CEBUANA Mary Joy Tabal became the winningest female runner in the history of Milo Marathon after winning her sixth straight title in the run’s 42nd edition in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

The 29-year-old local sports heroine Tabal surpassed Arsenia Sagaray with the most number of wins by any female runner in the country’s longest-running running event.

Sagaray ruled the event in the ‘90s winning in years 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997. Tabal broke the record in an impressive fashion by pulling off six consecutive wins that started in 2013.

“I can say I’m so blessed and grateful for what I have achieved. I feel blessed because of the never ending opportunities that I am receiving and grateful to the people who supported me up to this day,” said Tabal.

Tabal clocked in at 2 hours, 56 minutes and 31 seconds about a week ago to cement her legacy in the event with her sixth straight title.

“I have reached this far because of the dedication and hard work that I and everyone put into this. Also, I was able to utilize the maximum input of discipline, passion and humility,” she said.

Asked what she still wants to achieve in this running event, Tabal hopes to see another gem in rough shine in the Milo Marathon.

“I just want to continue doing what I do and keep on competing at the same level. Also I hope to find the next deserving marathon queen,” said Tabal, who teaches grassroots students in Cebu.

Tabal rose to fame after winning the 2013 Milo Marathon Finals. She then won the gold medal in the 29th Southeast Asian (Sea) Games in Singapore last year.

The ace Motor-Ace Racing Team athlete also represented the country in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She was the first Filipina marathoner to qualify in the Olympics.

Tabal’s next move is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and defend her Sea Games crown in December next year.