Jimmy de la Torre and the cold case

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 to this day remains a cold case for 27 years. De la Torre’s 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 an exceptional 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 the youngest champion in the Milo Marathon’s History 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 a Track and Field legend once more information becomes available).

Jimmy de la Torre and the cold case 2
WIT Athletic Director and Jimmy Dela Torre

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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’s performance highlighted a new young emerging Philippine team.  Many teenagers, such as Lydia De Vega, are 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 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. At the same time, 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 and won the race 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. 

Before 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. At the same time, 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 was infamously murdered on June 27, 1990, in an Iloilo Movie House. Simultaneously, Jimmy’s murder on Crown Cinerama’s balcony (now Allied Bank) on corner Ledesma-Quezon Streets occurred at around past one o’clock in the afternoon, a rainy Tuesday.

Sources: 

  1. http://www.iloilometropolitantimes.com/jimmy-de-la-torres-murder-still-a-mystery-after-24-years/
  2. http://frontrunnermagph.com/the-visayas-and-its-winning-tradition/
  3. https://more.arrs.run/runner/-2684
  4. https://arrs.run/HP_MiloMa.htm
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Southeast_Asian_Games

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