Jimmy de la Torre
SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo (The Freeman) - June 23, 2020 - 12:00am

As I mentioned in my last column, I’ll be writing on the country’s greatest athletes especially in athletics. There’s no argument Jimmy De La Torre is one of the Philippines legendary marathon runners. While I was training for my first marathon, Jimmy was plucking the medals and trophies from local and international races.  Jimmy became the youngest Milo Marathon champion after topping the event in 1981 in his debut at age 18. Jimmy grew  up in Pototan, Iloilo, some 20 kilometers from the city and ran everyday to his school, the Western Institute of Technology which is owned by my relatives, the Salas family, where he took Marine Engineering. Jimmy’s time of 2:34:35 broke Ernesto Mendoza’s record of 2:35:14 set in 1976. Proving that his victory was not a fluke, Jimmy made it two in row by ruling the 1982 Milo Marathon with a new Philippine record of 2:25:16. Jimmy could have made it a grand slam in 1983, but Cebuano Leonardo Illut spoiled the party when he won the race in 2:33:22. The following year, Jimmy re-claimed his title as he won his third crown in 2:32:23. As part of his prize for winning the Milo race, Jimmy was sent to 86th Boston Marathon and finished 611th out of 5,034 finishers from a starting field of 8,600.  Jimmy also won three Alay ng Pangulo marathons and upset the international field in the 1987 Penang international Marathon in Malaysia, where he emerged champion.

Pal Marathon

As I wrote in my last column, I picked Jimmy as a member of the fabled Nike Running Club. In the 1988PAL Manila Marathon,Jimmy, together with former National record holder Herman Suizo, Arturo Angel and Alvin Miraflores, blasted all the other teams to capture the first of our 12 PAL Manila Marathon team titles.  Then on June 27, 1990, disaster struck. Jimmy was watching a movie in Iloilo City when a lone gunman sneaked from behind Jimmy’s seat in the balcony and fired a single shot on his head. A stampede occurred and the gunman escaped with the terrified crowd.  It’s been 30 years and the murder remained unsolved.  Jimmy remains on

Hasta la Vista Dennis

A shocking news greeted me  when I arrived home the other week. My daughter Milo informed me that former Mr. Philippines candidate and owner of Workout Fitness Center, Dennis Delgado has died.  I’ve known Dennis for more than 30 years when he was just starting to make a name in bodybuilding. We became good friends as I was also a good friend of another Mr. Philippines candidate, Erwin Chiongson, who operated the Winners Gym in Iloilo City.  Dennis always made it mandatory for his gym members to join races I organized, especially the Nike Pharmaton 10K Classic.  “Hasta La Vista” my dear friend Dennis, May you Rest in Peace.

As I was ending this column, I got another bad news that another friend Coach Nic Jorge died in his sleep at age 78. Vaya Con Dios Nic.

JIMMY DE LA TORRE
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