CAPAS, Tarlac—Christine Hallasgo came out as the surprise winner in SEA Games women's marathon, beating 2017 champion Mary Joy Tabal for the gold at New Clark City athletics stadium here on Friday.
Tabal, the first female marathon Olympian for the Philippines, placed second before eventually collapsing on the track.
"Hindi ko po ine-expect na makuha ko ito," Hallasgo said.
(I didn't expect to win.)
"Tinignan ko lang kung sino'ng nasa una sa akin, nag-focus ako na baka maabutan ko," she said.
(I looked at who was ahead of me and I focused on catching up.)
Hallasgo's winning time was 2 hours, 56 minutes and 56 seconds, while Tabal came in at 2:58:49.00.
"Nagpapasalamat ako sa Panginoon kasi nakuha ko ng last one lap, kinaya ko pa po. Hindi ko in-expect ito," Hallasgo said.
(I thank the Lord because I made it after one last lap. I didn't expect this.)
Tabal led for most of the race but apparently encountered problems along the way.
In the final kilometer, she fell behind Indonesia at third spot, but still fought it out despite battling dehydration.
"Si Joy, last one kilometer, running third siya," according to coach Eduardo Buenavista.
"Ang ginawa ni Joy kahit running third siya itinuloy niya pa rin. ‘Yung isang Indonesian, nahilo natumba kaya naabutan ng Philippines at nag 1-2."
Upon reaching the finish line Tabal fell to her knee before lying on the track. Paramedics came in and stretchered her out
"Si Joy kasi nag-training sa Japan. Malamig doon. Dito sa SEA Games na-encounter niya ang init ng panahon kaya dehydrated talaga si Joy," said Buenavista.
Tabal, an Olympan, is a veteran of the Boston Marathon and a Milo Marathon champion numerous times.
Buenavista said he is happy for Hallasgo, who was discovered in a running event in Ilagan, Isabela.
"Ang laro niya noon 3,000-meter run. Sinubukan kong patakbuhin sa Milo Marathon eliminations sa Manila. Sabi ko 'pag manalo ka sa Milo, isama kita sa SEA Games," he said.
Vietnam's Thi Hong Le Pham came in at third (3:02:52.00).
Meanwhile, in men’s marathon, Filipino runner Jerald Zabala nabbed fifth place followed by Anthony Nerza at sixth.
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