While eyes were on top up and coming runner local runner to rule the Saleng Fun Run premiere 10 kilometer run last Sunday, a steeplechase athlete who came to Baguio right after midnight, sneaked in and stole the thunder, literally, like a thief in the night.
Junel Gabotia arrived past midnight from Manila with Hussein Lorana, Chaichai Lusanta and Edgar Lee, Jr. and spent the rest of the night at the Melvin Jones awaiting the start of the race slated at 5AM.
“We really had no money and it was our last. It was a one-way ticket for us,” said the 3,000 meter steeplechase runner who saw action in the Hanoi, Vietnam Southeast Asian Games. His second, but unproductive, SEAG.
“And it paid off,” he added as his companions also had podium finishes. Lusanta ruled the 5K run for women, while Lorana came in second in the 5K men, while Lee topped the 3K run.
And they almost missed on one after Lusanta was apparently left out in the women’s 5K.
“I saw her arrive at the finish line all alone,” testified Lorana during the verification process as the award was about to handed to Charlene Patayan.
It turned out that Patayan did not run and instead was replaced by her brother, prompting race director James Tellias to declare Lusanta the winner of the race.
Gabotia arrived at the finish line all by himself, the first to do so and one minute on local bet Rey Mark Quezada and the “mayor” Andrico Mahilo, who was cheere don by the runner and his lean frame and balding head gives him a striking resemblance to mayor Benjamin Magalong.
In the women’s 10K run, Mount Kilimanjaro conquistador Christabelle Martes checked in virtually unchallenged to cash in the PhP5,000 top purse.
Martes joined 2019 Southeast Asian Games obstacle course race gold medal winner Sandi Menchi Abahan in the race at the Africa’s highest peak and was runner-up to the latter in vertical run but lost her way in the other two categories and did not finish.
But on Sunday during the celebration of the World Environment’s Day, the former two time SEAG marathon queen was her usual self as she dominated the race.
Ethel Glaomo came in second followed by Jennefer Mostrales.
In the 5K men, Louie Agawa ruled them all as Lorana and Muhammad Managi came in second and third, respectively.
Finishing second in the 5K women is Charlene Bayo and Julie Galinato at third.
In the 3K race, Andy Mingao and Zak Gumaya finished second and third, respectively.
The fun run saw 446 runners who only had five days prior the race to enlist, while another17 joined in the few hours before the gun was fired at 5:20AM for the longest run. The last batch included the winners in the 10k races – Gabotia and Martes.
Of the 446 runners, 108 saw action in the shortest run, 182 in the 5K run, 156 in the 10K and 109 in the 3K. Entry fee were PhP150 for the shorter races and PhP200 for the longer run. Pigeon Lobien
WINNERS. Former Southeast Asian Games marathon queen Christabelle Martes crosses the finish line of the 10K run, the first female to do so, to win the women’s side of the event ruled by Junly Gabotia, a Philippine athletic team member who ran in the 5,000 meter steeplechase event of the SEAG in Hanoi, Vietnam last month. Pigeon Lobien