THE Olympic qualifying time for the marathon event may be six minutes faster than her personal best, but the country’s current top female marathoner Mary Joy Tabal is determined to make the cut with the guidance of coach John Philip Dueñas and support from the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa).

The Patafa chief Phillip Ella Juico is mapping out a program for Tabal together with Sea Games silver medalist EJ Obiena and gold medalist Eric Cray so they can qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I am very happy to hear that, because I think only few of from the Philippine team will be included in that program,” Tabal told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

The two-time Milo Marathon queen, who holds the women’s personal best time of 2:48, said that she’s glad that they are on the same page with Patafa on her dream.

The qualifying time for the Olympics is 2:42 for the women’s race.

“Hopefully I can get that time. To get the qualifying time and qualify for the Olympics is the next big goal of coach John Philip (Dueñas) for me,” said Tabal.

Dueñas said that he will coordinate with the Patafa for this program first, before plotting the training routine for Tabal.

Tabal will be gunning for a three-peat in the 2015 National Milo Marathon and will try to qualify for the Olympics on Dec. 6 in Angeles City, Pampanga. The Milo Marathon is sanctioned by International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (Aims) making it a qualifying race for the Olympics.

The incentive for the men’s and women’s champion in the 2015 National Milo Marathon will also be a slot in the Boston Marathon.

Dueñas said if Tabal will win in the Milo Marathon but won’t get the 2:42 time, they can try again in the Boston Marathon, which is also an IAAF and Aims accredited race.