Tabal eyeing more half-marathon, international competitions
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Cebuano marathon Olympian Mary Joy Tabal of the MotorAce Kawasaki Racing Team is hoping that she’d be able to compete in several half marathons this year as part of her preparation to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I am suggesting to Sir Jonel (Borromeo) and coach (John Philip Dueñas) to plan for more half marathons this year but we need to study the world rankings to be sure,” said Tabal.
Borromeo is the team manager of MotorAce Kawasaki Racing Team while Dueñas is Tabal’s long time coach.
The runner from Barangay Guba, Cebu City said that she prefers doing half than the full because, although training in the half is more intense, a one-month preparation is already enough to be race ready. In a full marathon, one would need to train for full time, three months for just one shot at a marathon. Recovery is also longer in a full marathon while in the half, one can recover in just 2 to 3 days.
Tabal added that she’d also rather race in international competitions to further bolster her confidence.
“Mas ganahan ko ma expose ko to more international competitions aron mas mag improve ako confidence and daku kaau help sa akoa na naa lain elites na makasabay naku ug run na same mi’g mga goals ba,” said Tabal.
(I would prefer to be exposed in more international competitions so my confidence would further improve and it will be a big help for me if I am able to run alongside the elites who have the same goals with me.)
That common goal is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
There are several ways to qualify to the Tokyo Olympics.
One is to get the Olympic qualifying time of two hours, 29 minutes and 30 seconds (2:29:30). Second is to finish in the top 10 in world major marathons or top 5 among Gold Label marathons. The third option is through the world rankings, wherein a runner has to run more marathons or half marathons where you can earn points and climb up the world rankings.
Back in 2016, Tabal qualified for her first Olympics in Rio when she finished in the 8th place in the Ottawa Scotiabank Marathon with a time if 2:43, which remains as her best personal record (PR).
But in this year’s edition, which was held May 26, 2019, Tabal knew that it will be harder for her to get the qualifying time of 2:29:30. Thus, the aim was to post a new PR.
But Tabal dropped to 14th in the race.
Read more: Tabal places 14th in Ottawa Marathon
“Mao ga goal kog 2:40 ganiha and slowest 2:45 unta kay just in case mag drop down man gani kay safe na ko unta,” said Tabal.
(That was why my goal earlier was 2:40 and the slowest was supposed to be 2:45 so I would be safe just in case they bring down the qualifying time.)
Back in 2016, the Olympic qualifying time was lowered to 2:45.
Tabal said that she knew she was capable of getting her PR, especially that she was feeling good and she was hungry to make a PR.
“Sayangan ko coz kahibaw ko na kaya nako and nindot ako pamati ron kaso dili malikayan ang weather condition karon,” said Tabal.
(I knew I could do it because I was feeling good but we cannot also disregard the weather.)
Tabal narrated that it was too windy that her left leg was already cramping by the time she got to 25 kilometers and as she raced on it got worst.
The petite runner added that there was also a change of route in this year’s race, it was different from the one in 2016, because of a road construction so there were more hills in this year’s route.
It didn’t also help that she was still jetlagged from her travel and hadn’t adjusted to the time in Canada.
“But then, it’s still worth it, and I’m hungry for a PR and I know I will get it, I just have to keep working on it, at least now I know what I need to fix,” she said.
Tabal said that she’s happy with her 14th place finish in this year’s Ottawa marathon wherein she clocked 2:49:57 because her time was a big improvement from her time during the National Milo Marathon last December, wherein she clocked 2:55.
“I know that I am almost there and that I can do it. Today was just not perfect but I’m regaining back my confidence which is what is important because I clocked 2:51 in the Asian Games last year and 2:55 in the Milo, so for me it’s a good start to keep working,” said Tabal. /bmjo
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