‘Sea of green, sea of values’
Caecent No-ot Magsumbol, Glorietta Lariosa (The Freeman) - October 10, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Close to 20,000 local and out-of-town runners are all primed and ready to once again transform the City’s main thoroughfares not only into a sea of green but also into a sea of values with the staging of the 42nd National Milo Marathon Cebu elimination race this Sunday starting at the Cebu Normal University and ending at the Cebu City Sports Center.

 

As of yesterday’s count, Milo Marathon Visayas organizer Ricky Ballesteros said a total of 15,257 have already registered for the race that features the 3K, 5K, 10K and 21K categories but the figures are expected to snowball as thay have extended the registration until Saturday.

“We have receive a lot of inquiries from runners from different parts of the country and some from other parts of the world who expressed that they would like to join the race here in Cebu,” said Ballesteros in a press conference at Cebu Grand Hotel yesterday.

Aside from trophies and cash prizes, the top finishers will represent Cebu in the National Finals set for December 9 in Laoag City, Ilocos Sur.

Cebuana Olympic marathoner Mary Joy Tabal is back to defend her crown, with eyes on an unprecedented sixth straight title. She will no longer go through the Cebu eliminations though on account of her being a five-time champion that earned her an outright berth to the Nationals.

The undisputed Milo Marathon queen couldn’t help but become emotional upon recalling her long and meandering journey that led her to what she is now.

“I was a dreamer before and today I feel that I will always be a dreamer. I still remember the first time I dreamed about winning the National Milo Marathon and it took me three years to get this title,” narrated Tabal, who made history as the first Filipina marathoner in the Olympics two years ago in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. “And because being a dreamer takes a lot of courage, I turn my dreams into goals and goals into reality.”

“It wasn’t an easy road for me and this year. I will be running my ninth National Milo Marathon and vying again to defend my sixth title, hopefully. For those who started dreaming, it won’t be an easy road for you but with hardwork, determination, discipline and humility, everything will be possible. And you too can make your dreams into reality,” added the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medallist.

Tabal has sage advice for all the competing runners.

“Just enjoy the race and don’t pressure yourself to finish within the cut-off time. Kung dili kaya this year, there will be more to come. Ang importante lang, healthy ka and happy when you finish. Set another goal for yourself if you cannot make it. Basta ang importante is you finish strong and safe,” said Tabal.

Just like last year, Milo Sports Executive Lester Castillo said they will carry the same theme:“Magsama-sama. Tumakbo. Matuto” as it is still relevent especially to the youth of today.

“We opt to carry the same theme kasi yung sports ngayon mas nagkakaroon siya ng relevance sa kabataan. This year, it’s not only going to be a sea of green, but a sea of values,” he said.

In so doing, Castillo puts into the spotlight the values personified by Tabal as these mirror the goals and aspirations of Milo Marathon.

“Doon po sa nabanggit ng ating five-time Marathon Queen na si MJ (Mary Joy Tabal), marami siyang nasabi sa kanyang journey na courage, persistence, determination. So eto po ang mga values na nag-manifest habang nagti-train po siya sa kanyang mga competition and ngayon, itong mga values na ito natra-tanslate din sa buhay and itong mga values na ito ay natutunan niya while getting into sport,” said Castillo.

 “Totoo nga na great things start from small beginnings, and through sport you can get through all these character forming values that will help you succeed later on in life. Kaya po nandito ang Milo Marathon. Eto po yung pinaka-accessible na sport for everyone to get into. The experience is enough to spark that ambition to become better in sports and later on to become better in life,”  Castillo ended.

NATIONAL MILO MARATHON
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