Bukidnon's Caburnay, Sultan Kudarat's Sorongon top Milo Marathon Cebu leg
Caecent No-ot Magsumbol, Gloreitta T. Lariosa (The Freeman) - October 15, 2018 - 12:00am

Mindanao runners rule

CEBU, Philippines — An accounting graduate from Bukidnon and a Cebu-based long distance runner from the SOCSKSARGEN region in Mindanao  shared the limelight after topping their respective divisions during the Cebu elimination of the 42nd National Milo Marathon starting at the Cebu Normal University (CNU) grounds and ending at Cebu City Sports Center yesterday.

Close to 20,000 runners answered the challenge in the Cebu leg of the nationwide race but as soon as the starting gun fired off, there was no stopping the Malaybalay City-native Keenan Lou James Caburnay and Sultan Kudarat's Ruffa Sorongon from leading the charge on the way to a resounding finish in the 21-kilometer category.

The 24-year-old Caburnay crossed the finish line with the fastest time of one hour, 13 minutes and 34 seconds among male participants, way ahead of second placer Joseph Arnel Emia who clocked in 1:14:59. Agustin Ychon Jr., Caburnay's teammate at Spectrum Runners, wound up third with a time of 1:15:28.

"This is my third time to join the Milo Marathon and first time to race in the Cebu leg. It was in 2016 when I first competed in a Milo qualifying race and that was in Cagayan de Oro where I won the 21K title with my best time of 1:11:24,” said Caburnay, who stopped running last year to focus on his studies and eventually complete his accounting course at San Isidro College in Malaybalay.

“Na-surprise ko sa rota kay taas gyud ang uphill but overall okay ang experience. Though I was not able to hit my target time, I'm still happy because achieve my goal that  is to win,” added the son of a sidewalk vendor and security guard who dreams to break the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games marathon record someday.

Sorongon, on the other hand, was consistently ahead of the pack among the fema le runners all throughout the race. She went on to add feather to her already decorated cap after clocking in one hour, 30 minutes and 18 seconds to snare the women’s crown in dominating fashion.

Kay Razel Cundangan was a distant second in 1:52:15 while Lucita Fernandez came out third in 1:52:25.

“I am happy. I always get the same feeling of happiness whenever I succeed," said the 28-year-old Sorongon, who has definitely carved her own niche in Cebu running circuit.

Aside from pocketing cash prizes, Caburnay and Sorongon earned slots to the National Finals calendared on December 9 in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

Of the two, Sorongon will face the hardest challenge as she will be up against Cebuana Olympic marathoner Mary Joy Tabal in the Nationals.

The revered undisputed queen of Milo Marathon with five titles tucked under her belt, Tabal is gunning for an unprecedented sixth straight championship.

In the 10K battle, Erzincto Peonila and Geniecel Saballa shone the brightest.

Peonila timed 34:56 to take home the champion's trophy, while Saballa lorded it over the distaff side with the time of 42:20.

Ruel Algufera and Karen Manayon caught part of the spotlight after stamping their respective classes in the 5K category with a time of 18:02 and 21:13, respectively.

The 3K winners, on the other hand, were Nexxus Ezequiel (10:44) and Lourence Yvory Garcia (11:43).

Meanwhile, Milo Marathon Cebu leg organizer Ricky Ballesteros said the event went well and ended up on a highly successful note despite the unfortunate incident that happened to Hazel Conde, a 10K female runner who got bumped by a drunk driver.

“It’s another good and successful hosting despite atong nabanggaan. More importantly, okay ra man ang runner (Hazel Conde) na nabanggaan. I personally checked her at the hospital and makalihok raman siya. Naa puy usa nga ni-collapse, okay naman pud siya. Nahutdan lang siguro to'g hangin. But overall, all had fun and we look forward to the national finals,” said Ballesteros.

Milo Sports Executive Lester Castillo was also happy with the huge turnout of entries, with Cebu again registering the biggest number of participants at 19,250.

More than that, Castillo is elated with the progress that the running community is showing.

“We are very happy with the turnout. We have the biggest number of runners here so far with 19, 250 and we have seen how the running clubs have progressed, from the short distances to more participants joining in the 10K and 21 kilometers. Pati nga yung sa cheerdance, nag-improve din yung mga routines nila,” said Castillo.

The University of the Visayas (UV) dominated the cheerdance competition with a fluid and almost flawless routine while the Cebu Technical University got the biggest delegation award with over 4,000 runners. (FREEMAN)

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