CEBU CITY — Mary Joy Tabal is now the first woman to win the National Milo Marathon Queen crown five times in a row. The Cebuana Olympian and SEA Games gold medalist fittingly achieved this impressive feat in the National Finals at her hometown of Cebu, with thousands of Cebuanos cheering her on. Meanwhile, Davaoeño salesman Joerge Andrade is the new name in the game, winning his first Milo Marathon King title.
The 41st National Milo Marathon National Finals in Cebu culminates 16 regional legs, all driven by values such as discipline, resilience, and determination, which runners can take with them in their journey in life. The champions received P150,000 in cash and a trophy each. Tabal received an additional P200,000 for placing third in the 42K female open category. As part of their prizes, both Tabal and Andrade will be sent by Milo on all expense-paid trips to participate in an international marathon next year.
In the female division, Tabal clocked in at 2:58:01 in first place, followed by Christabel Martes (3:04:20) in second and Jho-an Villarma (3:11:26) in third. In the men’s division, Andrade topped the group with a time of 2:39:34, while Erick Panique (2:42:10) and five-time Milo Marathon King and two-time Olympian Eduardo Buenavista (2:43:34) finished second and third place, respectively.
Tabal was in tears as she crossed the finish line. This race is the most difficult one she has experienced to date, as she ran with the sad reality that her father, Rolando, is no longer with her. Rolando Tabal, Sr. passed away on Saturday morning, just one day before Tabal was supposed to see him after the race.
Tabal almost decided on not joining the final, as it was too painful for her to compete. However, she was determined to fulfill her father’s wish of her completing the race.