TOUGHENED by her overseas training, Cebuana-pride Mary Joy Tabal is raring to extend her reign as marathon queen as the 30th Southeast Asian Games marathon competitions fires off on December 6 at the world-class New Clark City athletics stadium in Capas, Tarlac.
“My target, of course, is nothing less than the gold. But anything can happen during the race. All that I can say is that we’re already prepared our strategies,” said Tabal, who saw action in the Rio Olympics.
A five-time Milo Marathon national champion, Tabal won the gold two years ago in the Malaysia SEA Games. Tabal clocked 2:48.26 in winning the gold convincingly against rival Hoang Thi Thanh of Vietnam.
Though favored to repeat, Tabal said she is not taking the opposition lightly. “My main rival is the Vietnamese runner and Thailand can also win,” said Tabal, who trained in Yokohama, Japan for four month in preparations for the SEA Games.
Tabal’s personal best is 2:43.31 which she registered in Canada three years ago.
Aside from the difficult and challenging course which will start and end at the athletics stadium, Tabal believes that the weather will pose a challenge.
“The course in Kuala Lumpur is flat, while here is rolling up and down,” said Tabal, who said the country’s great start in the biennial Games is a big inspiration for her to win the gold.
“Continue supporting our athletes,” said Tabal.