Mary Joy Tabal struggles but refuses to quit, finishes Olympic marathon in 124th place
Mary Joy Tabal is wheeled out of the race area in a wheelchair by medics. Jerome Ascano

RIO DE JANEIRO — Mary Joy Tabal was overwhelmed by the tough field, finishing in 124th place on Sunday morning (Sunday night Manila time) at the end of the Olympic women’s marathon.

The 27-year-old Tabal finished with a time of three hours, two minutes, and 27 seconds, 38:23 behind gold medalist Jemima Jelagat Sumgong of Kenya (2:24:04) and well off her personal best.

Tabal struggled to keep pace with the world’s best marathoners in windy conditions at the start of the race and the heat that beat down on the field starting at the halfway point.

She consequently finished well off her personal best of 2:43:31 which Tabal set during a meet in Ottawa that gave her a ticket to the Olympics.

“Okay pa ‘yung time ko 21k pero halfway, nafi-feel ko na bumibigat na katawan ko at sobrang init,” said Tabal.

Twenty-four competitors failed to finish the race, and Tabal was determined not to be one of them.

“Sabi ko lang, finish the race no matter what. Kahit maglakad ako, basta matapos ko. Pero happy ako na hindi ako nag-stop. Utak ko na lang nagco-control sa akin na tapusin ko,” said Tabal.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @jeromeascano