RAFAEL Poliquit retained the title as King while Mary Joy Tabal emerged as the new Queen at the conclusion of the 38th National Milo Marathon finals at the SM Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City on Saturday.
The 25-year-old Tabal of Talamban, Cebu City was the best Filipina finisher with a time of 2:51:52. She managed only second in the Open division but her feat prevented an all-foreigner triumph as winner Rose Nyangacha of Kenya registered 2:47:27 while Immaculate Chemutai of Uganda finished third with a time record of 2:52:44.
For her victory, Tabal brought home a cash prize of P250,000 and a chance to represent the country in Los Angeles, USA International Marathon in March 2015. However, Milo Sports executive Andrew Neri said that her participation in the US race has yet to be confirmed.
Nyangacha earned P300,000 and a trophy while Chemutai bagged P200,000 in the premier 42.195-kilometer race.
“I was not satisfied with my time today. If it was only push through last week, I could have done much better. Last week, I was already in peak form but now I’m a little bit slower, maybe also because the usual route was changed,” said Tabal, a 17th finisher in the female category of the 2014 Paris International Open in March.
Not to be outdone, the 25-year-old Poliquit of Tagum, Davao del Norte bested last year’s champion Eduardo Buenavista in the last 10 kilometers to become the best Filipino finisher with a time of 2:32:26. He won a P150,000 prize. Buenavista, a former three-time titlist and record holder of the event finished second in the local division with a time record of 2:34:17 followed by Erineo Raquin with 2:35:48. Buenavista and Raquin won P100,000 and P75,000 respectively.
The men’s Open division was an all-Kenyan show with James Tallam finishing first with 2:21:06. He took home the P300,000 top purse. Josphat Kiptanui finished second (2:21:28) and won P250,000 and Joel Kiplimo Kemboi third (2:21:29) for P200,000.
“This is the first time I won over Eduardo Buenavista in the 42-kilometer race. I was not really expected to win this competition because our top runners are all here. So, what I did was just to make a split-time tactics and that is to time 1:21:00 in the first 21 kilometers and another 1:21:00 in the next 21 kilometers,” said Poliquit, who won the Milo national Finals for the first time.
Former champions Christabel Martes, Mary Grace de los Santos and Jhoan Banayag finished first, second and third respectively in the women’s local category.