FROM her humble beginnings in the mountains of Cebu City to becoming the country’s best female marathoner. This is the storyline of Mary Joy Tabal that will be aired on the popular TV Series, Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK) this Saturday.
Actress Sharlene San Pedro will play the role of the 28-year-old Tabal, who’s the first Filipina to finish a marathon in the Olympics.
Tabal’s story was much-publicized in the local media, from her personal struggle to her rise as the best female marathon runner in the country.
One story that caught the attention of the public was her recent win in the 41st Milo Marathon Finals last Dec. 3. She won her fifth straight title despite the death of her father, Rolando, 22 hours before the start of the race.
“The story focuses on my start and my family. At first, I was hesitant to do this because I want to maintain my private life. But I decided to take this chance hoping that I can inspire athletes,” Tabal told SunStar Cebu.
“There are some things in your life that need to be told,” added the 29th Southeast Asian (Sea) Games gold medalist.
Tabal, who hails from Barangay Guba, Cebu City, said that it was she won the Milo Marathon that someone from ABS-CBN contacted her to tell her story.
“They did an interview with me over the phone for my background. It was submitted to their researcher and I did another phone interview last month,” she said.
Tabal said she has finally decided this month to go with the airing of her story.
“I was hesitant but my siblings and coach John Philip Dueñas convinced me to give it a go. The staff from MMK informed me this week that it will be aired this Saturday,” she said.
Tabal, the second of four siblings, was raised by single father Rolando, a police officer, after her parents separated when she was still a sixth grader.
Tabal had a rough start in her running career. She was a sprinter who moved to long-distance running. On her first 10K race, she collapsed at the finish line in 2009.
In 2013, Tabal got her first biggest achievement, winning the Milo Marathon Finals, and the rest is history.
Tabal said there are other parts of her life, though, that will not be shown on MMK; one of that was her much-publicized issue with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
Tabal said that she wants to inspire young athletes with her life, and the “political” issues in sports will only discourage athletes who dream to make it to the national team.
Veteran actor Dominic Ochoa plays the role of Rolando, model and actor Manuel Chua will play Tabal’s long-time coach Dueñas, and Katya Santos will play her mother, Annabelle. (RSC)