Marathon QueenBy Haide Acuna
Cebu Daily News
There’s something about seeing Mary Grace Delos Santos hoist the Marathon Queen trophy at the National Finals of the 36th Milo Marathon that brings tears to your eyes. Especially if you’re one of those who have seen her work harder than most while training in Cebu trying to get a spot in the national team while fending off critics naysayers when she’s not on the road.
Besting her previous Milo Marathon personal best by roughly four minutes, Mary Grace bested both Filipinos and Kenyan runners in the female open category last Sunday clocking 2:49:29. Her closest competitor, Southeast Asian Games veteran and two-time Milo marathon champ Jho-An Banayag was a mile away finishing 2:55:56, while Kenya’s Everline Atancha came in third at 3:03:39.
Mary Grace ran in only a handful of races in Cebu and one 50K ultramarathon in Tacloban in order to stay focused on her high-altitude training in Baguio City with Coach Roy Vence. “I’m just maintaining my focus in training and it showed in this (36th Milo Marathon Finals) race,” Mary Grace told Inquirer Sports at a post-race interview.
2:49:29 is Mary Grace’s current personal best, but if you look into her eyes, you know this 25-year-old Zamboangena is hungry for more – breaking the Milo marathon Course record of 2:48:16 set by rival Jho-An Banayag, or better yet, break the national record of 2:38:44 set by Christabel Martes in 2005. “Maybe it’s not yet the right time. But I hope that time comes,” says Delos Santos.
Sports and religion, like oil and water, don’t mix
Blaming Manny Pacquiao’s recent switch in religion for his stunning knock-out defeat against Juan Manuel Marquez is just pure hogwash.
I wish the media just drop it and not belabor the issue, as it gets in the way of having a cold and honest assessment of how and why the pound for pound king lost the way he did – the only way by which Manny and the millions of his heartbroken fans can start to regroup, pick-up the pieces, move-on and live to fight another day.
Lawyer and hardcore Pacman fanatic Christopher Ang says it best – “I cannot blame some people who believe that the KO loss of Pacquiao can be attributed somewhat to his abandonment of his Catholic Faith and forsaking his rosary, which was with him from the time he started his boxing career. However, from a boxing standpoint, the Marquez punch was a well-timed punch right to the chin. When you are hit by that vicious punch, you are sure to go to sleep regardless of your religious affiliation. One thing for sure, after his KO loss to Marquez, Pacquaio will find a way to rise from this defeat as he did in the past and return stronger than ever. MABUHAY KA MANNY!!!”
Philippines vs. Singapore
The Philippine Azkals and Singapore Lions will face-off once more tomorrow, Wednesday Dec. 12 in the second leg of the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup, this time at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
The Azkals ended their home game at the Rizal Memorial Stadium last Saturday with a scoreless draw against the Lions.
If the Philippines scores an early goal in the away game on Wednesday, Singapore will have to score two goals in order to progress to the finals. A one-all draw would put the Philippines at an advantage since away goals merit two scores in case of a tiebreaker.
If the 90-minute face-off ends with another scoreless draw, both the Azkals and the Lions will go on a 30-minute extra time, then to a penalty shootout should the overtime still produce zero goals.
The best scenario would be for the Philippines to score a goal or two and shut out Singapore from the Suzuki Finals for good.
As of Monday afternoon, tickets for the away game in Singapore were already sold out. Our boys will be playing on enemy territory, but the Azkals had once proven that the Lions can still be beaten in their own den. Last September, the Philippines won against Singapore for the first-time ever in a friendly match 2-0.