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Singson and Tabal Top Cebu Milo Marathon

More than 23000 runners took part in the Milo Marathon in Cebu

CEBU City — A chicharon vendor and a first timer ruled the men’s and women’s division of the sixth leg of the 34th Milo Marathon on Sunday which was participated in by a record more than 23,000 runners at the Cebu Sports Center here.

Adonis Singson took a break from his daily chores of selling chicharon by trying his skills into sports that surprised the big field of runners when he finished the premier 21-k run in 1:15:15, which was just enough to bring home the P10,000 top prize and earned a trip to the National Finals in Manila on Dec. 12.

The absence somehow of defending champion Mendel Lopez, who is currently in Manila taking a board examination, actually boosted Singson’s confidence to win the annual Cebu leg for the first time after just finishing 3rd last year and second in 2006 and 2007.

“When I learned that Mendel will not run, I made it sure that I will win this time by calculating my speed. This is really my time now,” said the 27-year-old Singson in Visaya.

His victory at least was a fitting consolation to his long time dream of making good in sports, which he was not able to fulfill in his early years due to financial hardships.

A close second behind Singson was Jobert Carolino, who timed 1:15:39, while Moh Sherwin Managil settled for third with 1:17:10. So far only Singson and Carolino made it to the national competition because organizers set a standard qualifying time of 1:15:00 to the nationwide provincial elimination races. Also joining in on the action on the 21K race was Nestle Chief Executive OfficerJohn Miller.

The 21-year-old Mary Joy Tabal, who saw action for the first time in the 21-k event, outraced defending titlist Madelyn Carter in the last kilometer to pocket the women’s category top purse of P10,000 by crossing the finish line with a time of 1:28:44. Carter,30, who had only 8 weeks preparation, settled for second with a clocking of 1:31:30, while Emily Rosas was a distant second with 1:52:56.

Thus Tabal, a fourth year commerce student at the Southwestern University and Carter were the only two who met the qualifying time of 1:35:00. They will join two-time national champion and Asian Games-bound Jhoann Banayag, who topped the Davao leg last week and Metro Manila leg winner Luisa Raterta in the finals.

“This is my first time to try the 21-k. I’ve been only in the 10-k. But I think I can still shine in the finals in Manila. I will just prepare myself hard,” said the pertite Tabal, who is actually a sprinter being the bronze medalist in the 400-meter dash during the 2010 CHED National Games in Manila.

Top officials of Milo led by Pat Goc-Ong, Nestle sports executive, expressed elation over the turnout of participants, which surpassed the 20,000 last year. Some running enthusiasts were even denied entry in the last few days of registration for fear of the safety of the runners.

Some 400 pair of shoes were also donated to the students of Tejeros Elementary School as part of the Milo Marathon sports advocacy which is aimed towards helping the youth fulfill their dreams of going into sports.

The regional elimination race will then move to Tagbilaran City on September 12 and Dumaguete City on September 19, while the Iloilo City leg will be on September 26. Naga City will have its turn on October 3, San Pablo City on October 10, Batangas City on October 17, Puerto Princesa on October 31, Tarlac City on November 7, Olongapo City on November 14, Butuan City on November 21 and Cagayan de Oro City on November 28.

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