Marathon queen, Tabal, to hold fun run for GRAPP members on her 30th birthday

By: Mars G. Alison July 05,2019 - 07:02 PM

Cebu marathon Olympian Mary Joy Tabal is with members of the Grassroots Running Advocacy Program of the Philippines in one of their running competitions. | Contributed Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebuano marathon Olympian, Mary Joy Tabal, will be celebrating her 30th birthday by giving back to members of the Grassroots Running Advocacy Program of the Philippines (GRAPP) by holding a fun run dubbed as the “Queen Turns 30”— Marathon Queen’s Gift Giving Run. 

The GRAPP is the running advocacy program that Tabal and her longtime coach John Philip Dueñas have founded in 2015.

The advocacy now has about 500 members from Liloan, Guba and the Sisters of Mary Schools Boystown and Girlstown.

The event will happen early on Tabal’s birthday on July 13, 2019 at the AFP Central Command (AFP Centcom), Camp Lapu-Lapu in Lahug, Cebu City.

“Before, kada birthday naku maguol ko coz I have nothing to prepare and celebrate. Malipay naku pagmakabuy og cake si Papa and makablow kog birthday candle pero pila lang na sa mga birthdays naku, wala koy gifts ma receive. I have only one godparent pero kaisa ra naku nakita,” said Tabal on why she came up with this concept for her birthday.

(Before, I used to get worried every time it is my birthday because I have nothing to prepare and there will be no celebration. I’m already happy if my father could buy a cake, and I could blow on birthday candles but that only happens on a few of my birthdays. I don’t receive gifts, I have only one godparent whom I only saw once.) 

Her 29th birthday was a painful one for her because it was the first birthday that she did not spent with her father, who passed away in December 2017.

Read more: JOY’S WISH: A HUG FROM PA

Tabal said Dueñas and her would be prioritizing the grassroots because kids would always look forward to receiving gifts during their birthdays.

“As I turn 30, na realize naku na grabeh ang blessings and gifts nahatag sa akoa ni Lord. Mao on my 10th year as a long distance athlete, I would like to share love and joy to these kids, as much love and joy na gihatag sa running sa akoa. I want them to know that birthday gifts can be in a form of health, career in life and to be surrounded with good people are enough. I mean mas dako na gift,” said Tabal.

(As I turn 30, I realized that I have received so much, gifts and blessings, from the Lord. That is why on my 10th year  as a long distance athlete, I would like to share love and joy to these kids, as much love and joy that running gave me. I want them to know that birthday gifts can be in a form of health, career in life, and to be surrounded with good people are enough. I mean a much more worthy gift.)

“This is why I would like to celebrate my 30th birthday with these kids, gift giving of shoes, and I am very happy that my sponsors are also all out support for this. And I want them to take part in this event too because they serve as my godparents, who helped me achieve my goals, who believes in me and supported me through the ups and downs of my career, so all of us can share love and joy,” said Tabal.

Thus, after the fun run, Tabal will be giving out about 300 running shoes, sponsored by Asics, to the GRAPP members. 

The shoes were airlifted from Manila to Cebu with the help of Lieutenant General Rozzano Briguez and Major General Restituto Padilla of the Philippine  Air Force and Lietenant Colonel Rhoderick L. Parallag of AFP Centcom.

Tabal is also grateful to Jonel Borromeo of MotorAce, Anil Buxani of Asics, Lester Castillo of Milo and Grace Ruperto of Smart.

She said she hoped that she would be able to do another event like this during the Christmas Season especially since Asics promised to give another batch of running shoes./dbs

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TAGS: 30, advocacy, Centcom, Duenas, GRAPP, grassroots, July 13, Philippines, program, running, Tabal

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