PH marathoner Tabal refused to quit despite Rio heat
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Mary Joy Tabal of the Philippines could not handle Brazil’s noontime heat Sunday and finished way outside her targeted time in the women’s marathon of the Rio Olympics.
Tabal aimed at surpassing her personal best of two hours 43 minutes and 31 seconds in the race that started and ended at Sambrodome, the venue of the world-famous Rio Carnival.
But she failed to live up to her own expectations, terribly suffering under the heat and finishing with a time of 3:02:27, which was good for 124th among 157 starters.
Jemima Jelagat Sumgong gave Kenya its first Olympic gold in women’s marathon, winning with a time of 2:24:04, which is just under a minute off the Olympic record.
Eunice Jepkirul Kirwa of Bahrain took the silver medal in 2:24:13 while Ethiopian Mare Dibaba bagged the bronze with a time of 2:24:30.
Three runners from the United States finished inside the top 10, joined by one more entry from Ethiopia, Belarus, Bahrain and South Korea.
The top finishers were already done with the press interviews along the finish line area when the lone Filipina entry crossed the finish, cheered on by the crowd.
Tabal was 38 minutes and 23 seconds behind the winner from Kenya.
Tabal was so exhausted after the race she was on the verge of collapse. Medical staff of the Rio Olympics attended to her immediately.
It took some time before Tabal regained her composure. Medics offered to wheel her out but said there was really no need for the wheelchair.
A total of 24 did not finish the race.
Tabal said she saw runners quit during the race, most of them in the final 10 kms. Runners crossing the finish line and falling to the ground was a common sight.
“Yung iba talaga tumutumba na sa daan. Masyado mainit kanina. Minsan gusto ko na din tumigil pero pinilit ko tapusin ang karera,” she said.
(Others were collapsing on the road. Sometimes I also wanted to stop already but I forced myself to finish.)
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko, hindi ako papayag na DNF (did not finish) ang Pilipinas. Kaya slowly but surely, tinapos ko. Hindi ko na inisip yung time,” added Tabal.
(I told myself I will not allow DNF for the Philippines. That’s why slowly but surely I finished it. I didn’t think of the time anymore.)
It was a gallant effort on her side even if she fell way short of her target. She said on the eve of the race that she was targeting a time faster than her 2:43:31.
“Kahit 2:40 sana,” she said.
But Tabal said the heat slowed her down. She also rued the lack of water stations along the 42.195 km route but said it’s not really the reason for her failure.
All the other runners went through the same ordeal. Others say Tabal had suffered from burnout after running a marathon too many this year.
“Ginawa ko na lang lahat ng makakaya ko para makatapos. Sa last 10 kilometers para na talagang bibigay ang katawan ko,” said Tabal.
(I just gave everything I did everything I could to finish. In the last 10KM it was as if my body was really about to give up.)
“Pero nasa Olympics pa naman ako kaya pinilit ko talaga. Inisip ko na lang ang mga kababayan natin na nanonood sa akin. Hindi ako puwede tumigil,” she added.
(But I am in the Olympics, that’s why I really pushed myself. I just thought of our countrymen who are watching me. I could not stop.) – Rappler.com