Jimmy de la Torre and the cold case

Jimmy de la Torre

Jimmy de la Torre

He was a teen prodigy, who won the Milo Marathon. Sadly as much known in life he was tragically murdered in an Iloilo movie theatre in 1990. Which till this day remains a cold case for 27 years. de la Torre legacy is enriched in the romance of the Milo Marathon, in which Visayas runners as of 2016 had taken 20 of the 39 Milo titles in the Men’s.

Jimmy de la Torre was born in 1963 in Pototan, Iloilo.

1981 was a very special year for the then 18-year-old Ilongo. Who first notched up a win in the Milo Marathon on 31 May. Most of all becoming until now the youngest champion in the History of the Milo Marathon in both Men and Women.

While Timing 2:34.35 which was then a Philippine Junior Record. In front of his home crowd at Iloilo. Furthermore. De la Torre was coached by Ciceron Ceballos (Ceballos considered as a legend of Track and Field once more information becomes available).

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WIT Athletic Director and Jimmy Dela Torre

In 1981 Manila hosted the SEA Games At the age of 18 de la Torre took his first and only SEA Games Gold Medal in the Marathon timing 2:25.50 on December 13.  Consequently, de la Torre performance highlighted a new young emerging Philippine team.  With a lot of teenagers such as Lydia De Vega boosting the gold medal count to 8 golds for the host nation. 

The following year on May 30, 1982, de la Torre defended his Milo Marathon crown again.

Also in front of an excited home crowd at Iloilo, this time again resetting his Junior record with a time of 2:25.16. Which until now stands as the Philippine Junior record 36 years later.

Also, de la Torre was also a two time Boston Marathon starter clocking in 1983 2:26.44 (210th)

Jimmy de la Torre Milo King

Jimmy de la Torre
Jimmy de la Torre

While in 1983 de la Torre lost his SEA Games title in Singapore to  Khin Soe of Burma who won in 2:32.51.0, de la Torre clocked 2:36.57.0. Burma getting back from its silver in 1981.

Yet De la Torre lost his Milo Marathon crown to SEA Games 10K Champion Leonardo Ilut (Philippine Constabulary/Police) in 1983. While he regained and won his third and last title in 1984 in 2;32.23. Before dropping the title in 1985 to Wilfredo Ballester. From 1986-1989 the Milo Marathon did not operate.

In 1985 SEA Games de la Torre was completely out of the medals. Consequently, Indonesia went Gold-Silver. Even defending champion Khin Soe was reduced to fourth. As the race was won in a much faster 2:25.52.0 similar to de la Torre time had been in Manila 4 years ago. de la Torre was fifth in  2:33.05.0 faster than he had run to run the Silver but not good enough for a medal. 1987 was his last SEA Games appearance.

De la Torre won the 1987 Penang Marathon at Georgetown, Malaysia timing a respectable 2:29.52. 

Prior to his shocking death. De la Torre breasted the tape, beating arch-rival and fellow Ilonggo champion, Herman Suizo, by the skin of the teeth in the Bombo Marathon 20k event.

Suizo went onto becoming a SEA Games Champion. While Suizo who was from nearby Santa Barbara provided an exciting rivalry. The two men from Iloilo dominating the Marathon scene in the Philippines. Suizo later avenged the defeat at the Yakult Marathon.

Jimmy de la Torre Murder

The countries famous Marathon king infamously murdered on June 27, 1990, in an Iloilo Movie House. While Jimmy’s murder in the balcony of Crown Cinerama (now Allied Bank) on corner Ledesma-Quezon Streets, occurred at around past one o’clock in the afternoon, a rainy Tuesday.


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