87-year-old finishes 32nd Milo run-A A +A
Sunday, July 29, 2012
MANILA — Eighty-seven-year-old Felix Belarmino showed no signs of slowing down when he crossed the finish line in the 10K division of the record-breaking Metro Manila Leg of the 36th National Milo Marathon Sunday.
The event, held at the SM Mall of Asia, was ruled by two-time champion Jho-An Banayag and Jason Agravante.
Belarmino, a retired supervisor of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) said that he jogs every day and has joined the annual Milo race since 1980.
“That’s my secret of staying fit. Running is very vital in my life and for over 30 years, I always run in the Milo running event. It helped enhanced my breathing and I can easily move without any pain,” said Belarmino.
He said that there were only about 700 runners when he joined the race at the Luneta grounds more than three decades ago. Now, it has attracted 38,429 runners, breaking the previous record of 25,000 last year.
As expected, PH team mainstay Banayag dominated the women’s division, while Agravante secured his first major title by winning the premier 42K k class of the fifth leg.
Now 30, Banayag showed no sign of fading as she easily hurdled the women’s elite category without much hassle and finished in 3:02:20 to pocket the P50,000 top prize.
Although her time was way below her personal best time and Milo National record of 2:48:16 in 2005, she promised to set a record in the National Finals on Dec. 9. She was also the queen of the race in 2002.
“The weather was good. I seemed to enjoy it because it was not hot. Although, my wet shirt slowed me down a little bit. But there is still enough time to prepare for the national finals. That’s really is the most awaited. I would like to break my own best time in December. I’m looking forward to it now,” said Banayag, who is also a private first class in the Philippine Army.
Finally, after six years of participation, the 23-year-old Agravante of Silay City secured his first major title by topping the men’s category in 2:39:57, relegating brothers Elmer and Gerald Sabal to second and third place with times of 2:45:16 and 2:46:10, respectively.
Banayag, who is currently training with the RP national team along with defending women’s champion Mary Grace de los Santos in Baguio City, and Agravante are among those considered as top bets in the Grand Finals along with three-time champion and men’s event record holder Eduardo Buenavista, who topped he qualifying Leg in Tarlac City last July 15.
Also the runners to watch from among the more than 400 qualifiers in the 17-leg, 18-city eliminations are defending champions de los Santos and James Tallam of Kenya, who clocked 2:53:07 and 2:28:02 respectively last year.
“In the beginning of the race, I was with two Kenyans and two other Filipino runners, but I gave it all midway and was already ahead of the lead pack approaching the flyover along Buendia in Makati City. A Kenyan runner tried to move closer in the last eight kilometers, however, It was already near the finish line,” said Agravante, a fifth placer in the National Finals last year.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2012.