A TOTAL of 280 Kapitan Tomas Monteverde Sr. Elementary School (KMTSES) students who received their new pairs of Brooks shoes will join the rest of the 13,600 runners seeing action in the 34th National Milo Marathon Davao City eliminations slated Sunday which starts and ends at Roxas Avenue.

Manila-based Milo sports executive Andrew Neri announced at a press conference that they had delivered the shoes at KTMSES Friday morning.

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"The kids were very happy to get their shoes," Neri said. "They look forward to running this Sunday.

Neri said they are giving a total of 4,000 pair of shoes to public elementary schools all over the country, specifically to cities where a regional leg of the event is being held.

"We launched this advocacy to give under-privileged students the chance to own a pair of rubber shoes not just for running but mainly for them to have something to use for school. We have observed in recent years the growing number of barefoot runners," Neri said.

"There were also those who joined the Milo race wearing only their slippers. Thus, we came up with this advocacy as the highlight of our innovations this year," he added.

The Milo executive cited other innovations like the age-group qualifying times for those who want to join the 42.195-kilometer national finals on December 12 in Manila, use of timing chip made by company from Netherlands to minimize cheating and high quality singlet made of fabric imported from Taiwan for 10K and 21K runners.

"We are also giving a cash prize of P300,000 to our national champion making it the biggest stake in the history of the Marathon," Neri added.

MEC-Southern Mindanao's Johanna Relacion said of the 13,600 runners, 12,250 are entered in the 5K fun run run alone while some 1,000 signed for the 3K event for seven to 12 years old.

"Registration is still open for the 10K and 21K events though at the second floor of the Banco Filipino Bldg. in Agdao and at People's Park," Relacion said.

Regional organizer Kenneth Sai, meanwhile, said everything is set for the race.

The said the race will start from Roxas Avenue going to Ponciano Reyes St., Quirino, J.P. Laurel Avenue,

Lanang, old Sasa airport and back to origin.

Said added that there will be seven water stops and six ambulances in each turning point. They have also support from 140 boy scouts and 40 marshalls and security to be provided by the Philippine National Police and Task Force Davao.

National organizer Rudy Biscocho lauded Neri and his staff for measuring the race route according to standards set by the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa).

He also praised Sai for the huge turnout of entries, the biggest so far among other provincial legs held recently in Baguio, Dagupan and General Santos City.