December 8 saw the running of the 37th National Milo Marathon Finals in the national capital of our country.
This is an elite event where only those that hit the qualifying times in several Milo elimination races in the Philippine archipelago (Puerto Princesa, Lipa, Naga, San Pablo, Iloilo, General Santos, Baguio, Dagupan, Tarlac, Angeles, Manila, Dumaguete, Tagbilaran, Butuan, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao) get to run the full marathon. We can safely say that after decades of Milo Marathon running, this is the Philippine version of the Boston Marathon.
This year, there were 367 finishers of the National Milo Marathon Finals (http://ww1.nestle.com.ph/milo/marathon/pdf/milo_marathon_2013_results_manilafinals_overall_42k.pdf) and the Bicolano Penguin is happy of the fact that 3 participants of the Lake Bato Ultra are part of this exclusive list:
31st Place Marino Lagyap, Jr. (3 hours & 4 mins)
104th Place Bob Castilla (3 hours & 31 mins)
321st Place Joji Asis (4 hour & 39 mins)
The 83nean runners are specially proud of this running feat of Bob. This is his 3rd year of running the National Milo Marathon Finals and each time he records an improvement. From 4 hours & 6 mins in 2011 to 3 hours & 56 mins in 2012, and now to this new personal best. Not bad for a guy who just started long distance running three years ago. Starting with his first full marathon, the 2010 Cam Sur International Marathon where he logged a time of 5 hours & 19 mins, he has conquered 13 more. Not to mention a dozen more ultras. He is Exhibit A on the virtues of perseverance and hard work.
What could be his marathon target in the future? Bob is the silent type and it would be hard to have him verbalize this. But looking at his 2013 Milo Marathon time, this is just 6 minutes short of the qualifying time of the 2015 Boston Marathon in the 45-49 age group (http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/qualifying/qualifying-standards.aspx). Bob certainly has the chance to qualify for the most prestigious marathon in the world in the near future.
|Recovery run by Bob a week after the Milo Marathon|
To quote the executive in charge of the Milo Marathon, Andrew Neri:
"We have reached the end of our 37th season, but the records broken today bear new beginnings for the local athletic community. The track has raised extraordinary characters who will bring gold and glory to our home soil not only in 2014 but in the years to come. As we usher in MILO’s 50th year in the Philippines, we are looking forward to inspiring more athletes, most especially the youth, to run towards their dreams and aspirations."
Certainly, Bob can dream and inspire. Athlete or no athlete. Youth or no youth. This is one extraordinary dude.