Posts Tagged ‘Eliminations


34th National MILO® Marathon: R&R (Runners and Review)

This year’s installment of the National MILO® Marathon (Manila Eliminations) takes the race on an entirely new level.  Personally I’ve never had any local race come close to what MILO® had achieved with this year’s Manila Eliminations, and despite so many new developments it still had plenty of room for improvements.

The Runners

I consider MILO® Marathon as a runner’s race.  Never in any race have I met so many “real” runners.  I say “real” because of their genuine passion for the sport.  They’re not in it for bragging rights, nor the prize, but instead to prove their worth.  And this race never runs short of them.  Runners coming in all sorts of form: some without an arm, or a leg, some short of height, or youth, or health, but definitely never short of honor and talent.  I’m humbled by the presence of these runners as in their eyes I’m still a mere “visitor” in their turf—a turtle in a race of rabbits (so that’s why I was wearing green! :D).

Turtle spotted 😛

I remember vividly on my way to the final turn-around, a lady old enough to be my grandmother already on the way back!  Definitely gives a literal meaning to the Tagalog saying, “Papunta ka pa lang, pabalik na ako.” (roughly, you’re just on your way forth, I’m already headed back)

Where there’s light there’d be shadows, and lurking within the crowds of the runners and the participants like myself were those self-centered glutton thieves, out to steal pride and honor that they lack.  I won’t dig deep into the rotten pits of the underworld but it seems that where they came from qualifying for the finals is everything!  In their world one should qualify no matter what it takes!  Was it the free race?  Was it the free singlet and shorts? Or was it the free food at the Carbo-Loading party?  Could this be “poverty” in the runner’s world?

Had some of these creatures viewed out their window while taking that van, or that other one not made a relay out of the marathon, or that other one not skip those loops, perhaps they would’ve seen and be humbled by the efforts made by those “real” runners.  As a mere participant, I’ll always admire these “real” runners (and hope to join their ranks in the future).

The Review

The series had begun long before many of us were even born (myself included) and I could say we grew up with awareness of it.  Who would’ve known that I too would be part of it?

For my third time joining MILO® Marathon I’d say this is the best one yet.


  • Reasonable registration fee
  • Better registration process
  • Donate A Shoe program
  • Good quality singlet
  • Relatively challenging route
  • Earlier gun start
  • Bananas, energy gel (Hammer), sports drinks (Gatorade), and water throughout the route
  • Timing chip
  • Numerous portable toilets at various locations along the route
  • Sponge (limited)
  • Finisher’s shirt! 🙂

Marathon with three loops? 😦


  • Insufficient hydration during the critical times of the race (last loop to the end)
  • Three loops in the route
  • Crowd control, particularly near the Finish
  • Baggage counter (for 5K)

Race in progress, look at the background 🙂


The overall system may have improved but some old problem still remains: people!  Some staff still don’t know where their baggage counter is (or if they have one), many still don’t know how to properly man runners and spectators (a few runners thought the Start line is the Finish line and people kept crossing the road while the race was in progress), some don’t know how to handle, store, and distribute bags in their baggage counters (that ruckus with the 5K baggage counter), and overall the organizers are still not ready for major emergency situations (resulting in reported deaths during the Manila Eliminations).  Hopefully in all future races all people involved with the race are properly informed and trained of their part so as to avoid the horrors of the past.  Accidents happen but it doesn’t mean it can’t be minimized.

For its 34th year there were a lot of sweeping changes, some made it better while some made it worse, depending on where your vantage point is.  For my marathon perspective it was one of the best races I’ve had so far despite having one of my worst finish in terms of time, and health (10 times of flyovers would take its toll).  I realized with this race that we don’t need another “International” marathon, MILO® is ready to take that place as far as the marathon is concerned.  It has shown it’s got that potential, there are just some more kinks that need to be ironed.  God is in the details.  Personally I’d give the 34th National MILO® Marathon Manila Eliminations a Very Good (4½/5) rating with all its improvements and the great overall experience (not necessarily all pleasant) I’ve had.

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34th National MILO® Marathon: “I did it for the Shirt!”

This statement basically sums up the reason I signed up for the marathon.  The new routes, timing chips, donate a shoe program, potential new PR, and even the medal were not enough to entice me to join—only the 42K finisher’s shirt.  On the other hand I had many reasons why I wasn’t jumping for excitement to join the race: my right knee still hasn’t reverted to “normal” level, I wasn’t prepared, my final exam was on the eve of the marathon, etc. just to name a few.  It was only through a “Divine intervention” that my fate was sealed—registered a day before the deadline of the extended registration period.

After an “interesting” commute I arrived at Quirino Grandstand at around 3AM, an hour before the marathon gun start.  Last year I arrived 30 minutes early but ended up 10 minutes late, and I didn’t want a déjà vu.

This race served as a mini reunion for me with my family.  I thought that I’d be running like I was during my first MILO® race (alone) but surely enough, the gang was there, although I was surprised that Vener (run unltd.), a two-time MILO® Marathon qualifier, didn’t join this year.

I arrived so early the Start line is just being set up! (That’s the Km 0 marker on the right)

With my finish time out in public I think I’m going to raise some eyebrows when I say that I intentionally capped my speed to around 9kph (kilometers per hour) or 06:40/km pace, and aimed just to finish within 6 hours (the curfew).  With a “not-so-normal” knee and with just a single 10K run (on trails with an ultramarathon pace!) I had to play safe as I have every intention of finishing this race!  (Marathons never get shorter or easier no matter how many times you do it!)Crawl if you must” as my friend Jet described his marathon experience.

Speed Limit

The marathon leg started at 4:09AM (Garmin), nine minutes off which is atypical by Mr. Rudy Biscocho’s standard.  The new “timeslot” is beneficial with our climate as runners get to enjoy less of the sun, even just for 30 minutes!  If you ask me I would even prefer it to start around midnight!

Before gun start (courtesy Vener Roldan)

I started the race with Rico, a fellow ultramarathoner, as the rest of the gang sped away into the horizon.  It was like the good old ultramarathon times when we just chat away the kilometers, except we were faster (conscious monitoring via GF405).  Occasionally we exceed my cap of 9kph (which I never mentioned to anyone until this post) but I didn’t mind as long as I didn’t feel any pains.

Manila Eliminations route

Everything was smooth-sailing until the sun slowly greeted the runners with his warmth.  I think some of us were solar-powered as I noticed the improving pace of the runners in our vicinity.  I’m stuck on first gear so eventually I had to let my buddy go ahead with his race.  I don’t have a schedule to keep, just a pace to maintain, so cruise control it was!

I was delighted to see’s support station en route but after passing the first time on the one near Aliw Theater I thought to myself, “shucks, two more loops… I can still smile now, I wonder how I’d be on the next loop more than an hour from now… and the next one after that!”

First loop

First loop complete, two more!  MILO® really exhausted my tolerance on loops by having not just two but three loops of 10K length.  At my “cruising” speed of 9kph it would take me an hour and a half to complete one—it’s like watching a boring movie three times in a row.  The things I’m willing to do for that shirt!

Loop two, boring, and hot!  The loop section was pleasant as there were shade early in the morning and there were bananas and energy gels offered to runners.  Forgive my hoarding but I took two gels on my second loop as I instinctively know that there’d be none on the third loop!  (Which proved to be right)

Third loop, this is it!  To my surprise one by one I’m overtaking some buddies who were way ahead of me.  It hurts me to overtake anyone as I publicized that my target was just to do a “walkathon” of 6 hours.  As much as I’d love to stay and chat my “cruise control” was still intact so I had to overtake, sorry about that.

Completing the first loop

Approaching Aliw Theater for the third time I felt my body warning me of an imminent cramp—both on my quads and hamstrings! Luckily I was approaching’s support station so I asked for anything that could help.  As I approached I saw a runner that fainted, but he was already being tended to.  As much as I would like to stop and help I’d just be a nuisance since I wouldn’t know what to do anyway, so I just went on and got some of that liniment spray which effectively stopped the onset of cramps—or so I thought.

Just a few hundred meters later my hamstrings were really giving me some serious symptoms.  Fortunately the liniment wasn’t absorbed totally yet so I had to reapply it all over without stopping (I felt that if I stopped I’d get stuck!).  That time it worked but I had to tune down my cruising speed to 8kph with short walk breaks.  The walkathon had begun!

By the time I was running for that 42K turnaround point I was really hating those two flyovers—for the sixth and seventh time before turning back for more which made the 42K route having a total of 10 flyover crossings, a PR?  Now who says that the route was flat?

Walking… with a smile 🙂

Homestretch, around 5K to the Finish—no more water!  My worst nightmare has come.  It’s my first marathon all over again.  With an empty hydration belt on my waist and no water station in sight I was forced to walk.  This time around some of those I overtook earlier caught up with me, and even if I wanted to join them I simply cannot without water (call me Agua :)).

Cultural Center of the Philippines—an oasis as far as MILO® Marathon is concerned where one of the last standing hydration station serving sports drinks remains.  I wanted to refill my hydration belt then but they’re down to their last few cups so I just restocked with the contents of a cup (just a few sips worth).  A little more than 3K to go!

Walk-run combo was the theme for many runners during that last 3K.  Anyone who has run Roxas Blvd. would know how hot it can be, even as early as 8:30AM.  If you don’t have support it’s better to play safe.

Just crossed the Start line approaching the Finish (courtesy Rene Villarta)

Finally I can see the Start line, down to the last few hundred meters!  I wanted to run but I was so dehydrated that I can only manage short bursts.  And on that final curve to the Finish I saw Rodel (The Argonaut) who overtook me a while back.  As I approached him from the back I challenged him to run and unexpectedly he took the challenge!  And so, crazy as we were, we had a sprint showdown to the Finish, both of us on the verge of having cramps!  I jokingly said to him “unahan na lang mag-cramps” (it’s just a matter of who gets a cramp first) as we sprinted towards the finish line, no one willing to be the runner-up.  Like with my BDM102 power tripping, I won’t just hand over that ranking without a fight :).  Isn’t it better to feel you have earned the spot rather than been given to you?

Final sprint to the Finish (courtesy PhotoVendo)

That was the longest and one of the most enjoyable sprint to the Finish line I ever had!  I guess my competitive instincts got the best of me, thank you Rodel for giving me one challenge I won’t soon forget!  (I probably cut down a minute because of that crazy long sprint!)

In action (slower than real-time) 🙂

After crossing that shoot my finisher’s medal and certificate was awarded along with a loot bag and that most anticipated finisher’s shirt!  It’s a shirt that isn’t even branded but is worth that 42.2K trip.  Completing that MILO® Marathon experience was that ice cold MILO® drink that I missed last year.

The constraints that I endured were insignificant compared to the differently-abled runners which I witnessed performing their best with integrity, many doing way better than I did!  This proves that if we really aimed for something and worked hard for it, despite the odds WE CAN!  That’s MILO’s message for everyone with their slogan “kaya mo ‘yan.”

Marathons are always enlightening—how anyone handled their race tells a lot on how they live their lives.  To the enlightened ones, congratulations!


34th National MILO® Marathon: Signs and Strange Encounters (Prequel)

I gave up all hopes of joining this year’s MILO® Marathon because of one HUGE reason—no training!  Coming off TNF100 my body was built primarily for endurance, not speed.  I was seriously aiming to qualify for the Finals but there wasn’t enough time to train for it, so reluctantly I let that dream go (for this year at least).

The injuries I sustained from my back-to-back ultramarathons BDM102 and TNF100 made it easier to decide to postpone that MILO® dream, but it was never totally discarded.  Then as the day of the race neared and more details were furnished I saw one detail that really snapped me back to reconsideration—the finisher’s shirt!  I didn’t care for the medal, I WANT THAT SHIRT!

I Saw the Sign

By that time registration was down to the last few days, and my longest run was a 10K trail run.  Talk about being ready!  By that time I was on a stalemate—42K or bust! Since I cannot decide for myself, I asked for some Divine Guidance (as posted in my Facebook account).  In situations like these, by experience, I’ve learned not to push my own will but instead follow His will.

Talk about photo finish, I was signed up for the race (through a friend) on the last day of registration!  Registration was actually extended so we were able to sign up on that last day of the extended registration.  That’s a foolproof answer I cannot miss!  And so with my race packet on my hand I uttered to myself, “this is really it!”

No turning back

Strange Encounter of the Third Kind

Finally the day of the race has arrived.  Due to my remoteness to the starting area I had to leave home very early and to my delight I was with the company of a running family of four on my commute, also off for the race.  Dad and Mom have been running MILO® Marathon for years and Mom was a constant placer and Dad doesn’t seem so far behind so it was natural that the kids also pick up the sport.

At that wee hours of the morning only jeepneys are the available option for commute (even taxis are scarce).  Fortunately the commute was fast, but also unfortunately the driver decided to cut the trip short (cutting trip, grrrr and I didn’t get a refund of the excess fare!) alighting us in front of Quiapo Church.  I’m not that familiar of which jeepney routes to take but Dad (of the running family) told us we should get one bound for the Pier so we’d alight very close to the Starting line.

Initially everything was smooth sailing until at some point of the trip this “person” embarked in our jeep, and sat beside me, on my right.

I’m not used to talking to strangers, except of course when necessary (like asking for directions, being asked for the time, etc.).  This person (loudly and proudly of different preferences, for the lack of proper words) asked me if the jeep was bound for Fairview, and I said no.  Then he asked something else I didn’t quite understand but I figured he’s probably asking about the event (I was wearing the MILO® singlet) so I said we were bound for the MILO® Marathon.  Then he just started acting strange—he kissed my right shoulder!  He acted as if the force of the jeepney breaking was the reason his face landed on my shoulder (landing with his lips?).  I was s-t-u-n-n-e-d!  He didn’t just do that!

Just to set things straight I don’t have anything against gay people and in fact I have a few gay friends (who doesn’t?).  But it’s totally different to be taken advantaged of in public!  O-M-G!  Even men can feel harassed!  He kept saying a lot of things (which I won’t bother list as you might think I’m delusional!) that while were boosting my ego to record levels, were also giving me embarrassment in front of all my co-passengers!  He was saying a lot of things loudly like a crazy fan talking about with his favorite actor (I felt like a Brazilian model being praised by a diehard fan, I mean seriously) and at the same time staring at my face (so I kept looking elsewhere) and touching me in places (thankfully not in “restricted” areas).  He was even cheering “Milo! Milo!” and that his weakness were athletic guys, and so on and so forth.  I was ready anytime to snap and punch this guy and it took all my patience to control myself from doing such (no violence in front of the kids!).  And when the seat across me emptied he had a reason to move in front of me, putting his hand on my right thigh as he transfers (patience, patience!).  That was the longest short trip I ever had!

It was a HUGE relief to finally alight that jeepney at the corner of P. Burgos and Roxas Blvd.  As we got off the jeepney my co-passengers were telling me, “na-tsansingan ka nun ah” (he took advantage of you, eh) and I can only respond with a reflex smile.  What a trip! Could it be a sign of what to expect with the race to come?  (Was it the white shorts that attracted his attention?)


34th National MILO® Marathon: Race Results (Manila Eliminations)

Whoops, there it is! The official results of last Sunday’s MILO® Marathon Manila Eliminations for the 42K, 21K, 10K, 5K, and 3K have been released, courtesy of MILO® Philippines.  To those who finished with integrity, Congratulations!

Update: Click here for the complete list of the official race results

Runner Distribution (42K, 21K, 10K)

Updated Results Statistics:
780 runners crossed the finish line for 42K; 963 for 21K; 1,079 for 10K; a staggering 9,840 for 5K; and 1,471 for 3K (kids) totaling 14,133 runners (based on published race results).

Overall Runner Distribution

* * *

Looking at the race results (42K in particular) I noticed a lot of irregularities—incomplete chip time splits.  This could mean a device failure (only in the middle of the race?) or not passing on the mat sensor (for some anomalous reasons).  If you’re one of those that have these irregularities and you know that you finished your race “with honor” please contact MILO (their Facebook account may be faster) for clarification.  I’m not saying that those who had irregularities cheated but for your name’s sake it’s better to be clear.  You don’t want to be tagged as or associated with cheaters, right?

To those who cheated, you couldn’t have picked a worse place to stage this act—the results aren’t filtered for irregularities so as long as you crossed that Finish Line and claimed to have finished your race your names are listed.  Yes, those shortcuts with skipped mat sensors do reflect in the results but the worst part of it was that your names are publicized for everyone to know!  (That’s why it’s of keen importance to inform MILO for necessary corrections)  Knowing cyberspace, once it’s out, it’s there (practically) forever!

I’m “curious” at the race results of a certain 42K “finisher” who started in the lead pack (2 seconds off between finish and chip times) and is “missing” his 37K split.  He completed his first 15K in 02:04:26 (average pace of 08:17/km or 7.23kph), 26K in 03:47:16 (11K in 01:42:50, average pace of 09:20/km or 6.42kph), and finished the entire 42K in 04:52:34 (chip time, average pace of 06:56/km or 8.65kph for the entire race).  That makes his final 16K in 01:05:18 (average pace of 04:04/km or 14.7kph)!  If you Sir can read this I sure would love to get your side of the story as any person who can maintain a four minute kilometer pace for 16 kilometers (after already running for almost four hours!) is highly competitive (Bald Runner might be looking for you!).

Knowing runners, runners are tolerant with novice runners, slower runners, and even walkers but are most intolerant with cheaters.  I’ve known of an incident like this quite some time ago and it took several marathons for that person to earn back some reputation, but to this date he/she remains to receive exoneration from some runners in the community (forgiven, possibly, but never forgotten).  And this person enjoyed some anonymity; this particular race results don’t share that luxury.  Potential cheaters beware!

Some reputable races ban people who had records of questionable conducts.  For a moment of false glory, would you trade that for your dream race?  It’s a lifetime of shame and regret for praises that were never yours to begin with. I could probably say that I have more respect to that person who finished his 10K in three hours (really?) than that who “finished” his marathon in the same time but actually completed just ¾ of it due to cheating.

I still can’t get over it, 10K in three hours?  Wow!


34th National MILO® Marathon: Acknowledgments

First, I would like to thank our Almighty Father for allowing me to join and finish this race despite my physical handicaps with a “decent” time to boast and negligible injuries.

Second, I would like to personally thank my family for extending their support not just to me and the members of the family but also to the entire running community as a whole during yesterday’s MILO Marathon Manila Eliminations.  Thank you very much guys! I really appreciate all the efforts you gave, and I’m thankful to see familiar and friendly faces along the route.  The banana, boiled egg, liniments, and the cheers really helped me a lot!  MILO did a great support job but you guys made it excellent!

Finally, I would like to thank MILO, the Race Organizer, and the crew behind the 34th National MILO Marathon headed by Mr. Rudy Biscocho for consistently and continuously raising the standards of local races.  This was my third MILO Marathon Manila experience, my first during the 2008 Finals (10K) and last year’s Eliminations as my debut marathon, so I can safely say that MILO Marathon has gone a long way since then!  Thank you MILO for all these innovations!

To my fellow runners, those that worked hard to finish their respective races with integrity (regardless of the distance), be proud of your achievements!  Congratulations!


34th National MILO® Marathon

It was like yesterday when I had my first marathon with the 33rd National MILO® Marathon last year as I remember vividly all the trials and lessons I learned with that wonderful experience of a lifetime.  I remember that it was one of the best races in the country that year outdone only by the MILO® Marathon Finals (which I didn’t qualify for, unfortunately) with the introduction of timing chips.  You haven’t seen a crowd until you see MILO® Marathon’s crowd.  Despite being well attended MILO® Marathon keeps improving itself, and this year a new cause and higher levels of competition are being introduced.

This year MILO® continues to up the ante by introducing a more competitive age group qualifying time.  Previously there were only two sets of qualifying time, one for men and the other for women, regardless of age.  Here are the new qualifying rules:

For the 21K provincial elimination races to qualify for the National Finals competing in 42.195K:

  • Male finishing the race within 1:15:00 and female within 1:35:00 will qualify for an all-expense paid round trip to Manila; or
  • Runners finishing the race within the specified age-bracket and time (all expenses to be covered by the qualifier):
    Age Group Men Women
    18-34 1:30:00 1:40:00
    35-39 1:35:00 1:45:00
    40-44 1:40:00 1:50:00
    45-49 1:45:00 1:55:00
    50-54 1:50:00 2:00:00
    55-59 2:00:00 2:10:00
    60-64 2:10:00 2:20:00
    65-69 2:20:00 2:25:00
    70 & up 2:30:00 2:30:00

For the 42K Metro Manila elimination race, all runners finishing the race within the specified age-bracket and time (all expenses to be covered by the qualifier):

Age Group Men Women
18-34 3:45:00 4:20:00
35-39 3:50:00 4:25:00
40-44 3:55:00 4:30:00
45-49 4:00:00 4:35:00
50-54 4:05:00 4:40:00
55-59 4:10:00 4:45:00
60-64 4:15:00 4:50:00
65-69 4:20:00 4:55:00
70 & up 5:30:00 5:30:00

The number of registration sites has also improved.  Aside from the familiar Ground Floor of Vasquez Madrigal Plaza in Annapolis St., San Juan, Runnr (Bonifacio High Street), and Toby’s (The Block, SM North EDSA; Greenhills; Park Square I) joined the list of registration sites for the Manila Eliminations.  Here’s the complete list of registration sites for the nationwide events.

MILO® Marathon Singlets

As usual one (1) MILO® label (minimum of 300g) must accompany each accomplished and signed Official Entry Form.  Here are the new entry fees:

Provincial Races

  • 21K Half Marathon Elimination Race – P500
  • 10K Run – P500
  • 5K Fun Run – P50
  • 3K Kiddie Run – P50

Metro Manila Races

  • 42.195K Elimination Race – P500
  • 21K Run – P 500
  • 10K Run – P 500
  • 5K Fun Run – P100
  • Student Runners (3K & 5K) – P50

Since its first run in 1974, the National MILO® Marathon is the country’s longest running and most attended running event.  Its nationwide coverage allows “grassroots” talents to be discovered from all around the country from all sectors of society.  If we adults enjoy running for personal reasons, we could only imagine how much joy it brings to children. Joining many races I’ve seen some really talented kids outrunning adults but unfortunately some of these talents don’t have the support they need—some of them don’t even have shoes to wear!  These kids may one day win us that elusive Olympic gold medal, but that vision will remain a dream if we don’t help them now.

“The root of this advocacy lies in our belief that we’re not just giving these children running shoes.  We’re giving them something that they can wear to school, for sports and other activities.  It’s definitely a step to help them reach their true potential and be the best that they can be.”

MILO® realized this potential and as such a portion of each participant’s registration fee (P5 to be exact) will be donated to the Run-For-A-Cause which in return, MILO® will donate an equivalent amount to the total fund raised.  The money collected from all the participants will be used to produce running shoes that will be donated to selected public schools in the areas where the 2010 MILO® Marathon will be held.  Here are the complete details of the cause.

The Manila Eliminations is on July 04, 2010 and the National Finals is on December 12, 2010, both starting at Km 0, Roxas Blvd., Luneta Park, Manila.  Here’s the complete race schedules nationwide.

Race routes (click to zoom)

For more information about the 34th National MILO® Marathon visit the official website at


2009 Favorite Running Moments: In Pictures

Running has taken me to places I never imagined I’ll go to and for my first full year of running the year broke all previous records not only in terms of distance covered, and pictures taken!  2009 toll: about 20 gigabytes worth of pictures and videos, around 11,500 files.  Among these, here are some of my favorites:


Transition: from Bench Pedometer watch to Garmin Forerunner 405

TNF Thrill of the Trail: my first trail run and magazine appearance, Side Trip Magazine April-June 2009 edition

Happy Run: First 15K



LSD with

First winter run (Ohio, USA)


Condura Run: First 21K


Trail run at Montalban with

May goes climbing to Mt. Maculot

TNF100: First ultramarathon (100K)


Debut climb of the RunHikers at Pico de Loro

Back on trails with Men’s Health All Terrain

Back at ultra via Botak100 (as a pacer)


First Marathon via Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations


Repeat of Manila-Tagaytay ultramarathon long run (56K)

Ninoy Aquino Day Run


Mommy Milkshake


Reaching out through Angel Brigade

Pacer duty at QCIM

First sundown marathon via SIM


Chillax pacing during Timex Run

Running in Ilocos


Running in Singapore

2009 was a splendid year indeed for me, and hopefully yours as well.  Let us make 2010 a better year for everyone and be the change we want to be.  Happy New Year everyone!

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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
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