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20,000 (++) A Runners’ Invasion

/ 04:00 PM September 27, 2011

If you’re planning on riding your car on your way to an important appointment, or catch a flight in Mactan, or have to be in church on time on Sunday, October 2, it will be wise to add two more hours to your usual travel time or risk never getting to your destination on time, if at all.

Imagine 20,000 runners (plus, plus) taking over the major thouroughfares of Cebu City for the 21k provincial elimination of the 35th Milo Marathon. That makes for one traffic nightmare for the motorist on the rush.

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But there’s no stopping the Cebu leg of the Milo Marathon – the country’s oldest, grandest and biggest of all local marathons. This year, as in all past staging of the Cebu Milo Cebu leg, the race will be directed and managed by Ricky Ballesteros while the technical side of the race will be handled by Coach Precing Capangpangan.

As per Milo Marathon rules and regulations, runners in the 21k provincial elimination races will have two ways to qualify and compete in the 42.195k national finals in December.

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First: males finishing the race within 1:15:00 and females finishing the race within 1:35:00 will qualify and get an all-expense paid trip to Manila.

Second: runners finishing the race within the specified age-bracket and time will qualify for the finals, but all expenses related to their participation will be shouldered by the qualifier. The following are the qualifying time (21k elimination) per age bracket for the 35th staging of the Milo Marathon.

Qualifiers for the finals in December are entitled to free registration fee, free ticket to the carbo-loading party and free running singlets and shorts. The qualifying time per age-bracket has been in place for the past two editions of the Milo Marathon making the finals more accessible to the recreational runner and weekend warriors in the provinces.

Before the implementation of the age-bracket system, a 40-year-ld male would have to run 1:15 in the 21k provincial elims to qualify for the finals. Now, the same 40-year-old male would only have to clock 1:40, although that is still no easy task.

Nevertheless, the age-bracket system in the Milo eliminations makes growing old a welcome milestone for the higher the age bracket, the slower the qualifying time becomes.

Whether you’re an elite runner or an after-hours athlete, all Pinoy marathoners worth his/her salt should strive to qualify for the Milo Marathon Finals at least once. The Milo Marathon Finals is the closest Filipino version of the Boston Marathon where runners have to achieve a specified qualifying time in order to earn a berth in the full Marathon Finals in December.

Lessons from Melinda

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Have you found your own running role model you can look up to and learn from?

Of course there’s world record holder Haile Gebrselassie for marathoners, and the dean of all “special idiots” Dean Karnazes for ultramarathoners, but what I mean is someone whose achievements in running are aspirational yet reachable, someone who is decidedly better and far more superior than you, but is also accessible and local.

I found mine in Melinda Ponce — the 53-year-old female champion of the recently held Warrior 50 (Plus 3) Ultramarathon at the Be Resort Mactan. Melinda, in my opinion, is the perfect role model for the female ultramarathoner.

Find out why when she speaks before Ungo Friday Night Run at 9 p.m. on Sept. 30 at the Active Zone, Ayala Center Cebu. Everyone is welcome (even non-ungo runners) to join the talk and the night run that follows right after. This event is free and highly recommended especially if you’re seeking to improve your marathon or ultramarathon, without necessarily making running your sole career.

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TAGS: Milo Marathon, Running
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