Milo marathon: Inspiring young dreamers achieve their goals
Lemuel P. Maglinte (The Freeman) - October 11, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Fueled by their dreams of fighting for the flag and country in the international stage one day down the road, young aspiring Cebuano footracers Louis Gabriel Ariola and Laurence Yvony Garcia have both shown commitment and passion in their chosen sport at this stage of their nascent careers.

They spotlighted that when they dominated their respective divisions in the 3km category of the Cebu elimination race of the 43rd National Milo Marathon last week at the Cebu City Sports Center.

Ariola clocked in 10 minutes and 16 seconds while Garcia timed 11:30 to take home the champion’s trophies, an early success which they hope will become their launching pad towards achieving their aspirations in life.

The 12-year-old Ariola said his victory was very memorable considering that he faltered in his first attempt.

During his debut in the annual race bankrolled by Nestle Philippines last year, it was a forgettable and painful experience for the student of Pusok National High School as he barely finished the race due to injury.

“I am so happy that I finally won the championship. I really worked and prepared hard for this race. I wasn’t able to perform well last year because I experience sudden pain on my legs halfway along the route,” said Ariola. “My greatest prize isn’t the championship but it’s coming back.”

At a tender age, Ariola admitted that he loved running so much that he is seeking the advice of older and more experience runners on how to be successful in the athletic field.  “My dream is to be known through running. Aside from training regularly, I also make sure that I eat well and sleep early.”

Ariola firmly believes that he has a big chance of making it to the Philippine team,  someday. “Not only me, but we (Filipinos) have a big chance in dominating this sport (running) because it doesn’t require size. The only secret is being a disciplined athlete.”

Garcia, for her part, successfully nailed her third straight title, a golden grandslam of sort in the girls division. The University of San Carlos athlete said she is trying to follow in the footsteps of Cebuana Olympian and Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Mary Joy Tabal.

“She is really a big inspiration for me. Hopefully I get a chance to train with her,” said the 12-year-old Garcia.

Garcia said it is a big thing for her that she has Tabal, whom she sees as a role model and an inspiration in pursuit of his ambition.

“I know that I am young but I think this is an advantage for me that I started at a young age. My parents supported me because they believed in my ability to someday make it big,” she said.

Just like Ariola, Garcia also thinks that marathon is a sport that Filipinos can dominate. “You don’t need to be tall to be a good runner. I am not very tall but its not a problem for me because I proved that I can win any race with hard work and dedication. I am also having fun with each race I joined.”

For every athlete, successful careers begin with a goal growing into a dream and Ariola and Garcia are slowly but surely making sure they reach their goals.

It’s amazing that the two young athletes are already taking control of their athletic careers and with continued support and guidance from their coaches, teammates and family, it’s only a matter of time to see both of them donning the Philippine colors in an international race.

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