Philippine Air Force bet Anthony Nerza crossed the finish line almost four minutes ahead of his closest pursuer to rule the 42K men's division of the 2019 National Milo Marathon Manila leg on Sunday at the MOA Grounds.
Nerza, who started participating in the annual marathon event in 2010, shook off runner-up Richeel Languido in the last four-kilometer mark to bag the top podium with a 2:32:50 clocking.
"Sa last four kilometers parang nag-lie low siya sa akin sa likod ko. Pero itinuloy ko pa rin kahit na medyo pagod na hanggang sa finish line," said the Airman 2nd class. "Hanggang sa last four kilometers tiniis ko na kahit masakit na ang paa ko."
Nerza bagged a hefty P50,000 prize money and will try his luck next in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in November.
Languido finished with a time of 2:36:43 while Jeson Agravante occupied the third spot with 2:38:48 in the leg participated by a total of 28,559 competitive runners and running enthusiasts in the 42K, 21K, 10K, 5K and 3K divisions.
Meanwhile, Christine Hallasgo defended her crown for a back-to-back women's full marathon conquest.
Hallasgo clocked 3:06:28 ahead of April Rose Diaz (3:15:05) and Maricar Camacho (3:26:03).
Richard Salaño ruled the men's half-marathon contest with a 1:11:29 finish to beat Sonny Wagdos (1:14:10) and James Kevin Cruz (1:15:41).
The women's 21K champion was Nhea Ann Barcena (1:34:52) followed by Cindy Lorenzo (1:37:44) and Kristy Anne Abello (1:49:04).
In the 10K division, Jackson Chirchir logged in a time of 33:35 to claim the men's throne with Imuel Camino (34:57) and Mattew Sigei (35:20) finishing second and third, respectively.
Joida Gagnao reigned supreme in women's play with a time of 41:50 ahead of Jocelyn Elijeran (43:25) and Treshia Adolfo (46:35).
Winners in the 5K men's were Vincent dela Cruz (15:33), Jonathan Pulido (16:17) and Kipngeno Mutei (16:21) while the podium finishers in the women's side were Joneza Sustituedo (19:52), Maria Jonna Abutas (20:41) and Jessa Sustituedo (20:51).
The 3K winners were Mark Belista (10:00), Rowin Ongcal (11:05) and Rean Villaluna (11:16) in the men's division while the women's top finishers were Aubrey Tom (12:09), Aubrey Mata (14:00) and Franchesca Mendoza (14:01).
The next leg is on August 18 in Lingayen, Pangasinan while the national final is in January 2020.