Running Olympian sets new Philippine record for 21K race
Ottawa, Canada – MILO Marathon Queen Mary Joy Tabal has clinched first place in the women’s division of the half marathon category of the Ottawa Race. The elite runner from Cebu not only bested her personal record, she also marked a significant milestone for breaking the Philippine record time for the 21K race. The Ottawa Race slot was Tabal’s grand prize for winning the 40th National MILO Marathon National Finals in Iloilo last 2016.
Known as the Canada’s largest and fastest marathon, the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is one of two International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Gold Label races in the country, attracting a world contingent of about 43,000 runners because of its flat and fast race course.
Tabal clocked in with a time of 1:16:29, beating the old Philippine half-marathon record of 1:18:45. The 27-year-old elite runner gained an insurmountable lead against other 13,446 contenders, placing 1st in the women’s category, and 8th in the overall male and female category.
The minor intermittent leg pains did not cause Tabal to flail during the race. She instead kept a strong and swift pace, which eventually aided her to successfully complete her rally to the finish line. “I did not expect to win,” she said. “My only target was to break my personal and the Philippine 21K record but I am so happy that I was able to exceed my performance and win the women’s race!”
Tabal attributed her victory to the comprehensive training she had undergone in Cebu and Italy, to which she finds as no easy feat. “Training with other world-class elite runners is a different ballpark,” she said. “However, it helped me gain confidence, and I also got the best motivation from my coaches and my teammates. Their trust in my abilities pushed me to believe in myself and persevere to be even better.”
In a few days, Tabal will be returning to Italy for a two-month training camp in preparation for her stint at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur on August.
“I am once again grateful to all the supporters who have been following my journey and to MILO for giving me this opportunity. MILO is very close to my heart because they are always with me wherever I go to compete,” she said. “I am very proud to achieve this victory with MILO!”