Cebu’s running pride guns for Rio Olympics, try to break another HK Marathon record

December 17, 2015 7:20 am 

CEBU CITY, Dec. 16 — Cebu’s running pride Mary Joy Tabal guns to qualify for the Rio Olympics in the Boston Marathon in April and tries to break another Philippine record in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon in January.

Tabal has resigned from the national team, but still hoped to chase her Olympic dream.

Tabal will be able to afford competing in different races leading up to the Olympic-qualifying Boston Marathon with the backing of corporate sponsor Motor-Ace Philippines.

Jonel Borromeo, president of Motor Ace Philippines, said they will give full support to Tabal in chasing her Olympic dream.

Tabal will take part in the women’s 21-kilometer category of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon on Jan. 17, where she finished second last year.

Tabal’s aim for the Hong Kong race is to finish in under 1 hour 18 minutes and 46 seconds, which is the current fastest half-marathon time of a Filipina set by Mercedita Manipol last 2006 in Pampanga.

The 26-year-old Tabal should shed a little more than one minute off her best 21K time of 1:19:32 set at the Great Eastern Women’s Run in November to get a piece of history.

Tabal of Barangay Guba, a mountain village of Cebu City, earned a slot to the Boston Marathon, a qualifying race to the Rio Olympics, after winning the 39th National Milo Marathon Finals last Dec. 6.

It was her third straight title in the event which made her the third winningest female runner in the Milo Marathon national finals next to Arsenia Saragay and Christabel Martes who have five and four titles apiece.

And while other top athletes of the nation are scouring to find funding for training, Tabal just needs to focus on training and getting better.

“We are planning to send Tabal to Kenya or Japan for her preparation for the Boston Marathon. The company is giving her (Tabal) full support on her running endeavor. We give her monthly allowances, air fare and hotel accommodation for her races and everything she needs in the training,” Borromeo said.

Tabal said they are still trying to contact trainers and coaches in Kenya, who can give them proposals for the training they have to undergo.

Borromeo said they have no idea how long the training abroad will take but they are certain that they will send Tabal because it would help her.

Tabal will need to finish the Boston Marathon in 2:42 to make it to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Her best time, so far, is 2:48 set in the 2013 Milo Marathon national finals.

“We were very proud of Tabal when she won her third straight title in Milo Marathon because one, she’s from Cebu and Motor-Ace has been part of it. We know we are not the only ones who helped her. But we have been a part of her career,” Borromeo said. (PNA)

FPV/EB/MP/EDS

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