MANILA, Philippines – The country’s running heavyweights bannered by Christine Hallasgo and Mary Joy Tabal go at it again in the National Milo Marathon Finals in Tarlac on Sunday, January 19.
Hallasgo, who stunned the favored Tabal for the Southeast Asian Games women’s marathon gold last December, looks to rule the epic 42K rematch in the country’s biggest and longest-running footrace.
But Tabal vies to defend her national crown for the seventh straight time after settling for a silver in the regional biennial meet.
As the two headline another thrilling showdown, running elites from the men’s division led by Philippine team member and 2019 Manila leg champion Anthony Nerza, former Milo marathon king Jeson Agravante, and national team member and 2018 national finals runner-up Jerald Zabala also battle for the title.
Nerza and Zabala, fresh from their SEA Games stint, are favored to succeed the late running great Rafael Poliquit.
Over 17,000 runners from all over the country are expected to participate in the 3K, 5K, 10K, 21K, and 42K race divisions, a culmination of the event’s 10-leg cycle.
The winners will each receive a cash prize of P150,000 and a chance to compete in an international race in 2020 in partnership with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA).
An extra P100,000 will be awarded to racers who break the two-hour barrier and another P50,000 bonus will be given to the first runner who breaks the men’s course record of Eduardo Buenavista (2:18:53) and the women’s course record set by Tabal (2:48:00).
The event – with a theme “One Team. One Nation. Go Philippines!” in celebration of the country’s successful SEA Games romp – coincides with Tarlac City’s celebration of the Kaisa Festival, a week-long commemoration of the city’s history, culture and diversity.
The 42K gun start is set at 3 am, followed by the 21K race (4:30 am), 10K (5 am), 3K (5:30 am)and 5K (5:35 am). The race kicks off at Poblacion Barangay Hall along F. Tanedo St. and wraps up at Tarlac City Hall along Rizal St. for the 42K and Espinosa St. for the 3K to 21K race categories. – Rappler.com
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