competition and acceptable to the running enthusiasts.

The organizers imposed the time barrier 1:15 for men and 1:30 for women ostensibly to make the race more challenging and exciting.

“We introduced the time barrier for the first time precisely to improve the quality of competition,” justified Nestle AVP and Milo Events Sports Executive Pat Goc-ong.

There were no women qualifiers in Palawan, Iligan, Butuan, Laoag Tacloban, San Fernando, Baguio, Legazpi, Iloilo, and Bacolod while no male runners qualified in Cagayan de Oro, Roxas, and Naga.

Meanwhile, national MILO Marathon organizer Rudy Biscocho announced that registration for the other side events – 21K, 10K, 5K, and 3K kiddie run in the upcoming MILO national finals is now on going until October 5 at 51 Annapolis St. in Greenhills in San Juan, Planet Sports at the Rockwell Plaza, Mizuno outlets at Bonifacio High St. and Trinoma.

Registration fees is P150 for 21K, P100 for 10K and 5K, P50 for 3K. Registration fee for participating schools is P50 for 5K and P40 for 3K.


  1. "There were no women qualifiers in Palawan, Iligan, Butuan, Laoag, Tacloban, San Fernando, Baguio, Legazpi, Iloilo, and Bacolod while no male runners qualified in Cagayan de Oro, Roxas, and Naga". This is a good input for analysis and assessment on the present situation of athletics/long distance running in the said cities/provinces. How I wish MILO/Nestle would be able to "push through" with their objective to help in our quest to our first gold medal in the olympics after the MILO FINALS. how i wish this post will be published in the daily newspapers.

  2. Dear BR - You have a very valid view/concern on the matter. I will have a meeting with mr. Andrew Neri tomorrow and mention your comments. As to newspapaer publication, I think its on going, I have seen this at the Philippine Star and Manila Bulletin.

  3. I share the same view of BR Sir Amado. This is a good recap of the Milo leg of races in different provinces.

  4. Dear Roselle - I do also share the same views. The statistics are known to Milo hopefully they will be able to extend help to improve areas that did not fare well although in reality the responsibility for development should be from the Government.

  5. "Prominent qualifiers include ... Meshelle Villanueva ..."

    way cool for mesh eh. Sir, magtatayo na ako ng fan's club ni mesh. hehe - bards

  6. Dear Bards - I'll be your first enlisted member for that fans club of Mesh. I know BR and coach Salazar are avid fan as well.

    Tell Mesh to drop by the Aid Station at Buendia and Chino Roces free muscle relaxant spray, banana, apple or orange. It is open for 21k and 42k runners. Its a joint volunteer effort of and Reinier Pacific.

  7. oh nice! i will tell her. great to hear that you and are partnering again. - bards

  8. fan club? cool.
    ok yan. never been introduce as such fan club before. this is a good development for the growing popularity of running as a sport and lifestyle. anyway milo marathon is an institution when it comes to running events. it is the best avenue to develope world class athletes if they train in the right way and properly with long term and financial backings.
    coach salazar