SEA Games Marathon Silver Medalist Mary Joy Tabal, 26 took the win at the Hong Kong Chartered Marathon 21K in a time of 1:21.41 ahead of Taiwan’s You Ya-jyun (1:22.46) and Shino Asada of Japan (1:24.27)
“I started behind the elite runners but knew in these wet conditions I had to get to them quickly,” said Tabal. “Once I did, I just thought to myself ‘run as fast as you can’.”
“At the start it was so challenging because I was so cold,” she said. “But I had a good pace from start to finish and once I got to the lead – even though I was feeling so cold – that was it. I overcame that – I’m just not used to the cold and the rain – and I won. I just told myself to relax and to get to the lead.”
Tabal was runner up in this event last year to Australian Ellie O’Kane last year,.
It was outside her best of 1.19.32 set at the Singapore 2015 Great Eastern Marathon. Tabal who hails from Cebu opted to skip the Cebu Marathon on January 17 to concentrate on the Hong Kong Marathon. Tabal was the Cebu Marathon champion last year.
Tabal is focussing on the Olympic Qualifying standard which was reduced from 2h42 to 2h45 recently by the IAAF. Her personal best is 2.48.00 set in the 2013 Milo Finals, she clocked 2.48.16 recently in very wet and slippery conditions in Clark to win her third Marathon crown in 2015.
She is focussing on the Boston Marathon slated April 18th. Undoubtedly this will represent her last chance to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics with the closing date of entries set by the IAAF as July 11. The Rio Olympics will be in August.
“Hopefully, I can do good,” she said. “I actually prefer the marathon and to represent the Philippines at the Olympics would be a dream come true for me. I am feeling strong but I just have to improve my endurance.”
Tabal is an independent athlete and not currently a member of the Philippine Track and Field Association.