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Barcelona-Based Batangueño Best Filipino Finisher In Rome Marathon

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Barcelona-Based Batangueño Best Filipino Finisher In Rome Marathon

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From being a food vendor in Mabini, Batangas over two decades ago, Rixone Martinez has literally gone places.

On Sunday (Italy time), he emerged the best Filipino finisher in Run Rome the Marathon, finishing the 42.195-kilometer race dominated by Kenyan runners in three hours, 7 minutes and .02 seconds.

“I did not expect to win because the race was really difficult,” Martinez, now a waiter in Barcelona, Spain, said in a Facebook post shared by fellow Filipino Alona Cochon.

“We’re doing this, our goal, specially for our kids, para maging (to become) good example to them, that’s why mga atleta na din at triathletes (they are also athletes and triathletes),” he added, referring to his sons, Lionel and Erixone, who participated.

Ted Magno from Ireland and Genesis Cunanan from Italy completed the top three Filipino finishers with times of 3:12:42 and 3:23:38, respectively.

Pinoy Teens Salinlahi performed cultural and traditional dances in the Philippine cheering station in Ponte Della Musica.

A day before the marathon, the Filipino athletes, along with pacers led by Mike Gonda and Rolanda Espina, held a shakeout run in Parco Caffarella, Colli Albani, Rome, Italy.

The Filipino runners also paid a courtesy call on Philippine Ambassador to Italy Neal Imperial.

Imperial acknowledged the more than 200 Filipinos who participated in the Rome marathon “in various capacities.”

“It’s good because in Rome, Italy, there is such a thing as sports diplomacy which is happening right. EJ Obiena, the number one pole vaulter in Asia, does his training in Italy,” he said.

A record 19,000 marathoners and 15,167 runners joined the annual event.

Nine Kenyan runners made the men’s division top 10, led by podium-finishers Asbel Rutto (2:06:23.61), Brian Kipsang (2:07:55.48) and Sila Kiptoo (2:08:08.11).

Kenyan Yvyne Lagat ruled the women’s category with a time of 2:24:35.36, followed by compatriot Lydia Simiyu (2:56:09.32) and Emebet Niguse of Ethiopia (2:26:40.18). (PNA)