Iligan City hosted the second Milo Marathon regional elimination race in Mindanao last Sunday.
It was a race not devoid of drama and human interest, as most Milo regional races are.
News reports say eventual winner Roger Sawin-ay of Lantapan, Bukidnon raced his heart out to pocket the P10,000 cash prize and relieved himself of the prospect of "returning to his home province on foot." Sawin-ay left Lantapan with P700 in his wallet. He used P500 to pay for his lodging.
While Sawin-ay's winning time of 1:15:10 earned him a big payday, it wasn't fast enough for a slot in the Milo Marathon National Finals. Jeffrey Sotto, who was edged by Sawin-ay at the finish, clocked 1:15:21, while third placer Edgar Lapastigue posted a time of 1:19:59.
Sawin-ay's winning time was in fact slower by 04 seconds than Raul Lamprea's winning time of 1:15:06. in the Dipolog City elimination race the other Sunday.
There's still a blank list of Mindanaon male runners who are going the finals by way of a Mindanao elimination race. Male runners need to finish in 1:15:00 to qualify for the Manila finals.
The top women finishers in Iligan City didn't do any better either.
Cecile Faith Topia topped the distaff side in 1:40:56. Melyn May Canamo came in second in 1:51:14. The women's qualifying criteria for the national finals is 1:35:00.
Another male Mindanaon runner made it to the finals, though, by way of the Batangas City elimination race held simultaneously with the one in Iligan. Gerald Sabal, brother of two-time Milo Marathon king Cresenciano Sabal who is from Sultan Kudarat, crossed the finish line in 1:12:25, two seconds behind Alquin Bolivar to claim second place.
Maricel Maquilan of Polomolok, South Cotabato also assured herself of a finals berth after topping the women's race in Batangas City in 1:29:37. Ellen Tolentino of Cagayan de Oro City came in a distant second at 1:37:43. Ellen won't be doing the finals this year.
Back on home soil, General Santos City is all set for its own elimination race this Sunday, February 22. Will a Mindanaon runner finally meet that men's 1:15:00 or women's 1:35:00 qualifying mark and get to run the Milo Marathon National Finals by way of a local qualifying race?
Men champion Roger Sawin-ay and women winner Cecile Faith Topia display their trophies after winning the Iligan leg of the 33rd National Milo Marathon. Also in photo are, from left, John Montalvan, Milo sports coordinator for North Mindanao, Nestle AVP and Milo events sports executive Pat Goc-ong, Vice Mayor Henry Dy, Iligan City Mayor Lawrence Cruz, Miss Iligan Ingred Baulete and national race director Rudy Biscocho.Photo from PhilStar.com