November 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Commitment continues for the National Milo Marathon

ENTERED its new decade of “energizing and inspiring champions,” the National Milo Marathon remains committed to what it has started and continues to evolve to adapt to the calls of the time.

Now on its 41st year, proponents of the country’s most accessible national race, and arguably the biggest, have taken the theme “Magsama-sama, Tumakbo, Matuto” to highlight values such as discipline, resilience, and determination which runners can take with them in their journey in life.

It is in line with Milo’s push of nourishing ambitions, especially the children, and using sports as a metaphor for life. This is apart from the marathon as its way of contributing to the development of grassroots sports in the country.

“We are committed to support grassroots sports programs entering a new decade of the Milo Marathon. We have a lot of programs like the Milo Little Olympics and Milo Sports Clinics but the Milo Marathon is at the heart of everything because it’s the biggest and reaches more Filipinos,” said Robbie de Vera, Milo Sports Executive, in an interview with BusinessWorld during the launch of Milo Marathon’s 41st season last Thursday at the I’M Hotel in Makati City.

“So that is why we went to a theme of values [this year] because we are cognizant that if you let your kids go into sports they will learn values that they can use in life. We use the marathon as an angle to communicate that to more people and when we do that, what we want to achieve goes beyond the leg races,” he added as he reiterated and discussed the thrust of Milo Marathon all this time.

Having four decades of successful national marathon staging under their belt, Mr. De Vera said that they at Milo are happy and proud of what they have accomplished to date.

He pointed to partnerships they have had throughout the years, the standards they have set, and their willingness to improve as keys to what the National Milo Marathon has become.

“First off we cannot mount this event without the support of our partners like the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association and the local government units. And when we say Milo there is a cognition that this is for the kids and we have gotten that because of the commitment and consistency that we have set. And because of that we are welcomed with open arms. We are seen not as a one-off or a marketing ploy. We are really here to build more champions for the country,” Mr. De Vera said.

“We continue to look for avenues for improvement. If you’ve noticed Milo Marathon has continued to lead in terms of new development. If you would recall we were the ones to require medical certificates, we were the ones to recognize the local runners, and this year we have additions to inspire more runners,” he added.

For this year’s marathon, which incidentally kicked off yesterday in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, two new areas, Laoag and Roxas cities, have been added in the 16-leg tournament.

The additional locations, Milo said, are to provide runners with new and exciting challenges.

To encourage runners to celebrate their victories, Milo is also debuting the new Age Group Category in the National Finals in Cebu in December so as participants can gauge their performance with other runners in similar age groups. This feature is intended to motivate runners to reach their personal goals and attract more contenders to the higher categories.

After the pilot race in Urdaneta yesterday, successive legs will go to Laoag (July 23), Metro Manila (July 30), Angeles (Aug. 6), Tarlac (Aug. 13), Naga (Aug. 27), Lucena (Sept. 3), Lipa (Sept. 10), Tagbilaran (Sept. 24), Roxas (Oct. 1), Iloilo (Oct. 8), General Santos (Oct. 15), Davao (Oct. 22), Butuan (Nov. 12) and Cagayan de Oro (Nov. 19). The finals is in Cebu on (Dec. 3).

This year’s King and Queen of the marathon will be sent to an international competition, possibly the Tokyo Marathon, organizers said.

“The Milo Marathon has always been known as a world-class running event and it will continue to be as such moving forward. We are committed to this and firmly behind what it stands for,” Mr. De Vera said. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo