IF Michael Jordan had a “flu game,” a Cebuana athlete had her own version of that, too.
Mary Joy Tabal woke up with a piercing pain on her belly. She was nauseated and she felt the room spinning. Tabal had the worst case of LBM but the diminutive runner still managed to take the championship title in the women’s 32-kilometer run on the second leg of Run United yesterday at Luneta Rizal Park.
It may not equal Jordan’s epic 38-point exploit in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz, where a weak Jordan, suffering from flu, still carried the team on his shoulders, eventually winning that game before he collapsed in his teammate Scottie Pippen’s arms, who helped him out of the court. This eventually came to be known as the Flu Game.
Tabal said it was the worst feeling in the world waking up to an upset stomach with a race to run just a few hours after. But she pushed through the pain and won that race in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 28 seconds. She beat former Philippine national team and former Milo Marathon queen Christabel Martes, who checked in at 2:11:54. Raterta Luis came in third at 2:27:48.
According to Tabal, this was one of her worst races as she was running with LBM.
“I thought I couldn’t finish the race, I was not feeling well at all. I woke up dizzy and with a painful stomach. I tried taking medication but it did not help,” Tabal told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.
“I was leading from the start, I thought I built a huge gap from the pack, but I was shocked when I saw Christabel Martes beside me in the last eight laps,” said Tabal “I knew Christabel was in good shape since she has started her training for Milo Marathon, I realized from there that I was in for a very close race.”
Tabal was able to take the lead, though, in the final meters of the race and reached the finish line looking for a place to rest.
“I was dehydrated. It was my worst race. Kapoy gyud kaayo. As in kapoy gyud,” said Tabal, who added she must have had a reaction to some water she drank in Manila.
Meanwhile, Cebu-based John Philip Dueñas yet again pulled another come from behind win. He recently had a come from the behind win in the Defy123 Triathlon last weekend.
This time, in a single-discipline event, his valiant push in the final kilometer of the race gave him the second place of the men’s overall 32K. He won over Kenyan Philiph Ronoh who dropped to third place after crossing the finish line in 2:04:31.
Ronoh’s fellow Kenyan Eliud Kering won the division’s title in 1:59:34.
“The Kenyans were way ahead, I assumed that time that they will have a 1-2 finish.
Nakaingon ko nga okey na sa ako ang third place,” said Dueñas “But in the last 8K I saw one of them, I pushed hard to catch him and luckily in the final 500 meters I was able to take the lead.”
The second leg of Run United had about 3,000 runners in three categories-- the 10K, 21,K and 32K.