Cebu’s top runners gear up for Milo

FOR the past years, Cebu has had a share of the spotlight in the Milo Marathon National Finals thanks to the sixth straight year dominance of diminutive runner Mary Joy Tabal.

The marathoners from the Queen City of the South would love to continue that winning tradition as they left Cebu, even missing one of the city’s biggest celebrations—the Sinulog Festival—to compete in the national finals on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020 in Tarlac City.

As usual, the 30-year-old Tabal will be the top prospect from Cebu as she guns for her seventh straight crown in the women’s 42-kilometer race. But there will be more firepower aside from Tabal as Cebu will also be counting on elite runners Ruffa Sorongon, Lizane Abella and Evamie Villarin in the women’s race.

Tabal is coming off a silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games about a month ago in New Clark City, while Sorongon is fresh from a win in the Cebu Marathon on Jan. 12 at the Cebu Business Park. Villarin and Abella were the runners-up of Sorongon in the Cebu Marathon.

“We’ll just focus on my goal. My training did not stop after the SEA Games. I just had a couple of days off to recover then I’m back on my training for the Milo Marathon,” Tabal earlier said.

Interestingly, Sorongon has shown improvements in her performance in the Milo Marathon’s culminating race over the years. From 16th place in her first national finals, she climbed to a ninth-place finish the next year. She finished fifth in 2017 and improved to fourth place in 2018.

This year’s national finals is the 2019 edition since the organizers moved the race from December 2019 to January 2020 to give way for the country’s hosting of the SEA Games on Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

The women’s division will also feature the reigning SEA Games gold medalists Christine Hallasgo, and Christabel Martes.

For the men’s side, Cebu will have Prince Joey Lee, Jonel Emia, Ruel Algufera, Don Zabala and the 2020 Cebu Marathon champion Azlan Pagay. Emia finished within the Top 10 in the last edition and he’s hoping to do the same this year. (RSC)