RIO DE JANEIRO—Mary Joy Tabal is looking to make the most out of her Olympic stint, which nearly didn’t materialize, by putting on a respectable finish in the women’s marathon.
Tabal qualified here after making the standard at a meet in Ottawa, which she bared was not part of her schedule.
Initially, Tabal had given up hopes of a stint in Rio after failing to qualify for the Olympics through the Boston Marathon last April where the Cebuana runner finished 20th but clocked two hours, 49 minutes, one second—way off the 2:45:00 Olympic stand
“Wala sa plano ko ‘yun,” said Tabal. “After nung Boston, disappointed na ako. Hindi ko na alam kung ano mangyayari.”
“Tapos may nagsabi sa akin na may Ottawa pa. May kaibigan ako na nag-iistay sa Canada, tatakbo daw siya, sabi niya maganda ‘yung ruta,” she added.
Thanks to this spontaneous decision, Tabal achieved her goal last May when she timed 2:43:31 in the said event to gain a spot in the Olympics.
Tabal and the rest of the marathoners will be flagged off at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, (8:30 p.m. Sunday Manila time). She admits that winning a medal depends on the pace of the race, but nevertheless her focus remains on breaking her personal best.
“To be specific, gusto ko i-beat ‘yung 2:43:00 sana or below. Magandang finish ‘yun. Sana maganda ang kundisyon on race day,” said Tabal.
Tabal also admitted that she learned a lot from her stint in the Boston Marathon, one of the most prestigious events in the world, especially in pacing herself in a race.
“First 21km, gusto ko normal lang para hindi ako mag-overspeed. Ayoko ‘yung baka last 10k, maglakad ako. Sa Boston Marathon kasi, parang worst ‘yung nangyari sa akin kasi hindi ko rin na-anticipate na maraming akyat. Bumagal talaga ang pace ko especially sa last 10k,” said Tabal.
“Gusto ko, pareho lang ‘yung sa Ottawa. Relax lang sa start, kung kaya ko bilisan sa last 10k, dun ko ibibigay ang lahat,” she added.