Pescos, Sorongon topple rivals in 40th National MILO Marathon Cebu race

Over 17,000 runners took a roaring pace at the gun start of the 40th National MILO Marathon in Cebu City.

Cebu, Philippines, 25 September 2016 – National MILO Marathon regulars Rafael Pescos and RuffaSorongon achieved an impressive feat as the 21K winners of the Cebu qualifying leg on Sunday. Over 17,000 hopefuls ruled the streets of the Queen City of the South, and were greeted by reigning National MILO Marathon Queen and 2016 Olympian Mary Joy Tabal as she led the 3K gun start of the race. Pescos and Sorongon took home the top purse of P10,000 in cash and a trophy, and booked their slots to the National Finals in Iloilo City on December 4 to try and claim the MILO Marathon King and Queen titles.

In the men’s division, Pescos finished with a time of 01:14:00 to clinch first place, putting his opponents Michael Largo (01:17:01) and Noel Tillor (01:17:20), in second and third places, respectively. In the distaff side, Sorongon clocked in at 01:26:24, followed by CresabelCadion (01:32:10) in second place and Sandra Soliano (01:46:26) in third.

The top male winners of the 40th National MILO Marathon Cebu leg: Rafael Pescos (center), Michael Largo (left), Noel Tillor (right).

By outpacing last year’s Cebu leg champion Noel Tillor, first-time MILO Marathon winner Rafael Pescos is now one step closer to achieving his dream of becoming one of the top racers of the prestigious footrace. Pescos owes his victory to his training regime. “Every day I take the long runs in the morning and in the afternoon to prepare. I am very happy with the outcome of the race because all my hard work paid off,” he shared. The 22-year-old runner of Negros Occidental will return to his training ground with a new objective in mind – to finish in the top 10 in the National Finals. “I’ve always dreamed of joining the roster of top runners in the National Finals. I will surely do my best in turning this into reality,” he said.

Despite her limited training, RuffaSorongon, was able to comfortably claim her fourth win in the Cebu qualifiers. Only equipped with a week’s worth of training, the 25-year old runner managed to lead the race. “I kept a motivated spirit to help me complete this race with success,” she shared. The Davao native takes inspiration from her idols, marathoners Mary Joy Tabal and the Jaro sisters, who have been her source of encouragement in all of the races she joins. “They serve as my reminder to persevere with my goals. I admire their talents and they are a big influence to my running career.”

Podium finishers: Ruffa Sorongon (center) Cresabel Cadion (left) and Sandra Soliano (right) ruled the women's division of the 21K race of the National MILO Marathon Cebu City.

The National MILO Marathon is not only a breeding ground for local talents but also a program that empowers children nationwide. With the support of the Department of Education and the National MILO Marathon runners, MILO’s Help Gives Shoes advocacy will provide 10,000 underprivileged youth with brand new running shoes this year. MILO is working with DepEd in the selection of deserving public school student beneficiaries.

The next qualifying leg will take place in Dumaguete on October 2 before heading to Davao (October 9), General Santos (October 16), Cagayan De Oro (October 23), and Butuan (October 30). The National Finals will be held on December 4 in Iloilo City.

Reigning National MILO Marathon Queen and 2016 Olympian Mary Joy Tabal (left) and National MILO Marathon Cebu race organizer Ricky Ballesteros motivate running hopefuls at the start of the race.

The 40th National MILO Marathon is made possible by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Department of Education and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, and is supported by Asics, Salonpas, TIMEX, 2XU, Endurance, Hisense, Maynilad and PhilamLife.

For more information on MILO Philippines, log on to the official website (http://www.milo.com.ph) or the MILO Philippines Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/milo.ph). Follow MILO on Twitter (@MiloPH) and Instagram (@MiloPhilippines).

40th NMM Cebu leg 21K male winner Rafael Pescos gestures victoriously after crossing the finish line.