Comendador, Ramirez humble rivals in 39th National MILO Marathon Tagbilaran race

Emmanuel Comendador and Mereeis Ramirez proved that the rains were not much of a challenge as they clinched the top spots of the 21K centerpiece event of the 39th National MILO Marathon Tagbilaran leg on Sunday. About 6,400 runners graced the capital city of Bohol and shared their love and passion for running.

Comendador is no stranger to winning in his home city. He recorded back-to-back wins in 2013 and 2014. This year, the 26-year-old Boholano nabbed his third straight win with a time of 01:15:24, beating Chobie Dueñas (01:22:10) who placed second, and Candelario Logroño (01:22:12) who finished third.

In the distaff side, Ramirez, a 36-year-old full time runner from Dumaguete, triumphed with a time of 01:44:57. Contenders Mary Jane Balazuela (01:51:41) and Rhodora Oporto (01:55:50) were relegated in second and third place, respectively. Ramirez is also a consistent winner in the MILO Marathon. Her most notable wins are first place in Dumaguete in 2013, and second place in Bacolod in 2014.

Both Comendador and Ramirez encountered some roadblocks early on in their training. Comendador was only able to train twice a week due to his busy schedule as a graduating Marine Engineering student of the Philippine Military Institute of Bohol. Meanwhile, Ramirez had to take care of her sick four-year-old daughter and was unable to focus well in her preparations.

During the race, the two were also faced with tests. "I felt cramps in the last 5K of the race, shared Ramirez. "I had to stop and stretch because of the pain, but thankfully I was able to get over it and I pushed on to win.” Comendador, on the other hand, got a stomachache at the 11K mark. “My stomach reacted because it suddenly rained. I also felt exhausted due to the lack of training,” shared Comendador. “I’m graduating this month, so I will have more time and focus for training. I will persevere to do well to achieve a top 10 finish in the finals.

Comendador and Ramirez each took home the top prize of P10,000 in cash and a trophy; and earned their slots to the National MILO Marathon Finals. The finals will be held 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.

The National MILO Marathon is not only a breeding ground for local talents but also a program that empowers underserved children nationwide. With the support of the Department of Education and the National MILO Marathon runners, MILO’s Help Gives Shoes advocacy will provide 10,000 underprivileged youth with brand new running shoes this year. MILO is working with DepEd in the selection of deserving public school student beneficiaries.

The race will resume in Cebu (October 11), before heading to General Santos (October 18), Davao (November 8), Butuan (November 15), and Cagayan De Oro (November 22). The National Finals will be held on December 6 in Angeles, Pampanga.

The 39th National MILO Marathon is made possible by Timex, the Bayview Park Hotel Manila, ASICS and Smart, along with endorsements from the Department of Education, Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

For more information on MILO Philippines, log on to the official website ( or the MILO Philippines Facebook page ( Follow MILO on Twitter (@MiloPH) and Instagram (@MiloPhilippines).

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