KENYANS reigned supreme anew in a local race, but Mary Joy Tabal grabbed a piece of the limelight by setting a new meet record for local female runners in the 37th Milo Marathon National Finals on Sunday.
The 24-year old Cebuana crossed the finish line at 2:48:00, an improvement of 16 tenths of a second from the time set by Jho-An Banayag in the 42.195-kilometer race in 2011.
Tabal crossed the finish line at the Mall of Asia grounds second overall and first among Filipinas, bagging P250,000 prize, and an additional P20,000 for breaking Banayag’s record.
“My initial target for this race is to hit below the three-hour mark. I was actually quite surprised to have finished much faster and to have broken a record in the process,” she said.
Margaret Njuguna of Kenya clocked 2:42:18 to finish first overall in the women’s division.
Mary Grace delos Santos (2:54:27) and Cristabel Martes (2:57:15) completed the 2-3-4 Filipina finish.
Kenyan runners swept the men’s podium places, with Josphat Chobei taking the top spot in 2:18:23 followed by James Tallam in 2:18:41, and Alex Melly in 2:22:30.
Former Olympic marathon runner Eduardo Buenavista recorded back-to-back wins and bagged his fifth overall title in the footrace, finishing in 2:27:14.
For their fine performances, Tabal and Buenavista will be sent to participate in the 2014
“The Paris Marathon will definitely be a new challenge for me, and I hope to be one of the many athletes who have brought great pride to our nation,” said Tabal.
Rene Desuyo placed second among Filipinos in 2:32:34, while Irineo Raquin was third in 2:32:57.
This year’s National Milo Marathon Finals drew 26,681 runners.