Returning champions rule 40th National MILO Marathon Manila Leg

First wave of runners commences the race: the Manila qualifying race of the 40th National MILO Marathon was able to gather almost 33,000 runners.

Manila, Philippines, 31 July 2016 –Five-time MILO Marathon King Eduardo “Vertek”Buenavista and veteran MILO Marathon winner Luisa Ratertareturned to the top as they claimed the prized spots in the centerpiece 42K event at the 40th National MILO Marathon Manila qualifying leg held on Sunday. Participants and spectators enjoyed the good weather in the SM Mall of Asia grounds, with almost 33,000 runners crossing the finish line.

Buenavista and Raterta eachtook home P50,000 in cash and a trophy, and booked their slots to the National Finals in Iloilo on December 4 for a chance to be crowned the MILO Marathon King and Queen. Both will go head-to-head with the country’s best runners in a new, refreshing race experience away from the hustle and bustle of Manila. The lucky winners who will take the coveted titles will also have the chance to compete in an international marathon in 2017 on all-expense paid trips from MILO as part of their prizes.

(From above left) Luisa Raterta and Eduardo "Vertek" Buenavista hoist their trophies as the 42K Female and Male winners of the 40th National MILO Marathon Manila qualifying race. Both were awarded by (from bottom left) Sherilla Bayona, Business Executive Manager for Beverages, Nestle Philippines and Ellen Isturis, MILO Team Lead.

Leading the pack, Buenavista clocked in at 02:45:34, followed by CresencianoSabal (02:54:20) in second place and Roger Denolo (02:54:53) in third. In the distaff side, Raterta posted a time of 03:15:00, with Jho-anBanayag (03:17:47) and Cinderella Lorenzo (03:20:03) placing second and third place, respectively.

The 37-year-old Buenavista did not let pain faze him. Heincurred a foot injury last December and had to go through a tough recovery process. “This is my first 42K race in 2016. I still feel pain in my foot, and I joined today’s race because I wanted to see if I can handle the intensity of the 42K event now,” shared Buenavista. “I’m glad that I’m recovering well and hopefully I can prepare fully for the National Finals. It’s also my goal to beat my MILO Marathon record time.” Buenavista’s 15-year-old son, Eduard Josh, is following his father’s footsteps. He also competed in his first 5K race and placed 7th with a time of 19:09. The father and son pair trains together for their races in uphill roads in Antipolo. “I’m really happy to train my son. He is my inspiration,” added Vertek.

(Center) Luisa Raterta, 40th NMM Manila 42K Female Winner and Eduardo Buenavista, 40th NMM Manila Male Winner celebrate their victory with Andrew Neri, MILO Sports Marketing Manager (far right) and Coach Rio de la Cruz, RunRio (far left).

Raterta’s inspiration is also her children. The 35-year-old Sta. Rosa, Laguna local shared that her eldest daughter wants to be just like her. “I always tell my children to trust in their selves, to work hard and persevere because it’s not easy to achieve success,” she said. Raterta also shared that she did not expect to win today because of fierce competition from her rivals. “This is my fourth win in the Manila leg of the MILO Marathon. My goal now is to train well and improve my performance so I can achieve my target of being in the top overall female runners in the National Finals,” she added.

Joining in the fun, celebrities Erwan and SolennHeusaff, NicoBolzico, Yael Yuzon, Aga Mulach and Charlene Gonzales also conquered the running routes as they helped energize champions and inspire others who truly idolize them. Families, kids and students also stepped up to the challenge in the 3K and 5K running events.Dingdong Dantes was also present to support his sister who joined the race.

Eduardo "Vertek" Buenavista was able to set another all-time high for achieving his fifth win as the 42K Male Winner of the 40th National MILO Marathon Manila qualifying race.

Thenext qualifying leg will take place inBatangas (August 7), followed byLucena (August 14), Naga (August 28), Tagbilaran (September 18), Cebu (September 25), Dumaguete (October 2), 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.

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.

Four-time winner of the National MILO Marathon Manila qualifying races Luisa Raterta (right) gutted through the streets of Metro Manila to reach the finish line.

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).