Backed by 7-Eleven Philippines, these Filipino runners found their footing in the cold

Eleven Filipino runners competed and dominated at the 23rd Jeju International Tourism Marathon Festival at Gujwa Life Sports Park in Jeju Island, South Korea. 

As part of their prize for landing within the top three spots at this year’s 7-Eleven Run Series in February, the runners, who carried the banner of Team 7-Eleven Philippines, more than lived up to expectations after grabbing podium finishes in the 21K and 42K categories.

Fresh from her training camp in Italy, Olympic medalist and marathon queen Mary Joy Tabal showed her winning form and finished the 21K race in 1:18:44 to come up on top, besting Japanese and Korean elite runners.  “I wasn’t able to break my personal record but I am satisfied and happy with my overall performance. This race serves as an evaluation of my training and a good warm-up for me for the Asian Games next month,” said Tabal who flew back to Italy the day after the race to continue her training set to finish in August.

Ruffa Sorongon and Christabel Martes, who directly came from their successful 10K race in last week’s Philippine National Games, took the fourth and fifth spots to complete the top five females in the 21K.

“I wasn’t able to break my personal record but I am satisfied and happy with my overall performance. This race serves as an evaluation of my training and a good warm-up for me for the Asian Games next month,” said Mary Joy Tabal who flew back to Italy the day after the race to continue her training set to finish in August

Richard Salaño, also known as Bulacan’s “Kenyan Slayer,” settled for a runner-up finish in the 21K male category, clocking in at 1:11. Cebu’s Prince Joey Lee and Cagayan de Oro’s Jerald Zabala settled for fifth and sixth, respectively. It was Lee’s and Zabala’s first race outside the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Filipino runners also reigned in the 42K category. Bryan Quiamco, who earned his slot by winning the third spot of the 42K race of the 7-Eleven Race Series last February, took runner-up honors as he finished with a time of 2:37. Richeel Languido grabbed third while Rafael Pescos placed fourth.

On the women’s side, veteran Davaoeña runner Judelyn Miranda covered the challenging course in 3:16 to bag the crown and beat teammate Maricar Camacho who finished at 3:26 and settled for second place.

Para sa akin amazing ang laro na ito kasi kapos ako sa ensayo pero naglakas-loob akong lumaban sa laro na ito dahil dala ko ang bandera ng ating bansa,” said Miranda.

Since 2013, 7-Eleven Philippines has given Filipino elite runners a chance to compete in the international stage.