FILIPINO runners continued to make their presence felt and bring honors to the country in major international marathon competitions all over the world.
Filipino marathon champion Lorenzo Castro Jr. achieved a personal milestone by finIshing 18th overall in the 39th edition of the International Firenze Marathon, more popularly known as Florence Marathon, in Florence, Italy last Nov. 26.
The Florence, Italy-based Castro submitted a personal best time of 2:33.47 in the prestigious 42 kilometers and 195 meters race which started and ended at the world-famous Piazza Duomo.
“Ok lang ang course. Pero ang hirap ng training kasi malamig,” said Castro after finishing 18th overall in the men’s division of the event topped by Said El Otmani of Italy in 2:13: 39.
Castro , however, emerged as the top Filipino performer among the thousands of runners who joined the event, which is one of the most important Italian marathons.
He also finished second in his age category.
Edward Kipleting of Kenya came in second with a time of 2:13:50, while Hillary Biwott also of Kenya wound up third with a time of 2:15:05.
In the women’s division, Rwanda’s Clementine Mukandanga of Rwanda bagged the gold medal with a clocking of 2:25:54.
Rebecca Cheptegei of Uganda finished second with a time of 2:27:08, followed by Failuna Abdi Matanga of Tanzania in third with a time of 2:28:57.
Florence, Italy Mayor Dario Nardella formally welcomed more than 8,000 participants from all over the world in the marathon.
“It’s more than 8,000 participants in the 39th edition of Firenze Marathon, I welcome you all of you in one of most beautiful cities in the world,” said Mayor Nardella, who declared the formal start of the event.
Also present during the marathon was Councilor for Sport Cosimo Guccione.
The marathon took the participants to various historical places in Florence, the capital city of Tuscany and considered as a major artistic, cultural, commercial, political, economic and financial center in Italy.
The marathon also presented views over the enchanting hills and countryside, passing right by the Cathedral Square, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio and passing through various historical places before entering the majestic Piazza Duomo.
The race started early in the morning despite the freezing temperature near zero.