Davao City's Mary Jane Pagayon bags first Davraa Meet 2024 gold medal

Davao City's Mary Jane Pagayon wins Davraa Meet 2024 1st gold
FIRST DAVRAA MEET GOLD. Mary Jane Pagayon of Davao City wins the first Davraa Meet 2024 gold medal after racing past her rivals in the secondary girls 3,000-meter run on Day 1 of the athletics competition at the University of Mindanao (UM) track oval on Tuesday morning, April 2. WILBERT DURAN, SUNSTAR INTERN

Last year, Mary Jane Pagayon from Davao City missed out on a podium finish. Determined to make amends at the upcoming Palarong Pambansa, she successfully defended her secondary girls 3,000-meter title, securing the first gold medal for the Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa) Meet 2024 at the University of Mindanao (UM) track oval on Tuesday morning, April 2.

Happy kaayo ko po. Pirting kahago sa pag-training, init ug ulan among ginasagupa. Gihatag nako akong best aron makuha ang kadaugan.

Mary Jane Pagayon, Davao City, Davraa Meet 2024 first gold medalist

(I'm incredibly happy. Training was tough, battling through both scorching heat and rain. But I gave it my all to secure the victory)," Pagayon, a 16-year-old Senior High School student of Emar Human and Environmental College, said in an interview with SunStar Davao after the race.

She clocked 10 minutes and 53.66 seconds, outrunning Princess May Rosal (10:58:31) of Digos City and Charlene Cos (11:43:78) of Davao de Oro. 

Her motivation was amplified knowing that her family was there to support her from the stands. 

"Inspirasyon nako akong family kay nagsayo sad sila og mata para makatan-aw lang (My family inspires me; they woke up early to watch me compete)," she said.

While confident in her preparations, Pagayon admitted she hadn't expected to clinch the gold initially. "Wala ko mag-expect kay syempre dulaon pa man. Ang ako lang gihuna-huna dulaon ang best gyud (I didn't expect it because competition is always tough. But I focused on giving my absolute best)," she added.

Pagayon credited her trainers and coaches for their dedication, sacrificing time with their families to guide them through a month-long in-house training program.

With her performance at the Davraa Meet, Pagayon secured a spot in the Palarong Pambansa, to be held in Cebu City in July. Her previous fourth-place finish in the 3,000m event in Marikina City in 2023 only fueled her desire to aim for gold this time.

The youngest of four children, Pagayon likely inherited her athletic prowess from her mother, a former softball player. Starting as a reserve runner in sixth grade at Cabantian Elementary School, she debuted at the Davao City Athletic Association (DCAA) Meet in 2018. Since then, she has received top-notch training from experienced mentors like Emilio Lacanaria, Irish Marquez, Mamerto Aventurado, and former Davao City standout Diana Mae Memoracion. 

She also thanked Emar president Ma. Lita Montalban for her unwavering support. 

For the Davraa trackfest, Pagayon sets her sights on winning two more individual golds and one relay gold.

Although she lives in Barangay Cabantian and attends classes at Emar in Matina, Pagayon's daily schedule involves her father, a public utility jeepney (PUJ) driver, dropping her off at UM Bolton. From there, she catches another jeepney to school. Even after her classes, she continues her training.

Her daily routine may seem grueling, but she sees it as a challenge to better herself, embracing the values of discipline, patience, perseverance, and hard work. 

SunStar Davao’s Davraa Meet 2024 special coverage is presented by Mati City Mayor Michelle Nakpil Rabat, Santos Land Development Corporation, Mapua Malayan Colleges Mindanao, Davao de Oro First District Rep. Maricar Zamora, and NCCC. MLSA

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