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A later date for visa ap­pli­ca­tion in­ter­view opens Tabal’s sched­ule, al­low­ing her to grace the SM2SM Run

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 un­pre- dictable. 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 long­time 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./


NO DOWN­TIME. It will be one more month be­fore Mary Joy Tabal flies off to an­other train­ing abroad. She's get­ting ready to race this Sun­day in the SM2SM Run.

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