VETERANS RUBEN SAMUYA and Bernardita Mag-Aso took advantage of their mastery of the flat course to rule the Palawan leg of the 34th National Milo Marathon in Puerto Princesa City.
Despite the wet roads, the 38-year-old farmer, Samuya crossed the finish line all alone in 1:13:56 to secure his fifth Milo leg crown and earned a spot at the National Finals in Manila on December 12.
Samuya carefully paced with the lead pack until the midway turning point before unleashing his full might to pocket the P10,000 top prize.
Norlan Warizal settled for second with a time of 1:15:00 while Marco Laipan finished third with a time of 1:15:43, which was just enough to meet the 1:15:00 standard qualifying time for the Finals.
“I am happy that I was able to qualify for the Manila race this year. It will be challenging to run against the Kenyans and place in the marathon, but I will just prepare with the help of my winnings,” said the Palawan-native Samuya, whose best finish in the Finals was 12th in 2008.
The 24-year-old Mag-Aso, a library science graduate at the University of Sto. Tomas, posted a time of 1:34:27 to reign in the distaff side and passed the 1:35:00 Finals qualifying mark for the women’s category.
Mag-Aso, who dominated the women’s competition of the leg since 2008, was followed by former RP team mainstay Enate Sayrol, who came up with 1:42:18, while Maricris Laipan was a distant third with a clocking of 2:08:48.
A total of 5,469 running enthusiasts answered the starting gun fired by Mayor Edward Hagedorn at 5 a.m.
Top officials of Nestle Philippines led by Pat Goc-Ong, Sports Events Executive, donated 120 pairs of shoes to the San Pedro Elementary Central School students in Puerto Princesa as part of their sports advocacy.
The previous regional race legs have raised 2,920 pairs of shoes donated to children in various pars of the country.
Among those who have already made it to the National Finals were defending champion Crescenciano Sabal, RP team member Eduardo Buenavista, Kenyan Abraham Missos, Luisa Raterta, Jhoann Banayag and Brian Lupio.