Tabal confident of keeping SEAG title

CEBU’S heroine Mary Joy Tabal is confident in her title defense in the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games following a solid test run on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Cagayan de Oro City.

The 30-year-old Olympian will go for no less than a back-to-back SEA Games gold medal in the women’s marathon, which is slated on Dec. 6 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Tabal and long-time coach John Philip Duenas joined the final leg of the Milo Marathon Regional Leg that serves as a trial run for the biennial meet.

“There was no intention to compete. It was just part of my training and preparation and for me to loosen up, minimize pressure and tension. It was just for me to feel the race environment,” said Tabal, who was fresh from a two-month-long training in Japan under the watch of coaches Yuhei Sato and Akio Usami.

In that race, Tabal finished the half-marathon course in 1 hour and 23 minutes—which was two minutes faster from their projected trial time.

Tabal felt good about her performance.

“It was great and I run comfortably. I got the plan and expectations,” she said, adding that the approach of her coaches will be all scientific on race week.

Tabal said the test run was supposed to be done in Japan, but the races in Japan usually closed their registration two months before the event.

It was timely that there was a Milo Marathon regional leg on the same week of her return in Cebu.

“Coach Philip was there to pace me, making sure that we follow the target pacing intended for this trial run,” she said. (RSC)