Cebuana wins 21K race in South Korea

October 16, 2014 5:16 am 

CEBU CITY, Oct. 15 — Cebuana running queen Mary Joy Tabal set her own mark after winning the 21K division of the 2014 Seoul Race in South Korea last October 12.

Tabal, who holds the women's record in the Milo Marathon national finals in 2 hours and 48 minutes, topped the 21K in 1 hour and 19 minutes, erasing her previous best in the distance of 1 hour and 21 minutes.

And this time, her second international triumph in two months gets counted.

Tabal credited her stint in Japan last September for her improved time.

Tabal and her coach Philip Duenas were sent by the Cebu City Sports Commission for the Jenesys 2.0 Marathon Youth Exchange Programme in Japan last September 15.

"One of the reasons I improved my time was because of the running form that I learned in Japan. In the last five kilometers, I felt that my body was freezing, so I again changed my running form so that other parts of my muscles would function and I can prevent the chill," said Tabal.

As part of their seminar in Japan, Tabal and Duenes were entered in the 20K division of the Kyoho No Oka Marathon and though both topped their events, they weren't credited as winners as they were guest runners.

But in her latest stint, her third international race, the diminutive Cebuana stood tall in the podium with her latest triumph and credits her coach for her success.

"Philip (Duenas) keeps telling me that I can still improve as long as I will follow his programs. He is very strict after our Japan seminar. He always reminds me to work hard on my training and set my own goals," said Tabal.

Tabal skipped the Milo Marathon Cebu elimination, which attracted a record 26,671 runners, to race in Korea, her third international event this year.

Aside from winning in Japan as a guest runner, she also finished 17th in the Paris Marathon last April.

Her stint in Paris was part of her prize for winning the Milo marathon women's finals last year.

After her international race, Tabal will now shift focus on defending her crown in the Milo Marathon national finals this December.

As the defending champion, she need not go through the qualifying process.

"My training program focuses on the 42K national finals and that would be my next big race," said Tabal, who won the P250,000 first prize last year and the P20,000 bonus for erasing Jho-Ann Banayag's seven-year-old record of 2:48:06. (PNA)

LAP/EB/MP/

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