It’s a big year for the Milo Marathon. Now in its 38th year, it promises to be a great party on the road for those who love running (yours truly included).
The biggest news for me is the adjustment of the marathon finals qualifying times. Back in 2010 when I qualified for the Milo Marathon finals, I had no other choice but to run a full marathon in 4 hours 20 minutes or less during the Manila eliminations. The half-marathon time that would have qualified me for the final was about 10 minutes faster than my PR back then.
That year, 2010, was the first year Milo implemented a staggered qualifying times system, cut-offs for which were more lenient for older age brackets. That was the beginning of a study that culminated in this year’s adjustment, which makes qualifying with a half-marathon more possible. I’m not saying it’s easy! It’s just tantalizingly within the reach of many good runners, with just a little extra training push. I know my male friends who were discouraged by the previous qualifying time now believe they can run the fastest half-marathon of their lives and get to the Holy Grail, the Milo finals.
They’ve also started requiring medical certificates to run the half-marathon and the marathon. I know in the past it was implied in the race rules that you had to get your physician’s go-signal, but now they’ve formalized it. I think this was because also in 2010, a runner died during his Milo half-marathon when he pushed himself to the point of heatstroke. There was a huge ruckus involved that I don’t want to get into explaining right now, but it’s certainly made our local race organizers want to cover all bases.
(I think it’s a good thing that runners do see their doctors for the go-signal; I see way too many people pushing themselves too far, too fast, even disregarding the warning signs of injury and illness. They end up spending way more on medical bills post-injury and illness than if they had gone to see the doctor for a medical certificate and been told not to run.)
ASICS has also come in as a sponsor for the Milo Marathon (past partners include Brooks and Reebok), which ties in quite nicely with the prize for the Milo Marathon king and queen. ASICS also sponsors the Tokyo Marathon, which is where the Filipino winners of the Milo finals will be taken to run against the world’s best. I couldn’t dream of ever achieving that, but I’m thrilled that our country’s elite will get that valuable international racing experience.
Here are a few handy links to learn more about the 38th Milo Marathon:
One of the things I really love about Milo is how it’s helped support sports in the Philippines. I grew up on those Milo commercials of gymnast Bea Lucero training for her Olympic dream, and every summer the boys I went to school with would attend Milo BEST basketball camps.
This is Milo’s 50th year and to coincide with the launch of the 38th Milo Marathon they’ve also come out with the One Child, One Sport program in cooperation with the Department of Education. It aims to encourage children to get into an active and healthy lifestyle through sports and physical education. Did you know that aside from the physical benefits of engaging in sports, there are mental benefits as well? Engaging in sports helps children focus better when it comes to classroom activities. It also teaches them life values they’ll carry with them into adulthood.
Milo and DepEd will implement One Child, One Sport in ongoing and new sports programs in public schools across the country, aiming to engage 15 million schoolchildren aged 7 years old and above by 2017. (Read more about One Child, One Sport.) The National Milo Marathon is part of the program, with its short-distance student race categories and the ongoing Help Give Shoes advocacy.
This year, the Help Give Shoes advocacy will donate shoes to children affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
Although I wouldn’t necessarily classify Milo as a health drink, I enjoy it for recovery especially after my tough and long training sessions. (And it just tastes good.) But I’m glad that they do positive things for the country and the sport. Here’s to more Milo Marathons — let’s build a nation of champions!