FIVE-TIME defending SM2SM Run champion Mary Joy Tabal has confirmed she’s joining the run’s eighth edition at the SM City Cebu in the North Reclamation Area, Cebu City this Sunday.
The 28-year-old Olympian has finally decided to run after learning that her interview for her visa application will still be on Feb. 27.
“My interview for my visa will be on Feb. 27 in Manila. I think I can leave for Italy in March. I’ll still be here for SM2SM Run and I will be joining since it has been a tradition for me,” Tabal told SunStar Cebu yesterday.
Tabal has dominated the 21-kilometer race of the SM2SM Run since 2013.
The race will be the second road competition for Tabal this year following her triumph in the 7-Eleven Run Philippines more than a week ago.
The 29th Southeast Asian (Sea) Games gold medalist just got back into training from a month-long break after winning the 41st Milo Marathon National Finals in December last year.
“I’m happy that I will be able to join the SM2SM Run before I go back to (international) training,” said Tabal, who will leave for Tuscany to prepare for the 2018 Asian Games.
Tabal, who clocked 1 hour, 23 minutes and 07 seconds on her return in the 7-Eleven Run, will try to better her time when she competes in the women’s 39-Under division.
“Since the route is new compared to the previous seven years, I think my time would be unpredictable. I’ll just give my best,” said Tabal, the holder of country’s best time for 21K at 1:16:29.
Tabal said she’s currently processing her slot for the SM2SM Run together with the 190 grassroots athletes, who are under the tutelage of Tabal and her long-time coach John Philip Dueñas.
Aside from the 21K, the SM2SM Run Year 8 has the 12K, 8K and 4K categories. The sporting event will shell out around P1 million for the runners’ cash prizes and raffle draw.
The major prizes in the raffle draw are eight Cathay Pacific round-trip tickets from Cebu to Hong Kong, eight Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and eight Samsung LED TVs.
The annual running event is for the benefit of the Cebu Newsworkers Foundation, Inc. (Cenewof) and The Children of Cebu Foundation, Inc. (RSC)