National MILO Marathon proves that champions can come from anywhere

December 21, 2017 - 5:23 PM
Cebuana Olympian Mary Joy Tabal is the first woman to win the National MILO Marathon five times in a row.

For its 41st year, the National MILO Marathon continues to inspire champion runners from all walks of life. 2017 saw the addition of two new areas to the now 16-leg tourney: Laoag and Roxas cities.

The series started in Urdaneta on July 16, continuing in Laoag (July 23), Metro Manila (July 30), Angeles (August 6), Tarlac (August 13), Naga (August 27), Lucena (September 03), Lipa (September 10), Tagbilaran (September 24), Roxas (October 1), Iloilo (October 8), General Santos (October 15), Davao (October 22), Butuan (November 12), and Cagayan De Oro (November 19). The recently concluded National Finals in Cebu City took place on December 3.

The National MILO Marathon kicks off.

Besides debuting new cities, MILO also unveiled the new Age Group Category in the 21K and 42K distance races. The new category encouraged participants to track and compare their results with other runners in similar age groups, thereby motivating each other towards surpassing their individual goals. Thus “Magsama-sama, Tumakbo, Matuto” was this season’s theme, driven by values like discipline, resilience, and determination; values perfectly embodied by champions Mary Joy Tabal and Joerge Andrade.

Cebuana Olympian Tabal became the first woman to win the National MILO Marathon five times in a row, while Davaoeño salesman and self-trained runner Andrade won his very first MILO Marathon King title. This was Andrade’s first time to join the MILO Marathon National Finals, and only his second time competing in the 42K category, running alongside—and eventually, past—his veteran idols and heroes in the running community.

“We couldn’t help but be inspired knowing that we have a new marathon king and a first-timer at that. Joy (Tabal) was once like him (Andrade) and he has what it takes to be a champion,” said MILO Sports Executive Robbie De Vera. Both Tabal and Andrade will be sent by MILO on all expense-paid trips to participate in an international marathon next year.

Firm in the belief that champions can come from anywhere, the National MILO Marathon’s Help Give Shoes advocacy, in partnership with Department of Education, has donated 5,000 pairs to underprivileged school children this year—having already inspired 70,000 aspiring athletes since the advocacy started in 2010; setting the stage for more champions like Tabal and Andrade to come forward in the years ahead.