MARY Joy Tabal bumped into a person who could help her with the upcoming Olympic stint—Kenyan marathoner and Olympic medalist Erick Wainaina.
The two accidentally met when Tabal was doing the final three kilometers of her training yesterday and Wainaina, who was a silver medalist in the men’s marathon event of the 2000 Olympics and bronze medalist in the 1996 Olympics, approached the Cebuana.
Tabal and Wainaina ran together and the latter promised to help and to give some tips for Tabal’s stint in the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil on Aug. 5.
“Actually it was our second meeting, the first time I met him was during the after-party of Tokyo Marathon (last April). When he saw me running today ,he recognized me and told me that I will surely enjoy my first Olympic experience,” Tabal told Sun.Star Cebu.
Wainaina advised Tabal in their short talk to stick to her own pace, stay focused on the goal and enjoy running with the world’s best marathoners. Tabal added that the Kenyan runner promised to give more tips and is hoping to run with her before she leaves for Rio.
“He (Wainaina) wants to help me improve my performance. I want to meet him again because any advice and tips from an Olympian medalist would be great,” said Tabal, who’s aiming to finish in 2 hours and 40 minutes in the women’s marathon event on Aug. 14.
Wainaina won the silver in the Sydney Olympics with a time of 2:10:31 and the bronze medal in the Atlanta Olympics in 2:12:44.
However, Tabal has to figure out first how to reach Wainaina through social media.
“Wainaina asked me when I’ll be running in that place again, I told him this Sunday. He told me to message him on Facebook and I said yes. But right now I can’t message his page; I guess it’s on the settings,” said Tabal. “I asked my coaches and they told me that Wainaina is working in one of the companies in Japan and is also a running coach. I’m looking for ways so we could meet again before I go to Brazil.”
The 27-year-old from Barangay Guba Tabal is on the final phase of her training in Japan. The six-week training program of Tabal in Nippon Sports Science University will end on Aug. 2. The training is financially backed by Tabal’s team, Motor Ace-Kawasaki Racing.