Dealing with nerves

WHAT would you do when you are nervous about the competition?

For reigning Milo Marathon women’s national champion and Cebuana Mary Joy Tabal, spending time away from people takes a little bit of pressure and nervousness away from her.

The months of preparation will now boil down to a single race as the 38th Milo Marathon national finals are set for tomorrow in Manila.

Tabal arrived in Manila last Thursday, but the running pride of Talamban did not join the carbo- loading party.

“There was a presentation of last year’s Marathon King and Queen and the organizers also awarded the fastest 21-kilometer runners in the regional qualifiers this year during the carbo loading party,” said Tabal, who was awarded the fastest woman in the regional qualifiers for her 1:20 time in the Butuan leg.

The fastest men’s qualifier was Juniel Laguido, who clocked 1:10 in the Cagayan de Oro leg.

And for Tabal, getting highlighted for her skills and talking about the race only adds to the nervousness.

“The presence of a lot of people adds to the pressure. I would rather go directly to the race,” she said.

The 25-year-old Tabal topped the women’s 42K race last year after clocking 2 hours and 48 minutes, eclipsing the record Jho-Ann Banayag set in 2006.

She may be feeling the pressure, but Tabal is prepared for the race with the guidance of her coach, runner and triathlete John Philip Dueñas.

“(Game plan) would be running at my own comfortable pace, with coach pacing me thru the race,” Tabal said.

The former Southwestern University stalwart Tabal will face off against top-tier local marathoners in the country like Mary Grace delos Santos, the former running queen in Cebu who has joined the national team, Cristabelle Martes and Banayag.

Before the marathon qualifier, Tabal competed in the Seoul Race in South Korea and Kyoho No Oka Marathon in Japan.

Cebu leg men’s champion Noel Tillor will be one of the bets for Cebu in the men’s local 42K along with Dueñas.

Tillor topped the Cebu’s leg with a time of 1:13. He decided to take a leave from work starting November to train under his friends and athletic coaches Saturnino and Titus Salazar.

The Bogo City native, who is a coach as well, wound up in 11th place last year in the Marathon Finals. To improve on that, he decided to take a leave for a month from his auto-mechanic duties in Mandaue City to train in Manila.

Last year, the champions were sent to the Paris marathon and this year, the winners will be get slots to the Tokyo Marathon.

Other Cebuanos who qualified and will compete in the marathon finals are Tirso Pamaybay, Tessie and Nemesio Escasinas, Helen Dionson, Dr. Alberto Solis, Gianluca Guidicelli, Elmo Clarabal, Annie and Monsour John Penaroya, Jezrel Baguio and Willie Estepa.

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