by Mark Mañez
Pasay City - Returning Marathon king Jason Agravante and newly-minted queen Christine Hallasgo broke past thousands of runners as they rule the 42nd National Milo Marathon - Metro Manila qualifiers held at the Mall of Asia grounds, Sunday.
Agravante, the 42.195 kilometer king of 2012, clocked in at 2 hours, 35 minutes and 10 seconds to rule the men's division. Malaybalay City, Bukidnon native Hallasgo, meanwhile, checked in with a 3 hour, 5 minute 17 second clocking to rule the women's side.
Both Agravante and Hallasgo also locked their slots to the December 9 National Finals in Laoag City, in addition to their Php 50,000 prize and trophy.
Following Agravante and Hallasgo in the podium are Erick Paniqui (2:42:41) and Bryan Quinco (2:43:59) in the men's side, while Jho-an Villarma (3:14:28) and Cinderella Lorenzo (3:17:46) trail behind the new women's 42k champion. They all take home slots to the National Finals aside from the Php 30,000 and 20,000 cash prizes and trophies respectively.
Nearly 28,000 runners participated in this year's Metro Manila leg, alongside the resiliency and powerful tenacity unleashed by the participants. Majority of the total number of runners vied for the shorter 5 kilometer race, which attracted 18,000 runners and media people.
"One of the reasons why PATAFA has committed to ensuring the Milo Marathon king and queen will represent the SEA Games next year is that ang dami na sumasali, ang ganda ng execution, naniniwala sila na yung mga mananalo dito are the best in the Philippines," said Lester Castillo, Milo Sports Executive Director.
Richard Solano (1:08:46) and Nhea Ann Barcena (1:31:02) ruled the 21-kilometer half marathon co-main run. They took home Php 10,000 and trophy respectively.
Showbiz personalities also made their appearance in the Metro Manila qualifiers including Matanglawin host Kim Atienza (21k half-marathon) and Solenn Heussaff (10k). The latter eventually finished at 10th with a 55:56 clocking.
In the Cheerleading side event, University of Caloocan City ran away with the championship as they executed their jaw-dropping flips and stunts in the Collegiate category sponsored by Milo Nutri-Up. Signal Village National High School and Antonio Regidor Elementary School also took home the championship in both high school and grade school categories, respectively
All champions took home Php 10,000 worth of sports equipment and plaque respectively for their schools.
Karuhatan National High School, Valenzuela National High School and Fort Bonifacio High School brought home the biggest delegations in the leg. They all took home cash prizes and plaques respectively.
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