Sermona, Martes rule Milo Marathon season opener

By Ivan Saldajeno

LOS BAÑOS--Veteran runner Julius Sermona ran the fastest among 12,000 competitors in the first Milo Marathon race for 2017 in Urdaneta on Sunday.

Despite his military work standing in his way as far as race training is concerned, the Air Force soldier finished the 21-kilometer half-marathon in one hour, 15 minutes, and 31 seconds, a little under two minutes faster than second placer Hernani Sore (1:17:21).

“The first few kilometers have not been easy for me... but I just kept my head in the game which eventually helped me sprint faster in the last eight kilometers,” said Sermona

Romulo Ballnas finished third after clocking in at one hour, 20 minutes, and 45 seconds.

Meanwhile, former SEA Games athlete Christabel Martes blew by everyone to win the women's division with the time of one hour, 23 minutes, and 45 seconds.

Showing that she can still pull it off, Martes' winning time is way faster than that of runner-up Rowena Valdez, who entered the finish line at one hour, 47 minutes, and 12 seconds.

“I just stayed at my own pace,” Martes said. “I am very pleased with the route and it helped me stayed in the lead from start to finish.”

Quipsie Milagros came in third at one hour, 54 minutes, and 10 seconds.

The podium finishers qualified for the 42-kilometer national finals in Cebu on Dec. 3, while Sermona and Martes each got PHP10,000 for winning their respective divisions.

The Milo Marathon will go further north to Laoag next Sunday.

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