Dagupan, Philippines, 28 June 2015 – The first race of the 39th National MILO Marathon set the stage for the season as over 11,000 runners excitedly raced to the finish line in Dagupan, Pangasinan. Leading the pack were former MILO Marathon queen Christabel Martes, and first-time 21K winner Cesar Castañeto.

Martes and Castañeto each took home the top purse of P10,000 in cash and a trophy. Both had also booked their slots to the National Finals in Angeles on December 6, where they will meet the nation’s elite runners in a heated grand finale to claim the MILO Marathon King and Queen titles. To provide another level of prestige to the competition and incentive for the runners, this year’s King and Queen will be sent by MILO to the USA on all-expense paid trips, for a chance to run in the prestigious 2016 Boston Marathon.

26-year-old Castañeto clocked in at 01:13:11, besting hundreds of runners in the men’s 21K division. In the distaff side, 35-year-old Martes ruled with a time of 01:26:46. Javier Robeno (01:18:13) and Reynaldo Pascua (01:18:26) completed the top 3 male 21K finishers, while in the female 21K division, Lany Cardona (01:30:14) and Roselle Duldulao (01:59:25) finished second and third place, respectively.

Other notable winners are the Philippine Military Academy Running Team, who won the Fastest Delegation award, and the Umingan National High School, who won the Fastest School competition in Dagupan for the ninth consecutive time, showing that champions keep running in the National MILO Marathon.

Virginio Padilla, trainer of Umingan National High School’s student athletes, shares that his students first joined the National MILO Marathon in 2008. Even if their school does not have a track oval, Padilla encourages his students and coaches them after classes, on the public roads. Padilla also trains his students for the MILO Little Olympics. “I am truly proud of my students who have come a long way. Before, we had to find old running shoes for them so they can run and play sports. MILO was able to give them new running shoes, which have inspired them to continue their training and pursue their dreams,” says Padilla. “Sports have improved my students’ character and self-belief, as well as their outlook in life and academics. I always remind them that although their sports have given a lot to them, such as scholarships and other great opportunities, they must always value and prioritize their academic life.”