Postrado, Payong rule Milo Marathon Naga leg

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EUGENE Postrado took top honors in the men’s 21K division yesterday to lead the qualifiers from Naga City in Camarines Sur to the National Finals of the 37th National Milo Marathon.

Competing in ideal conditions, the 34-year-old Postrado, also a multititled trail runner, crossed the finish line in one hour 16 minutes and eight seconds, towing a 20-man cast that qualified for the December National Finals in Manila.

Martin Balaybo (1:18:12) and Marino Jr. Lagyap (1:18:36) wound up second and third, respectively in the centerpiece race of the event that lured 6,601 runners.

Gemma Payong topped the women’s race, but her 1:48:53 clocking failed to meet the qualifying time for the National Finals. Still, Payong, who has four children, finished way ahead of Melissa Missy Hilario (1:55:43) and Ma. Jean Benito (2:05:53).

It marked only the second time that Postrado, the 2012 all-Filipino category winner of the 10K Mayon Trail Run and the second runner-up in another 21K trail run recently, qualified for the national finals in his 16 years in the regional competition.

“Qualifying for the finals is a huge accomplishment,” said Postrado. “I will continue to train hard and focus on my training regimen.”

As part of Milo’s advocacy in line with the race, 500 pairs of shoes were delivered to beneficiary schools in Naga, including San Jose High School, Central Bicol State University of Agriculture High School, Tinawagan Elementary School, Tigaon National High School and Bonbon Central School.

Another qualifying race will be held in San Pablo on July 21 before the race swings to Manila (July 28), Iloilo (Aug. 4), Dumaguete (Aug. 11), Tagbilaran (Sept. 15), Cebu (Sept. 22), Cagayan de Oro (Sept. 29) and Butuan (Oct. 6). Cedelf P. Tupas

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