CEBU City – John Philip Duenas and Mary Joy Tabal ruled the men and women division runs in similar fashion at the ninth leg of the 37th Milo Marathon that started and ended at the Cebu City Sports Center.
Duenas clocked 1:15.24 and Tabal did it in 1:24.50, both feats worth P10,000 apiece and earned the two a trip ticket to the grand finals in December where they will face other regional qualifiers.
The winners there stand to bring home P300,000 each along with the chance to compete in the prestigious Paris Marathon next year, if they meet the qualifying mark.
Holders of Master Degree in Public Administration at Southwestern University, Duenas and Tabal dominated the race that started before dawn as their rivals couldn’t muster enough strength to provide worthy challenge during the 21-kilometer race under ideal conditions.
Duenas’ winning time, however, was below the 1:11.56 set last year by Junel Languido. Languido who did not compete this year, paving the way for Duenas’ victory in six final appearances.
“I will train hard because the competition in the finals is much tougher because all the regional champions are there. Three months training should be good enough,” said Duenas.
For the record, only two runners from Cebu, Exequiel Baisac and Roy Vence, have won the marathon. Baisac won the race in 1987 and Vence did it five times in 1992, 93, 94, 96 and 98. Vence’s fi ve titles remain unmatched in Milo history.
Bonifacio Monjas, third last year to Junel Languido, came in second at 1:16.32 while Argie Tillor checked in third at 1:19.57, ahead of fourth placer Paul James Zapioco, who landed 1:22.10, followed by Ian Refuela (1:23.18); Jboy Magbologtong (1:25.28); Joey Qacan (1:25.59); and Desederio Engbino (1:26.24).
Determination and rigid training paved the way for Tabal’s second straight win. The 24-year-old ran more than 100 kilometers a week to keep her in top form in time for the race.
“Puspusan ang ginawa kong ensayo dahil gusto kong makatakbo sa finals,” said Tabal, who won the race last year in 1:26.58.
Christy Sevillano placed second at 1:4.55 worth P6,000 while Sandra Soliano took third at 1:43.21, edging Virginia Parajenog, who clocked at 1:45.29; followed by Rhodora Oporto (1:46.23); Odiza Abellana (1:52.21); Wilma Theresa Lugay (1:55.16); and Julieta Hermosilla (1:55.30).
A total of 1.294 of the total 24,067 competed in the 21k distance, the ninth stop of 16 regional elimination series and the last of three legs in Visayas before competition shifts to Mindanao in Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Butuan.
After Mindanao, action shifts to Luzon where runners will take part in four races in Baguio, Dagupan, Tarlac and Angeles before the fi nals. (Clyde Mariano)