Sariwa pa mula sa kanilang pagwawagi sa 38th National MILO Marathon, kinumpleto nina Philippine Air Force (PAF) member Rafael Poliquit Jr. at marathon record-holder Mary Joy Tabal ang prestihiyosong ASICS Los Angeles Marathonon noong Linggo.
Nakipagsabayan sina Poliquit at Tabal, ang reigning MILO Marathon King at Queen, sa mahigit na 26,000 runners na mula sa 50 states sa US at 55 countries sa mundo world, kabilang na ang top athletes mula sa United States, na sumabak sa 42K running event upang makuwalipika sa US National Team para sa 2016 Olympics.
Matapos ang nakaraang taong Paris Marathon, pinagkalooban ng National MILO Marathon ang dalawang atleta ng all-expenses paid trips para sa ASICS LA Marathon bilang Philippine delegates na inisponsoran ng MILO. Ang ASICS LA Marathon ay isa sa limang pinakamalaking full marathons sa United States, at isa sa sampung pinakamahabang races sa mundo.
Ang 26-anyos na Davaoeño na si Poliquit ay naorasan ng 2:36:09 at ranked 27th overall sa men’s division. Sa distaff side, naiposte ng 25-anyos na Cebuana na si Tabal ang oras na 2:51:17 at tumapos na 27th overall sa women’s division.
Ayon sa race organizer na si Rio dela Cruz, maagang naglakbay ang dalawang atleta upang makapagprepara at makasanayan ang malamig na panahon. Kapwa nasa top shape sa nakalipas na buwan patungo sa karera, tumutok sila sa kanilang training regimen na kinabilangan ng muscle recovery, strength at speed workouts at endurance training, maging ang mental conditioning at proper nutrition.
Sadyang naging mainit ang panahon sa California sa pagsisimula ng race na malayo kung ikukumpara sa Pilipinas. Sa katunayan, napakiramdaman ni Poliquit na ang panahon sa lugar ay malamig, at naisagawa ang karera bilang challenging.
“I am not really used to colder weather. I had difficulties in breathing normally as I went along the race. I was also unable to hydrate myself well because I thought I wasn’t thirsty because of the cold,” pag-amin ni Poliquit. “I also felt that my lower limbs were starting to cramp past the 30KM mark. This was truly challenging, because the route had more uphill parts towards the second half.”
Sinang-ayunan din ito ni Tabal kung saan ang lamig ay ghinamit niya bilang kanyang bentahe.
“It wasn’t too cold and it wasn’t too hot, which, for me, is good for a race. The route was wide open, no vehicles, and it was safe for us to move freely, but still, it was very challenging,” pahayag ni Tabal. “I was not included amongst the group of elite runners whose gun time was ahead by ten minutes, so I had to catch up and make up for the delay. I also wanted to run alongside somebody so I can set my pace, but I could not find anyone and had to push myself and maintain a good pace until the finish line.”